From The Tips Box: Christmas Takedown, Gmail Searching

Readers offer their best tips for getting rid of the Christmas tree, searching old threads in Gmail, and securing your purse in a supermarket.

About the Tips Box: Every day we receive boatloads of great reader tips in our inbox, but for various reasons — maybe they're a bit too niche, maybe we couldn't find a good way to present it, or maybe we just couldn't fit it in — the tip didn't make the front page. From the Tips Box is where we round up some of our favourites for your buffet-style consumption. Got a tip of your own to share? Email it to tips at

Keep Contacts' Old Emails in Address Book for Easy Searching

Evan keeps his Gmail in order by keeping old email addresses in his Contacts:

I am somewhat OCD-inclined about my Gmail search - I like to make sure that if I look at a contact's conversation history, it's not missing anything. To do so, I would always save multiple email addresses for a person, even if they were inactive. While this was great for search, it was annoying for composing emails - who wants to have to choose from five possible email addresses when only one is "live"?

My solution was to put old or infrequently used contact emails in the "Notes" section. This way, if I know I'm looking for something, I could always incorporate the old ones, but the extra addresses don't get in the way day to day.

If you wanted to be extra Lifehacker-ish, you could even save an actual search string that incorporated all the old addresses in the Notes box, and just copy and paste it if you were looking for something.

Use Children's Supermarket Trolley Seat Belts to Secure Purses

Brian explains how his girlfriend keeps her purse safer in supermarkets:

My girlfriend and I were at the grocery store yesterday in a shady part of town, and she was concerned about her purse being easy to steal. So, the ingenious girl that she is, she put it in the child seat of the shopping cart and looped the "seat belt" through her purse handle so that it could not just be snatched out of the cart. These seat belts are only available on some carts, but it wouldn't be to hard to come up with a portable strap that could be easily attached to a cart.

Avoid Christmas Tree Mess With a Tarp

Chris Leone explains how he kept the difficult vacuuming to a minimum this year:

When it came time to get rid of my old, dry Christmas tree, I wanted to make as little a mess as possible. I live in a city apartment so I had to be considerate moving through the hallways and elevators. Last fall, I built a 9ft [2.7m]wide round tarp with velcro around the perimeter and a built in handle for hauling away leaves. Turns out it worked great for sealing the tree and did a great job of keeping needles off my rug!


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