Sometimes I ask myself, “What would Martha do?”  Would she be using this supermarket-brand ironing aid or the odd dry cleaning hanger for a jacket? Would Martha tolerate that band of ants marching across my kitchen bench or the pong permeating from the fridge post-last night’s curry. I doubt it. Being a working mother I have no chance of emulating complete Martha-dom, but I can accomplish the odd touch which never fails to impress. This is faking it at it’s best. Go Martha!

  • Differentiate your single sheets from your doubles by tying each set up in different colour ribbon so you know whether you are Arthur or Martha when poking about your linen cupboard. (This fab advice is from Finnish cook and domestic goddess Tessa Kiros – my other domestic heroine).
  • Toss a quince in said cupboard to give it a lovely fragrance (another Tessa-ism).
  • For even wear and a longer life, rotate your mattress four times a year. Alternate between flipping it end-over-end and side-over-side. You should also vacuum the mattress at this time.
  • Instead of researching stain removal methods each time there’s a spill, create a handy reference for treating the most stubborn stains and hang it in the laundry room.
  • The electricity box and under sink pipes mean gobbley-gook to me. Not to Martha. She suggests printing the name of the water source on a peel-off label (or use a personal label maker) on each switch and pipe. Affix the labels for quick ID. Clever
  • Martha says for quicker cleaning, fill a bucket with basics that need to be toted from room to room: all-purpose and glass-cleaning sprays, a sponge, a toothbrush, a squeegee, a scrub brush, hopsacking, and terry-cloth towels in washcloth and hand-towel sizes. Between tasks, hang rubber gloves over the rim to dry. Or hire a cleaning lady.
  • Whiten your whites without bleach by  washing them separately in hot water. Smaller items like napkins, socks, and linens can be whitened on the stove in a solution of hot water and lemon slices. Fill a pot with water and a few lemon slices, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and add linens. Soak for up to an hour and launder as usual.
  • Whites can also be lightened with 1/2 cup of white vinegar mixed into one gallon of water during the wash cycle. For an extra brightening boost, hang laundry in the sun for natural bleaching.
  • Keep your kettle spit spot and remove mineral deposits by boiling equal parts white vinegar and water inside kettle. Remove from heat. Let sit several hours; rinse. Hand wash the pot’s exterior with a gentle pot-scrubber sponge. Let tap water run for a few moments before adding it to the pot.
  • Keep out pesky ants by whipping up this nontoxic, homemade repellent – Pour equal amounts of water and white vinegar into a spray bottle, and shake to mix. Then spritz the solution in water-resistant areas where ants are common, such as kitchen floors or the crevices in painted baseboards from which the pests often enter. You can also use the repellent outside, spraying patios, porches, and picnic tables before family and friends gather.
  • Be a keen car boot organiser!  Make sure each of your cars is equipped with possible necessities. Stock it with paper towels, a first-aid kit, an auto-fire extinguisher, duct tape, a flat-repair kit, bungee cords, and a bag filled with flares, jumper cables, and other necessities. Also consider packing a messenger bag with bottled water and protein bars in case of a breakdown.
  • My favourite! Martha says always rotate any lampshades that are near windows because sunlight can fade them over time. To keep them looking uniform, rotate each shade a half turn every time you dust (once a month is best).
  • Keep your fridge and freezer sweet-smelling simply by storing a box of odor-absorbing baking soda in them. The trick is in remembering to replace it.
  • This DIY Fabric Softener is brill and better for sensitive skins than the store-bought variety. Simply add between 1/4 cup and 1 cup white vinegar to the final rinse cycle (never mix vinegar and chlorine bleach).

These tips are adapted from