10 Random Practical Things I know

John P.
WD-40 will remove scuff marks from tile floors.

I’m not claiming these are world changing ideas, just that they are practical tips that I’ve used or advised others of recently. I hope you find at least a couple of them interesting, but more importantly I hope you’ll add to the list. We could all use some more practicality in our lives.

  1. No matter how much you think your Boss likes you, don’t ever reveal to them anything bad about your private life. Trust me, it will impair your career.
  2. Replace every light bulb in your home with fluorescents. I spent $250 replacing 70 bulbs and now save $540 per year. Over the expected life of the bulbs my savings will amount to over $4,500.
  3. If your toilet ever starts to overflow, remove the tank cover and pull the float (normally a big round ball) up by hand to stop the water. Then you can reach down behind the toilet and turn the knob to shut off the water at your leisure. (Practice this one before you really need it!)
  4. Cheap knives suck! I’m a professionally trained bladesmith. Trust me, I’d take one really good kitchen knife over an entire set of cheap ones! And don’t ever, ever buy serrated knives.
  5. WD-40 will remove scuff marks from tile floors, and has 2,000 other uses.
  6. Buy an inexpensive color laser printer to replace your Inkjet. The ink cartridge savings alone will pay for the printer with just 2-3 replacements.
  7. Running a gas log fireplace in the winter will use ($cost) more energy than any other method of heating a home. They’re mainly decorative, so use them sparingly. Oh, and running the pilot light costs about $5 per month in gas.
  8. As a welder I burn myself a lot. And there is nothing that works as well as Burn Jel. You need to have some around the house at all times… just in case.
  9. If you ever drop something tiny on the floor, get a flashlight, lay it on the floor and sweep the beam back and forth across the area. The object’s shadow will be much easier to spot.
  10. Never pay for a large drink at a restaurant that gives you free refills

Plus one free gift with purchase:

  • When in doubt, keep your mouth shut.


  1. Rion says

    if you get sharpie on a hard slick serface go over it with a dry erase marker and wipe it clean….. i had to wash alot of boards in school lol

  2. says


    I’ve been asked this question several times by different people, so I just put together this new post for you and I hope it helps answer the question. If anything is unclear or you want more detail just ask.

    Take care,


  3. steve says

    my mom has been searching for a decent kitchen knife, a 5″ or so utility knife, and with the selection of knives on display at the local bed bath and beyond the inexperienced knife-buyer might as well draw a name out of a hat. so my question to you is for this type of knife, what brand is best, or better yet what model, and what should i expect to pay?

  4. says


    I actually figured that one might be a little controversial, and I wondered if anyone would call me out on it. :-)

    I will now admit that I do indeed own one, and only one serrated blade. It is the Calphalon Katana 9-Inch Bread Knife. It does indeed do a good job when slicing bread – most of the time. (Some bread is still better cut with a sharp non-serrated blade.) And actually, a Fiddle Bow Bread Knife would do a much better job on bread for most people.

    Certainly there are other decent German blades such as this Wusthof Trident Bread Knife that would make for an acceptable specialty blade. But I issued the previously referenced exceedingly strong statement because the average knife buying consumer will remember a statement like that, but they won’t remember a weak one like “Don’t ever buy a serrated knife, unless… x, y, or z happens.”

    Thanks for making me clarify that statement.


  5. says

    Nice list. But I take exception to the last part of number 4: “And don’t ever, ever buy serrated knives.” What about a serrated bread knife? Like a good quality German steel one? A bugger to sharpen, yes, but if you only ever cut bread with it (and maybe tomatoes) then you’ll not likely need to sharpen it anyway.

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