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Avoid static electricity during winter

By on November 16, 2012

Dear Sara:

During the winter, my carpet gives static shocks. Is there any way to stop this? My cat thanks you. — Jill, New York

Dear Jill:

To avoid static electricity, you can add moisture to the air by using a humidifier, boiling water or simmering potpourri on the stove. You can also try bringing in some houseplants, or spraying the carpet with a 4-to-1 mixture of water and fabric softener.

Dear Sara:

My kids take off their clothes in the bathroom when they shower. Their dirty clothes never make it to the hamper in their bedroom. I’m tired of nagging every single day. How do you get kids to put their clothes into a hamper and not leave them on the floor? — Gina, California

Dear Gina:

If possible, put the hamper in the bathroom or a more accessible place. Otherwise, try waiting to do their laundry rather than gathering it off the floor ASAP for them again and again. Let it pile up. They need a consequence for their actions, and when they run out of nicely laundered clothes, they’ll catch on quickly. Let them know if they don’t use the hamper, they can wash their own clothes. I do understand it’s often easier to simply pick it up, but they won’t learn anything other than that you would never let them go without their favorite clean clothes.

You can also let kids know that using a hamper is a family rule that everyone follows, and explain the reasons: It saves laundry-sorting time, keeps the house from looking messy and helps them care for their belongings. Reward them for using the hamper. It doesn’t have to be anything big — a sticker, a fun treat, an extra story at bedtime, etc. Occasionally, they might still slip and need a reminder, but do not allow them to slip twice or they can end up going right back to leaving them on the floor all over again. Hold them accountable for their actions.

Dear Sara:

I have a rabbit and am so sick of the mess and smell of the cage. I know that sounds bad, but do you have any suggestions for making this easier to handle? — Gloria, Washington

Dear Gloria:

I’m not a rabbit expert, but our family does have an indoor bunny. I would use a litter box filled with paper-based litter (Eco-Straw or Yesterday’s News), shredded paper or pellet litter, and some hay. If you clean it daily or every other day, it’s not as big of a chore as cleaning an entire cage tray. Obviously, the longer you wait, the worse it gets. Your rabbit will love being in the box because of the hay. A rabbit typically won’t start soiling other areas in its cage unless the box is dirty, so you won’t have to clean the big bottom tray as often if you stay on top of the litter box. It’s really pretty painless if you make it a daily habit.

photo by anomalous4

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