Melissa Dubravetz, advertising writer

As a writer, the easiest topics to write about are those you know about. Sometimes I share my own personal experiences with issues around the house or suggest solutions to make something easier in your everyday life. Other times, I feature tips, ideas and stories from others.

In this weeks Homeownership 101 column, I thought Id include some of these things, as well as a recap of a rather messy week I recently had with some tips on the best ways to clean up after some common household spills.

Pantry pride pointers

A couple weeks ago, I shared with you my latest kitchen project transferring many of the baking products in my kitchen cupboard to clear plastic airtight containers featuring chalkboard labels to keep things neat and organized. A couple of readers wrote in to share their thoughts and tips.

Amy, who uses glass jars to keep her pantry organized, wanted to know where to purchase the plastic containers. Plastic food storage containers come in all different shapes, sizes and price ranges, and most big-box stores will have them in their kitchen organization section.

Another reader, Chris, shared this experience: I had my cupboards looking beautiful at one time. I have since gotten rid of many of the Tupperware containers. Over time I found I had no expiration date, nutritional info or recipe ideas, and it became more of a hassle then it was worth.

Chris made a good point. What do you do if you want to keep all the product information that appears on the packaging? One solution (borrowed from my grandma) is to clip the nutritional label and whatever other information you wish to keep from the original packaging and tape it to the outside of the container. In regards to the recipes on the packaging, both my grandma and my mom kept spiral-bound notebooks in their kitchens for gluing in the recipes they wanted to keep from any packaging. It was easy, quick and took little effort.

Dont cry over spilled milk. Clean it up!

Have you ever had one of those weeks where it seemed like messes and spills were just destined to happen in and around your home? That was my week last week. It all started with an unfortunate episode Monday when a bowl of freshly chopped green onions flew right out of the refrigerator and ended up scattered all over the kitchen floor. Hello, Monday.

The next morning, a can of refried beans hopped right off an upper cabinet shelf and landed in a freshly prepared protein shake sitting on the counter. Milk and yogurt splashed everywhere, including all over me. Good morning, Tuesday.

Then along came Wednesday a new day, a fresh start to be spill-free except it wasnt. Upon grabbing a box of bandages from the cupboard, a plastic bottle of nail polish remover joined the party and broke its cap on impact and then spilled all over the floor. Did I mention it was all over the hardwood floor?

Add to these mishaps a hole in a full garbage bag, a broken egg on the kitchen floor and a burned-out oven light bulb, accounting for at least one roll of paper towels, more than a handful of cleaning rags and a replacement light bulb.

But, what can be learned from these mishaps, spills and messes? Here are some things I learned last week:

If you break an egg on the floor or other hard surface, cover the mess with salt and let it sit until the egg absorbs all salt. After it has absorbed, brush the mixture onto a piece of paper, a plate or paper towel and dispose. Salt gives gooey substances something to stick to, making clean-up easier.

For fingernail polish remover (acetone) spills, wipe up the substance as soon as possible to reduce and/or eliminate damage to the floor or furniture. Using a clean cloth, wipe up the substance as quickly as you can, rinse the area with a clean, damp rag and then dry with a towel. Apply wood oil to the affected surface once the area is dry.

Dust pans and hand brooms are great tools to keep in your kitchen for cleaning up dry food spills. Simply sweep and toss.

If you spill milk on a carpeted floor or fabric upholstery, clean up the milk spill as quickly as possible and then blot the area with a clean rag. Sprinkle the area with baking soda to absorb the odor, letting it sit for 24 hours, and then vacuum.

Let me know what you think. What are your tips and suggestions for cleaning up spills around the house? I welcome tales from your personal experiences or anything else you want to talk about. Send an e-mail with your name and phone number to homeownership@thebeaconjournal.com. For additional real estate information, visit homes.ohio.com, the key to hassle-free home hunting.