Helping You Help Yourself #10

feature image via shutterstock

You spend so much time on your sofa! How to clean it, though? Can you just put the cushions in the washing machine? Finally, there are answers.

If you’re interested in leveling up your breakfast, here are some thoughts on making great French toast at home as well as amazing scrambled eggs.

How to hide photos on your iPhone.

A note on rugs around your toilet from Laneia: “Listen, I never thought I’d be the kind of person who put rugs down around their toilets, but then we stayed at [my wife’s family’s house] last weekend and they have toilet rugs and it was like being a movie star or a queen, so we stopped at target on the way home and picked one up just to see if it would be the same in our house and it is. You guys. When you pee it’s like you’re a benevolent queen of a small island and there are no troubles on that island, everyone is happy and they all love you.”

Are you tired of constant anxiety about how much is in your account slash don’t trust financial apps? Then what you need is to balance your checkbook the old-fashioned way. Here’s how.

Here’s a KIT for making your own FORT. You’re welcome.


Interested in perfume but feel intimidated when you think about where to start? That’s pretty understandable, given all the weird terminology and very expensive tiny glass bottles. Here’s some gentle suggestions about how to figure out what perfumes you like.

So you missed or were late on a credit card payment! Here’s what to do next to minimize any problems.

By this point in the summer, many of us have gotten a sunburn of some sort. Here’s what the American Academy of Dermatology says about treating it. (Please disregard the reference to “your parents” if you are, you know, an adult.)

Did you know that we, on this very website, have created content that helps explain how you should care for piercings, starting all the way with how to choose a piercer? We have!

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. RE: the sofa,
    Get an Ikea KLIPPAN and you never have to worry about washing it ever again! All you do is take off the cover and drop it off at the dry cleaners. :D

  2. I love this series so much — it’s just the right mix of gentle and informative to make adulting feel accessible. Thanks Rachel!

  3. This series started right as I was moving out of my parents’ house and learning to adult on my own for the first time and let me tell you it is the main reason everything is still ok around here

  4. In regards to the piercing article that Stef wrote, does anyone know the proper way to clean earrings? I got my ears pierced when I was 11, and I hadn’t worn earrings since high school, and just started wearing them again. They didn’t close up, even though I hadn’t worn them in years. My mom said it doesn’t matter as much because it’s not a new piercing, but I want to make sure I clean my earrings without damaging them.

    • I clean old (or new, cause you never know what’s on that shit) earrings with rubbing alcohol then rinse with water (using a cotton ball, tissue, or q tip). Seems to have done the trick so far!

  5. I own my own perfume shop. Sometimes a smell you like say on a person on when testing out may not work out for you, because of body chemistry. Like people will ask, how long will this perfume last, and we tell them that it depends from person to person and activities one does that day.

    • yes, totally! i love that about perfume. i just went in a brick-and-mortar perfume shop for the first time recently, and it was a really cool experience to talk to the employees about what i liked and the different notes in things. i wish i could visit your shop!

  6. Or how about not wearing perfume because it creates disability barriers for people in the queer community?

    • I’ve heard this before, but I haven’t gotten a chance to fully understand it. Can you please explain?

      • Yes, thanks for asking!

        These are 2 great articles:

        The queer community needs to recognize this disability and work on being inclusive for its members who are disabled by scents. That includes not actively promoting perfume, cologne and other scented products through articles or ads on queer websites. That means making sure your queer events and spaces are scent-free.

        We should be able to access public spaces without harm to our health. When someone wears perfume or scented products in public, you take away my ability to access those spaces safely. It’s similar to how a person using a wheelchair can’t enter a space because there is a step at the entrance. It involves a community effort and cooperation to make a space scent-free.

        If you have other questions, please ask :)

        • Ah, this makes sense! I know this is a late response, but I appreciate the explanation. :) Good articles.

      • I can only speak for my personal experience, but perfumes are instant migraine triggers for me! I appreciate spaces that ask guests to be scent-free because I know I won’t have to up and leave wherever I’m going to lie down in a dark room for the rest of the day. :)

  7. As someone who’s feeling very ill-prepared when it comes to adulthood (seeing as how I just turned 18 a month ago), I really appreciate that I can bookmark all these posts & revisit them later & avoid some of the panic that comes with being responsible for yourself.

  8. I feel like I can really handle being a grown up when I read this column.

    I am totally gonna try that slow cooked scrambled eggs idea.

  9. The fact that the grownup column which helps me manage my life also includes Fort Building make me feel better about the time my roommates and I turned out living room into a fort/pirate ship and pretended to defend it from sky scorpions.

  10. I was unaware that french toast was a challenge for some people, but not every one grew up with a mother talking about time spent in the country with her Cajun grandmother or the fact pain perdu means “lost bread” and bread that isn’t stale just won’t do. Besides French toast is best had as Saturday morning treat and what is bread at the end of week? It’s stale.

    Another thing from my mother passed down from other mothers; keeping aloe vera plants. They bring a spot of colour to a room and try as you might when you cook or bake at some point you’re gunna get burned. Or if you live under the sun.
    It’s almost a metaphor for life, keeping and nurturing a something for soothing pain because at some point you will get hurt.

  11. A whole article just with helpful things–bless you Autostraddle

    I have fully embraced that I love cleaning/chores/etc (when I don’t feel too busy to do them) so I am so into this sofa cleaning tutorial.

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