Helping You Help Yourself #12

feature image via shutterstock

Does your neighborhood have any of those “neighborhood free library” structures? If not, here’s how you can change that! Build your own neighborhood free library!

Here’s how to fold a box out of paper! This suggests using them to organize drawers, like if you have an “everything drawer” (does everyone have one of those? I definitely did growing up. Now I think I have like three of them). They could also just be cute boxes? Whatever works for you, live your life, etc

All home offices everything: tips and strategies for home office success no matter how big your living space is or what you need an office for.

Here’s how you iron a dress shirt.

Have you ever read Roger Ebert’s paean to rice cookers? Even if you have no interest in rice cookers it is sort of a quirky, soothing read somehow, and if you do have any latent interest in rice cookers it makes a strong case for ownership of one. I have an Aroma rice cooker that I like a lot, it has settings for brown and white rice. Right now it is cooking away in my kitchen, I am making this one-pot rice-and-beans recipe that I like a lot — I just put one rice-cooker-cup of brown rice in, about a cup of black beans that have soaked overnight, a can of Rotel tomatoes and any spices I want, and then fill it up to the top line (or a little less) with water and hit the “brown rice” button. It comes out perfect every time, and is very easy and cheap if you are a person who needs very easy, very cheap homemade food cooked in a hands-off manner. You’re welcome.

I have a gas stove/oven and kept having to call my landlord because it wasn’t working and I didn’t know why; now that I know how to light the pilot myself I am much more self-sufficient and can do more cooking and less offering my landlord coffee.

Do you have questions about how organ donation works? Get them answered!

Today is the first day of the Kitchn’s Kitchen Cure! I appreciate that they started it a week into September knowing that I would super not have my shit together for this on September 1. Today’s assignment involves sitting and making a list.

Here’s how to make your passwords better.

How long is it safe to keep raw meat in the refrigerator? Find out here.

I don’t know, how to wrap a burrito perfectly seems relevant to your interests.

Do you have a hole/tear/rip in your garment thing? Here’s how to fix it.

Here’s a picture of a baby tapir.


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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.


    • thank you! and yes the home office article was much more comprehensive than i thought it would be?? so neat!

  1. THANK YOU for the ironing link. I actually used an iron for the first time last week. It was great cuz my shirts are always wrinkled and it makes me feel lame. Now I know the proper way!

  2. My favourite jeans ripped yesterday and I’ve been wondering if I should bother trying to fix them, so this is 100% perfect as per usual. Thanks a bunch!

  3. I love the paper boxes. And thank you so much for that rice cooker recipe! A rice cooker is on my Christmas list.

  4. what in the hell, this roger ebert article is everything missing from my life. thank you.

    “You, night watchman.”

    rachel my heart split open and gave birth to a hundred smaller hearts and each of them wept with how much they love this article.

  5. So useful!
    I’ve been thinking about making a neighborhood library box for a while now. Maybe it’s time.

    And holy cow, tapirs are adorable.

  6. the rice cooker piece! I have quinoa in the rice cooker now and I’m so thankful for my wonderful rice cooker which helps keep this horrible cook/hungry athlete fed.

    I have a small quibble with the organ donation fact sheet-
    “Rich and famous people get moved to the top of the waiting list while “regular” people have to wait longer for a transplant.

    Truth: The organ allocation and distribution system is blind to wealth or social status.”
    BUT wealthy people (like Steve Jobs) who own multiple homes in multiple areas can be put on multiple regional wait lists – it’s easier to get certain organs in some regions rather than in others. It’s sort of blind, but this is America so obvi wealth helps.

  7. Refrigerator thermometers are helpful for having food not spoil and/or develop evil pathogens. Storage times assume that your fridge is actually a semi-correct temperature (USDA actually adjusts a bit for US consumers having over-packed and/or overly warm fridges). Moved into a new place and the fridge was set at 50F (much too warm for anything but basil).

  8. Thank you for the link on organ donation. My dad had a dual heart-kidney transplant 3 years ago. I urge everyone to register as an organ donor.

  9. Being a California native, I thought I knew how to wrap a burrito. I was wrong. Queue whole life crashing down.

  10. Such a great column; improving the practicability of the lesbian lifestyle one tab splurge at a time

  11. I think I need a rice cooker. Every time it’s like this article reads all the secret needs written on my heart in invisible ink.

  12. So if you google for more tapir photos (and why wouldn’t you) a lot of pictures come up of adult tapirs having adult-feelings towards (I assume) other tapirs. Very not safe for work.

  13. One of my favorite things about Ebert was that he continued to advocate for the Pot even after he couldn’t eat. I should at some point listen to him on that.

    I can tell you that I have a coffee tumbler from the same company as he linked (Zojirushi) and it is FUCKING AMAZING. It keeps coffee *hot* for an obscene length of time and it seals perfectly so it will never ever leak all over your bag.

    (Also, Life Itself is a great documentary, and I think that is probably true even if you’re not a movie nut like I am.)

    ((That is all.))

  14. i put lentils in to keep rice company in my rice cooker for the first time in my life and i am So Happy, So Happy that i don’t have to cook them separately ever again. Yummy lazy healthy meal; my new go-to favorite.

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