With sports in full swing at many schools, a reader from North Dakota has a few tricks for readers to try for their kids:

They wrote that as doctors and school nurses recommend hot packs for student athletes battling injuries, they should make their own with an old pillowcase and salt. Here’s how to do it:

Take an old pillowcase and cut out a small piece of fabric shaped like a rectangle and then double stitch the edges.

Put in at least one or two pounds of salt that you can get the grocery store for very little money. Pour the salt in your little bag and then stitch the end shut.

The reader said that you can throw the homemade hot pack in the microwave for 2 minutes per side and it will stay warm for quite a while.

A word of warning, however: sometimes the salt can get a little too hot. They recommended wrapping the bag with a towel.

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If that wasn’t the only old pillowcase you have laying around, an anonymous reader wrote that using old pillowcases for different travel needs is the best way to go.

If you carry a blanket in your vehicle, put it in an old pillowcase. It can work as a pillow in the back seat for a child to lean on.

An old pillowcase can protect an unused fan or even a lamp from dust when they’re not being used. .

“Instead of buying a shoe bag or a laundry bag, just use an old pillowcase. They work just as well and since you already have that on hand, you don’t need to spend any extra money.

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While you’re using old things, take an old long white sock and throw it over a rolling pin to keep pie dough from sticking as you roll.

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A reader from Minnesota wrote in that cleaning old pots and pans – or even the used cookware you picked up over the summer at a rummage sale – can be easily done with an old toothbrush.

“My husband brought me an old toothbrush and some scouring powder and said ‘try this!’” the reader said. “So, nothing ventured, nothing gained I guess. I did, and the bristles dug out every last bit of whatever was stuck around the rims of those lids and they look like brand new.”

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Have you ever had a rocking chair that seemed to glide around your floors for no rhyme or reason? A reader from South Dakota has figured out the cure with two velvet scraps from the sewing kit.

“We couldn’t figure out how to make it stay in one spot when rocking until a friend showed up and asked me if I had any velvet scraps. I did, and she just took two narrow strips and glued one to each rocker. It definitely stays put now.”

If you have hints to share, drop Paula a line at PennyWise, Box 518, Kadoka, SD 57543-0518 or email pennywise@goldenwest.net.

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Paula edits the monthly newsletter, “PennyWise,” from her family’s diversified farm and ranch operation on the edge of South Dakota’s Badlands. If you have hints to share, drop Paula a line at PennyWise, Box 518, Kadoka, SD 57543-0518 or email pennywise@goldenwest.net.

Paula edits the monthly newsletter, “PennyWise,” from her family’s diversified farm and ranch operation on the edge of South Dakota’s Badlands.