‘Martha Stewart’s Very Good Things’ Is Packed Full of Useful Life Hacks You Never Realized You Needed to Know [REVIEW]

Martha Stewart knows a good thing when she sees it. (Photo courtesy Martha Stewart/Facebook)

For as long as I can remember, I have loved watching Martha Stewart and reading Martha Stewart Living. And anytime she says, “It’s a good thing,” I pay particular attention, because it means she is showing us a simpler, smarter, more sensible way of doing something. I try to file away these good things for use around my home, to enhance my workspace, or when I plan a gathering for friends. Now more than 500 of those tips and tricks have been compiled into one must-have volume, Martha Stewart’s Very Good Things.

Martha Stewart's VERY GOOD THINGS
Clarkson Potter

Martha started using the catch phrase 30 years ago in the early 90s, and since then she’s given us plenty of clever ideas. Here, they are broken down into six chapters: Decorating, Homekeeping (which covers gardening), Organizing, Cooking, Entertaining, and Celebrating.

Some of my favorite good things are here, ones I have used ever since they first appeared in the magazine, including an ever-helpful stain chart, which makes laundry day a breeze because it shows us how to treat fabric stains the right way and preserve our clothes for years to come.

Another one I have used for decades is decanting dishwashing liquid from their ugly plastic bottles into beautiful glass ones, which does wonders for dressing up a countertop! This is particularly helpful when you buy dishwashing liquid in bulk from warehouse stores. Now you don’t have to lug around that giant bottle it comes in!

Then there’s the tip that keeps your next painting project neat and tidy. Simply wrap a rubber band around a paint can vertically. It will cross over the top (once the lid is removed, of course) and bottom of the can. Then, after you dip your brush in the paint, simply scrape the brush across the rubber band and the excess paint drips back inside, rather than down the side of the can like it does when you swipe your brush against the rim.

There are plenty of other good things here too, though. If you love putting hanging baskets up on your porch during the summer, you know that come autumn, your flowers are either already dead or on their way out. Instead of storing those baskets away until spring, line them with moss and plant them with gorgeous ornamental cabbages instead. They come in lots of great colors, are lush and full, and tolerate the colder temperatures well.

If you enjoy doling out beautifully wrapped gifts to friends and loved ones like we do, you inevitably find yourself with lots of leftover ribbon. How do you keep from wasting all those scraps? Simply wrap them around a small rectangular piece of cardboard, group them by color, secure them with a small ball pin, and store them in a bin or box for later use.

And if you enjoy sipping cold-brewed coffee, you no longer have to buy the premade variety or visit an overpriced coffeeshop to get it. Make it at home instead! Simply stir together 1 pound of ground coffee with 8 cups of water. Cover, and let it stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Strain it through a coffee filter or cheesecloth-lined sieve into a jar and refrigerate, covered, for up to a week. The result is delicious, and it won’t be watered down like it would have been if you cooled the coffee with ice.

Martha Stewart’s Very Good Things is simply brimming over with loads of expert tips just like these. Sure, they sound concise and simple, but that is the beauty in them. They help us improve our lives in ways we didn’t even realize we could. These are the tips and tricks you’ll likely share with your friends or hand down to your children and grandchildren for years to come. Who knows, they may even nickname you “Martha” (which I get frequently), because they’ll be impressed at all the little life hacks you have up your sleeve.

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Martha Stewart is America’s most trusted lifestyle expert and teacher, as well as an Emmy Award-winning television show host, entrepreneur, and the author of more than 90 bestselling books on cooking, entertaining, homekeeping, gardening, weddings, and decorating.

Millions of people rely on Martha Stewart as a source of useful “how-to” information for all aspects of everyday living: cooking, entertaining, gardening, home renovating, collecting, organizing, crafting, healthy living, holidays, weddings, and pet care.

The Martha Stewart brand reaches approximately 100 million consumers across all media and merchandising platforms each month. Her branded products can be found in over 70 million households and have a growing retail presence in thousands of locations.

To find out more, visit MarthaStewart.com, like her on Facebook, subscribe to her on YouTube, and follow her on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram.

Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart
(Photo courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

By Martha Stewart
288 pp. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. $30.

Purchase Martha Stewart’s Very Good Things direct from Jathan & Heather Books or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Books-A-Millions, Half Price Books, Hudson Booksellers, IndieBound, Powell’s, Target, or Walmart.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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