Alison shares five great tips from our readers. These tips all ensure that your most-used notions are kept in tiptop shape.

From Sharon Camping of Los Angeles, California

"Like many quilters, I have several rotary cutters. On the way to a class or retreat I invariably would grab the dullest one. Now I mark the date on a blade when I change it so I know at a glance if it hasn't been replaced in a while."

From Lynne Conder of Bloomington, Illinois

"When I buy a five-pack of rotary-cutter blades, I write in marker on the small plastic case the numbers 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Each time I take out a new blade, I mark an X through the next descending number. This way I know at a glance how many blades I have left in the pack and when to think about buying more."

From Kari Ray of Wilsonville, Oregon

"Once I finish a tube of lip balm, I run the insert back to the bottom of the tube and stash the empty tube in my sewing room as a repository for old sewing machine needles. Replacing the cap after each needle is added keeps the needles contained for disposal."

From Pam Martin of Canandaigua, New York

"When I buy a spool of thread, I use a fine-tip permanent marker to write the color number on the end of the spool. This ensures that if I run out of thread, I will know what color to get, even if the paper tab on the spool end has fallen off."

From Nancy Smith of Blairsville, Georgia

"Because the cover of my seam ripper kept falling off, I decided to use a wine cork instead. The sharp tip of the seam ripper easily slips into the cork and stays in place."

We love hearing tips from our readers, so if you have your own to share, email us at