Life hacks have inundated the internet in the recent years, and a lot of them are really helpful. With that said, a lot of them are so ridiculous; one food hack tells you to use an old CD holder to carry your bagels, but it isn’t even airtight, leaving you with stale bagels and sadness. As sad as it is to say, it seems that some of the best life hacks posts only proliferate for the viral aspect rather than to be helpful. The twenty cool life hacks below definitely work and will make things a little easier on you, so check them out!
Best Hacks for Cleaning
Use a Post-It To Clean Under Your Keys
Cleaning under your keys on the keyboard is always a daunting task. Sure, they make silicone covers, but it is hard to find one that fits right, looks good and is high quality. Crumbs, dust, lint, and other cretinous things lurk around under your keys, and compressed air is going to blow it all over your desk. Instead of dealing with that, just slide the sticky part of a post-it under your keys, and all the gunk will stick right to it.
Use a Hanging Shoe Rack To Store Cleaning Supplies
Hanging shoe racks go on sale big time during back to school and around spring time, and you can usually pick one up cheaply at your local dollar store year round. Shoe racks hang over the back of your door, and they have tons of waterproof pockets that are big enough to accommodate shoes, so of course, your cleaning products fit right in. This is a great organization tip to keep clutter from under your sink, and to save you time if you spill something onto your carpet – you know exactly where to find the product you need.
Use Vinegar on Your Faucets
Vinegar has risen to cleaning product fame because of its affordability and efficacy. You can fill a plastic bag with vinegar and attach it to your shower head, or sink, and let it soak for a while. This will help break up the mineral deposits, getting rid of the unsightly spots they cause and returning your water pressure to its full capacity. There is nothing worse than trying to shower with no water pressure. Additionally, if you live in an area with hard water, you may notice that your toilet sometimes loses its flushing power. This is also caused by buildup in the jets, which will clear right up if you pour vinegar in the overflow and let it sit a while.
Drill a Hole in Your Trash Can to Prevent Vacuum
The idea of drilling a hole in your garbage can probably sound like it would make a mess, but hear us out! Air gets trapped beneath the bag because there is no way for it to escape, which causes the bag to hold less unless you periodically let the air out. You’ve probably noticed that this causes the can to hold onto the bag for dear life and risk ripping it open. If you drill a hole in the side of the trash can, it will be high up enough that there should be no leaks, and the air can escape which will allow for you to pull the bag out without feeling like you’re fighting with Excalibur.
Use Bread To Pick Up Broken Glass
The heels of bread were useless to us until we checked this one out. Small shards of glass can hang around even after you have swept and vacuumed. This is especially dangerous for the little feet in your home and the little paws. If you take bread and press it down around the area where you broke the glass, it will sink into the soft bread instead finding its way into someone’s skin. Then, you can just toss the bread in the garbage and go on with your day.
Best Hacks for Cooking
Use a Straw to Take the Tops Off Your Strawberries
Cutting the tops off of strawberries is tedious, and you inevitably end up wasting some; no one wants that. If you push a straw up through the bottom of the berry, it will pop off the leafy bit at the top without wasting anything and without making as much of a mess as slicing them would.
Have A Keurig? Use It For Oatmeal
Keurigs are legitimately the best thing since sliced bread. You don’t have to worry about measuring out any coffee like back in the olden days. There are no filters to mess with, and they minimize waste as well. There are a variety of K Cups or pods out there for coffee, tea, and even soup! There is another way to cook with your Keurig though, and that is to use it for instant oatmeal, grits, other hot cereals, and more. Any time that you need to boil a small amount of water, you can just use the appropriate button on your Keurig. The smallest button is 5.25 oz, medium 7.25 oz, and the large 9.25 oz.
Use Dental Floss to Cut Soft Foods
Slicing soft foods, like cake or other desserts can be a little messy and uneven if you try to do it with a knife. Instead, you can use unflavored dental floss (unless you want minty cheesecake, that’s your business.) and pull it taut then push it down on the cake or whatever it is that you are cutting. This allows you to make neat, even slices without making a mess and without messing up any of the icing or decorations on top.
Cut Your Bread Upside Down
Having a nice crusty baguette and using it to make a sandwich, or even just to butter it up for a snack is a religious experience. Cutting crusty bread, though, is a miserable task that squishes your bread, gets crumbs all over the place, and makes everyone sad. If you flip your bread upside down, you’ll notice that the bottom is softer and easier to cut through which will let you make cleaner slices without crushing anything or crumbing up your counter tops.
Make Your Own Buttermilk
Buttermilk on its own is a bit scary, but it makes pancakes, biscuits, and even quick breads divinely fluffy and delicious. Usually, you only need a small amount of buttermilk for a recipe, and that can be discouraging because most places only sell it by the gallon. If you need some buttermilk to make your breakfast perfect, you can add a quarter of a cup (¼ cup) of lemon juice or vinegar to the amount of milk you need. This causes the milk to curdle, which is really all that buttermilk is. It doesn’t get thick like what you would purchase, but it works just fine to cook with.
Best Hacks for Sleeping
Bathe Before Bed
Many people bathe in the morning, but taking a quick warm bath or shower before bed will help you fall asleep faster. After you get out and get dried off, your body temperature starts to drop. That decline in temperature is what tells your body it is time for you to go to sleep. There is also the relaxation aspect of being totally by yourself and unwinding from the day, which also contributes to catching all 40 winks.
Keep It As Dark As Possible
Your alarm clock casts that dim light out into your room, but you don’t notice it as much anymore, so you leave it alone; your phone sits on your nightstand and lights up with each notification it collects throughout the night. You don’t notice these things because they’re so subtle and you’re used to them, but that light can be messing with your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and the light makes you more restless as you sleep. Toss a t-shirt over the clock if you can, and keep your phone face down on your bedside table to block out as much light as possible.
Take Advantage of Night Shift
iPhone integrated their Night Shift feature a few years ago, but there are apps that function similarly for Android phones and tablets, and computers (Mac, or PC). Among these apps, one of the more popular is called f.lux. Blue light keeps us awake, and not surprisingly you will find that most of the website you spend your time on are blue. These apps warm up the color in your screen, and you can set it to do so gradually to slowly help you get tired like we are all supposed to as the sun was going down.
Only Use Your Bedroom For Sleep
You don’t need to bring work home with you, and you know that. Work related things strewn about can make you keep thinking about work and stressing over it instead of getting the time to recharge and relax like you’re supposed to at the end of your workday or workweek. The bedroom is similar. You should only use your bedroom for sleeping, and any intimate activities you partake in. If you have a desk in your room where you sit and do homework often, or go over reports for work, or just sit around and play video games, it is going to be harder to adjust to proper sleep. These things, even though they don’t always feel like it, are distracting you from the fact that home is where you’re home, and work is where you work.
Try Separate Blankets
Sharing a bed with a loved one is cozy, and it makes you feel close to them. The constant struggle of pulling the blankets back and forth have you wondering where you can hire a good divorce lawyer before you’re even engaged. You can try using a separate blanket from them, so that you two can still sleep next to one another but without the tug of war that ensues when the snoring starts. If you’re worried about how it may look when the bed is made, you can cover it all with a larger comforter to look more presentable if you would like.
Hack Your Phone
Put a Small Spring on Your Charger to Keep it From Breaking
Springs from a pen are a good choice, or just a tiny spring you have picked up at the hardware store for a few cents. You can wrap the spring around the charger towards where you plug your phone in. It is most likely to bend in that spot, and even though the cord is flexible, the wire underneath isn’t always the same. That spring will give it extra support, and will only allow it to bend so far, thus protecting the wire inside.
Use a Glass to Amplify Sound
If you don’t have a Bluetooth speaker but still want to listen to your phone a little louder, no problem! This is also useful for if you have trouble hearing your alarm in the morning. You can drop your phone down into a glass, or a bowl (tends to work better). Hard surfaces reflect more sound than they absorb, so the sound waves bounce off of the container and towards you instead. Just using your phone speaker sends the music or other noise out in the direction the speaker faces and it spreads out from there. This causes it to bounce and reflect further away and makes it quieter.
Put a Bottle on Top of the Flashlight for a Lamp
The flashlight on your phone is great, and we’re sure that you use it fairly often. It’s useful for looking for something, but not the best if you need light in the room you’re in. This is a good one to use when you don’t need a lot of light, or perhaps when camping. You can turn the flashlight on, then lay your phone face down and set a bottle on top. We’ve used water bottles to test this out, but you can also use a Gatorade bottle (full, of course) for a colored lamp.
Use Airplane Mode to Charge Faster
Your phone wasn’t designed to be used while charging. It’s a painful fact, but it’s true; it hasn’t stopped any of us. But maybe you’re about to go out on a date, or to a concert, and your phone battery is dismal. You can plug it in on airplane mode to help it charge up faster in time for the event. Similar to how you turn off wifi when you’re not home and turn off data when you are home, a service doesn’t need to be running if you’re not using it. Can you imagine what your battery life would be like if you left Bluetooth on 24/7? But, since your phone is meant to be used while charging anyway, blocking all incoming calls/data/etc. will mean it is using as little battery as possible to get the most out of the quick charge.
Take Screenshots of Your Online Windows Just In Case
When you’re going to a concert, or maybe you’re driving somewhere you have never been, there is no guarantee that your cell service is going to hold up. Particularly at any kind of music event, so many people inundating the network there can make it ungodly slow. If you take a screenshot of any information you may need before you go, you won’t have to worry about it! Screenshot event seating, maps, even the list of directions in your GPS app. Now, whether you have service or not, you will have access to the information you need. (Extra tip: Before you go, you should get the directions you will need when leaving and screenshot those as well!)