What are life hacks? They are quick, relatively easy, and usually entertaining things that can be done to save time or make your life a little more convenient. When you’re cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids, or even just relaxing on the beach, try some simple hacks to make your life easier. You can find countless lists of life hacks on the internet, but always use your best judgement to determine whether a hack is both useful and safe to use.
Method 1 Cooking and Food Prep Hacks
1. Cover the top of your pot with a wooden spoon in order to avoid a boil-over. In the foaming bubbles created by boiling water, there is a layer of steam trapped inside. If they come into contact with something that is cooler than 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit), the steam will condense (change back into a liquid) and the surface tension of the bubbles will be broken.
A wooden spoon is the best choice because a plastic spoon may melt and a metal spoon will become extremely hot to the touch. Plastic spoons are not recommended.
2. A quick meal made with Ramen Noodles can be made in a coffee maker in a matter of minutes. Place the noodles in the carafe and fill the reservoir with the amount of water recommended by the manufacturer. Start the brewing cycle and leave the noodles in the dispensed hot water for the amount of time recommended. Transfer them to a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper.
You can also add the seasonings to the carafe, but doing so makes it difficult to get the flavour of Ramen Noodle seasoning out of your coffee pot, which is undesirable!
Before continuing, check to see if there is a used coffee filter in the machine. There is no need to include a clean filter.
3. In a skillet, brown the crust of leftover pizza to achieve a crispy exterior layer. Place the skillet over medium heat and spritz it with cooking spray or drizzle it with a few drops of cooking oil to coat the bottom. A slice of pizza should be heated for 2 minutes in the pan before removing the lid and turning the heat to low for approximately 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
Before covering the pan with the lid, add a few drops of water to the pan to help the top of the pizza cook a little faster. Keep an eye on the pan, as any oil that may have accumulated may splatter.
4. Make a cookbook holder out of a skirt hanger with clips to save on storage space. To keep the cookbook open, use the two clips attached to the hanger. Simply hook the hanger’s hook over the handle of a nearby cupboard to create a quick and extremely useful cookbook holder!
The open book will be at the perfect reading height for easy reference, and it will not take up any valuable counter real estate.
5. Using a thick straw, quickly remove the stems from the strawberries. Insert the straw into the side of the strawberry that is opposite the stem and press it up through the centre of the fruit. As soon as you get all the way to the top, the stem will spring right up and out!
A sturdy plastic straw will suffice, but a reusable metal straw will be even better in this situation. If you have a wider milkshake or smoothie straw available, use it in either case.
6. To get the most juice out of a lemon, use tongs to help you squeeze it out more easily. Cut a lemon in half, then wedge one half between tongs with the cut side facing out, and repeat with the other half. Make a squeeze with the ends of the tongs that you normally use for picking up things in order to extract the maximum amount of lemon juice possible. Repeat the process with the other half.
Consider placing a fine mesh strainer over the bowl or pitcher into which you are squeezing the juice in order to catch any seeds that may have fallen through.
7. When you’re pouring milk, use your cereal spoon to keep it from splashing around. Place your cereal in a bowl and then place your spoon on top of it, upside down, to serve. Pour the milk onto the underside of the spoon’s head slowly and steadily. When you pour the milk directly onto the cereal, you’ll notice significantly less splashing.
Alternative: Pour the milk into a mixing bowl first, followed by the cereal!
8. Using a water bottle, you can easily remove the yolk from a cracked egg. Then take a clean, empty plastic water bottle and place it next to the egg in the bowl or dish. Squeeze the bottle about halfway (but not hard enough to crush it), place it directly on top of the yolk, and squeeze again until the bottle is empty. The yolk will be sucked up into the bottle by the bottle’s vacuum!
9. Pit cherries as quickly as possible using a straw and a bottle. Choose an empty glass or plastic bottle with a mouth that is slightly smaller than your cherries’ stems, so that you can place a cherry stem-side up on the bottle opening when it is filled with cherries. Using a sturdy straw (metal is best), a skewer, or a chopstick, push straight down through the stem to release the juice. The pit will fall into the bottle without a hitch.
10. To remove egg shells from a cracked egg, wet your finger and dip it in water. Hands should be washed and dried with a towel before dipping one finger into a bowl of warm water. Press down on each egg shell piece with your wet finger and carefully lift them out of your cracked egg one at a time with your dry finger. The water will cause the shells to gravitate toward your finger, making it extremely simple to get rid of all of the shells in one go.
Do not forget to wash your hands after you have finished!
Method 2 Food Service and Storage Hacks
1. Using wet paper towels, quickly chill a beverage in the freezer for a short period of time. Prepare 1-2 paper towel sheets by wetting them and squeezing out the excess water. 15 minutes after wrapping the paper towels around a can or bottled beverage, place the container in the freezer. It takes much less time for the drink to cool down when it is wrapped in damp paper towels.
Make sure you don’t forget about the glass bottle you put in the freezer—if the liquid inside freezes, the bottle could explode!
2. In a plastic ketchup bottle, you can easily store the pancake batter after it has been mixed. Extra batter can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days in this manner, and it makes dispensing the batter a breeze! When making pancakes, simply squeeze out the amount of batter you require directly onto the griddle.
Pour the batter into the bottle with the help of a kitchen funnel to make the process easier. Alternatively, locate a plastic bottle with a slightly smaller opening than the ketchup bottle. Cut off the bottom of this second bottle and insert it upside down into the mouth of the ketchup bottle to serve as a homemade funnel for the first.
3. At a party, a muffin tin can be used to serve a variety of condiments. Fill the individual indentations in the muffin tin with ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, salsa, mayonnaise, or whatever other condiments you require. Bake for 20 minutes at 350°F. This simplifies the process of serving the condiments and cleaning up afterward.
4. The use of dental floss makes it possible to cut clean slices of cheesecake and soft desserts. Remove the ends of a length of unflavored dental floss and wrap them around the index and middle fingers of your hands. It should be pulled taut and pressed straight down through cheesecake, cinnamon rolls, fondant, jelly rolls, and other desserts, for example.
Using a length of wire, cut through the clay following the same procedure.
5. With a plastic bottle top, you can keep your packaged bread fresher for a longer period of time. Begin by cutting the top section off of a clean, dry plastic drink bottle at the point where the cylinder begins to narrow toward the spout. Then fold the open end of the bread bag down over the sides of the bottle’s opening and up through the cut opening to get it out. To create an airtight seal, screw the bottle’s lid on tightly.
6. Simple but effective coasters can be made out of plastic lids. You don’t have a coaster with you? Using the plastic lid from a mayonnaise jar or other similar container will suffice. Simply place your drink on top of the coaster and you’ve got yourself a stylish coaster.
Method 3 Clothing Hacks
1. Applying beeswax to canvas shoes will make them water resistant. To apply the beeswax, use a clean rag to spread it evenly over the entire outer surface of the shoes, being careful not to miss any areas. Once the shoes are completely dry, run a hairdryer over them until the wax melts and becomes invisible. When you notice that the water-resistant coating is beginning to fail, apply another coat of beeswax to the surface.
2. Using a hair straightener iron, iron the collar of a dress shirt to make it stay put. When compared to getting out your iron and ironing board, this is a quick fix that saves time. Connect the hair straightener to the power source, allow it to heat up, and then clamp it over each side of your shirt collar for approximately 15 seconds. To be on the safe side, avoid doing this while you are wearing the shirt!
You should use this trick if you’re going to wear a sweater over your dress shirt anyway; otherwise, why bother ironing the entire thing?
3. To minimise the appearance of a red wine stain, white wine should be used. If you spill red wine on your white shirt, grab a glass of white wine to wash it off! Clean, white-wine-soaked cloths should be used to gently blot the red wine stain until it is no longer noticeable. It won’t completely remove the stain, but it does a surprisingly good job of removing it.
You should use any stain remover sticks or wipes that you have on hand because they work even better. Even if you forgot to bring them with you, you can use them on the stain before washing the garment.
4. Pining pairs of socks together before washing and drying will help to prevent lost socks. To stop feeding single socks to the “dryer monster,” you must outwit the creature. Simply pin each pair of socks together with a safety pin before tossing them in the wash to keep them from unravelling. When transferring them to the dryer, pin them together to keep them from falling apart.
If any pins begin to show signs of rusting, they should be replaced.
Method 4 Housekeeping Hacks
1. Attach a magazine holder to the back of a cabinet door to keep a hairdryer safe and secure. Make your selection from a variety of materials such as plastic, wood, metal wire, or sturdy cardboard and screw it into place with 2-4 screws. The majority of standard hairdryers will fit perfectly in this space.
Alternately, several removable adhesive strips can be used in place of the screws.
2. To hang towels in a small bathroom, coat hooks can be used instead of traditional rods. Because each hook can hold two large towels, they take up significantly less space. The towels may also dry more quickly if you use towel rods that are stacked one on top of the other rather than one on top of the other.
3. Personal care items can be stored behind cabinet doors with magnetic strips installed. Peel-and-stick magnetic strips are available for purchase, or removable adhesive strips can be used to hold the magnets in place. Hold tweezers, bobby pins, cosmetic brushes, and other magnetic objects in place with the magnetic strips. (Optional)
Before you try this, make a list of how many of your personal care items are magnetic.
4. To clean tile and ceramic, invest in a drill attachment with a scrub brush attachment. Instead of relying solely on your elbow grease to scrub a tub or toilet, let your drill do the dirty work for you! Scrub brush attachments come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can be found wherever cleaning supplies are sold.
Set the drill to its slowest setting at first, and then increase the speed as necessary. Carefully read and follow the instructions for using the brush attachment.
If the attachment is not specifically marketed for this purpose, do not use it to clean fibreglass, laminate, wood, stone, or other types of surfaces.
5. Fill a bucket that won’t fit under the sink with a clean dustpan and clean water. Place the bucket on the floor in front of the sink, directly in front of the faucet. Place the larger end of the dustpan under the faucet so that the handle of the dustpan is resting over the front edge of the sink’s front edge. As soon as you turn the water on, it will flow through the channel in the handle, over the edge, and fall into the bucket like a waterfall.
Make sure you have a few towels on hand for the first few times you try this. It may take a little trial and error to get the placement and water flow exactly right the first time.
6. Make a color-coded system for your keys by painting them with nail polish. You can use this trick if you have a bunch of keys that are similar in appearance on your key ring. When it comes to metal keys, gel nail polish adheres the best, but any type of polish will do.
7. A shoe hanger is a convenient way to keep your household cleaners organised. Hang or attach the shoe hanger to the back of a closet or pantry door, and then fill the pockets with your cleaning bottles to complete the organisation. If possible, choose a shoe hanger with mesh or clear plastic pockets to make it easier to distinguish between the cleaning bottles.
A shoe hanger with hooks is a great addition to any closet that already has one hanging rod.
If there are children present, consider installing a lock on the door for their protection.
8. To get rid of permanent marker, experiment with various home remedies. For different types of materials, different DIY removers may be more effective. Try out the following suggestions:
Hand sanitizer can be used on fabric to keep it clean.
Rub alcohol can be used on your skin or on wood surfaces to disinfect them.
Hairspray or toothpaste can be used to remove paint from painted walls.
To clean ceramic or glass surfaces, combine one part white toothpaste with one part baking soda.
9. To make cleaning a crusty paintbrush easier, soak it in vinegar for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the loose paint with a wire brush or paintbrush cleaner to prevent it from drying out. After that, wash the brush with soap and water, rinse it, and set it aside to dry naturally for a few hours.
If you heat the vinegar in a pot on the stove until it is nearly boiling, you can reduce the soaking time to 10 minutes or less.
10. Vanilla extract can be used to reduce the odour of water-based paint. In order to paint a room, add 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of vanilla extract per 1 US gallon (3.8 L) of paint and stir well. The vanilla will help to mask the odour of the paint, which is unpleasant. Essential oils such as peppermint are also effective.
It is not possible to use this hack on oil-based paint because the vanilla extract or other essential oil creates a solution that mixes with the oils in the paint, which can either negate the pleasant scent you are attempting to achieve or make the paint smell even worse. But because the oils are not soluble in water-based paint, they remain separate and help to mask the odour of the painted surface.
Method 5 Childcare Hacks
1. Use a rubber band to prevent children from accidentally locking a door. Loop the rubber band over one door knob, make a figure eight over the latch, and then loop the free end of the rubber band over the other door knob. Repeat with the other door knob. Ensure that the rubber band is thick and sturdy and that it is stretched taut when it is positioned in this manner.
2. Create a smaller “laundry basket play tub” within your bathtub to keep your children entertained. As you fill the tub with water, place a standard rectangular laundry basket in the centre of the tub. Put your toddler or small child, as well as their toys, in the basket with the other items. To finish bathtime, simply drain the tub and lift out the basket with all of the toys contained within it.
This is not intended to be used as a substitute for an infant bath basin. It should only be used for children who are large enough to bathe in a standard tub.
While bathing, keep an eye on your children at all times.
3. Make a child safety bead bracelet with your phone number imprinted on it for your children. Purchase a container of brightly coloured bracelet beads and enlist the assistance of your child in threading them onto the bracelet string. Choose a set of numbered beads and string them together in a way that corresponds to your telephone number.
You might also want to spell out the child’s first name if you know what it is.
There is no substitute for proper supervision of a child when wearing a bracelet.
4. In order to prevent a child from rolling out of bed, you can use pool noodles. Place a foam pool noodle on each long edge of the bed, directly on top of the mattress. Repeat this process for the other long edge of the bed. The noodles will be held in place more securely if you tuck the fitted sheet over top of the mattress. It is less likely that your child will roll off the edge of the bed because of the small humps created by the noodles.
This is a short-term solution for a problem that occurs from time to time. If your child is prone to rolling out of bed, you should consider purchasing proper bed rails.
5. When you’re out shoe shopping without the kids, make a trace of their feet on a piece of paper. It is preferable to bring their tracing with you rather than guessing whether a pair of shoes will fit properly. Draw a circle around both of their feet, whether they are barefoot or wearing socks. Shoes that are slightly larger (but not significantly) than the traced outlines will fit—at least for a couple of months, at any rate.
6. Pour drips from frozen treats into paper cupcake or muffin wrappers to catch them. Stick the wooden stick from your child’s favourite frozen treat—such as a Popsicle or an ice cream bar—through the bottom of its paper wrapper. (Optional) Wrap up the treat and place it at the base of the treat so that it can catch all of the inevitable drips.
The best paper wrappers are those with foil on the outside, but any paper wrapper will do just fine.
Method 6 Tech and Home Office Hacks
1. If you like to read in the tub, place your tablet in a zip-top bag to keep it safe. Make use of a clear 1 US gal (3.8 L) bag with a secure zip closure to store your items. Sealing a piece of paper inside the bag and submerging it for 1 minute will serve as a preliminary test. If the paper is dry, it is likely that your tablet will be as well.
Keep it safe and try your hardest to keep your tablet dry regardless of the situation. Do not attempt to read while submerged in water!
2. Charger cables’ ends can be strengthened by inserting springs from old pens into them. Charger cables have a tendency to kink, bend, and break right near the ends of their lengths (where they plug into the wall or your device). Pull apart several old, dried-up pens and pick out the springs that are hidden inside them to protect these sensitive areas. Wrap the springs around the ends of the cables to provide them with additional protection while still allowing them to flex a little.
3. Binder clips can be used to keep cords organised at the edge of your desk. This is a great hack if your desk is cluttered with a variety of charger cables, printer cables, ethernet cables, and other similar cables. Make sure that the binder clips you choose are large enough to clip to the edge of the desk while also being small enough (if at all possible) to prevent the head of each cable from falling through the binder clip opening.
If you are unable to fit the head of a cord through the wires of a binder clip, squeeze the sides of each wire to release it from the clip’s holdings. Then, after you’ve pulled the head of the cord through, squeeze them again to secure them in their original positions.
4. Empty toilet paper tubes in a shoebox can be used to organise cords. Set an empty toilet paper tube in the box and feed the cord through it. This will result in a more manageable cord. You can also use a toilet paper tube as a sleeve and slide it over the cord after you’ve looped it several times around itself to make a longer cord.
5. To increase the volume on your phone, place it upright in a cup, glass, or mug of some sort. If you have a habit of sleeping through your alarm, even when it is set to a high volume, you should try this hack. Placing the phone’s speaker (which is usually located at the bottom) in the bottom of the cup will result in a much louder sound than normal.
Using this trick to amplify music is simple; however, it may take some experimentation to find a cup, glass, or mug that doesn’t distort the sound of your favourite tunes.
6. Make a phone stand out of a cassette tape case for a low-cost but sturdy alternative. If you have some old cassette tapes (along with their cases) in your attic, you should try this hack. Open the case’s lid as far as it will go, then place the case front-side down on a table or work desk to protect your surfaces. The slot in the lid will securely hold your phone at a comfortable viewing angle for you to enjoy. Some larger smartphones may not be able to fit into the slot completely.
Method 7 Miscellaneous Hacks
1. Using a large carabiner clip, you can carry multiple plastic bags at the same time. Rather than being too heavy, carrying several plastic shopping bags at the same time causes the handles to dig into your palms and fingers. Instead, purchase a large carabiner clip from a hardware, sporting goods, or outdoor supply store. By attaching the carabiner to both handles of each bag, you can carry everything more comfortably while holding on to the carabiner as you go.
2. Make use of snack chips as kindling to assist in starting a fire. Light a loose pile of snack chips on fire, then gradually add more wood to the fire to create a larger campfire. Snack chips are almost entirely composed of two components: hydrocarbons and fats, both of which burn readily, so you’ll be surprised at how quickly and easily they catch fire when you burn them.
Tortilla chips with cheese (such as Doritos) are ideal for this recipe, but any fried snack chip will do the trick here.
Make sure you don’t consume all of your kindling before you start!
3. Keep your valuables safe on the beach by concealing them in an empty sunscreen bottle. Bottles with rounded rectangular shapes and large flip-top lids that also twist off are your best bet for storing liquids safely. Clean and dry the bottle thoroughly, making sure to remove any oily residue that may have accumulated on the inside. Then place items such as your identification and cash inside it.
Unless there is a sunscreen thief lurking around, your belongings will be secure!
Another option is to purchase storage containers that are designed to look like real sunscreen bottles on the internet.
4. Make a lantern out of your phone and a Gatorade (or similar) bottle by following the instructions on the screen. Set the flashlight feature on your phone to “straight up” and lay it down so that the light shines straight up. Place the Gatorade bottle directly on top of the light; the shape of the bottle will diffuse the light and result in a unique lantern effect.
Empty bottles perform worse than full bottles, and liquids with a light colouring (such as yellow or pale blue) perform worse than clear liquids.
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