24 hours a day…14,440 minutes…86,400 seconds…There’s only so much time in a day! With every minute—every second—counting toward productivity, it’s no wonder why life hacks have become increasingly popular among people who are looking to make life easier and get things done faster. So, what exactly is a life hack? First coined over a decade ago in the IT world and now a part of everyday conversation, a life hack is defined as a strategy or technique adopted in order to manage one’s time and daily activities in a more efficient way.
From cooking and cleaning to charging your phone and giving first aid, life hacks can be used in just about every walk of life. Typically shared on social media outlets, self-help channels and websites around the world, you’ve probably seen the more common hacks such as using old socks as dust rags or using muffin tins to serve condiments at a summer picnic. Yet, we imagine there are quite a few others you might have missed!
Whether it’s “trash talking” garbage tips, slicing vegetables, dieting or painting tricks, join us at life hack central where we’re here to simplify your life with 30 genius life hacks you need to know about right now. Don’t worry, there’s no need to thank us. We’re just happy to help!
#30 – Tomato Slicing
Mmmhmm yum—what’s cooking? Starting our list off with a stop in the kitchen, everyone from master chefs to first-time cooks knows that slicing tomatoes—especially the smaller cherry tomatoes—can be a real pain if you have a lot to slice. But, instead of taking all that time slicing the tomatoes one by one (and keeping them from rolling around the cutting board), did you know that you can actually slice them all at once?
Line up all the tomatoes on one plate; then, place an identical plate over the top of them without forcing it down (remember, we’re not trying to make ketchup here!). You can then carefully run a knife through the gap between the two plates to chop your tomatoes in half. Voila—sliced tomatoes! What’s even better is that you can do this for other small fruits and veggies such as grapes, cherries and olives to make your food prep a breeze the next time you venture into the kitchen!
#29 – Medical Chap Stick
Do you suffer from dry, cracked and chapped lips? Chap Stick can be a huge lifesaver all year round whether you’re busy beating the summer heat or are battling frigid winter temperatures. Now offered in a variety of flavors from cherry and vanilla to coffee, chocolate and coconut, Chap Stick is in nearly everyone’s pockets or purses these days but, did you know that it’s good for more than just your lips?
If you happen to find yourself with a cut—especially a nasty little paper cut—you can seal the wound with Chap Stick and avoid infection! But…as you might’ve guessed, that’s not all! Chap Stick is also handy for keeping your knives from rusting in addition to making storage bags waterproof by rubbing it on the zippers. Going camping and need to start a fire? Chap Stick has you covered! Just rub some Chap Stick onto a few cotton balls and then set them on fire to keep your flame burning longer.
#28 – Toothpaste Paintings
Have you ever tried hanging a picture on a wall only to realize it’s crooked or off-centered? While it’s true that most pictures these days are stored on our cell phones or on social media, there are still plenty of people in the world who enjoy printing, framing and hanging their photos on their walls. Although hanging a picture frame sounds easy enough—after all, it only takes a hammer and a nail—hammering the nails in the right place can be pretty hard at times; however, it doesn’t have to be.
Say goodbye to random nail holes and crooked picture frames thanks to this genius life hack! Just dab a little bit of toothpaste on the back of the frame where the nails should go; then, place the frame centered on the wall where you want to hang it. When you take the frame down, you’ll see toothpaste marks where the nails should go—it’s that easy! In only a matter of minutes, you can hammer the nails and hang the frame like a real pro!
#27 – Snow Plow
If snow is a rarity for you—especially if you live in southern states like Florida, Louisiana or Georgia—then you may not need this next life hack unless you’re planning on traveling up north during the winter months. As anyone living in northern states where snow is frequent (like Minnesota, Wyoming and Colorado) knows, vehicles can easily get stuck in the snow and ice after a large snowstorm rolls through the area. As a result, drivers often find it difficult (and impossible) to push their cars out much less get behind the wheel without the right traction.
If you find yourself in such a situation, don’t forget that your car most likely already has a traction device inside—your floor mats. Take the mats from the floorboard of your car and place them underneath the wheels that are spinning (most likely the rear tires). Typically only leaving tire tracks on the floor mat that can easily be cleaned with soap and water, the mats will give you the traction you need to be on your way!
#26 – Keyboard Notes
Don’t forget—make a note and jot it down! There’s a fairly good chance that if you have one Post-It note in your house or office, you probably have a few hundred more as well. While the most common use for Post-It notes is to jot down reminders and stick them in places where you’ll see them and remember, there’s also an entirely different use for them beyond writing and remembering—cleaning!
While Post-It notes may not solve all of your cleaning needs, they are perfect for the computer! Take a look at your keyboard—do you see dust or crumbs between the buttons? If you’re like the rest of us, the answer is probably a big “YES!” Instead of heading to the store for an expensive cleaner (like compressed air), grab a Post-It note and get to work by running it between the buttons to loosen and free up dust and debris. You’ll be back to typing away on a cleaner, dust-free keyboard in no time!
#25 – Grocery Hack
From coupons and produce to canned goods, deli meats and more, grocery shopping can be quite the chore when it comes to remembering everything you need. Even if you’re extremely organized and bring a categorized grocery list to the store, everyone forgets something at one time or another and, by then, you’re usually already back at home and in the midst of cooking. This problem can easily be solved, however, all thanks to something you never leave home without—your cell phone!
Instead of relying on your memory to recall what’s stocked in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer, use your phone to snap a few photos of what you already have in stock. Then, once you’re at the store, look back at the photos to see if you actually need that can of diced tomatoes, that loaf of bread or the extra gallon of milk. Heck, to make it easier you can even make a list based off of your photos if you’re in a crunch for time!
#24 – Light it Up
Do you have a light? As most of us know, lighting a fragrant candle can do wonders for the home as well as add light even during a power outage. While most of us now use grill lighters for convenience and safety to keep our hands even further away from the flame, there are still a few people in the world who use the same pocket-sized lighters they use to light cigarettes. If you’re one of those few, you can still get the benefit of a grill lighter if you have a box of spaghetti in the pantry.
That’s right, we said spaghetti! A dry spaghetti noodle can work as a wick if you light it at one end, which gives you quite a bit of distance between yourself and the candle wick. Do you have a low-burning candle on the fireplace mantle that often leaves your fingers singed? Worry no more as a spaghetti and a pocket lighter can work wonders especially when the power is out and it’s too dark to see your hands!
#23 – Batteries
Have you ever had the batteries for your television remote or video game controller run out? With the majority of devices taking only AA batteries, it can be pretty frustrating when you discover that all you have lying around are AAA batteries and no real sign of hope at resuming your game or favorite television show. However, hope may not be lost forever! Instead of running to the store to pick up more AA batteries, what if we told you could use what you already have in the house?
Using AAA batteries in a AA battery slot is actually pretty simple. All you have to do is take a piece of aluminum foil and stuff it into where the negative part of the battery slot is located. Then, insert the AAA batteries while ensuring they touch the aluminum foil. As long as everything is kept tightly in place (and touching), your remote or video game controller should be good to go until the next time you head to the store—just remember to put AA batteries on your list!
#22 – Flying High Again
Planes, trains and automobiles… While many people enjoy and often prefer traveling by plane, there are thousands of others who dread everything about flying from the security lines and baggage claims to spending long hours on a hot and overcrowded plane. Of these, one of the most common complaints from frequent flyers is being squished into a seat next to a stranger who could end up falling asleep and drooling on their shoulder at a moment’s notice.
The best flying trick we could find is to fly with someone you know. As a pair, you can book the window and the aisle seat in a row of three. Because people don’t often travel alone, there’s a good chance that the middle seat won’t be claimed since everyone hates sitting there. In the event that someone does sit there, you can always switch with them so you can sit next to your friend or flying partner.
#21 – Elevator Lift
Going up or going down? From hotels and malls to airports, arenas and other venues, there are plenty of times when climbing the stairs from the ground floor all the way to the 38th floor simply isn’t an option—unless you’re a complete health nut. Elevators come in quite handy in such circumstances but, once in a while, there might be a different problem than going from one floor to another. Sometimes, children or even adults like to push every button on their way out of the elevator to make it stop at every floor.
If you’ve ever done that, shame on you (ok, so who hasn’t?)! It turns out, however, that you don’t have to stop on every floor. Instead, you can get the last laugh by pushing each floor button twice to cancel out the elevator’s initial request. Though it’s a bit of a pain to have to push each button twice, it definitely saves loads of time rather than having to stop at every floor while repeatedly pushing the “door close button” until you finally reach your destination!
#20 – Garbage Time
Welcome to Trash Talk 101! Over 65 years ago, Harry Wasylyk of Canada invented the modern polyethylene garbage bag. Since then, people around the world have been eternally grateful for having an easier way to gather their trash, but there’s still been one pesky little issue—putting the garbage bags into the waste bins without a suction problem where the trash bags swell with air. By this point, you can usually only fit one to two things in the bag before cramming any other trash causes a giant gaping hole and defeats the bag’s purpose entirely.
Been there, done that—right? As long as you have a drill, consider your trash bag suction problem solved! Simply drill a couple of small holes into the bottom of the garbage bin and the bags will never suffer through any annoying suction again. And if you’re looking for more trash tips, stick around for more trash talk later on the list!
#19 – Sew What
Although sewing as a hobby isn’t quite as popular today as it was decades ago, there are still plenty of people who enjoy sewing whether it’s intricate needlework, repairing small tears in a pair of pants or reattaching a button. Sewing is a skill that nearly everyone has to learn. Of course, one of the hardest parts about sewing is having to put the thread through the incredibly tiny eye (or hole) of the needle.
Most people get frustrated with sewing before they even start because the thread is usually too limp and flops around everywhere except where you need it to go. To fix the problem, spray some hairspray on the end of the thread to stiffen it up just as you would your hair. With the thread stiffer, less likely to flop around and easier to manage, threading the needle becomes a breeze! (Now go ahead and get your mind out of the gutter!)
#18 – Night Stones
Do you ever have to let your dog out at night to use the restroom only to find yourself tripping on a landscape rock and stubbing your toe? Banging your foot or shin on a rock isn’t fun especially in the middle of the night when you’re half awake and still dreaming of going back to bed. Although many people spend hundreds of dollars on landscape lighting to illuminate their gardens and walking paths, we’ve found a simpler and more cost effective solution.
The next time you’re at the local home improvement store, visit the paint aisle and pick up a gallon of glow-in-the-dark paint for around $10. Typically requiring only one application and giving your yard a cool look, paint your rocks and landscape borders to create a well-lit path that will give you plenty of confidence to walk through your yard at night without the fear of stubbing your toe!
#17 – Pizza Time
Did you know that the average American eats nearly 50 slices of pizza each year, making it one of the most popular foods in the world! Rather than ponying up extra money on delivery fees and driver tips, you can save loads of money by ordering your pizza and picking it up yourself. However, the only problem is that you most likely don’t have one of those insulated containers like the delivery service that keeps your pizza warm on the drive home.
But, if you have a car with heated seats, then you’re in luck. While you’re on your way to pick up the pizza, turn the heated seats on to pre-warm them. Then, as you’re driving back to the house with the pizza, let it ride shotgun in your car as you crank up the heat in the passenger seat. By the time you get home, your pizza will be nice and hot just like if it were fresh out of the oven.
#16 – Bumped Out
Vote for Pedro! A lot of us have gotten bumper stickers that we thought were cool or funny at the time only to regret them a year or two later. With this being election year, this is especially true since there are thousands of people who are going to want to remove the stickers from their cars after certain candidates didn’t make it past the primaries. Whatever the case (or sticker), bumper stickers can be a real pain to remove.
While most of us usually rely on everything from elbow grease, soap and water to WD-40, there always seems to be some residue left from a bumper sticker. Not anymore! Unlike soap, water, WD-40 and other chemicals, you can use a hair dryer to reheat the sticker and remove the residue. Simply blow the hair dryer up and down the length of the sticker for two minutes before peeling it off gently. If certain areas prove harder to remove, start over by adding more heat.
#15 – Key Tips
With great power comes great responsibility—and a lot of keys! After you’ve lived in the “real world” for a while, you’re likely to have plenty of keys to show for it on your keychain. And, since most keys look the same, it can be a real hassle to remember which ones go where. While you can get special keys made at the hardware store, this can get pretty expensive (and can be illegal depending on the key). You can also try to write on the keys with a permanent marker, but that’s even likely to smudge off sooner or later.
Instead of dishing out a few bucks for a fancy key or wasting your time with a Sharpie, the easiest way to remember which key belongs to what lock is to color code it. There’s no need to purchase fancy paint for your metal keys because all you actually need is nail polish. Whether you want to paint the entire key, half or create a design or monogram, the choice is yours so long as you remember what key goes where!
#14 – Crank it Up
Turn the music up! Listening to music while you’re cleaning house, folding laundry, working out or doing chores around the office helps make time go by a lot faster. If you can’t wear headphones or don’t have a surround sound system to really crank up the music, there’s still a way to get the party going. So what’s the trick? Surprisingly enough, you have a free speaker inside your kitchen cabinets!
Place your phone into a large glass—about a pint or larger in size—or even a pitcher to amplify the sound multiple times over. The vibrations of the music are amplified by the glass and make it easier to hear over normal house or office noises like the air conditioner, printer or fax machine, dish washer or washing machine. What’s even better is that it’s an easy and affordable fix for a quick dance party wherever you go!
#13 – Cord Clipping
What a tangled mess! How often do you have to crawl under your desk or look behind your television or gaming console for a certain cord only to discover a tangled nightmare? Whether it’s video game consoles, endlessly long Ethernet cables, USB or power cords, these cabled messes can be quite frustrating especially when you can’t remember what goes where or which cord you need at the time. Luckily, we found a simple, quick and affordable solution!
The next time you buy a loaf of bread, don’t throw away the plastic “stay fresh” tab that keeps the bag closed. Instead, once you’re done with the bread, recycle the tab by using a fine-tip marker to label and attach it to the appropriate cord. Once you have all the tabs labeled and secured, you won’t ever have to think twice about which cord powers what!
#12 – Emergency Charger
Socks, shoes, underwear, toiletries…what am I forgetting? There are dozens of things you have to remember to take with you on a longer trip and, nine times out of ten, you’re likely to forget a few smaller items. Among some of the most common things we all forget when we travel is a wall charger for our phones, usually only remembering the cord itself. Thankfully, a lot of us have adapted to smartphones that use USB charges, which means you’re in luck if you’re staying in a hotel.
Most average to higher-end hotels today have newer television sets that have been manufactured in the past five to 10 years, which means there’s likely a USB port behind the screen itself. Instead of running to the local store to pick up a wall adapter, just plug your phone into the television using the USB cord. And, if there’s nothing to watch on TV while you wait, it’s a win-win because you’ve got instant music at your fingertips!
#11 – Frozen Water
Ice, ice baby! Whether you enjoy running, hiking, biking or anything outdoors, there’s always a need to have cold water with you to rehydrate. The main problem during any of these activities, however, is from your water bottle. After filling it up with cold water, it’s only a matter of time before the water gets up to room temperature or even warmer if you’re outside. If you put the water bottle in the freezer, the water completely freezes leaving you nothing to drink until it melts. There has to be a better solution!
The key to having your water (and drinking it too) is to fill up your water bottle only a quarter of the way before laying it down on its side in the freezer. Once frozen, fill the bottle up the rest of the way with cold water. Not only will your water be perfectly chilled, it’ll continue to get colder as the ice melts leaving you with a refreshing treat and also making you the envy of all your thirsty friends!
#10 – The Final Straw
We’ve been drinking soda all wrong! For decades after soft drinks were first introduced to the world, most people drank them out of the glass bottles they came in, at least until the late 1950s when Ermal Fraze invented the pull-tab can. Making storing soda and beer much easier for beverage makers, the pull-tab can has become the most common way to purchase a carbonated beverage with glass bottles now a rarity and even a collector’s item. But, did you know that you’ve been drinking out of these cans the wrong way your entire life?
Though they offered easier storage, the way the tabs were supposed to be used was as a holder for a straw. People were accustomed to using straws with glasses so, Fraze ensured the concept remained with the tab design. Once the tab was popped, it was intended to be turned around so that it hovered over the hole as a straw holder for easier sipping. Join us as we say goodbye to leaving soda in the rim of the can because there’s a built-in fix for that!
#9 – Colder Drinks
Speaking of drinking soda and beer out of bottles…another big problem many people had before modern refrigeration was that they could never enjoy the taste of a cold soda. Even after refrigeration was first introduced, people still had to wait until the warm drinks they purchased at the store cooled down in the fridge. Putting them in the freezer was an entirely different story that often led to carbonated explosions if they chilled too fast.
Little did people know at the time, the best way to chill your drinks quickly and avoid an explosion was to wrap them in a wet paper towel and place them in the freezer. Although they are less likely to blow up once wrapped, setting a timer for 10 minutes is always a safe bet as the wet paper towel acts as a conductor and wraps the soda in cold air. Just think, you could be enjoying an ice-cold beer or soda in no time at all!
#8 – Fresh Bananas
Banana splits, fried bananas, peanut butter and banana sandwiches… Despite being one of the most popular fruits in the world, bananas are also one of the trickiest to keep fresh especially if you buy them by the bunch. Unless you’re feeding six or seven people in your household, there are usually more bananas leftover than you can eat before they go bad. As a result, you end up wasting more than you can eat and getting burnt out on bananas! Sound familiar? Then you’re in luck!
Rather than storing your bananas in one entire bunch like they come at the store, separate them as soon as you get home and then wrap each of the stems in plastic wrap (Saran Wrap, if you will). Although you can wrap the entire stem of the bunch in plastic wrap, it’s more efficient to wrap the bananas individually to avoid having to unwrap the entire bunch in order to free one banana. Either way, your bananas will stay fresh longer for those late night banana split cravings!
#7 – Paint a Picture
Paint like Rembrandt and Van Gogh…ok, maybe not! If you’ve ever purchased a new home, then you know that one of the first things on the list is to repaint to reflect your style and taste. However, the biggest problem that comes from painting is also the mess it makes when the brushes and rollers drip leftover paint haphazardly onto the floor and maybe even the furniture. But what if we told you that you could paint without the mess simply by using a rubber band? Would you believe it?
Once you’ve opened and set up the paint can, wrap a rubber band all the way around it from top to bottom so that it goes halfway across the open container. Now, when you dip your paintbrush into the can, you can easily wipe off the excess paint on the rubber band and watch it drip back inside the can. Not only does this quick step save you from long hours of cleaning up, it also saves paint and money!
#6 – Cocktails for Everyone
Are you ready to get your party on? Whether you have Russian lineage or just really like vodka, then this tip is definitely for you! Compared to other liquors like whiskey, rum and tequila, vodka is fairly inexpensive with a bottle of top-shelf Grey Goose averaging around $30 per bottle. Of course, what’s inexpensive to some might be expensive to others especially if you’re a college student looking to have a little fun on the weekend.
The key to good vodka is all in the filtration, which is the main difference between low-end vodka and top-shelf brands like Grey Goose. Hold on, there’s still hope for the penny-pinching vodka lovers out there! You can turn your $5 bottle of vodka into a $30 bottle with some time and ingenuity by pouring it through a water filter pitcher—such as a Brita—around five times. Not only does the flavor dramatically improve, you won’t be left with the awful hangover that cheap vodka notoriously brings!
#5 – Fill ‘Er Up
Washing, dusting, mopping, vacuuming—these chores won’t take care of themselves! One of the most common (and laborious) household chores is mopping the floor, which can be quite troublesome since most mop buckets are so deep you can only refill them in the shower or bathtub. Instead of lugging around that heavy bucket of mop water in and out of the tub to refill, what if we told you a dustpan could do the trick and save your back from a world of hurt?
First and foremost, make sure the bucket is directly under the sink before you place the dustpan under the faucet with the handle pointing out. With the water on, the dustpan acts as a fountain as it collects the water in the pan before running down the handle and into the bucket. Although this method may take a little longer, it’s definitely a genius life hack when it comes to saving your tired back from lifting a heavy mop bucket time and time again!
#4 – Straighten the Cord
Cords, cords everywhere! It’s undeniable that the world runs on cords from television and video game consoles to computers, cameras and cell phones, which brings us to the second cord tip on our list. As you may already know, some of the longer cell phone charging cords can be outrageously long especially if you’re using it in the car where it has a tendency to get tangled in the gear shifter, seatbelt and everything else. The answer, however, is not necessarily to run out and buy a special coiled car charger, but to coil the straightened one you already have.
To do this, take the charging cord you currently have and wrap it tightly around a regular sized pen or pencil. Then, use a hair dryer to heat the cord for about two to three minutes while it’s still wrapped around the pen. As the heat molds the cord to its new shape, the cooling down process seemingly “freezes” it in position so that once you remove the pen from the center of the cord, it will remain coiled just like how you’d purchase it from the store!
#3 – Security Features
“Yikes! I’ve been hacked!” The days of never worrying about protecting the passwords on your phone, computer or social media accounts are long gone as nearly everything you do requires a password with certain specifications (a capital letter, punctuation mark, number, etc.). With the world divided between iPhones and Androids, password management on both devices has never been easier but Apple has taken their features to an entirely new level with an easy keyboard feature that many people have yet to discover!
On current iPhones and Apple devices, you can hold your finger over a letter on the keyboard to see an even bigger range of options such as accented letters. For the ultimate password protection, make sure to use at least one accented letter to make it even harder for hackers to decode your information and break into your account. If you have an extended keyboard with accented letters, you can use that as well but, always remember what language you used to set your password to avoid getting locked out of your account in the future!
#2 – Cut the Weight
Are you looking to burn the fat, shed some pounds, lose some weight? You’re not alone! One of the hardest parts about losing weight is when hunger pains and cravings start to kick in when you’re at your weakest. Although you promise yourself you’ll only eat one or two slices of pizza or take only a nibble from a candy bar, before you know it you’ve devoured an entire pie and a pint of ice cream topped with your favorite candy bar. There might be a better solution for these cravings, however. Are you ready to learn the secret?
Many people have found incredible weight loss success by limiting themselves and their portions with containers. If you have designated snacks set aside throughout the week, you can ration what you are going to munch on during the day. Keeping an entire bowl of healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables can help curb those in-between-meal cravings. And, if you eat an entire pre-made container of carrots, there’s no real guilt and you’re left feeling satisfied after devouring a container of something healthy rather than junk food!
#1 – No More Drips
It’s time to talk some trash! Garbage day is coming and you have to haul all of the garbage bags out to the curb or perhaps into the dumpster—it shouldn’t be a big task, but sometimes it is! When your garbage bags are dripping that gross awful smelling water from the bottom that gets all over the floor and your shoes, your garbage chore can go from a two-minute task to a full on clean-up project that makes you late for work and feeling grosser than before. Guess what? You can avoid this nasty drip with one quick trick!
If you’re over 30 years old, there’s a good chance that you have a stack of old newspapers lying around the house. Instead of letting them sit in the corner and collect dust, place some of the old papers in a shopping bag and toss it into the bottom of a fresh garbage bag. The newspaper acts as an absorbent and will soak up any food juices or beverages that would otherwise puddle into the bottom of the bag and leak straight on the floor—or worse onto your foot! Leaky garbage disaster avoided!