Humans, animals, even nature herself: we’re all wired to seek out the most beneficial outcome for the least amount of output.
That said, it’s only natural that most of us are on the lookout for life hacks to make our day to day a little easier. After all, most of us are balancing a lot of spinning plates.
If you’re looking for ways to increase your efficiency and cut the stress from your daily routine, give the must-try tips and tricks below a whirl.
What are Life Hacks?
Life hacks are techniques you can use to manage your time and energy more effectively. Put simply, they can help you get stuff done.
If you’re prone to procrastination, life hacks can save time and get you back on track.
Whether you’re managing a household, clocking in at an office, or living your best life on the weekends, there are plenty of useful life hacks to help you find the perfect solution to everyday problems.
Life Hacks for Your Home Chores
Looking for a way to get your household chores done faster? Try these on for size.
Let your blender clean itself
You don’t have to disassemble your blender every time you want it clean. Simply rinse it once and refill it with warm water and a drop of soup. It’s basically self-cleaning. Then dump and rinse until all the soap residue is gone.
Microwave cleaning hack
Put a bowl of water in your microwave and heat it until it boils. The moisture will condensate on the walls of the microwave, allowing you to easily wipe away grime. You can put a lemon in it to get a little extra cleaning power from the citric acid, plus it gives your microwave a lemony scent.
Shower steam instead of ironing
If you don’t have or don’t feel like ironing, you can hang your button downs and fancy dresses in the bathroom while you shower. The steam should get out any wrinkles and you’ll be ready to go!
Iron with a pot
If the shower steam doesn’t do the trick, fill an empty pot with water and bring it to a boil. Then rub the bottom of the pot on your ironing. It’ll act just like the hot metal of an actual iron.
Dust with dryer sheets
Ever have an abundance of used dryer sheets after laundry day?
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There’s no need to toss them right away. You can use them just like you would a microfiber cloth or paper towel to dust surfaces.
Clean your shoes in your—dishwasher?
If you’ve tried to wash your shoes in the washing machine, you’ve probably heard a lot of banging. Luckily, you can clean and sanitize your shoes in the dishwasher and they’ll stay in place. Just make sure you do it when there aren’t any dishes in there.
Make baskets your best friend
When it’s time to tidy up for guests, having an abundance of empty baskets around can really cut down on cleaning time. Simply toss all the random stuff lying around into baskets. If you have a few throw blankets, you can use them to top your baskets to cover up the junk.
Use baking soda for everything
Baking soda and vinegar make a seriously versatile cleaning combination. This is because when you mix they two, you get a bubbly, effervescent carbon dioxide reaction that can help dissolve gunk and grime. Try it for countertops, bathrooms, and even cleaning your drain.
Life Hacks for the Office That Will Have You Clocking Out Early
If you want to be as slick as Peter Gibbons in Office Space, these hacks are for you.
Organize wires with binder clips
You don’t need to buy some fancy wire organizers. Your office just might have a supply closet full of handy binder clips that are perfect for bunching or separating wires as needed.
Use a spice rack set to organize bits and bobs
Spice jars aren’t just for the kitchen. You can fill them with safety pins, paper clips, pushpins, erasers—or whatever else you need to keep handy at your desk. Place them in a spinning rack for any even more convenient setup.
Nail polish keys
Keeping keys separate can be a chore, but you don’t need a tiny piece of plastic for every key. Just paint the head of each key with a different color of nail polish and you’ll have no trouble telling them apart.
Use a spring to organize mail
Having an inbox and outbox on your desk takes up a lot of space.
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Instead, just use a spring. Balance papers, letters, birthday cards, and more in between each spring without using up prime desktop real estate.
Cassette tape phone stand
If you still have a cassette tape case lying around, you can repurpose that little piece of plastic as a smartphone holder. Not only does it keep your phone sturdy, it has some retro appeal.
Reduce eye strain with screen controls
You don’t need blue light glasses when you can adjust the screen brightness of your laptop or monitor internally. If you really want to save your peepers, try f.lux—an app that reduces blue light based on the time of day.
Use a reminder for calendar events
Do you miss meetings even if you have them saved to Google Calendar? Checker Plus for Google Calendar changed my life in this arena. It plays a loud, screen-dominating notification 30 minutes prior to an upcoming event, and you can set it to remind you at 5, 10, or 15 minute intervals thereafter.
Weird Life Hacks
You may not need these ones every day, but they’re still pretty amazing life hacks for times when you need something a little different.
Use a dustpan to fill a bucket
Is your sink too small to fit a bucket? Use a dustpan to divert the water over the lip of the sink and into your chosen vessel.
Water your plants with string
Next time you go on vacation, you can rest easy knowing your house plants are well cared for. Just place a bucket of water in a central location and arrange your plants around it. Use string to consistently connect each plant to the water source. They’ll get a slow drip and never run out!
Use a metal skewer for corn on the cob
If you’re trying to get the corn kernels off the cob, all you need to do is take a metal skewer and stick it through a row. Remove, eat, and repeat.
Put pancake mix in a ketchup bottle
Rather than pouring it over the side of the bowl and getting funny shaped pancakes, the ketchup bottle hack means your batter pours from a perfectly centered point about the pan.
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That means symmetrical, round pancakes with zero effort.
Use a can opener on plastic packaging
Can’t get your latest gadget out from it’s plastic prison? Use a can opener to cut blister packaging and free your new toy.
Use thick rubber bands to open jars
If you’re having trouble opening a jar, place a thick rubber band around the lid. The extra friction will help you get a solid grib on the jar and—viola! You’ve opened your can.
Bounce your batteries (if they bounce, they’re dead)
Have a bunch of ambiguous batteries and you’re not sure if any of them work? Try bouncing them on the floor. If they jump, they’re empty. If they drop like a weight, they’ve still got some life left in them.
Make Your Hacks Work For You
While there’s nothing wrong with hard work, life hacks are all about making tools work for you.
Give these essential hacks a try and see how smooth your day can be. If you need more inspiration, check out these hard work quotes to get you going.