A man working with tools by lamp light
Photo by Carter Yocham (Unsplash)

Life Hacks

Start living smarter, not harder

Simple workarounds improve life by offering creative, cost-effective solutions to everyday problems. They save time, reduce stress, and promote resourcefulness by repurposing items or using them in unconventional ways. These hacks foster self-reliance and adaptability, making daily tasks more efficient and enjoyable, ultimately enhancing overall quality of life.

The Top 50 Workarounds

Toothpaste for minor scratches on screens: If you have minor scratches on your phone, tablet, or computer screen, you can try using a small amount of toothpaste to fill in the scratches. Apply a tiny amount of toothpaste to a soft, microfiber cloth and gently rub it onto the scratched area in a circular motion. Wipe off the excess toothpaste and check the results. Repeat if necessary.

Binder clips as cable organizers: Clip binder clips onto the edge of your desk or table and run your charging cables through the metal loops to keep them organized and easily accessible.

Use a hair straightener to iron collars and cuffs: If you need to quickly iron a shirt collar or cuff, use a hair straightener as a makeshift iron. Just make sure to clean it first and ensure it's not too hot for the fabric.

Make shift air freshener with dryer sheets: Place a few dryer sheets in a small container with a few holes poked in the lid, or attach them to an air vent with a rubber band. This can help eliminate odors and keep the area smelling fresh.

Use a tennis ball to open stubborn jars: Cut a small slit in a tennis ball and use it to grip the lid of a stubborn jar. The added grip can make it easier to open.

Lemon juice to remove stains on white fabrics: Apply lemon juice to the stained area and let it sit for a few minutes. Rinse with cold water, then wash and dry as usual. This works best on fresh stains.

Use a rubber band to remove stripped screws: Place a rubber band over the stripped screw head, then apply pressure and turn the screwdriver. The rubber band can provide enough grip to remove the screw.

Aluminum foil as a makeshift AA battery: If you need an AA battery but only have a AAA one, roll a small piece of aluminum foil into a ball and place it between the positive terminal of the AAA battery and the device's contact point.

Use a paper clip as a makeshift SIM card ejector: Straighten one end of a small paper clip and insert it into the SIM card tray hole to eject it.

Nail polish to identify keys: Color-code your keys by painting the tops with different shades of nail polish. This can make finding the right key faster and easier.

Bread tab as a tape marker: Use a plastic bread tab to mark the end of a roll of tape. This will prevent the tape from sticking back onto itself and make it easier to find the end next time.

Remove crayon marks with a hairdryer: Heat the crayon marks with a hairdryer for a few minutes, then use a damp cloth to wipe the marks away.

handful of strawberries
Photo by Tetiana Bykovets

Use a drinking straw to hull strawberries: Push a straw through the bottom of a strawberry to remove the leaves and hull in one motion.

Use a pantyhose to store onions: Store onions in the legs of old pantyhose, tying a knot between each onion. Hang the pantyhose in a cool, dark place to keep the onions fresh longer.

Use an old CD spindle as a bagel tote: Place a bagel inside an empty CD spindle case and snap the lid shut for a convenient, portable container.

Use a rubber band to keep a door unlocked: Wrap a rubber band around one doorknob, twist it to create an "X" shape, and then stretch it over the other doorknob.

Pool noodle as a car door bumper: Cut a pool noodle in half lengthwise and attach it to your garage wall to prevent car door dings when opening the door in tight spaces.

Use a coffee filter to clean glass surfaces: Coffee filters are lint-free and can be used to clean glass surfaces like windows and mirrors without leaving streaks.

Make a smartphone stand with a sunglasses case: Flip open a hard-shell sunglasses case and place your smartphone inside the open case for a makeshift stand.

Use a can opener to open plastic packaging: Run a manual can opener along the edges of hard-to-open plastic clamshell packaging to easily cut through it.

Use a potato to remove a broken light bulb: Turn off the power, then press a raw potato onto the broken light bulb, making sure the potato grips the remaining glass. Twist the potato to unscrew the broken bulb.

Use an empty paper towel roll to store plastic bags: Stuff plastic grocery bags into an empty paper towel roll for a compact storage solution.

Dry Rice in a glass mason jar
Photo by Dario Mendez

Clean narrow-necked bottles with rice and soap: Fill a narrow-necked bottle with a little bit of uncooked rice, warm water, and a drop of dish soap. Close the bottle and shake vigorously, allowing the rice to scrub the interior. Rinse thoroughly.

Use a clothespin to hold a nail while hammering: Clip a clothespin onto the nail to hold it in place while hammering, keeping your fingers safe.

Keep earbuds tangle-free with a binder clip: Wrap your earbuds around a binder clip and clip the loose ends to keep them from tangling in your bag or pocket.

Use a wet rubber glove to remove pet hair from furniture: Dampen a rubber glove and run your hand over upholstery or fabric to easily pick up pet hair.

Remove permanent marker with rubbing alcohol: Dab a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto a cloth and gently rub it over the permanent marker stain to remove it from most surfaces.

Use a shower curtain ring to hold multiple hangers: Loop a shower curtain ring through the hooks of multiple hangers to save space in your closet.

Turn a muffin tin into a condiment tray: Flip a muffin tin upside down and place small paper or silicone cups in the spaces between the raised cups. Fill the cups with condiments for a convenient serving tray.

Use a mesh laundry bag for dishwasher-safe toys: Place small dishwasher-safe toys, like LEGOs or plastic action figures, in a mesh laundry bag and run it through the dishwasher to easily clean and sanitize them.

Place a wooden spoon over a pot to prevent boiling over: Lay a wooden spoon across the top of a pot to prevent the contents from boiling over. The spoon will pop the bubbles and keep the liquid inside the pot.

broken glass laying on the ground
Photo by Paul Kapischka

Use bread to pick up broken glass: Press a piece of bread onto the area with broken glass to pick up small shards that may be difficult to see or sweep up.

Keep your boots upright with pool noodles: Cut pool noodles to the height of your boots and insert them inside to keep your boots standing upright and maintain their shape.

Use a lint roller to clean lampshades: Gently roll a lint roller over a lampshade to remove dust and debris without damaging the fabric.

Create an instant chip bag clip with a pen cap: Fold the top of a chip bag over and slide the pen cap onto the folded portion to create an airtight seal.

Use a cereal container as a car trash can: Place a small trash bag inside an empty cereal container with a flip-top lid, creating a portable and contained trash can for your car.

Microwave two bowls at once using a mug: Place one bowl on the microwave turntable, then place a mug next to it. Rest the second bowl on top of the mug, allowing you to heat both bowls simultaneously.

Remove price tag residue with a pencil eraser: Rub a pencil eraser over the sticky residue left behind by price tags or labels to remove it from surfaces.

Use an old ketchup bottle as a pancake batter dispenser: Clean out an empty squeeze ketchup bottle and fill it with pancake batter for mess-free, precise pancake pouring.

Use a business card as a headphone cord organizer: Wrap your headphone cord around a business card or old gift card to keep it tangle-free and organized.

Create a DIY ice pack with a sponge and plastic bag: Soak a clean sponge in water, then place it in a resealable plastic bag and freeze. This creates a flexible, reusable ice pack that won't leak as it melts.

Use a clothes hanger to close a chip bag: Clip a pants hanger onto the folded top of a chip bag to create an airtight seal and hang it for easy storage.

Turn a plastic bottle into a watering can: Poke small holes in the cap of a clean plastic bottle, fill the bottle with water, and screw the cap back on to create a makeshift watering can.

Use a balloon to remove a stuck ring: Inflate a small balloon and place your finger with the stuck ring against the balloon's surface. Slowly let the air out of the balloon, creating pressure on the ring and helping it slide off your finger.

white wine being poured ito glass
Photo by Christin Isakzhanova

Use a coffee filter to strain wine with sediment: Pour wine through a coffee filter into a decanter or glass to remove any sediment or cork particles.

Use a frozen grape to chill white wine without diluting it: Freeze a few grapes and use them as ice cubes to chill white wine without watering it down.

Organize jewelry with an ice cube tray: Use an ice cube tray to separate and store small pieces of jewelry like earrings, rings, and bracelets.

Use a razor to remove pilling from clothing: Gently run a disposable razor over the surface of a fabric with pilling to remove the fuzz and restore the garment's appearance.

Create more room in your microwave with a mug: Place a microwave-safe mug upside down in the center of the microwave, then place a plate on top of the mug. This creates more space for heating multiple plates at once.

Use a tea bag to freshen up smelly shoes: Place a dry tea bag in each shoe and let it sit overnight to help absorb odors and leave your shoes smelling fresher.