We could all use a little life-hacking. It’s a great discovery to realize a little cheat code in life can make things much easier. That is what these 11 little hacks will hopefully do—make those mundane things easier and more enjoyable, and definitely more creative. Keep on hacking!
Hang a picture with a fork
It’s literally as simple as it sounds. So much so that you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it.
We all know it’s super annoying trying to line up the back end up a poster or piece of art with the wire and the nail, so the hack here is to place a fork on the nail. With the prongs down and handle up, slide the wire over the fork until it lands on the nail, then pull out the fork.
Boom, you hung your piece of art without looking ridiculous slapping the back of the frame against the wall.
Blow on a fire without burning your face
This is good for all things we do with man-made fire: grills, fire pits, and campfires. We don’t want our face to get too close but we want that fire to burn, baby, burn.
A simple piece of cardboard works just fine, but if you don’t have any or perhaps are worried you’d light the piece of cardboard on fire (wouldn’t be the first time) then use this a simple solution.
Take two empty bottles that are the same size (like two-liter bottles), cut the bottom of one and remove the cap, then in a pump-action movement, push the non-cut one into the cut one back and forth. This will create a push of air out of the cap and onto your fire.
Remove a stuck or rusted bolt
This is a good MacGyver move for anyone who has become incredibly frustrated when trying to unscrew any stuck or rusted bolt. It should also work with rusted or bare screws.
Take a candle and heat the bolt and place the candle onto the bolt letting the wax drip around it and into the seams. With the screw, melt the wax above with the lighter and same thing, let the wax drip into the grooves.
Then take your device (screwdriver or wrench) and twist—remember, righty-tight, left-loosey. It should be good to go. To prevent this from happening in the first place, though, spray your screws and bolts with some WD-40 or grease before tightening them.
Decorate for Christmas the easy way
This really depends on who you are at Christmastime. If you enjoy using a real tree or getting out all the decorations, setting up the tree, and hanging all the ornaments, then this is not for you. If you’re the person who loves when all this is already set up and you’re a fake tree kind of person, then enjoy.
The next time you decorate the tree, relax as you celebrate the holidays, knowing that your life is going to be much easier in just a few days. When it’s time to take the tree down and pack everything away, save yourself some time this way.
Use plastic wrap to cover the tree from tip to trunk with the decorations intact. Then you can safely put the tree away until next year; it’ll already be set up and ready to go. Just remove the wrap. Yes, this assumes you have space to have a fully decorated tree standing up in your home year-round, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Keep cool without A/C
There are two tricks for this. One is super simple, while one requires a little creativity.
The first and easiest way to cool down is to get a bucket and fill it with ice and cold water, then place it in front of a fan. The fan will blow the cooling air from the ice and water onto you making it an easy-breezy unit (pun intended).
For the second option, take two bedsheets and somehow close them off on three sides while leaving one open. (You could binder clips, chip clips, or anything like that. Even some duct tape will hold the two sheets together.) Then you get inside the odd-shaped sleeping bag you created and turn a fan on high-speed aimed into the opening. It will create a sort of wind tunnel, like the parachute game we played in elementary school, except there will be a constant breeze.
Hang something with exact holes
This is super simple way to hang something that already has holes in it, like a shelf or a power outlet. It will help you from making ten pencil marks on the wall and an extra four drill holes that you’ll need to patch up.
Cover the back of the item in masking tape and then pencil in where the holes are. Peel the masking tape off, apply to the wall, and boom, you’ve got yourself a perfect replica to drill the holes.
To be extra crafty, you can tape an envelope below the drill holes to collect the debris. Don’t say we never taught you anything.
Test your batteries
Do you have a junk drawer that has like eight good batteries and maybe three bad ones? So do we—doesn’t everyone?
For a simple way to test if the battery is good or bad you can do two things. The first test is the bounce test. A good battery won’t bounce due to the inside still being a bit spongy with the components, but a used batteries insides have hardened and therefore will bounce more.
The second test is a little more adventurous and should only be done with 9V batteries, but if you lick the top or bottom it will produce a little tingling sensation to your tongue if it still works; if it’s dead, you won’t feel anything. We hope. Use this at your own risk.
Stop squirrels from eating bird food
If you have one of those metal poles that look like an upside-down candy cane with a bird feeder on the end, then this is for you. A lot of times, squirrels will climb and rob all the food from the birds, but there is a way to close off the feeder to the thieving squirrels.
Not only is it hilarious, it works! Take a Slinky and attach it to the top of the metal pole so the Slinky dangles down about a foot or two. Every time the squirrel goes to climb the pole, he will grabs the Slinky and fall back down; the Slinky will shoot back up and will be ready to go again.
It’s the perfect defense mechanism that makes you laugh while it does all the work.
Make a homemade cat house
Take an empty cardboard box and an old t-shirt. Make sure one side of the box is open and wrap the t-shirt around it so that the neck hole lines up in the center of the open side of the box. Tie all the excess shirt bits into a knot, especially the sleeves so there aren’t any places the cat could get stuck. Then you’ll have a taut covering around the box with a small little opening for the cats.
If you own a cat, you’ll know that this is the perfect cat box. Plus now you can get funny t-shirts to use and it’s a win-win.
Clean your keyboard
Super easy one here. Take a post-it note and use the sticky side to scan through your keyboard and collect all the bits of dust and dirt.
Your keyboard will look instantly better in no time. Way cheaper than those cans of pressurized air too.
Use a dryer sheet while traveling
This is a great little hack for the traveler. Did you know there are many uses for the common dryer sheet?
Bring some extras with you and use them in your luggage to always have your clothes smelling fresh rather than that weird suitcase smell.
Put some in your shoes to always have them smell good, because stinky shoes are the worst.
Finally, if you’re in hotel room and the air condition unit smells, tape some dryer sheets over it and it will smell like fresh laundry.