Humans… We make the most complicated gadgets and devices, items the size of a hand that hold the power to speak to anyone in the world and have unlimited amounts of knowledge. Yet we can’t open a banana without squishing it.
It’s the little things that make us feel like idiots, isn’t it?
Before you drive yourself nuts over some of the most mundane things, I’ve compiled a list of helpful “hacks” that will make your life much easier in the long run. You’ll feel smarter after you read this, too, I guarantee it!
1. Peeling a banana
Did you know that you’re peeling your bananas wrong? I wasn’t kidding about that. The reason you keep eating mushy bananas is because you’re opening them from the wrong end. If you open the bananas from the bottom, you’ll not only find that they open easier, but that your banana stays intact. Funny how monkeys get this one right, but humans need a little bit of help with it.
2. Eating Tic Tacs
I love Tic Tac candies! However, I didn’t know that there was another method aside from the “pour a bunch into your palm, eat one, and then try to get the rest back into the tiny opening of that little plastic container” way. That’s right, what you’re really supposed to do is turn the container upside down, so that the lid is underneath, and then shake one out. There’s a groove in the lid that holds exactly one Tic Tac for your enjoyment. Now you can offer them to your friends without touching them first.
3. The arrow next to your gas gauge
There’s probably an arrow next to the little picture of a gas pump in your car. Do you see it? Did you know that the arrow is pointing towards the side of the car your gas tank is on? The next time you stop for gas and can’t remember which side of the pump to be on, just look at that little arrow on your dashboard.
4. Cleaning a blender
You’re definitely doing it wrong. Instead of taking the blender apart and cutting your hands up as you reach in to scrub the blades with your dish sponge, just pour some hot tap water into the blender, add a few drops of dish washing liquid, replace the blender and lid, and turn it on “high”. The blending action of the dishwashing liquid will clean the blades so you don’t have to. Now, rinse thoroughly and you’re ready for your next round of margaritas. You’re welcome.
5. Aluminum foil
Did you know that on each side of the aluminum foil box there are little impression inside it? If you push these in, the tube of foil will stay in place when you’re trying to rip off a piece to cover the leftovers from dinner. I wasn’t aware of this either, so don’t feel bad about it.
6. Chinese food
Those amazingly adorable take out Chinese food cartons aren’t there just for your visual pleasure, they’re also there so that you can have a plate! If you unfold the carton it turns into a flat plate with your food sitting neatly in the center, and if you fold it back up you can still store your leftovers in the fridge. It’s genius really.
7. Dental floss
You know that feeling you get when you wrap dental floss around your fingers, and the blood circulation is cut off? You don’t have to worry about that anymore. If you take a long string of floss and tie it at both ends to form a circle, then just pull it between your two fingers, you no longer have to worry about losing the tip of your digits.
8. Wooden spoons
Wooden spoons have a few different uses in the kitchen. The first, and most obvious use is to stir your food with them. However, did you know that if you set your wooden spoon across the top of a boiling pot, it will not boil over? Go ahead, try it! The next time you’re making pasta, place a wooden spoon over the top of the pot. It won’t boil over. I don’t know how it works, but it works.
9. Wearing bobby pins
I remember, when I was little, watching my grandma put bobby pins in her hair to hold it in place. My grandma had the best hair! As an adult, I’ve given the bobby pin thing a try and I’m not so good at it. Little did I know that I’ve been doing it wrong. There are two sides of a bobby pin, a flat side and a wavy side. Most people put the pin wavy side out, but the wavy side should be the side closest to your scalp because it grasps your hair and holds it in place.
10. Boiling an egg
If you make a mess every time you peel an egg, you’re not alone. Actually, it’s not the peeling, but the boiling you’re doing incorrectly. If you boil eggs in a tablespoon of baking soda, you’ll find that the shell will come right off without any problem! Eggs are awesome that way.
11. Making a BLT
Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches are one of my absolute favorite meals. Have you ever noticed, though, that you never really get a bite of bacon each time, or worse, that the bacon often falls out of the sandwich? What you need to do is make four strips of bacon and then weave them together (like a basket weave). You’ll find that you not only get bacon in every bite, but you also don’t have to worry about your food falling apart.
12. Soda pop tops
I remember collecting soda pop tops as a kid, and stringing them on a necklace, or even donating them to the Ronald McDonald house. I did not know that they had any other use. After you open your soda, spin the top around and stick your straw through the pop top. This will prevent your straw from bouncing all over the place or falling out of the can.
13. Ketchup paper containers
Those cute little paper condiment holders you find at fast food restaurants are being used wrong! Instead of keeping them upright and together, unfold the creases so you have more room and can carry more ketchup!
14. Untying a plastic bag
Do you struggle endlessly trying to open plastic grocery bags? Do you just give up and rip into them, spilling all the contents onto the floor? If so, here’s a little trick. Instead of trying to undo the knot in reverse, take one end of the handle, twist it as tight as you can, and slip it in the middle of the knot. Your plastic bag will magically open! Okay, it’s not magic…but it works.
15. Peeling a potato
I hate peeling potatoes: using a knife and worrying about stabbing myself in the chest, using a peeler and scrapping my knuckles accidentally, and I hate the endless “scrape, scrape, scrape” motion of it all. I like the sound, but hate the effort. I’ve been doing it wrong. Here’s what you do. Once the potatoes are boiled, immediately take them out and place them in cold water. Then use your hands and twist…the skins should slide right off! Isn’t that so much better?
16. Using toothpaste
I bet you’re using too much toothpaste. Apparently, you don’t need gobs of paste, you just need a pea sized amount on the tip of your toothbrush. That’s all. Also, you can get more out of the toothpaste tube by using a bobby pin (those things work on EVERYTHING) and sliding it up the tube from the bottom as you go. Get more for your money!
17. Slicing a tomato
If you want to slice a tomato without making a huge mess out of it (you know, seeds falling all over the counter and weird chunks instead of tidy slices) then place the tomato between two plastic lids. Use a sharp knife (yes, sharp) and as you hold the top lid keeping the tomato in place, slice through the tomato between the lids. This also works if you have a bunch of cherry tomatoes that you want to slice in half. It’s quick, convenient, and less mess.
18. Peeling an orange
It must take me ten minutes to actually peel and orange. Don’t be like me. Instead, slice off the top of the orange, slice off the bottom of the orange, and make a slit on one side from top to bottom. Now your orange should fold out into nice little slices like an accordion.
19. Removing leaves from strawberries
My ex used to get so angry at me because I cut off the top of the strawberries. He said I was wasting food. I had no idea what he was talking about since I had always cut strawberries that way. But did you know that if you push a straw from the tip of the strawberry up through the center, you will neatly push off the green leaves without wasting the edible part of the strawberry? It’s true.
20. Playing Monopoly
Monopoly is a game I just don’t have time for. Of course, I’ve been playing it wrong which is exactly the reason my games have been so time consuming. According to the rules, if you land on a field and you don’t want to buy it, the other players have the chance to buy it as an auction. The others do not have to wait until they land on that much coveted field. Who knew?
These are just some suggestions that can make your life easier. If you know about some interesting life hacks that can be useful for other readers, leave them in the comments below.