Life hack: any of a number of tricks, tips, or strategies for completing normally difficult, complex, or time-consuming tasks. These strategies are sometimes surprising, often ingenious, and always leave you wondering why you've never thought of doing it that way before. You may have come up with, or heard of, life hacks before, and there are literally thousands of amazing ideas that make you want to smack your own head when you hear them. The following is a list of some of the most ingenious I've come across.
DIY paint tray
Use a gallon container as a paintbrush and paint tray. You simply cut off two sides of the gallon, leaving the spout and bottom intact with a 2 to 3 inch lip. Fill the bottom with paint and use the spout as a paint brush holder.
Keep salads green
Does your salad invariably wilt before you can use all of it? Instead of rolling the lip of the bag and hoping it stays insulated, blow into the bag and then seal it with a twisty tie. The carbon dioxide and airtight seal will keep it green and fresh for days longer.
Cleaning your microwave
Instead of chipping away at baked on food, put together this simple solution: 1 to 2 cups of water, 1 to 2 tbs of vinegar. Stir it in a microwaveable bowl then nuke it for 5 minutes. Take it out and wipe your microwave clean.
Removing toilet bowl hard water rings
Pour 2 cups of vinegar in the bowl and then sprinkle on 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Scrub-a-dub those stains away.
Create clear ice
Ever notice how ice tends to be opaque or cloudy? If you want decorative ice for freezing centerpieces or showcasing flowers, herbs or fruit, boil the water first. It will freeze crystal clear.
Pack along baby powder the next time you head to the beach. Instead of dealing with sandy feet in your shoes or in the car, "wash" them with the powder and the sand will come right off.
Don't pay hundreds of dollars to a dentist to get your teeth whitened. Instead, mix up 1/4 cup of baking soda and the juice from half a lemon. Apply it to your teeth with a cotton ball or a cotton swab, but don't leave it on for more than 1 minute. Brush your teeth to remove it.
Preserve celery, broccoli, and lettuce
Some vegetables come in bigger bunches than you can use quickly. To make it last, wrap it in tin foil and store it in the fridge. Celery will last for as long as you could want it, broccoli for seven weeks, and heads of lettuce for six weeks.
Cut or pull the top and bottom circles from your orange. Cut between to orange sections, and unroll.
Making a BLT sandwich
Instead of frying up your bacon piece by piece and trying to cover as much of the bread as you can, lattice weave your bacon and then fry it. Leave no centimeter of bread uncovered. The bacon is the best part, after all.
Sealing plastic bags
For smaller bags like chocolate chips, coconut, nuts, or frozen vegetables, all you need is the top 3 inches of a water bottle. Cut the top off your bag and your water bottle, slide the bottle onto the bag, the spout pointing up, fold the edges of the bag down and tuck it under the plastic bottle. Seal with the bottle's lid.
DIY mosquito trap
Gather together a 2 liter soda bottle, a sharp knife, black paper, tape, and a candy thermometer. Cut off the top of the bottle right below where it begins to narrow and invert the top part, placing it in the lower half. Then, dissolve 1 cup of sugar in 1 cup of boiling water. Remove it from the heat and stir in 2 cups of cool water. Make sure the water is no warmer than 90 degrees F, then add 1 tsp active dry yeast. Put the whole concoction into the bottle and cover it in black paper because mosquitos like dark places. Take it with you whenever you'll be outside and want to be left alone by mosquitos. See pictures and further instructions here.
Getting rid of grease
Rather than keeping around a can of smelly grease, create a little bowl out of aluminum foil. Drain the grease into your bowl, let it harden, roll it up, and throw it out.
Tired of clothes slipping off their hangers in your closet? Put a few drops of hot glue up and down the arms of your hanger and let it cool. It provides traction for your wide-necked shirts.
Keep Popsicle drips from staining your hand, shirt, and pants (or those of your children.) Slide a cupcake wrapper up the stick, bowl up.
There you have it. Those are 15 life hacks that will change some of your fundamental habits. If you get the chance, you may want to invest a little time in looking up a few more hacks to help simplify your life.