Call it the school of hard knocks, learning things the hard way, or live and learn, there’s a lot of areas in life that you often wish you have been told before by someone with more experience. Some of the most everyday, mundane things are often the struggles that take up the most energy and time and keep us from being as productive, successful, and happy as we could be otherwise.
So here are some hacks you wish your mom would’ve taught you to save you some struggle and free up some happy, productive space in your life.
Finger Pricks, Nicks, & Cuts
It’s a tiny surface scratch that barely bleeds. Yet, it can be oh so painful and irritating. The absence of blood is ironically what keeps these little pesky scratches so irritated and failing to heal. Blood is required to clot the wound, protecting it and allowing it to heal. If you wash your hands or work with them a lot, you can find these take forever to heal as you’re constantly snagging them.
Life hack: apply a thin layer of oil-based lip balm or petroleum jelly. The oil will help soothe the tiny wound while also providing a barrier against water and germs.
Threading A Needle
Have mercy on the visually impaired. But, even for the best peepers, threading a needle is a serious trial of patience. Wetting the tip of the thread adds a sturdier material for insertion, but that doesn’t help if you can’t see the eye or have steady enough surgeon-like hands.
Life hack: Lay the thread on a hard surface. Press the eye of the needle over the thread. Twist. You’ll see a long loop pull through. Abracadabra.
Brushing is a must, of course, to remove odor-causing bacteria and food particles. Most foods contain sulfur, which contributes to bad breath. Let’s face it, though, packing around floss, toothbrush, and toothpaste for every time we eat something and finding a bathroom to use it isn’t always feasible. Gum only masks bad breath.
Life hack: There’s a reason for that sprig of parsley garnishing your plate. Herbs kill mouth odor caused by sulfury foods. Replace that pack of gum with a ziplock of mint leaves, parsley, or spearmint leaves if bad breath is leaving you in a bind.
Tired of using the tub or transporting water cup by cup into your mop bucket?
Life hack: Place a dustpan under the sink with the handle facing outward and over the mop bucket. Turn water on and watch as it magically waterfalls into your mop bucket.
Certain foods, especially fish and thin cuts of meat, are notorious for sticking to a grill. You’re left with chunked, torn, and scattered meat. Smaller cuts of veggies fall through the slats and are charred to a crisp.
Life hack: Slice a lemon or lime into circles. Place across the grill, forming a platform. Place meats and veggies directly on the fruity platform for a non-stick surface with a flavor bang. The same technique can be used for baking as well.
Nothing beats having fresh herbs to add flavor to dishes, and nix that bad breath, but gardens can’t survive year-round in all areas of the country.
Life hack: Store up for winter or easy meal prep by placing cut herbs in ice trays. Fill with melted butter or olive oil. Freeze. You can cover them with Saran Wrap and leave in the trays or remove once frozen and place on ziplock baggies. Either way, they’ll last about nine months before they diminish in flavor.
Waterproofing Leather Boots
You can buy these waterproofing products easily enough, but they’re costly and some brands have minimal quality.
Life hack: Apply petroleum jelly to the seams and seal in a 300-degree oven for no more than an hour.
Ink, wine, blood – all bad stains that feel hopeless. Club soda and hairspray can be hit or miss stain removal tools. There’s only one thing that’s never failed my stains.
Life hack: Spray stubborn stains with WD-40. Let it sit for five minutes and wipe away with soapy, damp sponge or rag.
Dryer static can be a real problem for certain materials of clothes, such fleece. Dryer sheets are rather costly and don’t solve a lot beyond adding some smell.
Life hack: Roll some tinfoil into a softball-size ball. Place it in with your clothes to remove the static electricity. And, that one ball can be reused for months and months before it needs to be replaced.
Halving Grapes & Tomatoes
They roll. They get crushed. They make a mess and you end up with butchered tomatoes for your salad or grapes for your fruit cocktail.
Life hack: You’ll need two plates with a lipped bottom. Place one plate face down. Place thetomatoes or grapes within that lipped circle. Place the bottom of the second place atop them. Run your knife between the two plates to slice all the fruits with one stroke.
Again, there are a plethora of products for this, but some work and some don’t. And, the cost can be minimal to expensive. Some of these products can even ruin your furniture if applied incorrectly. What if you could fix it with something likely in your pantry?
Life hack: Rub the scratch with a walnut. The oil in nuts darkens the scratch and nourishes the wood without any harmful chemicals.
Keeping Your Fly On The Up
It’s embarrassing to have a zipper that just won’t stay up, especially if it’s a favorite pant that you just can’t part with over a zipper.
Life hack: Attach a key ring or rubber band to the zipper and loop it over the button.
Storing Wrapping Paper
Flyaway wrapping paper rips, creases, and ends up being trashed because it just won’t stay rolled up. A rubber band leaves a big crease that still lands the roll in the trash.
Life hack: Slide an empty toilet paper roll over the end of the roll.
Kindling In A Bind
Out of fire starter and/or dry wood for a fire? While I wouldn’t recommend bringing this as your one item for Naked and Afraid, it can make for a good-to-know emergency trick and cool party trick.
Life hack: Flame up a bag of Doritos. Any chip will do the trick since they’re made of fats and hydrocarbons, which both burn very well.
Thin Pasta Sauce
If your pasta sauce is thin, then you’ve likely been draining your pasta. Old world sauces had a key ingredient that most skip in the Americanized version of pasta.
Life hack: The missing ingredient is pasta water. This water is full of flavorful, thickening starch from the pasta. Feed your sauce, not your drain with the leftover pasta water.
Hammering A Nail
Not such an easy job for even the most coordinated person. There are many dented walls, dropped valuables, and sore thumbs that wish they knew this last trick.
Life hack: Simply hold the nail with a clothespin.