There’s a million different “life hacks” out there on the internet, and I’m nothing more than your average space cadet, so these aren’t necessarily original. I have, however, gone around a great many sites and curated the list I’m going to give you today. Most frequently I find that some of the “life hacks” out there aren’t really all that useful. I wanted to make sure that the ones I share can actually make a difference in your daily life. All of the sources from this list can be found over at my Pinterest.
Parent Lifestyle Hacks
There’s a million different ways to childproof your home, so I won’t be listing everything I found. What I am going to do is list what I found interesting and cheap, or particularly helpful. My favorite that I found was hilarious, which was how to entertain and contain a toddler: simply insert child into very large cardboard box with crayons. Voila. Your child can color to his or her heart’s content without making a mess or going missing. Similarly, using a plastic laundry basket for bath time is a great way to make sure your little one doesn’t slip and hit their head or take too deep a dip.
On the go? Always carry baby wipes, even if you don’t have kids. Also, try using a cereal container lined with a bag as a portable trash can for your car—it’ll keep the smell and mess contained, plus easy removal.
In the house you can use Band-Aids to cover electrical outlets, or use plastic containers to house surge protectors. Speaking of plastic, you can also use circular Tupperware as a childproof tool on doorknobs. The best usage of this trick is by cutting a hole in the top of a circular container to fit the doorknob through, and then twisting the contraption shut.
Bonus: you can clean out an old chapstick tube and store emergency money inside.
In the Kitchen Hacks
First and foremost, I think the best advice for anyone is to meal-prep for the week during the weekend. Even if you don’t have a super busy schedule, it makes lunches and dinners so much easier. Cook one or two different meals in bulk, and then divide them amongst several Tupperware containers for quick access during the week. This also makes kid’s lunches easy as well, so long as nothing needs to be reheated.
Next up are some cute little hacks, starting with butter. Personally, I prefer using Presidente, which isn’t very hard and is also delightfully salty; however, if you like going the old stick route, then try using a cheese grater when it’s cold. This technique will make spreading your butter a lot easier. Worried about watering down your wine with ice cubes? An easy solution is to freeze grapes and use them instead. Lastly, don’t worry about buying cold packs anymore; just freeze a wet sponge in a plastic bag and you’ve got yourself a homemade ice pack.
There are some really fun cleaning hacks on the interest, and maybe I’ll made a whole article dedicated just to that…oh wait, I did here! Well, maybe I’ll make another one. Ahem. Regardless, here are some more that I found that I really liked.
You know the screens between the outside world and your window? They get gross after a while, and I’ve always wondered, outside of taking them down and hosing them, if there was a quick way to clean them. Alas, there is via lint roller! Using a lint roller to clean off hair and dirt from window and door screens is an easy fix for intermittent periods between deep cleanings.
Deep cleanings are important, because it sets the dirty bar right back to zero rather than just cutting it in half with quick cleans. With this in mind, I never thought about using my retainer cleaner to help deep clean plastic containers or coffee mugs. I use denture cleaner for my retainers, which helps clear up bacteria and stains. You can also try using this to erase stains in Tupperware and coffee stains in mugs. For those parents out there, you can also use them on baby’s teething toys and pacifiers.
In a hurry dressing in the morning and have some wrinkles? Well, if you don’t have an easy-to-use iron, you can use a hair straightener to flatten out minor wrinkles and your collar at the very least. And you know those little fuzzballs that form on old clothes that make them look ratty and bleh? Using a razor is a good way to help clean them up and make them look a little newer.
You’re going to hear something that probably seems obvious but I bet my left ear you don’t do: make a budget. I don’t mean, like, in your head. Use an app or write it down, but actually plan your weekly budgets. You need to organize what your spending, why, and can it be minimized. The only way to figure all that out is to crunch the numbers, and you can’t do that sorta-kinda in your head. I’ve previously recommended Kakebo and Mint, but if you don’t want to utilize either of these resources, pull out some lined paper and make your own budget book. Don’t forget the 50/30/20 rule when arranging your budget.
After doing this, cancel any unused subscriptions. Take a look on your phone’s app manager and see what you’re spending, or take a look at your bank’s transcripts. Let’s say you subscribe to HBO and spend $14.99 a month—that’s $179.88. Combine that with one or two other subscriptions and you could be saving a couple of hundred a year. This article here on reducing extraneous spending expands on this idea, and I suggest taking a look at it to see what else might be leeching from your funds.
When at the supermarket, make sure that you coupon. I know, not very young and hip, but money is so start saving. You can even use an app these days for food coupons, so there’s really no excuse. I know a big portion of my income goes towards food if I’m not careful. Everyone should also make sure that if they are on any prescriptions, that they use GoodRX. GoodRX collects all the coupons and deals for medications and consolidates them, making sure you get the best deal. I’ve saved at least a couple of hundred with my prescription by using GoodRX because my insurance is awful and didn’t cover a whole hell of a lot.