15 Useful tips and tricks to help manage everyday inconveniences. These useful little life hacks will have you more organized in no time.
1. Use a bowl to instantly amplify the sound on your smart phone.
At a group gathering, need music, and in need of a speaker? Put your smart phone in a bowl and set it on a nearby table. The shape of the bowl will amplify the sound without any need of electronic enhancement.
2. Pop the stems off strawberries by using a drinking straw.
Insert a straw into the pointy-end of the strawberry and push through to the stem. It will pop off easily, and without the mess. No knives needed, and no accidental-stem-in-your-mouth surprises while enjoying your favorite fruit.
3. Use a paperclip to never lose your place in a roll of packing tape.
The next time you find yourself struggling to find the end of the tape, stick a paperclip on the roll and mark your place. It’s really that simple.
4. Keep your spaghetti in a can of Pringles to keep it fresh.
Coincidentally, spaghetti fits perfectly in a Pringles can. Once you open up a box, put the extra in the can to seal it and keep it fresher, longer.
5. Make an icepack out of a frozen sponge.
There’s nothing worse than using an icepack that drips all over you when it melts. Put a water-filled sponge in a zip-lock bag and stick in the freezer. When you use the icepack, the melting ice will stay absorbed in the sponge. No drip, no mess, no problem.
6. If you need a cold drink quickly, cover the bottle in a wet paper towel and place it in the freezer.
This one sounds weird, but it really works. Just wrap a wet paper towel around your beer and put in the freezer. The water on the outside of the bottle freezes more quickly than the liquid inside, speeding up the overall freezing process. 15 minutes is all you need.
7. Use bread clips to keep track of which cord goes to what.
The tangle of wires behind the T.V. is enough to make anyone crazy. Writing “DVD player,” “power,” etc. on the little plastic clips that come on your bread and slipping them onto various cords is an easy way to turn the mess into something manageable.
8. Use a magnet to find the studs or nails in your walls.
You won’t be able to use a fridge magnet; it has to be something slightly more powerful, but it really works. If you don’t have a device that lets you know where the studs are in your wall, a strong magnet will do the trick just as well.
9. Freeze coffee in ice trays to avoid watered-down coffee.
Coffee freezes like water, so if you plan ahead and have an ice-tray full of coffee cubes, you can used them in your iced coffee and avoid the watered-down results of ice melting in your drink. Delicious.
10. Put a nylon over the end of a vacuum to find small, hard-to-find lost items.
Lose a diamond earring on the floor? Before you panic, stick a stocking on the end of a vacuum nozzle. The suction will find it for you, without disappearing into the depths of the vacuum bag.
11. Add the word “unsubscribe” to your spam filter to stop receiving marketing email.
It’s simple, and effective. Any type of newsletter or promotional material will likely have the option to unsubscribe at the bottom of the message. Using this keyword as a filter will keep them all out of your mailbox.
12. Cut cakes, cheese, or any other soft food item, with dental floss.
You should probably avoid the mint-flavored dental floss, but this really works. It’s an easy way to cut in straight lines without the food getting stuck to the knife.
13. Use a clothespin to hold a nail while hammering (instead of your finger).
The next time you stub your thumb with a hammer, this tip will painfully come flooding back to you. Keep the nail in place with the end of the clothespin and hammer away. Your fingers will thank you.
14. If you can’t remove a screw that’s warped, use a rubber band.
Place a rubber band between your screw and your drill, and it doesn’t matter how warped your screw is. The rubber band will provide the appropriate leverage needed to remove your screw.
The cold will loosen up the envelop glue enough to open the envelope with no problem, and no ripping. This trick will save you more than a few stamps.
Angie Picardo is a staff writer for NerdWallet. Her mission is to help consumers stay financially savvy and save money with a Cost Plus coupon.