Life is hard sometimes. We’ve all been overwhelmed before, by big and little issues that pile up and stress us out. Luckily for us, there are a lot of ways to deal with that stress. Sometimes, it’s just about restructuring your life and weeding out the things that might not be all that important. Other times, it’s about decompressing: there’s so much going on and you might just need a short minute to breathe and clear your mind. There are also those times when you might not have the knowledge to do something to the best of your ability, and you just need to learn that skill.
There are a lot of little life hacks that fit well into any and all of those scenarios, which is great. Here are a few that might end up being useful for you one day. These particular life hacks might not be your cup or tea or anything that you will ever use, but I guarantee you that there is at least one that you will need.
15. Laundry stain saves
Everyone hates badly timed laundry stains. They are just the worst, and they can ruin your day, not to mention your clothes. However, you don’t have to live with stains when you can get them out simply and effectively. Here are just a few ways to get out some of the most varied stains that are tried and tested by yours truly.
Grass: diluted white vinegar
Red wine: salt or club soda
Chocolate on white clothes: hydrogen peroxide
Gum: freeze it, then pick it off when it’s fully hardened
Water based glue: dishwashing liquid and water
Blood: hydrogen peroxide
14. Websites to help with stress
While some websites do nothing but add stress to our lives (Facebook, we’re looking at you), some websites are actually pretty awesome for dealing with the more stressful times in our lives. Some of them go out of their way to make sure we get a break from the constant notifications and noise, which is an excellent thing now that we’re being constantly bombarded with those things on an hourly basis. Some of them allow us to engage in a simple, but very rewarding task. Others can be run along with anything else that you’re doing and make things not quite so stressful. Here are just a few.
Silk: a site where you can make all sorts of abstract pictures.
Cookie Clicker: a game where you make infinite amounts of cookies. If you’ve got an addictive personality, you might find yourself constantly playing this. I like this site because if you leave it running in the background of whatever you’re doing and check back after you’ve completed a task, it’s like you’ve been rewarded for your hard work with a literal mountain of virtual cookies.
Quiet Place: a site that forces you to turn off your notifications and put down your phone for a hot second so you can relax and have a moment to yourself.
Rainy Mood: a site that plays rain noises and/or relaxing music. This one is pretty great simply because the sound of rain has always been soothing to me personally, so I use this site all the time. If you’re the type who loves to sit by the window and watch rain fall outside, you will love this site.
13. Basic sewing stitches
I wouldn’t call myself a seamstress by any means, and I’m definitely not making my own clothes or anything, but I can tell you that there is a lot you can fix by simply knowing a few basic stitches. With just three or four stitches, I’ve found myself able to breathe new life into old clothes, or things that just don’t fit anymore. Most people don’t know how to sew on buttons, or hem their own skirts and pants, or even fix basic rips in clothing. Being able to do that will take a lot of stress off of you. Here are just a few basic tutorials that will save your life one day.
How to let out your favorite pair of jeans: This is the tutorial I learned how to do this from, and I promise you that this works. I didn’t even use a sewing machine to do it, I simply sewed the expansion fabric in by hand, and depending on how good your hand stitching is, you might not need one either.
Slip stitches: Slip stitching is amazing for when you need to hem your skirts or pants and you don’t want your hand stitches to be seen. Learning how to do this well can be kind of annoying when you start, but when you’ve learned this technique well, it can be the best thing that ever happened to your wardrobe. Gone are the jeans that are just too long and you end up stepping on.
12. Baking substitutes
When you are dealing with things like allergies or just plain lack of resources, you have no choice but to get creative. A lot of times, that requires a lot of experimentation, because changing one thing can really alter the taste of what you’re making, but when you’re making food, you’ve got to be able to roll with the punches when it comes to things like that. Here’s a pretty comprehensive chart that will help you if you ever find yourself short on some ingredients. Some of these are simple enough, like replacing cookie crumbs with whatever other cookies you’ve got on hand, but some of these have a lot of options when it comes to substitution, which could make things more complicated.
11. How to deal with excess wires
Excess wires are just annoying. There’s no kind of first world problem quite like trying to untangle your headphones or extricate your cell phone charger from all the other wires you’ve got lying around. Complaining about it seems silly, since it’s barely a problem at all, but we complain about that all the same. However, there’s one way to deal with this admittedly small problem that will improve things in a big way, and that’s using simple binder clips. You don’t need silly wire organizers to do what binder clips can. Simply thread the wire through a binder clip attached to your desk, and you’re ready to go! As for your headphones getting tangled, try the trick shown in the picture above.
10. Myths about skin care
I was going to tell you about the joys of using aspirin to clear up your pimples here, and while that does work (thanks to the salicylic acid that’s in both aspirin and pimple spot treatments), I thought I would save you some time and tell you all about the skin care treatments that actually don’t work. Seriously, don’t do these things. They’re either not doing anything or making your skin a lot worse.
Advil Liqui-Gels: This doesn’t work, no matter what Pinterest tells you. To be honest, I almost fell for this one myself, but once I found out that the gel will stop the swelling but not actually make it go away, I thought better of it.
Lemon juice: Sure, this gets rid of bacteria, which can theoretically help with acne, but if you’ve got sensitive skin like I do, this is the worst thing you can do. It’s going to make your skin red and you’ll probably just give yourself a rash.
Toothpaste: You’ve probably heard your mom or dad swear by this one, but honestly, this can cause a lot of problems. Toothpaste will dry out your skin, so using it to get rid of a pimple is basically like winning a battle only to lose the war. That’s not even taking into account gel toothpaste, which is literally the worst thing you can do for yourself.
9. Fun with ice cubes
Ice cubes aren’t just for water, guys. You can use them for a ton of different things. Here’s a list of things you can do with them, including some things I’ve used them for personally, and that’s probably not even covering the scope of what you can do with them.
Herbal ice cubes: freeze ice cubes with flowers in them, and you’ve got totally edible herbal ice cubes.
Coffee ice cubes: freeze coffee and put those cubes in your iced coffee, and your drink will never water down. This also works for wine, chocolate, or basically any other drink you can think of.
Sunburn relief: freeze aloe gel and you’ve got a perfect summer skin treatment.
Sushi molds: use ice cube trays to make perfectly molded sushi, and you’ll immediately look like an expert.
Baby food: you can make homemade baby food and freeze it for future use.
8. Free textbooks!
Any current college student can testify to this: there is nothing worse than getting your full list of textbooks needed for your semester and finding out the retail price of all of those books together. Actually, one thing is worse: finding out you need a $400 textbook for one section of coursework and that book is only available at retail price. However, all is not lost: there are a ton of free textbook resources online, if only you just search them up. Some of these sites, like Textbook Revolution, are resources dedicated to making sure students and teachers have access to affordable textbooks. Others, like Scribd, are excellent resources for books in general (if you’re an English major or anything in that area, I cannot recommend Scribd highly enough). Either way, you don’t have to break the bank to pass your classes.
7. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar was known to be an ancient remedy, but what you might not know is that it has a lot of uses in the here and now. I’ have used it as part of my hair routine before, and others use it as an effective skin care treatment. However, there’s a lot more you can do with this stuff. It can help lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, reduce your risk of cancer, and help out with spider veins. It also helps promote weight loss in combination with a healthy diet an exercise by helping you feel more full throughout the day. We’ve gotten into a few things that don’t work to make you healthier, but this is one thing that actually does work.
6. Coconut oil
This is yet another home remedy that works, and it’s one that I swear by. Coconut oil is good for your hair and your skin, and it’s the perfect thing to use right after you’ve shaved. I can attest to this: coconut oil can be the factor that decides whether you have to shave again after one day or three. Not only is it great for your body, it has even more uses. You can cook with it, use it to clean your bathroom, and you can even use it for lighting a fire in a pinch. On top of that, it’s a great stain remover: you can use it to get crayon marks off the walls and clean ink off of plastic and vinyl. It can also be used as a natural toothpaste!
I haven’t even gotten into everything that coconut oil can be used for, but I’m pretty sure that you can find a use for coconut oil that will make your life infinitely easier. Actually, I’m pretty sure you can find at least five uses for coconut oil that will make life better.
5. Cleaning hacks
Nobody likes cleaning. Actually, that’s a lie: some people do like cleaning, I just don’t like cleaning. There are just much better things you can find yourself doing with your time. For people like me who hate to clean, these cleaning hacks will help us out a lot.
Lint rollers: These things basically dust and vacuum in one fell swoop, so all we’ve got to do is run it over shelves and lampshades and they’re all clean. You can also do this with masking tape, too, but I’d suggest being more careful with this method, or just using it on fabrics.
Furniture polish: You can literally spray this on anything (except your floors) and it’ll be shiny. You can do this with your refrigerator and it’ll be like you took the thing straight out of the box.
Use body wash, not soap bars: Body wash is basically a detergent, so in a way, your bottle of shower gel from Bath and Body Works is actually helping you keep your shower clean. Soap scum comes from the fats and oils in soap itself, so using body gel avoids that issue.
Cleaning blenders: You want to know how to most effectively clean a blender? Literally just blend soap and water. It’s that easy.
Saran wrap: line your refrigerator with clear cling wrap, and suddenly spills in your refrigerator that are difficult to deal with are a thing of the past.
4. Cell phone hacks for festivals and conventions
There are few things more annoying than finding yourself having lost a chunk of battery life for no real reason at all, especially if you’re at a big event like a music festival or a Comic Con convention. However, here are a few things that you can do that I promise you will work.
Sandwich bag: Put your phone in a sandwich bag, and your phone is suddenly protected from all of the things it can come into contact with. You can still mess with the buttons, too!
Screenshots: If you’re going to a big event where it’s possible you might lose your phone, take a picture of your name and an emergency number where you can be called and turn that into your lock screen photo. That way, if someone finds it, they know that someone is looking for your phone. You can also save a ton of battery by screenshotting travel directions and going to airplane mode, and you can circumvent crappy service by screenshotting key information from your browser.
3. Everything you can use tea for
I cannot stress how awesome tea is. Tea is just a lifesaver. It does everything that coffee does, but it does it better. Tea has less caffeine than coffee, but it has a ton of antioxidants, helps with weight loss, and even reduces your risk of a heart attack or a stroke. On top of that, you don’t have to worry about teeth stains like you have to with coffee, because tea actually helps your teeth. Even if it didn’t do all of that and more, I’d say drink tea simply because of the versatility of the drink, and its ability to hydrate similarly to how water hydrates. There are so many versions of the drink, and most of those versions are calorie free.
2. Household items
We’ve talked a bit about apple cider vinegar and coconut oil and the health benefits that they offer, but there are a lot more innocuous household ingredients that can do the same things. Above is a pretty comprehensive chart showing a ton of things that we all have in our houses that will do wonders for our hair and our skin. While some of these things are quite common and are active ingredients in skin and hair care treatments, there are a few here that you might not have thought of as usable for those purposes. Regardless of who you are, everyone needs healthy skin and a healthy body, so don’t hesitate to take these into account.
1. Travel hacks
Above all, there is no better time to use a life hack than when you’re traveling. Anything that can be done to make a red eye flight easier can and should be done, and anyone who’s ever had to take a long flight knows that. Above is a list of things you can do to make the flight itself easier that explains things way better than I can. What I can explain very well, however, is how to pack a suitcase with the most efficiency that you can muster.
Gallon freezer bags: These things will be your best friend. Not only should you use them for bottles are things that can spill, you should use them for undergarments and socks as well. Also, take some empty ones for dirty clothes. You can also do this with packing cubes as well, and if you travel a lot, I would suggest investing in a set of these.
Pencil or glasses cases: These are great for your wires, so they’ll be in a compact space and stay protected. You can also use old mint cases for your headphones.
Roll your clothes: Don’t fold your shirts, roll them. That allows them to take up a lot less space.
Lanyards: Attach your travel sized toiletries to a regular lanyard, so you can hang it from your hotel shower. Hotel life made easy.
Get a really good carry-on: Seriously, the right carry on bag will change your life. With the right bag, you can pack for a month and not have to check anything in, which will save you a lot of time over at baggage claim.
Prescription boxes: You can use these to keep extra jewelry, or even travel-sized pods of skin care or hair care stuff. That’s one way to really cut down on excess packing for a weekend trip.