The following is a short list of techniques and tips that we use here at the house. I hope you find a few you can use cuz life is tough enough, if some of these can make it that much easier, its worth it.

1.  Keep a list of “house events ” (like when the septic was last pumped and the location, date you moved in, when the roof was put on etc) on a sheet taped to the inside of the door of your electrical panel.

 

2. Rug rake for toys: We’ve got toddler boys which means we’ve got messes. One of the most pervasive issues is toys on the floor.

Of course they don’t listen when asked to pick them up so one solution we came up with is the “rug rake”. Its a short handle leaf rake that is stowed away under the couch.  When things get out of hand, I rake up all the toys and shovel them into the toy box.

rug rake for toys

3) Soap Dispenser Grip Tape: if you’re like us, you have a separate soap dispenser that you use to squirt out soap onto a cleaning sponge. 

If you’re cleaning dishes then your hands are probably wet and slippery. I found it hard to pick up and hold the slick, plastic bottle so I stuck some skateboard grip tape to the bottle. 

It has made all the difference.  The bottle will simply get refilled with soap so the grip tape purchase is a one-time thing (and not that expensive).

soap dispenser grip tape

4) Magnetized pens: Ever find it hard to located pens? I did too so I started to magnetize them.  I bought some super strong neodymium magnets, glued them on the pen and whatever surface

I need it to stick to and its always there. I have one at my desk and one in my car. When the pen dries up, simply take it apart, remove the empty tube and replace it with a full one. I use all the same pens so they are all interchangeable.

magnetized office pen

5) Flatware Soaking Cups: After morning eggs over easy, those forks can be a nightmare to remove egg from. Its worse than glue! 

Most folks will load the dishwasher as they go such that the morning egg covered fork will sit in the dishwasher for a day or two getting nice and solidified. 

My solution? I re-purposed one of my old, larger yogurt cups, filled it with soapy water and let all my flatware soak in it until its time to run a load. The result is that grimey stuff comes off the forks and spoons waaay easier.

flatware soaking cup

 

6) Removing dried on stuff on counters:  Have you ever had cream of wheat splatter on the counter? That stuff is insanely hard to get off a counter. 

Its like glue (probably because milk derivatives were used to make woodworking glues). Nevertheless, nearly impossible to get off…unless you know the trick. 

All you need is a paper towel and a bowl of water.  Place the bowl of water next to the dried up “stuff” then lay the paper towel over it so that it touches the dried up stuff but also rests in the water.

With the wonders of capillary action, the water will travel through the paper towel, and down onto the “stuff”. 

This configuration will keep that area moist enough for long enough that it will loosen it up to be removed. Simply putting a wet paper towel over it will only result in the paper towel drying up.

the wet paper towel trick
Notice how the water is moving from the bowl through the paper towel.

 

7) Goggles for cutting onions:  By now you may have heard about this one but if you haven’t you are about to have your eyes saved from the ravishes of nefarious onion fumes!   

Those fumes that we associate with onions mix with the water from our eyes and form sulphenic acid ( I don’t even know what that is but it just sounds painful!). The solution? 

Simply block those fumes from reaching your eyes and you’re golden.  Here at our house, we used lap swimming goggles. They are small and fit easily into any kitchen drawer. Sure if may look funny but its better than suffering!

 

8) Cooling down soup/oatmeal:  My toddlers must be super sensitive to hot foods cuz they put up a BIG stink if something is, what they deem, too hot.

In the mornings this is especially critical because we’ve all probably slept in and have even less time to get to school so things like oatmeal MUST get cooled down fast. 

I’ve tried spreading it out on a big platter to speed the cooling process or putting it in the freezer for a few minutes. Those either don’t work that great or end up making a bigger mess. 

Here’s what I found to work great. Ice. Of course you can’t just adding ice cubes to soup or oatmeal or it will get watered down and ruined.  I fill up a small zip lock with water and put it in the freezer.

When the time comes to cool oatmeal down, just throw the bag of ice into the bowl.  It gets cooled down fast and doesn’t water anything down.  When its ready, pull out the bag, wash it off and back in the freezer. 

The other similar solution is whiskey stones. Now these come in two flavors: 1) actual stones and 2) stainless steel ones.  I am partial to the stainless steel ice cubes because they are most likely easier to wash and they are only $10.  Probably gonna get some this month.

  chilling soup or hot cereal

BONUS: I used to be bad about remembering to empty the link trap.  I mean, its so easy but so easy to forget.  My solution? Put up a sign.  Mine says “Got Lint” after the famous Got Milk campaign…and it works!

Got Lint lint trap reminder

Got any “home hacks” you just gotta share? Let’s hear ’em!

8 home hacks to make life easier

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