Your house is a mess. You can’t find your keys, your plants keep dying, and your toothpaste won’t come out of the tube. Starting your morning with these annoyances is enough to drive anyone insane — life’s pesky problems can add up until they feel like something huge.
But simple solutions to these little problems are hidden all around your house (or can be bought from any convenience store for a small price)! Use these 20 organizational and house-keeping tricks to stop all those little problems from building up into one big mess…
1. Keep plants alive: Going on vacation? Fill a giant pot with water and connect it to your plants with strings. This will provide a continuous flow of moisture so you don’t have to ask that neighbor you don’t really like to water anything for you.
2. Organize keys or wires: If you have any Lego sets lying around, put them to use! With the right kind of bricks or even an astronaut, you can tidy up things like keys, cables, and even certain wallets or sunglasses! Besides, playing with Legos is always fun.
3. Avoid Popsicle messes: Popsicles are messy, especially on a hot day if you’re a slow licker. No worries! Just make a little hole in a cupcake liner and slide it over the stick to catch any melting drops. Happy summer!
4. Ward off pets: Are your pets eating your plants — or worse, peeing in the soil? An easy trick to keep them at bay and keep your plants safe is inserting toothpicks into the soil. With a spiky border like this, no way your furry friend will want to mess with your leafy friend anymore.
5. Re-purpose tennis balls: They’re great for many things: playing with your dog, rehabilitating, helping walkers move with ease, and oh yeah, tennis. However, if you’re tired from all those activities, you can give them a little mouth to hang things up easily! The googly eyes are optional, but we highly recommend them.
6. Mark keys: Want to distinguish between your keys to remember which one works your gym locker and which one opens your ex’s house? Grab your favorite colors of nail polish and give each key its own color code.
7. Create a makeshift iron: You have a really important business meeting, date, or family gathering, and your iron is broken (or let’s face it, you simply don’t own one). Luckily, a pan filled with really hot water will do the trick. Please be careful though…
8. Organize pins: If you’re sick and tired of losing your bobby pins everywhere (or finding someone else’s bobby pins everywhere), place a magnetic strip in a beauty drawer to collect them all in one place. Head’s up: if you have any other small metal items in there, you’ll be collecting those, too.
9. Open a stuck jar: You’ve already tried the hot water trick? Popeye is not around? Use some duct tape instead! It’s much easier to pull hard on a string of duct tape than it is to squeeze your hand over the entire lid while trying to twist your arm.
10. Microwave more effectively: Next time you heat up a plate of leftover food in the microwave, make a hole in the middle for it to cook more evenly. This works great for pasta and rice dishes, but maybe less great for burritos or slices of pizza. You be the judge.
11. De-clutter showers: Are you one of those people who buys new shampoo and body washes before you’re even close to finishing the old ones? Do you live with 7 roommates or 4 children? Install a second shower rod and hang baskets from it to make more space for all your shower needs.
12. Fold shirts: Perhaps the worst part of doing laundry is folding everything and putting it all away. If you work in a clothing store, you already know the pain of folding. Luckily, the Japanese have found a way to fold shirts in only a second. See below.
13. Munch microwave-free popcorn: No microwave? Worry not: you can make popcorn in an empty can over a fire. Just make sure the can is well rinsed unless you like beer- or soda-flavored popcorn of course.
14. Charge electronics: Rather than tripping over cables or hanging your phone straight from the chord, you can easily create this charging pouch for small electronics (if you can bear to stop using them for half an hour, that is).
15. Fill a bucket: You know what’s hard? Filling up a giant bucket of water in a shallow sink. You can actually use a duster pan to guide the water carefully into the bucket. Just please, please make sure that dustpan is clean and not, well, dusty.
16. Carry groceries: Carrying 16 double-packed grocery bags is the worst. It’s heavy, it’s bulky, and it hurts your hands. You can buy shoulder straps for this purpose, but you can also re-purpose the strap of an old bag.
17. Prop up a phone: Rather than buying an expensive phone stand, you can use certain types of sunglasses for this purpose instead. However, we recommend using the cheap ones you found on the sidewalk or bought at a gas station, not your $600 Ray-Bans.
18. Maximize toothpaste: Squeezing the toothpaste out of a near-empty tube gets tiring. Use a simple binder clip to keep everything near the opening, so you can brush your teeth in relative peace.
19. Celebrate on a budget: If you celebrate Christmas but don’t really have space for a tree, buying a garland and attaching some lights or other ornaments is a nice substitute. Remember, you can still be festive on a budget! And nobody can knock this over!
20. Peel boiled eggs: Add a little baking soda to the boiling water and the peel should slide right off! It also helps to place it in cold water right after taking it out from the pot. Bonus tip: pierce a tiny hole into the shell with a thumbtack before boiling to relieve pressure and keep the shell from splitting too early.