Sometimes, it seems, we’re not as smart as we like to think we are. Sometimes, the manufacturers that make our everyday items are actually a lot smarter than we think they are. And sometimes, we just need some common-sense genius to show us how to do in a second something that’s been taking us forever and driving us mad. So here are 20 simple tips guaranteed to make your life a darn sight easier.
20. Use that ring-pull hole
Isn’t it a real pain when that straw comes sliding up that soda can as you’re trying to drink from it? As a matter of fact, the can makers thought of that… so just put your straw through the hole in the ring-pull that they helpfully provided and it won’t happen again.
19. Stop that pan boiling over
They say a watched pot never boils – but turn away for a minute and you’ll find that an unwatched one seems to immediately froth over. But not if you simply lay a stirring spoon across the top – it’s almost like magic.
18. Milk that ink cartridge
Printer-ink people certainly do their best to squeeze you for cash. Did you know that when your ink cartridge is “empty,” the chances are that it’s not? In fact, there’s usually a reserve – just use a paperclip on the cartridge reset button and you’ll get at it.
17. Foil that aluminum fly-out
Sick of the baking foil roll flying out of the box as you unroll it? This is one the manufacturers have provided for. On the end of the box there will be a tab – so just press it in and that foil will stay put.
16. Get that cup under control
Especially on airplanes and trains, your takeaway cup is prone to start tipping its liquid around. Why do you think they gave you a lid? No, don’t put it on – use it as a coaster and save yourself all that slopping up afterward.
15. Unzip that banana like a monkey
Flaying your bananas like some serial killer, trying to get their skins off, is certainly for the seriously challenged. So just unzip them from the proper end and you’ll find it’s a breeze. And you guessed it – it’s not, in fact, the end that attached them to the tree.
14. Use that built-in spoon rest
Unless you have one of those snazzy porcelain spoon rests in your swish kitchen, just what do you do with that spoon in between stirring and 1,001 other prepping jobs? Why not put it in the handle where you hang the pan up? In fact, it makes the perfect spoon rest.
13. Origami your takeout tub
The Japanese may be famed for their origami, but did you ever realize that that Chinese takeout container folds right down into the perfect plate – and then folds back up again into its original box, in case you didn’t eat it all? The clever makers did.
12. Fill that bucket without spilling a drop
Ever had the nightmare of trying to fill a bucket from one of those impossibly small sinks? Well choose your dustpan properly – one with a hollow handle – and you’ll find it has a second use as the perfect water sluice.
11. A gripping solution for bad-hair days
If you’ve lost your grip when doing your hair, it may be because you’re a bit upside down. If you put the bobby pin or hair grip on with the wavy side to the bottom and the straight side on top, you’ll find you have much more traction. Of course, it was made to work that way.
10. Upside-down nuts is not crazy
You’d be nuts to store your peanut butter jars the right way up. Sure, the makers aren’t going to sell them to you with a lid on the bottom, but nevertheless that’s the way to store them. Upside down, the oils in there are kept distributed much more evenly through the spread when you come to tip it up and use it.
9. Never spill another Tic Tac
If you lose more Tic Tac mints than you actually eat, you’re dispensing them all wrong. Instead of shaking the packet, revolve it slowly and open the lid – using the handy dispenser that the makers built into it all along to help you.
8. Take the plunge properly
A plunger is a plunger, right? Wrong! As a matter of fact, there are two quite different plunger types – one for your sink and one for your toilet. And if you don’t use the right one for the job, you’ll find those blockages probably won’t get fully removed.
7. Catch up with your ketchup
Ketchup cups are indeed clever little inventions. While they don’t look so robust, they’re actually made to fold out from the base so that you can get more of the sweet stuff in them. So start with a tower before turning it into a cone for the most efficient eating.
6. Erasure made simple
Even in the digital age, we still write things on paper – and make mistakes. But if you don’t want to rub a hole in your paper, use the eraser properly. The red end is for pencil, but the blue end is for erasable ink only.
5. Flossing without pain
You can really hurt your fingers when flossing your teeth, trying to drag that piece of flossing string left and right. But being string, it’s made to be tied – so make a loop first and knot it. You’ll then find the operation is ten times easier.
4. A hole-in-one for pasta measurement
It’s pasta joke that you have a big hole in the middle of that spaghetti spoon, isn’t it? Actually no – it’s not a saving on material, but was put there deliberately by the manufacturer for you to use as a serving measuring device.
3. Brush up on your bathroom habits
Your toothbrush was not designed to hold this amount of toothpaste and it won’t do your teeth any good to use so much. So save lots of money and cleaning time by using only a modest amount of paste on your brush.
2. Beat the wet-face blues
If you’re using paper towels to dry your face in the public rest room, you’re not using the features of that hand-dryer in the corner. In fact, most of these dryers have a swivel on the air outlet, meaning that you can turn it upwards and dry your face, faster and more hygienically.
1. Flipping easy yoghurt trick
Struggling to get your honey into that yoghurt? It’s flipping easy when you know how. The container was designed to flip, so you just tip the small pot into the large one and stir.