Here are a few creative life hacks to cut out the hassle, save you time, reduce the stress & generally make your days a little easier. When living with chronic illness, chronic pain, fatigue, disability or other condition, the small changes add up to make life a little more manageable.
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Removing the stem from a strawberry needn’t be fiddly. Use a straw to push up through the base of the strawberry, which will push through the stem from the top.
Quicker Cool Down
Forget to put a can or bottle of drink in the fridge but can’t bear to wait hours for it to be cold enough to drink? Wet a piece of kitchen roll with cold water and wrap it around the can or bottle, then pop it in the freezer for ten minutes or so.
You can get medical bands and cards if you have a potentially fatal condition or allergy. You could always make your own to provide your medical information. Take a small piece of card and write your GP details, emergency contact, medical conditions, medications, blood type and allergies, then pop it in a visible space in your purse or wallet.
Fed up of Christmas decorations getting tangled up or damaged in storage? Use an egg box for smaller decorations or a larger plastic egg box for your baubles. Sort gift tags and bauble hooks into small ziplock bags.
Store Fairy Lights Tangle-Free
If you’re storing fairy lights, such as those from your Christmas tree after the festivities are over, there are a few ways you can ensure tangle-free, frustration-free storage. If you have the original box, or any small robust box, you can simply wrap the lights around the outside instead of stuffing them inside. Alternatively, you could get a rectangular piece of magazine-sized cardboard, cut a slit at one end, and place the ends of the lights into the slit. Start wrapping the strand of lights around the long edge of your cardboard. Instead of a piece of cardboard you could also try a clothes hanger.
Another method is with plastic sheets, which also works well for general strands of decor like Christmas tree icicle strands. Wrap a length of the strange in plastic, fold the plastic over and keep wrapping, keeping the strands from tangling.
Cleaning Cupboard Supplies
If you have a cupboard where you can store cleaning products, then try hanging an overdoor shoe storage caddy on the back of the door. You can put all the sprays and bottles in the pockets to save space and keep them away from small hands.
Find Tiny Items
Ever lost something so small on the floor like the back of an earring that you’ve spent hours trying to find? Remove the head from the vacuum and wrap the end of a pair of tights to the end of the hose. You’ll be able to get the suction to find what you’re looking for without it being sucked up into the vacuum.
Quick Key Identifiers
Colour the tops of your keys to identify them using nail varnish. Try at least two coats, and a top coat if you have it, to keep the colour from chipping.
Spare Cord Storage
If you have a lot of spare cords and adapters, like for the TV, sound system or computers, then making an organiser from an old shoebox. Separate one end with a piece of card for the larger cables, then for the rest of the box stand cardboard loo roll tubes upright, in which you can pop the smaller cables.
Store Used Rolls Of Wrapping Paper
Once you’ve opened a long roll of wrapping paper, it can be frustrating keeping it from unrolling and getting in a mess. Get an old cardboard loo roll tube, cut it open and place around in the middle of the wrapping paper roll. You can put sellotape across the loo roll tube to keep the sides together without damaging the wrapping paper.
Hide Loose Cables & Cords
Fed up of the cable spaghetti behind your TV or computer? There are a few products for keeping plugs neatly together like power strips and surge protector kits, so instead of trailing cables to several sockets or using bulky extension leads, you’ll have just one slimline piece of kit. There are also velcro sleeves that keep tables together to prevent tangling and mess and give you back a little more space.
Never Forget The Side Your Petrol Cap Is On Again
Ever get to the gas station and forget which side your petrol cap is on? On your car’s dash you’ll find the fuel level. You should also see an icon for a gas pump. The arrow next to it will point left or right and this’ll indicate which side of your car the fuel cap is on.
Keep Your Dinner Warm
Got your food out of the oven but still have too much to do before you’re ready to dish up? Many kitchens will have a compartment underneath the oven, with a panel on front designed to be as inconspicuous as possible. This is likely why not as many people know it even exists. You can put your food in there to keep it warm.
It’s always the way that we start off with a bright yellow bunch of delicious bananas that we bring home from the supermarket, only to find they look bruised and as old as we feel by the next day. While I’ve not tried this one myself yet, apparently you can preserve them better by wrapping the top of the banana stems in tinfoil (aluminium foil), which will help extend their freshness for a few more days.
Make Your Microwave Meals More Efficient
It might sound obvious to some, but a large meal or a piled-up plate of leftovers can struggle to thoroughly and evenly heat in the microwave. If it’s possible, try spreading the food out or create a space in the centre of the meal, which will help distribute the heat more evenly.
You can also make more use of your space if you want to cook two dishes that don’t quite fit side-by-side with this simple microwave hack. Place the first dish on the spinning plate then place a narrower microwave-safe mug upside down next to it. You can put the second dish on top of the mug to elevate it above the other plate where there’s more space.
Thread The Needle The First Time
Threading a needle can be challenging at the best of times. While I tend to go for the lick-the-cotton approach, some people swear by spritzing the end of the cotton with hairspray to stiffen it so it’s easy to direct into the eye of the needle.
Never Lose Your Sticky Tape Ends
Instead of folding the end of a roll of Selotape or packaging tape, try using a paper clip. It’ll be easy to locate and you won’t need to cut off the folded end of the tape to use it either.
Peanut Butter Love
If you’re a fan of peanut butter, try storing the jar upside down to prevent the oil from sitting on top, which will make it easier to mix in and dispense when you next open it.
Less (Toothpaste) Is More
While adverts typically show a sausage shape of toothpaste spread along the toothbrush head because it looks good and makes you buy more of their product, in reality dentists tend to say that you only need a small pea-sized amount to adequately clean your teeth. This will make your toothpaste last longer and your money stretch further.
Smart Orange Eating
While we’re most likely to dig in to an orange by peeling it gradually from the top, there is another method. Cut the bottom and top off, then make a cut in the side of the orange. You’ll be able to unroll it so that you’ve got a long line of segments laid out in front of you, neatly presented and without all the mess.
Toiletry Use By & Best Before Dates
Many toiletries and body care products will have a shelf life, best before or a use by date once opened, even though they don’t tend to have an actual date stamped on them. If you look on the back of a shampoo, the underside of your makeup, the bottom of a tube of toothpaste or the underside of a body lotion jar, you’ll likely find a symbol, like an egg-timer or an opened tub, with a number by it. That’ll tell you how long the product will last in useable condition once opened.