Ten Household Hacks That Make Life Easier

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the long list of things to do when it comes to cleaning, organizing and maintaining our homes. Here, we’ve gathered 10 simple but clever hacks that will help you save time and money (and avoid unnecessary stress) while tackling household chores.

Build a dam in your garage

Keeping garage floors clean and puddle-free can be challenging, especially this time of year, when our vehicles are exposed to all kinds of slushy, mucky road conditions. While you can’t really avoid melting snow and ice from pooling beneath your parked car, you can definitely take measures to deter those puddles from reaching—and damaging—other items stored in the garage. One of the easiest ways to do this is by creating a dam made of expanding spray foam. Simply spray the foam around your vehicle and let it do the work of blocking water from flowing elsewhere. Once the wet, slushy conditions subside, the foam can be scraped away easily.

Remove pet hair with a dish glove

If you have a cat or dog that sheds, you likely know first-hand that removing pet hair from carpets, sofas and cars can be a real pain in the neck. But there’s a quick and cheap solution: rubber gloves. Simply don a rubber dish glove and rub your hand over the upholstered surface—the fur will roll up and off the area quickly and easily, making it easy to grab the gathered hairballs and dispose of them. For added effectiveness, you could also try dampening the glove ever so slightly before putting it on.

Use a shoe rack for your cords and cables

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of cords and cables that come with all the electronics we own. To avoid the frustration of having to sort through a tangled mess of wires every time you need a specific power cord, try storing all of them in a hanging shoe rack. Putting specific cords in their own individual shoe pouch will help you keep them separate and untangled. And if you label each pouch, you’ll have no trouble identifying which cord you need.

Keep your bedsheets organized

Of all the storage areas in a home, the linen closet is often the hardest to keep organized. Take a step toward keeping your linens neat and tidy by separating your bedsheets into their respective sets, folding them tightly, and then placing each set inside one of their matching pillowcases. This way, your sheet sets can be stored in an orderly way and won’t get mixed in with other bedding, towels and blankets.

Turn a tennis ball into a magic eraser

No matter how well you take care of your floors, scuff marks are an inevitable annoyance that usually can’t be removed with regular cleaning or mopping. But here’s some good news: they can be buffed out easily with a tennis ball. Just rub a clean tennis ball over the scuff in a circular motion and watch the mark disappear in no time. For extra-stubborn scuffs that require a firmer buff, cut an “x” into the ball, slide it onto the top end of a broom handle, and then use that extra leverage to rub away the marks.

Remove floor scratches with walnuts

While a tennis ball will work on scuff marks, when it comes to removing actual scratches from your hardwood floors or other wood surfaces, a walnut will do the trick. Rub a shelled walnut over the scratch a few times in the same direction as the wood grain, then rub your finger over the scratch to help the wood absorb the oil from the nut. After letting the scratch sit for a few minutes, use a soft cloth to buff the area. The oil from the walnut will fill form a layer over the scratch, filling it in and making it all but disappear.

Clean your microwave with lemony steam

If the inside of your microwave has stubborn splatters and baked-on stains that won’t come off with basic scrubbing, try some citrus-inspired steam cleaning. Fill a glass bowl with about three or four cups of water, add a few slices of lemon and put the concoction into the microwave. Bring the lemon water to a boil then turn off the microwave and leave it closed to let the citrus steam loosen the grime. After about 10 minutes, open the door and gently wipe everything clean.

Scrub with aluminum foil

A must-have in most home kitchens, aluminum foil can be used for so much more than covering food or lining baking sheets. If you’ve got cast-iron or stainless pots and pans that are in need of a thorough scouring, just take a scrap piece of aluminum foil, wad it up into a ball, and scrub away the offending mess—baked or burned-on food should disappear in no time. You can also use aluminum foil to clean your barbecue grill or oven racks!

Rethink how you line your trash can

It should be the simplest of tasks, but sometimes, lining an empty trash can with a new garbage bag can feel like an awkward endeavour—from getting the often-finicky top of the bag open to shaking the bag out and sliding it, bottom first, into the bin. But, according to a TikTok video by Anna Antonje, there’s a more efficient method for lining your trash can—one that lets you skip the shaking and sliding. Start by opening the bag (there’s no avoiding that step, no matter how irritating it can be when the plastic won’t separate), then fit the opened end over the rim of the garbage can, with the bottom end up (so that it looks like you’re putting a hat on the bin). Once the bag is cinched firmly in place, simply push the rest of it into the can.

Invest in a good tarp

Spring signals the start of yardwork season. And, while tools like rakes, pruners, weeders and mowers are all necessities for landscaping, one of the most useful pieces of equipment to include in your outdoor repertoire is a large, durable tarp. It’s the perfect item for easy clean-up. Just place your tarp on the ground, rake the leaves, branches, rocks and other yard waste you’ve gathered onto it, then drag it wherever you need to. Bonus: you can also roll the tarp up and use it as a sort of funnel to guide your yard waste into composting bags.