Entirely Useful And Occasionally Absurd Lifehacks
I’m nothing if not resourceful. As such, I’ve developed workarounds for the challenges of daily life by repurposing common items. From office supplies to kitchen products, there are hidden uses in the things we take for granted. Here’s a selection of simple solutions you may find helpful:
Project management: Use your Post-its as a visual progress tracker. First, write out every task you have to tackle on individual notes (again, color coding helps add specificity). Next, place all of the items TO DO in one place, like to the left of your computer keyboard. Once you complete a task, move it to the opposite side of your computer to indicate ITEMS DONE. This works great using your desk, but any surface will do. The idea is to get a quick sense of the things you need to work on, while reminding you of how many things you’ve already accomplished. It’s a great method for feeling productive and also just staying on top of task statuses.
Page divider: Place a single Post-it at the edge of a page, and then fold it so it wraps around the paper it’s attached to and the unsticky end winds up on the back side. The extra thickness of the Post-it makes it easy to find and flip sections by touch. Use different colors can indicate different categories; you can add more specific notes to each color as needed.
Motivation: Have a mantra? Get one! And then write it on a Post-it and stick it to your bathroom mirror. And another one on your front door. Maybe another on your refrigerator, you get the idea.
New business cards: Have a new job but don’t have new cards? This hack assumes you have a cache of old business cards because who ever uses them all anyway? Buy some address labels and then put your information into the corresponding template on your computer; add just your new info OR get fancy schmancy with imagery as background. After printing, strategically wrap the labels around the cards to cover up the old info with the new (attach in random directions to make it look cool and intentional).
Party announcements: Hosting a shindig? Want to hand out fliers but don’t want them getting lost and crumpled? The beauty of reusing old business cards (using same techniques described above) is that your party announcement will fit inside your invitee’s wallet. Amazing.
Catproof Xmas ornament: Cat + Christmas = shitshow. Thwart your furry beast by making ornaments out of clothespins; there are a million options for decorating them and they quickly and securely attach to branches. Best of all, they won’t break or fall off when your kitty inevitably knocks over your beautiful tree. Decoration ideas: bedazzle with rhinestones, buttons, Scrabble tiles; paint; wrap with yarn or colored thread; draw or write on them with ink, etc…
Mini jewelry box
Mini sewing kit
Business card holder
Handbag organizer: Corral all the loose papers, hair ties and cords in your bag; binder clips will keep each type of item tidy, compact and easy to grab.
Tube sealer: When you get to the end of a tube product, cut the ends off and scoop out what’s left. Often the amount remaining exceeds the amount needed at any one time; use a large binder clip to hold ends together and keep contents from drying out
Money or bag clip
Business card or credit card holder
Food flippers: Use chopsticks in place of metal tongs as a quick and cheap way of turning bits of food. Added bonus: the wood won’t scratch your nonstick pans.
Have a loosey you maybe bought from the deli or bummed off the street? Maybe you’re not ready to smoke it? Store it in your wallet! Often the inside fold of a wallet is the perfect space to hold a single cigarette snugly and securely.
Alternatively, the cardboard holder for gum blister packs also works. Minus the blister pack of course.
Mac & Cheese alternative: Paleo and vegan? Rather than suffer through some bullshit grain-free pasta substitute, cut mini pieces of extra-firm tofu and pan sauté while making a quick vegan cheese sauce in a separate pan using: vegan cheese shreds or pieces, unsweetened almond milk, refined coconut oil [or butter if you allow it] and plenty of salt, maybe a dash of vegetarian gelatin if you have it on hand. Don’t burn the tofu, just brown a little bit. Stir the cheese sauce frequently so it doesn’t scald and when it’s good and creamy, combine the two things in a bowl and you’re all set.
3-minute lunch: Eggs to the rescue again: scramble two eggs in a bowl, fill with raw kale and mix. Microwave for two or three minutes till you can see the egg puffed up and sturdy; instant bowl quiche!
Guacamole save: Don’t have any limes or lemons to use as acid for your guac? You can still make a bastardized version! Mash avocados as you normally would and then add a small [small!!!] amount of balsamic vinegar in place of any other ingredient (acids, onions, cilantro).
Lactose-free creamy substitute: Craving creaminess for your pasta, vegetables or proteins but your lactose intolerant? Use mayonnaise! The emulsified and [healthy!] fat will give you that creamy feeling without milk. Also do yourself a favor and use Hellmann’s.
Surviving a long flight
Bring ramen bowls! The giant kind that can be found in Asian supermarkets… I witnessed this hack being carried out by nearly every occupant of a 17-hour flight to China and I had never been more envious of someone’s genius or food. Think about it: ramen bowls are relatively cheap, they weigh next to nothing, and all that’s required is hot water which is one thing you are guaranteed access to [and for free!!!] on any flight, no matter how bare bones and stingy the airline.
Get an aisle seat. You may argue the window is superior but that is a fool’s position and someday you will change your mind, perhaps after nearly pissing yourself because the occupants of the middle and aisle seats were fast asleep and you were trapped; perhaps after suffering a stroke from a blood clot hitting your brain because you stayed in one place for 12 to 20 hours and never moved your body or revved up your circulation. Either way, the change of perspective is inevitable so you may as well get on board now. With the aisle seat you can get up whenever you like! That gives you access to unlimited activity, bathroom breaks, in-person food and beverage requests, etc… PLUS you get the freedom of leaning into the aisle space or stretching your legs in a way you that’s just not possible in any other seat placement. Just bring a good neck pillow and you’ll be golden.
Do you have any lifehacks of your own to add??? Post in the comments!