Free and Cheap Life Hacks

January 1, 2023

I’ve collected and learned some useful life hacks to save you time and money, minimize messes, and save you from pain.

To limit your exposure to messy spills from water boiling over, get in the habit of keeping a wooden spoon handy! When you step away from your boiling water, merely lay the spoon across the top of the pot. The spoon will prevent the water from overflowing while you work on other parts of your meal!

If you want to get your headlights back to their brightest, consider applying a layer of Crest toothpaste to your plastic headlight covers. You literally want to cover all the plastic until it’s green. Polish the toothpaste with a rag before wiping it away to reveal the sparkling surface underneath. (This won’t help headlights dimmed by moisture on the inside of the plastic cover- that’s a different problem caused by water getting in).

Author’s contribution: I just saw an ad for a mosquito repeller. Years ago, I had heard that a B vitamin repelled mosquito, so I tried different ones. But testing only works when mosquitoes are out, and my inconsistent logging wasn’t providing useful data. So, I just tried taking a super B complex vitamin. Whatever repels mosquitoes, at least for me, is in the super B complex. Any brand seems to work, and they all change your pee (yes, urine) to a brighter shade. I never could conclude which B vitamin(s) repel mosquitoes but taking them all in a Super B Complex still works for me. I can be standing next to someone who’s getting eaten up and I may see a mosquito land on me and think about biting. If it thinks about it long enough I’ll just swat it. Most land, then don’t bite and leave. Your mileage may vary. As I said, something I tried that works for me, and probably costs a lot less than that powered device for mosquitoes that I just saw an ad for.

Another author’s contribution.

Is your older dog limping or having a hard time getting up? Possibly from the onset of Arthritis or Hip Dysplasia? Give them 500- 1500mg of MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) daily. I use the people kind from a box store (usually with Glucosamine and/or Chondroitin) for my dogs either wrapped in a cold cut, cheese, or dipped in peanut butter. Worked for every limping German Shepherd and other dogs I’ve rescued. MSM also worked as well as the prescription stuff for MY arthritis. I heard about it over 20 years ago from James Coburn on one of those shows right after the nightly news. His arthritis was so bad he could no longer work. Taking MSM allowed him to work again The last movie I saw him in, he was just doing some short cameos for his role in “Payback” with Mel Gibson. You can see the crippling effect rheumatoid arthritis had on him looking at his hands as he’s standing with his luggage and Mel shoots his suitcase. Not knowing he had rheumatoid arthritis I started taking MSM for my osteoarthritis since right after he mentioned it during that interview in the late nineties. It worked That’s why I first tried it on a limping pooch. To my surprise there was no sign of a limp after the first week. The above is just my experience and should not be considered as veterinary/medical advice.

Is your press to close zip type plastic bag too small for what you need to bag? What if it was twice as big? Take another identical plastic bag and turn it inside out. This way you can press the zip areas of the two of those bags together to store twice as much. This trick probably doesn’t work too well with liquids. But if a liquid is to be stored, you just use as many bags as needed (duh).

Have you ever hit the wrong nail while using a hammer? After you finish cussing while trying to shake away the pain, remember to try this for the next attempt to hammer nails without causing injury, you simply need to incorporate a clothespin. The clothespin can be used to hold your nail in place away from fingers while you size up your swing with your free hand. If you forget your clothespin, pliers work. If all you have is the hammer and nails, stick the nail through a layer or two of cardboard or a piece of Styrofoam. Be sure it’s long enough to keep fingers away from the hammer head. Once the nail is firmly started you can continue driving the nail using the nail holder as a stop gauge for leaving enough nail out to hang a picture. Or pull the cardboard or Styrofoam off over the nail head to finish driving the nail in. This leaves you enough cardboard or Styrofoam for more nails. If you don’t have to drive more nails, you don’t need to be too careful removing the nail holder. No one will miss the accidental swear word outbursts when you work smarter, not harder.

That reminds me, do you know how to hammer? Everyone thinks they do, because they have all swung a hammer at some time, but most don’t. Next time you drive by a new house during framing, or any house getting a new roof, take a few minutes to stop and observe them driving nails. You may observe what I was told my first day hanging sheetrock (or drywall, or wallboard, they all mean the same thing). What I was told my first day is “You don’t know how to hammer!”. I quickly learned you can’t hammer for eight hours if you’re using your whole arm and your elbow as the pivot point for swinging the hammer. That’s pretty much how most people instinctively use a hammer. But to hammer nails all day, it’s all in the wrist. It’s that simple. Your arm and elbow get the hammer where it needs to be so all the motion to drive nails in any direction is from the wrist. And swinging from your wrist takes much less physical effort when driving nails all day. I really appreciated learning that first thing on my first day hanging sheet rock. And I still drive nails with a hammer moving only my wrist.

Enjoy Drip Free Painting with a rubber band.

Simply place a large enough rubber band around the bottom and top so it’s across the middle of the open paint container you will be working with. Instead of making a mess on the top and down the side of the can by using the rim to remove excess paint from your brush, use the rubber band in the middle of the can to remove the excess. Using the rubber band to remove the excess will keep paint in the can and not on the can. It also avoids paint spattering when tapping the lid firmly back on the can. It’s a much neater way to paint but you should probably still use a drop cloth.

Who doesn’t like a great grilled cheese sandwich? If you are like most people, you can probably still enjoy one of the finest comfort foods known to man. For those chefs looking to make their grilled cheese as effortlessly as possible, consider turning your toaster into a one-machine grilled cheese producer!

Unplug your toaster, press down the lever that lowers the bread and starts the toasting and flip it onto its side. Put your bread in with the cheese resting centered on top of each bread slice (centering the cheese helps keep cheese out of the toaster). Now, keeping your toaster on its side and a slice of bread with cheese on top in each slot, all you must do is plug it in to toast your bread like normal. When the toaster is done, out pops two slices of cheese toast. Put the cheese sides together and enjoy an almost instant grilled cheese sandwich.

Proper use of a hammer was obviously another life hack from me although not clearly stated at the beginning

Here is another one just for the men out there. If you are having or ever have prostate problems, you should first try this ancient, all natural, remedy. It can be found in the supplement section of drug stores. Saw Palmetto. It’s so natural I bought a bottle once with capsules stuffed with green leaves from the plant. On the label of a bottle of Saw Palmetto I recently saw it says “Traditionally used for prostate and urinary health”. Just read the label and take as directed. I’ll leave it at that.