What are your favorite life hacks?
July 7, 2010 12:26 AM   Subscribe

What are your favorite life hacks?

I've exhausted my AMF search-fu and can't quite find what I'm looking for. I'm interested in getting a good list of "life hacks" together; things that are simple solutions to every day problems.

The best ones make you go "Wow, that's clever" and "Gosh, in retrospect, that just seems so easy. Why didn't someone think of that before?" I've seen a few come by, like folding a t-shirt in two seconds, putting soap on your bathroom mirror to prevent it from fogging up, removing a broken light bulb with a potato, etc., but I know there must be a bunch more out there. You would think Lifehacker.com and Lifehack.org would actually be full of them, but not really.

Some of the other AMF posts on "hacks" have been specific to moviegoing and baby care and such, but I'm looking for stuff more in the mundane realm of day-to-day life.
posted by holterbarbour to Grab Bag (28 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Chatfilter. -- cortex

Rice cookers.
posted by aniola at 12:43 AM on July 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you need to go to the bathroom in the night, keep one eye closed when you turn on the light. When you're done and turn the light back off, your closed eye will still be night-adapted and you won't bump into walls getting back to bed.
posted by Mwongozi at 12:44 AM on July 7, 2010 [14 favorites]

Buy all the same brand white athletic socks so you don't have to worry about matches.
posted by k8t at 12:52 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you find a pair of shoes you really like, buy them again.

Don't buy home furnishings or accessories without knowing where they are actually going in your house.

Anything you don't use over a 12 month period, gather together and assess if you actually need it. If you still haven't used it after two years and haven't got rid of it, do it.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:27 AM on July 7, 2010

Microwave egg sandwiches.
posted by XMLicious at 1:36 AM on July 7, 2010

Everything goes with black, especially black.
posted by alex_reno at 1:44 AM on July 7, 2010

Use Notepad, Wordpad, Word for repetitive clippings/notes/etc. Eg, at work, there are tasks where we have to input one of a short list of various notes on accounts. Instead of typing a particular note each time, it's so much easier (and accurate) to have the notes all ready and just copy and paste.

Another thing is character limits on accounts. So instead of counting each character on the paper or on-screen, I just have a Notepad file with a string of 0-9 as many times as necessary, and paste the info underneath.

Also, when typing, you can often highlight, click, and drag, instead of highlight, cut, and paste (like on Metafilter).

Finally, instead of keeping all my mp3 "artist" tabs in alpha order, I put my favorite artists in between hyphens (eg, -Metallica-), so those are always at the top, and I don't have to scroll all the way down to get to them. Ditto for albums.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 2:01 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Don't buy drinks after 3am. You're only paying for a hangover.
posted by twirlypen at 2:03 AM on July 7, 2010 [4 favorites]

Sex hack. Let one person run the fuck. It doesn't have to be the same person each time. YMMV.
posted by By The Grace of God at 2:23 AM on July 7, 2010 [3 favorites]

Sex hack#1. If have the room, do it on another bed, so no one has to sleep in the wet spot.

Sex hack#2. Do it in the shower so you don't have to take a shower afterwards.
posted by new brand day at 2:37 AM on July 7, 2010

Use all your gears when cycling.

Also, always cycle in the gear that's slightly easier. It feels 'spinny' at first, but it puts much less strain on your legs, and especially your knees.

(I could put both of these late-learned bits of knowledge in the big 'what were you doing wrong?' thread that's running at the moment, too.)
posted by lapsangsouchong at 3:01 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Your wallet, your keys, your phone, your sunglasses -- all those things you always take with you when away from the house -- pick one place where they will live when you are at home, and always, ALWAYS put them there immediately upon your return from outdoors.

Similarly, always use the same pocket or purse/bag location for each of these items. When you walk out the door, you will know immediately if you've forgotten one.
posted by armoir from antproof case at 3:07 AM on July 7, 2010 [5 favorites]

If it takes less than 2 minutes to do, just do it now instead of waiting.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 3:24 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

If possible, check the mail only once a week and then deal with all bills, etc. at once.

Have dedicated beach bag/pool bag that contain towels, toys, goggles, sunscreen, etc.

Work out as soon as possible after waking up or it never happens.

At work, check email at regularly scheduled times, not incessantly.
posted by dzaz at 3:35 AM on July 7, 2010

Use all your gears when cycling.

Keep it simple. Throw away unnecessary crap like derailers.
posted by fixedgear at 4:31 AM on July 7, 2010

My dad does this - Makes spaghetti sauce, curry or other saucy dishes on a particular day. Fills cleaned out paper milk cartons with a sauce, freezes. When it comes time to cook, takes a frozen carton into his workshop and bandsaws off a portion. The rest goes back into the freezer while the portion goes into the microwave.
posted by the noob at 5:05 AM on July 7, 2010

You can hack bread by spreading butter on it, which makes it taste better. Similarly, you can hack butter by mixing in some roasted garlic. Use both of those hacks at once, and you've hacked yourself up some garlic bread.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:37 AM on July 7, 2010 [5 favorites]

Exercise regularly; something that gives your heart a good workout and makes you sweat. Your brain and your mood work a lot better that way.
posted by nihraguk at 5:39 AM on July 7, 2010

Tie your shoes and adjust your rear-vision mirrors as described in the links here.
posted by mono blanco at 5:43 AM on July 7, 2010

When in an argument or dispute with someone, try to remember that it is much better to be happy than right.
posted by Danf at 5:44 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Aerate your coffee or your tea either by pouring the hot water onto the grounds/leaves from a height or pouring the coffee/tea into the cup from a ditto, it tastes amazingly better with a bit of oxygen in it.

Furthermore, coffee is massively improved if made with water around 85C so don't let it come to a roiling boil, turn off your kettle and make your coffee when the "I'm getting hotter now" sound starts to change. Black tea, on the other hand, needs water and pot as hot as possible. That's why you bring the water to a full rolling boil and warm the teapot with boiling water first.
posted by mono blanco at 5:52 AM on July 7, 2010

If you find a pair of shoes you really like, buy them again.

In fact, do this within a few weeks so that you can be sure that they won't have gone out of stock. I have 5 untouched pairs of a particular model of Ecco shoe that fits my mutant feet perfectly in my closet.

Make checklists for packing bags on vacation, when you miss something (you will) add that item to the checklist so you don't miss it next time. (example from my list #24: Check plugs in destination country - do I need converters?).
posted by atrazine at 5:57 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

When in an argument or dispute with someone, try to remember that it is much better to be happy than right.

Realize that sometimes being happy means being right and having the other person realize or recognize that you are right.
posted by new brand day at 5:59 AM on July 7, 2010

My house's front door has a deadbolt lock and a lockable doorknob. When I go out, I only lock the deadbolt. The doorknob lock won't keep anyone out, and more importantly, I'll never lock myself out.

Same thing with the car. I never hit the driver's door lock button then close the door; I lock from the outside (power door lock means locking the driver's door locks all doors plus tailgate).
posted by hangashore at 6:02 AM on July 7, 2010

Wear black t-shirts as undershirts. Nobody will know (or care) about the color. On a warm spring day, strip off the outer layers, and you're dressed to the nines in a fashionable black t. Black always goes with black, as previously noted.

When dressing casual, befriend the hoodie. Not to look gangsta, but for the permanently available hat and neck warmer.

Exercise is an indulgence, a delight, a pleasure. A drug. Make it so.

Keep your shit together. Car shit, health shit, relationship shit, debt shit. Keep your shit intact and repaired, and you can release it from your mind.
posted by Gordion Knott at 6:13 AM on July 7, 2010

The rule of three. If you always want to be able to find something, you need to have three of them. Three hammers, three staplers, three corkscrews, etc.
posted by Lone_Wolf at 6:14 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Use Dropbox.

If you have bathrooms on multiple floors, keep a toothbrush in each.

Always carry a bandana.

Keep a spare shirt at work.
posted by activitystory at 6:19 AM on July 7, 2010

These things have all made my life easier:

Nobody needs to know that you think their favorite thing sucks. (Metafilter helped me learn this, I’m still learning it, but it has made life so much more pleasant for me and everyone around me.)

Don’t fight with people on the internet. It’s not worth it. We’re all pretty decent people.

Around the house, when it comes to tools, think in terms of tasks, not things. Assemble various kits to help complete certain tasks. Keep a pair of scissors with the wrapping paper and tape. This should not be your only pair of scissors. Keep a small tool kit in the kitchen, enough so that you don’t need to go to the basement every time you need to hang a picture or use a tape measure. Make a window cleaning kit and a bathroom cleaning kit. You get the idea.

If you camp, learn how to hang a tarp with a tautline hitch. This knot is so cool it might even get you laid.

Avoid toxic relationships.

If you’re lonely and you have no friends get out and do stuff. In a year you won’t be lonely and friendless.

Lifehacker.com is a waste of your time. kk.org/cooltools/ isn’t.

Digital cameras has made photography essentially free. Take pictures of stuff. Lots of stuff.

Tag / name / organize your digital photos every time you import them from your camera. Otherwise you’ll never get caught up.

Spend a weekend tagging your MP3s and then keep up with new ones.

If you have kids, choose your battles. If it’s cold and the kid refuses to wear a coat, let the fucker freeze. Next time he’ll wear a coat. No fight needed.

If you grew up in a dysfunctional family, get yourself a new family and break the cycle.
posted by bondcliff at 6:34 AM on July 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

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