Arguably one of the best things the Internet has spawned is the copious number of life hacks—quick solutions to everyday problems using common products in new ways—that float around in cyberspace. Whatever your dilemma, there’s a hack for it. And with so many of us looking to find ways to reduce, reuse and recycle, these hacks repurpose old items and help keep them out of landfills.
Take the ordinary bread clip, for example: a small, inconsequential and often annoying polystyrene tab on loaves of bread. Any kid worth his salt knows they look pretty cool on bike spokes, but did you know there are dozens upon dozens of practical, grown-up uses for them, too?
For starters, the clips can help you determine the freshness of the bread you’re buying. They’re color-coded according to which day of the week the bread was baked on: blue for Monday, green for Tuesday, red for Thursday, white for Friday, and yellow for Saturday. (For some reason, the system doesn’t include Wednesdays or Sundays, so buy the closest day’s color for the freshest bread.)
Here are 10 other uses for these handy (and free) little pieces of plastic:
- Use as a makeshift bookmark so you don’t lose your page.
- Clip matching socks together before washing or placing in drawers.
- Label computer, cable and other electrical cords.
- Keep earbud headphone cords untangled.
- Stick beneath the end of tape to mark the end of the roll.
- Help attach strands of lights to tree branches.
- Use as markers in your herb or flower garden to label plants.
- Last-minute wine glass charms—put your guests’ initials on them and clip on to glass stems.
- Use to label spare keys so you know what they unlock.
- Hold broken flip-flops in place from the bottom.
More life hacks you can’t live without
Travel Hack: Tie a small piece of bright fabric to your luggage. It’s easy to spot and saves you from checking bags to see if it’s yours.
Dorm Life Hack: Most dorms have a funky smell. Tape a scented dryer sheet over the AC unit or air vent in your room.
Battery Hack: To see if a battery is still good, drop it on a table from about 6 inches up. If it gives one small bounce and falls right over, it’s still good. If it bounces around any more than that, it’s dead or dying out.
Storage Hack: Hang a hanging plastic shoe rack to the back of a door and use it to hold cleaning supplies. Frees up space in your cabinet and you can keep them high up away from kids.
Painting Hack: To keep paint from running down the sides of your paint can, place a large rubber band around the can and across the top and use it to wipe your paint brush on to wipe off excess paint.
Car Hack: Use an upside down drink coozie on your car’s gear shift on hot days to keep it cool to the touch.
Camping Hack: Use your cellphone light underneath a full or half-full bottle of water for a makeshift lantern.
Leftovers Hack: When heating leftovers in the microwave, space out a circle in the middle of the food so it heats more evenly. Add a small glass of water in the microwave when reheating pizza to keep the crust from getting chewy.
Candle Hack: For a hard-to-reach candle wick, light a strand of dry spaghetti and use it to light the wick.
Onion Hack: To keep your eyes from tearing up, light a candle or turn on a fan close to where you’re cutting the onion. Some people also swear by holding a slice of bread in your mouth. An even better idea? Have someone else do the cutting! That hack works every time.
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Resources: Lifehack.org, Wise Bread, Wonderhowto.com, Green Ecoservices