10 life hacks you might actually use…

Anyone who goes on social media sites (or even the internet generally) will have come across articles entitled things like “13 food hacks every chef should know” or “25 awesome uses for empty packaging”. Often these are filled with cool ideas, but generally they’re not things that you will use more than once, if ever (for example, using frozen grapes to chill wine is a clever idea, but mostly I just keep a bottle in the fridge for when I want it). Since I don’t have a great deal to write about this week, I thought I’d give a few ideas of my own (though not focussed on any particular subject). These are all ideas that I genuinely use on a regular basis, so hopefully you might actually find one of two of them handy some day.

When cutting a cake in half to put jam/cream in the middle…
… first score a line down one side of the cake. When you put the cake back together, you can line up the marks and your cake will be straight, even if the cut through the middle wasn’t quite perfect.

When receiving points vouchers from a supermarket…
… wrap them around your points card, so that there is no chance of forgetting to use them.

Instead of a regular photo for your phone’s lock screen…
… take a photo of a piece of paper with your email address, in case you lose it and someone honest finds it.

If you have a pizza stone that you don’t use (because you’re a sucker for buying random kitchen stuff, for example)…
… leave it in the bottom of your oven. The oven will take a little longer to heat up at first, but will return to temperature quicker when you open the door to add or remove stuff.

Frozen garlic…
… is fabulous stuff; no peeling, no chopping, no going off before the entire bulb is used.

Instead of unpeeling post-it notes from the bottom edge (i.e. the side opposite the glue)…
… unpeel them across from one side to the other. The glued part will curl less in the process and the note will stick better.

When organising bedding…
… fold your bedsheet, quilt cover and all but one pillowcase, then put them all inside the final pillowcase. This will keep them all together and save you rummaging around to find the matching set.

When cracking eggs…
… do so on a flat surface, rather than the edge of a bowl/jug; this is less likely to drive shell pieces inwards that you’ll have to fish out later.

If you have an iPad or iPhone…
… consider setting up keywords for things you regularly type (settings -> keyboard -> shortcuts). For example, I’ve set mine up so that typing a three letter acronym brings up my full email address… great for filling in forms and such like.

Self-sealable plastic bags…
… can be purchased on eBay in large numbers for a pittance and are brilliant for organising small cables (for USB chargers, cameras and such like); they stop the cables getting tangled with each other in a drawer and you can label each bag with what the cable belongs to.

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