Everyday Items We’ve Been Using Wrong the Whole Time

Saucepan Handles

We get so used to some everyday items that we don’t even think about them after a while. We pick up habits and we just keep on using them the way we’ve always used them — but what if the way we’ve been using these everyday items has been wrong this whole time? There are some things we’re so used to doing but these things deserve a second look so we can use them the way they were meant to be used. Here are the everyday items we’ve been getting wrong all along.

Saucepan Handles

Eating is something we all do every day, and there’s very little eating that doesn’t start as cooking. The upside of cooking is it inevitably leads to eating, but the downside is it inevitably leads to cleaning up afterward.

Photo by LIPSTIQ // POOJA SHETH

If you’ve ever made a mess by dipping a spoon in a saucepan of food and then leaving the spoon out on the countertop, then this handy trick will be a lifesaver. Almost every saucepan has a hole in the handle, and you can use this to balance the spoon and save yourself the clean up after.

Running Shoes

Tying your shoes is one of the first things you learn when you’re growing up, and most of us just leave it there once we’ve got the hang of it. When it comes to running shoes, though, there are some extra steps you can take to get better results.

Photo by Quora // Sachin Dabodiya

The extra holes you’ll find in running shoes can be used to tighten up the laces. You can tie the shoes without them, but the tighter your running shoes fit, the less of a chance you’ll end up with blisters.

Drink Cartons

Pouring yourself a glass of milk or filling up a bowl of cereal sometimes leads to accidents. There’s no use crying of spilled milk and that’s because it happens all the time. There’s something about all that liquid sloshing around that makes it harder to keep control.

Photo by Pinterest // @drinksfeed

Unless that is, you try this simple trick. If you pour milk from the other side of the carton there’s less milk sloshing around and it’s easier to hold it steady. It may seem weird, but give it a try and see how it works.

Wooden Hangers

There are two ways to manage your wardrobe: by throwing all your clothes in a big pile on a chair, which is not ideal, or by hanging them up in the closet. We probably don’t think too much about the kind of hangers we use, though.

Photo by Instagram // @mankan.shayan

That’d be a mistake — it turns out there’s a secret behind the wooden hangers you can find. You might already have some laying around your closet, waiting to be used. Wooden hangers repel moths, so for added protection give it a go for keeping your wardrobe safe.

Takeout Containers

Those little cardboard takeout boxes that you get with Chinese food delivery are iconic. Who hasn’t had a quiet night in watching Netflix and munching Chinese straight from the box? Well, apparently there’s more than one way to do it.

Photo by Facebook // Kings Garden Restaurant

Instead of scraping around inside the bottom of the box for the last of your noodles, you can unfold these containers and use them as a plate. There’s no need for using additional dishes, you can just eat from the plate that’s been provided. That makes it a lot easier and it saves on the washing up.

Car Headrests

If you’ve ever been a bored passenger waiting in a car for your driver to get it together, you might’ve played around with the headrests and discovered a strange fact: they come right off if you pull them up. It seems a bit useless. Why would you remove a headrest?

Photo by LIPSTIQ // POOJA SHETH

There’s one particular reason why you might want to do so: if you’re ever trapped in a car, then in cases of emergency these removable headrests can be used to break a window. Be careful, and pray the day never comes that you’ll need this knowledge, but keep it in mind!

Backpack Patches

There are little details all over the place that we ignore every day, thinking that they’re just decorative, or getting so used to them that we never stop to wonder what they’re for — if anything. You might’ve noticed just such a detail on some backpacks: the diagonal leather patch.

Photo by Pinterest // @businessinsider

Wonder no more! These are usually on backpacks that are intended for use in the great outdoors, and you can attach your hiking gear, your joggers, any other equipment you might need when you’re out and about.

Aluminum Foil Boxes

There are little details we ignore because we’ve got so used to them, and then there are the details we miss entirely. These are the useful little tricks that are hidden in plain sight because we never think to look. One such helpful details can be found on most boxes of aluminum foil.

Photo by popsugar // Hilary White

On the side of the box, you’ll find a little tab that you can push in. It’s simple enough, but it holds the roll of foil in place. That makes it much easier to unroll a sheet and tear it off, solving one of the frustrations of using foil.

Soda Can Tabs

Is there anything more common than the tab of a soda can? You pull it, open the can, you drink, you forget all about it. There’s nothing special about it, there’s no little trick — or so most of us think, until we learn the use of it.

Photo by X // @CincoDeMichael

If you’ve ever lost your straw in a soda can, or had it fall out, you’ll be pleased to discover a use for the little hole in the tab. Slot your straw through and it holds everything in place, making it much easier to manage.

Measuring Tape Diamonds

Another little detail that’s easy to miss is on a tool we all have, but which we might not use all that often, our tape measure. Everyone’s seen a tape measure and most of us have used one, but there’s more to it than just stretching it out and counting the numbers.

Photo by Pinterest // @travelerdoor

There are tiny markings on tape measures that are there to help you find the right position for wall studs. These black diamonds are known as “stud finders,” and they can help mark the center point between two studs.

Pasta Ladles

This has happened to everyone who ever cooked pasta: you think you’ve picked the perfect serving size, only to find you’ve got too much pasta. Pasta always grows when you cook it, and you can end up with way too much — or worse, with just a little bit extra, but not quite enough to save for later.

Photo by X // @y_vansmith

The little hole in a pasta ladle can help save the day. You can use it to measure out how much pasta you should cook, and it tends to give you just the right amount for a meal for one.

Fuel Gauges

Something you get used to, over time, is which side of the car your fuel tank is on. You get so used to it that you don’t think about it — that is, until you’re driving a car you don’t recognize, like a friend’s car, or a rental. The only way to figure it out is by remembering to check before you need to refuel.

Photo by X // @WebFlair

Well, there is another way! Check for the little arrow on the fuel gauge by the pump symbol. It’ll point you to the right side — the arrow indicates which side of the car has the fuel tank.

Oven Drawers

The more you cook, the more utensils and trays and pots and pans you end up needing, the more space you need to find to store it all. Plenty of people end up using the drawers in their over for just that purpose, storing whatever will fit.

Photo by FAQtoids // Jake Schroeder

There’s more to these over drawers, though — they can also be used to store food that’s been cooked if you aren’t ready to serve them immediately.

Condiment Cups

If you like ketchup or mustard or some other condiment with your fast food, you might find that the little cups they serve them in aren’t quite the right size for you. There’s hardly enough room for very much of the stuff, and it can be a hassle squeezing your food in there.

Photo by reddit // u/mildlyinteresting

There’s a trick to this if you know how — you can flatten the cup before you pour in your condiment. That way, there’s more space for you to use, and a wider area for you to dunk your fries or chicken nuggets.

Shopping Cart Loops

Not very many of us will take the time to really look at a shopping cart and wonder how it’s designed. It’s a cart — it’s got space on the inside for your groceries, it’s got wheels on the bottom to move it around, and it’s got a handle for you to push it. That’s all, right?

Photo by reddit // u/lifehacks

Not quite — there’s another handy feature that many of us might miss. There are loops on shopping carts that can be used to hold your grocery bags, keep them upright if they have fragile items, or store extra if you’ve got a lot of groceries.

Bananas

Okay, there has to be a mistake here — there’s no trick to eating a banana, right? It’s the simplest thing in the world to do. You grab the stem, you pull, the skin peels off, you eat it. Well, sometimes it doesn’t peel quite so easily. In fact, sometimes it can be a real pain.

Photo by Quora // Hannah Layman

There is another way — grab the bottom of the banana, and peel from there. The skin comes off much easier. That’s why monkeys do it this way, and when it comes to bananas monkeys know best.

Plungers

There are things we don’t think about all that much, and then there are things we don’t want to think about all that much. In the latter category are plungers — you’d rather not have much to do with them unless it’s really necessary.

Photo by Facebook // Sunshine State Plumbing

Spending a bit of time understanding your plungers can be useful, though, because different plungers are used for different problems. A flat plunger is fine for a sink, but if you need to use one on your toilet you’ll need one with a tapered end.

Juice Boxes

There’s nothing better than a juice box on a hot summer’s day. Sure, if you squeeze it too hard, juice can go everywhere and leave a sticky mess — but if you’re a kid, someone else will clean that up. You don’t have to worry about it.

Photo by tumblr // Love Takes Work

Unless you do. If you’re the one who has to do the cleaning, you’d rather kids didn’t make a mess with their juice boxes. That’s why it’s helpful to open up the flaps on the bottom of the juice box, to give them something to hold when they’re drinking.

Highway Signs

Getting to where you need to go can have a thousand things go wrong—issues with your vehicle, with traffic, not to mention figuring out how to get there. There are a thousand and one signs on the highway that you need to pay close attention to.

Photo by WKAR // Jeff Powers // Flickr Creative Commons

When you need to make an exit, there’s a helpful tip that will make things easier: if the sign for your destination is on the left, then your exit will be on the left. If it’s on the right, then your exit will be on the right. Simple!

Dental Floss

There’s one thing a dentist will always tell you to do: floss. They ask us how often we do it, and no matter how convincingly we might lie about it they’ll always remind us. For something so important, though, it sure can be a pain.

Photo by reddit // u/LifeProTips

Here’s a trick: tie your floss in a knot. It increases the tension of the floss and makes it easier to maneuver. It also makes it less likely that you’ll lose your grip. You’ll never have to disappoint a dentist again.

Plastic Cup Lid Spoons

A yogurt or a cup of fruit can be a good, healthy snack to keep you going through the day. The worst thing is when you’re really looking forward to your mid-morning snack and you realize that you forgot to bring a spoon.

Photo by worldtravelling // Adam Walker

Luckily, there’s a makeshift option to solve that problem. The lids on these plastic cups are usually sturdy enough for you to make a spoon. Twist the lid into the right shape and enjoy your snack.

Toilet Seat Covers

Sometimes, when you’re out in the world, necessity strikes. It might not be convenient, especially when a dirty public restroom is the only option, but when you’ve gotta go you’ve gotta go.

Photo by reddit // u/mildlyinteresting

Toilet seat covers can make a big difference, but once you’ve pulled them out to use what do you do with the handle? Some people try to fit it at the back of the toilet or even rip it off entirely, but give this a try: leave the handle around the front, making it easier to flush.

Tic Tacs

Keeping your breath fresh is a matter of pride for many of us. There are people who won’t go anywhere without a pack of gum or some Tic Tacs. The trouble with Tic Tacs, though, is that they’ll come spilling out when all you wanted was one or two.

Photo by X // @NThabisanang

It doesn’t have to be that way. There’s a trick to everything — even Tic Tacs. Turn the pack upside down and use the lid as a dispenser for one Tic Tac at a time. Easy!

Fabric Samples

Those little patches that come with a new set of clothes — how useful are they, really? If you ever tear your clothes, are you going to have enough fabric to cover the tear? Who even knows how to sew these days?

Photo by worldtravelling // Adam Walker

Well, it turns out that’s not really what it’s for. It’s a fabric sample, and you can use it to test in your washing machine or with whatever products you use for your laundry. Throw the sample through the wash and see how it fares — that way, you’ll know if it’s safe to put your new clothes through the same process.

Detergent

Detergent keeps your clothes clean and fresh, but it can cause damage if you use too much of it. How can you be sure you’re getting the right balance of cleaning your laundry thoroughly, but not going overboard?

Photo by Pinterest // @yahoolifestyle

Usually, the cap of your detergent will have a marker, or there’ll be instructions on the bottle to let you know how to measure it out. That way you can be sure you’re using the right amount — no more, no less.

Hair Pins

There are some things in life that seem so simple, we just pick them up on our own. Using a hair pin is one of those things. How hard can it be? So we don’t bother to learn how it’s done — we just jump right in.

Photo by worldtraveling // Adam Walker

Unfortunately, that means some of us are doing the simplest things incorrectly. When it comes to hair pins, a lot of people face the bumpy side down, but it should be the other way. Face the bumpy side up and see the difference — your hair pins will stay in much easier.

Staple Removers

There are some items with hidden details and some items with little tricks to them that can help out when you’re using them. Then there are things like staple removers, which you can use for purposes other than their main intention.

Photo by reddit // u/pics

Removing your keys from your keychain can be a tricky business. When you move houses or change jobs, you’ll have to turn in your keys, and you don’t want to hurt your fingers doing it. Just grab a staple remover and pry your keychain open — simple and effective, not to mention painless.

Toothpaste

Going overboard can sometimes be just as much of an issue as not going far enough. When it comes to keeping your teeth clean, this is definitely true. Too much toothpaste is a waste, so you should only be using as much as you need.

Photo by buzzfeed.news // Elaine Thompson // AP

This can be different for different toothpastes, so check the packaging, or if you really want to be sure about it then check with your dentist the next time you see them. If you’re using the right amount of toothpaste, your smile will thank you.

Shampoo

Keeping clean is great, and a hot shower feels amazing too — especially on a cold night or a gloomy morning. When it comes to washing your hair, it turns out there’s a trick to using shampoo as well.

Photo by Quora // Jagdeep Malik

Greasy hair is a nasty business, and you’ll want to keep yourself fresh. In that case, focus on your scalp — that’s where the oils that get in your hair come from, after all, so why not deal with them at the source?

Mascara

When you’re doing your makeup, there’s one danger in particular that everyone wants to avoid: clumpy mascara. It can really ruin your routine and waste your products. Sadly, it’s happened to the best of us.

Photo by Freepik // darkwisper

Mascara can get clumpy when it dries out, so make sure you aren’t leaving it out to dry — and try to avoid pushing air into the bottle when you’re applying it. That can dry it out as well, leading to clumpier mascara and frustration.

Heinz Ketchup

Sometimes, life is hard. You’ve had a rough day in the office, you’ve had a fight with your partner, your friends are too busy to talk it over. You just want to settle down and have a quiet night and eat a meal in peace. Then, the final straw: your ketchup won’t come out of the bottle.

Photo by Pinterest // thetimessunday

It can be tempting (and cathartic) to smack the bottom of the ketchup bottle as hard as you possibly can — but that might not be the best way to get what you want. On a Heinz ketchup bottle, the round “57” sticker is in the perfect place. Give it a few solid taps and enjoy.

Oranges

An orange is a delicious snack, it’s good for you, and it’s lots of fun to eat as well. Except once you’re done, there’s juice everywhere, and you’re all sticky. There’s a better way to do it that avoids all the mess, and makes the whole experience easier too.

Photo by reddit // u/pics

Cut the orange on both ends, top and bottom, and then you can just pull it open. The orange will unwrap conveniently and you can use the skin to keep it all together. Very handy.

Natural Peanut Butter

Natural peanut butter has a lot of advantages, and that’s why it’s become so popular — that, and it tastes delicious, of course. One of the problems can be when you put your peanut butter away, and when you come back to grab it for a snack the oil has separated.

Photo by shutterstock // inewsfoto

Give this a try: store your peanut butter upside down. That way, rather than pooling on top, the oil is easier to mix back in and you can enjoy your peanut butter with much less hassle.

Slow Cookers

A watched pot never boils, and a checked slow cooker just gets slower and slower. A slow cooker is a great way to prepare a meal with minimum effort, but you need to be patient. It’s called a slow cooker for a reason.

Photo by shutterstock // Lighttraveler

Checking your slow cooker is a great way to let all the heat out, and trapping the heat is how a slow cooker does its thing. The more heat that’s trapped, and the longer it stays trapped, the better your meal will cook. So stay patient and don’t disturb your slow cooker until it’s ready.

Dishwashers

Dishwashers are a real time-saver, but you have to use them right to get the advantages. Stacking everything in the dishwasher is simple enough, but doing it right can make things a lot easier and can make sure everything gets as clean as possible.

Photo by Facebook // LH Brubaker Appliances Inc.

Make sure you don’t get anything in the way of the detergent dispenser and keep an eye on which way the spray is coming from. Face the spray towards the dirtiest items to get the best wash.

Vegetable Peelers

There’s only one way to use a vegetable peeler, but it does more than just peeling the outside of a vegetable. You can use it to peel vegetables in just about any way imaginable, which can really come in handy when you have a meal to prepare.

Photo by Facebook // Tiendas Me Salvé

Try using your vegetable peeler to slice onions. Chopping onions with a knife works well enough, but sometimes you want thinner strips and you don’t have the patience to slice everything up nice and thin.

Blenders

Blenders are easy enough to use — just throw everything in there and turn it on. Let it whirl away for a few minutes and then you’ve got yourself a smoothie. Simple, right? There’s nothing more to it.

Photo by Pinterest // @Abans_LK

Except there is a trick that can stop your blender from getting stuck, and make sure your smoothie is as smooth as it can be: put the liquids in first. That way, the action of the blades will pull the solid down and it distributes everything more evenly.

Analog Watch

What more can you do with an analog watch than tell the time? There’s a trick to keeping your screen saver from coming on and prevent your computer from locking you out, and it involves using your watch.

Photo by Facebook // Christar Computer System

If you need to step away from your computer, place your laser mouse over the top of your analog watch. The mouse will read the ticking of the second or minute hand and will keep your computer active, so you don’t have to retype your password.

Underwear Pocket

Okay, so first thing’s first – apparently, that little extra piece of fabric in your underwear actually has a name! It’s called a gusset and it’s mostly there to make your undergarments more durable and comfortable to wear. It turns out, though, that the pocket it sometimes creates is mostly due to lazy manufacturing.

Photo by X // @PastorOchola

On high-end underwear, that extra lining is sewn shut on both ends, but on cheap clothes, it’s only sewn on one side, creating the infamous pocket. A nifty little hack is to use it to hide an extra hygienic pad if you really want to.

Clothes Hangers

Moving houses can be a major hassle, so any trick that can make it even a little bit easier is welcomed by anyone making a move. When it comes to relocating your clothes, your clothes hangers can come in handy in more ways than one.

Photo by Pinterest // boredpanda

Once you’ve hung your clothes up, hang those hangers from another hanger. If you’ve got a lot of clothes, strengthen it with two or three extra hangers. That way you can relocate your wardrobe with ease.

Peanut Butter Jars

Hanging out by the water is a great way to spend a hot day or a lazy afternoon. The trouble is, we all carry around electronics these days, and electronics really don’t like water. You want to be able to keep your things safe from thieves, and safe from accidents as well.

Photo by W. DIY and Crafts // Courtney Constable

A plastic peanut butter jar can really help you out, here. Clean it out and bring it in your bag, and use it to keep your keys, phone, and wallet dry. You can keep an eye on things, and it keeps them dry as well.

Slushy Lids

This trick is a bit different than the others on this list — it involves using something wrong on purpose. Here’s a trick that will help you get a little extra next time you go grab a slurpee from 7-Eleven.

Photo by X // @FoodPorn

Simply turn the lid upside down for an extra bit of space. Fill yourself up to the brim and then some, quickly and easily, and enjoy better value. Just watch out for the additional risk of brain freeze.

Coca Cola

Coca Cola is everywhere, and there’s no denying it’s delicious. There’s a reason it’s one of the world’s most popular sodas. There are a lot of other uses for the beverage, though — some people use it to settle an upset stomach, but the acidity of Coca Cola can also make it useful for other things.

Photo by Facebook // Dr Njobvu Pharmacy

Some people will use it to clean tiles, porcelain, and to remove rust. It may seem strange, but plenty of people swear by it.

Sponges

Keeping your food fresh and your cold meals cold can be a challenge. There’s a simple way to create an impromptu ice pack whenever you need it, though, just by grabbing an everyday item like a sponge. Just fill a fresh sponge with water, place it in a plastic bag, and stick it in the freezer.

Photo by Pinterest // @buzzfeed

The frozen sponge will stay cold for a long time. Just make sure you’re using a fresh, clean sponge — and make sure the bag you use is watertight!

Tissue Box

If you’ve lived in one place for any amount of time, chances are you’ve accumulated hundreds of thousands of plastic bags over the years. Okay — maybe not quite so many, but it can sure seem that way at times.

Tissue Box

What do you do with them all? Well, here’s an idea: put your plastic bags in old tissues boxes. It keeps them compact and makes them easy to reach when you need them. That’s a great way to reuse your plastic bags and your old tissue boxes, too.

Curtain Rings

Closet space comes at a premium, especially when you’ve got an extensive wardrobe and not enough space to put everything. A clothing rack can only hold so many hangers — but how many clothes can a single hanger fit?

Photo by brightside

If you reuse your old curtain rings, the answer is a lot. You can hang the rings from a hanger and put your scarves through there, or anything else that will fit, to save space and make things easier to look through as well.

Lollipop Lifesaving Stick

Many would have noticed the little hole at the end of their lollipop stick. If you haven’t, next time you’ve got a lollipop (any kind as they all have this feature), take a look at the end of the stick. Nope, it’s not a whistle. It’s a life-saving hole that’s part of the production process.

Photo by Facebook // Malaysian Viral Facts

When the liquid candy is being poured, it fills the hole, so the candy adheres to the stick and won’t get dislodged and stuck in your throat!

Extension Cords

When working with extension cords, it’s quite easy to get frustrated, everything is set up, and you are ready to start with whatever it is, but then you lose power. To avoid the cumbersome task of constantly having to check on the cables and replug them when they’ve come undone, tie up the ends of your extension cords.

Photo by GO Social

Now you will never find yourself disconnected from your source of power ever again when you loop your extension cords together like this!

How to Expertly Eat a Toblerone

While we might have thought that there is no wrong way of eating Toblerone — whether it’s nibbling at it, biting off a piece, or inhaling it whole — there’s certainly an easier way to breaking off those delicious triangles. According to the experts, at least. You’ve probably been breaking pieces off by pulling them to the outside.

Photo by X // @AbtSwitzerland

This can take some skill and muscle power, and often results in messy pieces. Push the piece towards the bar and get a perfect segment of tasty chocolate.

Cupcake Sandwich

Who would have thought that cupcakes make for fantastic sandwiches? Sometimes, with so much icing on the top and dry cake on the bottom, a cupcake can be an unbalanced treat. So why not eat a cupcake sandwich-style? Start by cutting the cupcake through the middle, or you could simply use your hands by twisting the top half from the bottom half.

Photo by reddit // u/foodhacks

Turn the bottom half of the cupcake upside down and place it over the top half, so the frosting is in between.

Rearview Mirror

Use the rearview mirror tab to stave off those bright lights. Next time some guy has his high beams on and blinds you through your rearview mirror, remember to press down on the tab of your rearview mirror, so it angles down. That way, the light reflects downwards without impacting your field of vision.

Photo by boredpanda // Jonas Grinevičius and Mindaugas Balčiauskas

On manual tilt versions, a tab is used to adjust the mirror between “day” and “night” positions. In the day view position, the front surface is tilted, and the reflective back side gives a strong reflection.

Padlock Hole for Smoother Use

If you have ever flipped over a padlock, you’ll see a needle-sized hole at the bottom. It turns out, there’s a reason they’re there. These little holes are for drainage and lubrication. If trapped water were to freeze without any expansion room, then in all likelihood, the locks could be damaged or even impossible to open until thawed.

Photo by reddit // u/lockpicking

Also, if the key isn’t turning because it’s rusty, just pour a few drops of oil in the hole, and it will get everything moving again.

Condition First

According to the experts, you shouldn’t be applying your conditioner to your scalp first. How to properly use conditioner means starting at the ends, where your hair is the driest, most damaged, and has split ends, then work your way up. If you start on the top first, you risk making your scalp and roots oily.

Photo by Facebook // Jet Rhys Salon

Then you shampoo your hair as your hair now has been conditioned. It will protect your hair better from breakage, as well as give you better volume as the conditioner will now all be washed out and not leave your hair flat.

Wooden Spoon for Your Pasta

You’ve undoubtedly never seen this trick unless you have a beloved Italian nonna. Balancing a wooden spoon across a pot of cooking pasta can prevent the water from boiling over and creating an unsightly, sticky mess all over our stovetop. It’s almost magical, that’s how easy it is.

Photo by Pinterest // @ranker

A dry wooden spoon destabilizes the bubbles when they come into contact with the water-repelling surface, and this makes the boiling water retreat. The wooden spoon, being considerably cooler than 100°C, thus works to break the bubbles and make the foam withdraw.

Milk Jug

Ever wondered what the dent on a milk jug is for? Most people might not have heard of this one, this is perhaps the most useful tip of them all. The dent on a milk jug has two purposes. The first is that it absorbs any shock if and when the jug gets dropped.

Photo by X // @mohamedmansour

The other is to expand outward when there is excess gas in the jug, thus letting the consumer know when the milk has spoiled. Isn’t that neat?

Bread Tags

Once you’re done with your bread, you’re probably done with your bread tags. Most people don’t think twice before throwing the tags out with the bread bag (and usually, the crusts, too.) There’s more that they can do than hold a bread bag closed, though.

Photo by reddit // u/lifehacks

You can use your bread tags to keep your cords organized, by clipping them together — or by writing notes on the tags, and keeping them as reminders.

Phone Charger

While it may be tempting to leave your phone charging overnight, that’s actually the worst thing you can do for most devices! Overcharging a phone can wear out the battery and cause it to die much faster.

Photo by Quora // Irangika Abeysundara

In fact, it’s recommended not to charge your phone 100% at all! While most of us can’t last a whole day without knowing that our phones have battery, it’s best to at least unplug your device as soon as it’s done charging.

Grill

You may think you’re a master at the grill but this will be the ultimate test — do you move the food from high-heat to low-heat spots? That’s right, not every part of the grill is the same. In fact, different areas get different levels of heat, so you’ll want to place your food accordingly.

Photo by Travel Voyage Trek

It’s also worth holding your food over some of the high-heat spots, rather than placing it directly on the grill so that it doesn’t burn.

Freezer

We all know that feeling of disappointment when you reach for some pre-made food just to find out that it got freezer burn. In order to prevent this from happening, you need to be careful with how you place food in the freezer.

Photo by Facebook // Dowell Furniture

Overcrowding your freezer will result in that dreaded freezer burn, as will blocking the vents. If you put food in front of the freezer vents, the air won’t be able to circulate properly and your food won’t freeze at the right temperature.

Washing Machine

Even the best homebodies may not know some of these washing machine tricks! If you’re unsure as to what kind of cycle to wash your clothes in, always opt for cold water as that’s the least likely to ruin your clothes.

Photo by shutterstock // Damian Lugowski

Don’t fill your machine more than two-thirds of the way because you want the clothes to have room to soak. Lastly, when you’ve finished doing your washing, leave the machine door open so the washing machine can air out and won’t get moldy.

Sunscreen

We all know to put sunscreen on, especially for a day at the beach. However, this vital product is wildly underutilized! Applying sunscreen at the beginning of a beach day simply isn’t enough. Doctors recommend re-applying sunscreen every two hours.

Photo by shutterstock // Ground Picture

They also suggest using sunscreen of at least SPF 30, as anything lower than that just won’t provide enough protection. Lastly, even spray sunscreens need to be rubbed in. We know, that kind of defeats the purpose but those are doctors’ orders!

Robot Vacuum

We hate to break it to you but robot vacuums were never meant to fully replace vacuuming. You still need to do that chore yourself, you can just do it less often if you have a robot vacuum.

Photo by Facebook // Science Robotics Blog

Robot vacuums are meant to maintain one’s house in between deep cleanings — not replace regular vacuuming altogether. Keep in mind that your robot vacuum is still a robot and will miss spots that a person probably wouldn’t.

Toilet Paper

The long-standing debate about how to set the toilet paper roll has finally been resolved! Toilet paper is meant to be placed “over” not “under.” The reason is that when the toilet paper is “over” the roll, it’s further away from the wall and therefore more sanitary.

Photo by shutterstock // Jim Schubert

If you’re still not convinced, the patent for toilet paper (which was issued back in 1891) contains an illustration with the toilet paper placed “over.” We rest our case.

Tissue Paper

If you’re using tissue paper just for gift wrapping, you’re not using it wrong per se, but you’re not getting everything you can out of this product. If you need to pack for a trip and you’ve got clothes that tend to wrinkle, you can place them between sheets of tissue paper.

Photo by Facebook // Kansaam Traders

The tissue paper will prevent any wrinkles from setting into the clothes. In case you haven’t gotten any gifts lately, you can do the same thing with dry cleaning bags and get the same result.

Yogurt Toppings

We all love a good yogurt with those delicious toppings! However, if you’re scooping the toppings out with a spoon and then placing them into the yogurt, you’re just adding extra steps to your snack.

Photo by Pinterest // @kttygrl

Yogurt containers are designed to fold so that you can dump the toppings directly into the yogurt. While this may not make a huge difference to your day, it can definitely save you some time during that morning rush to work!

Toothbrush

A lot of people keep their toothbrushes in their medicine cabinet, or they place a piece of plastic on top of the toothbrush when they’re done using it.

Photo by shutterstock // Africa Studio

Unfortunately, what they’re really doing is placing something that’s wet in a closed, dark container — which can result in some nasty bacteria. Instead, keep your toothbrush out in the open and let it air out to dry. Just make sure that you keep the bathroom nice and clean!

Pill Box

A pill box is great if you’ve got medication that you need to get through, and you need to remember when to take what. There are other uses, though — if you want to stay organized, you can use a pill box to sort just about anything.

Photo by shutterstock // valiantsin suprunovich

From screws and bolts to the backs of an earring and other bits of jewelry, a pill box can be a great way to organize your stuff in a convenient and easy to remember way.

Soda Cup Lids

Who thinks about the soda they buy at the movies, or when picking up some take out? These sodas come in paper cups with a plastic lid, and you’d think it was simple enough to get right. The lid goes on top and the straw goes in the lid. Right?

Photo by Pinterest // @travelerdoor

Well, it all depends on where you’re taking your drink. If you want to stand around holding it, then that’s all well and good, but if you want to put it down on a surface you can fit the cup into the lid as a temporary coaster. It’s an easy way to protect your tabletops.

Keychain Bottle Openers

It seems like everyone has picked up a keychain bottle opener at some stage in their life. These little things sort of just seem to appear — they get handed out as promotions and are included in all kinds of gift bags, but don’t throw them away if you find them.

Photo by Pinterest // @boredpanda

These things attach easily to your keychain, and they’re not just useful for opening bottles. You can turn them around and use the other side to open a can. Save your nails the trouble and avoid fidgeting about with aching fingers trying to get to your soda.

Dress Shirt Loops

If you’ve ever looked closely enough at a dress shirt, you’ll have seen the little loop of fabric that’s under the collar — it’s in the middle of your shoulders when you’re wearing the shirt. If you’re like us, you probably didn’t think much of this odd little detail.

Photo by yahoo!style // Yahoo Canada Style

It’d be a mistake to ignore these little loops, though. They can come in handy when you need to hang your shirt up without a hanger. If you spill something, if you need to take it off when you’re out and about, or if you’re at home without a hanger for some reason — hook the loop and hang your shirt easily.

25+ Lifesaving Tips Every Woman Who Lives Alone Should Keep in Mind

Safety Tips for Women Who Live Alone

Living alone can be an incredibly liberating experience that helps you learn about yourself in the best way possible. That said, being on your own may make you worry about the dangers of the world more than when you share a home with others. Well, by implementing these safety tips, you’ll feel perfectly secure living solo — no strings attached!

Announce Your Arrival

Say ‘hello’ and announce that you’re home when getting in, even if that means you’re just greeting an empty room. By loudly expressing you’ve returned, you’re making it seem as if someone’s home waiting for you — which is exactly what you want people to believe.

Announce Your Arrival

If you feel a bit silly doing this, get a pet that you can greet! Just make sure not to loudly offer them their chew toy while you’re announcing your presence.

Send a Text When You’re Home

Create a habit within your friend group that you all text each other upon arriving home from a night out. Set up a policy that if someone in the chat doesn’t answer within the agreed-upon time frame, somebody will call her.

Send a Text When You’re Home

This is an excellent way to ensure that — if there’s an issue — people are aware of where you were last and how you were getting home. Hopefully, though, that text chain will just be full of sleeping face emojis.

Always Lock Your Doors

It may seem obvious to always keep your door locked, but you’d be surprised how often people slip up when it comes to this safety procedure. Haven’t you ever said to yourself, “Oh, well, I’m going back out in just a minute” or been guilty of leaving the door unlocked while you took the trash out?

Always Lock Your Doors

It’s easy to become less vigilant over time, but remember that people with ill intentions only need one second of access to sneak inside your home.

Don’t Use Your Full Name

Only put your first initial and your last name on your mailbox, rather than your full name. That will be enough information for the postal service to deliver your mail, but it won’t be enough for people to learn that you live alone.

Don’t Use Your Full Name

This tip is especially worth implementing if your name is distinctly female. If not, then declining to use your full name can still be nice in terms of privacy.

Leave Deliveries at the Entrance

If you live in an apartment, it’s worthwhile to ask delivery people to leave the package at the entrance. As much as it may be annoying to go get it, rather than have it delivered to your door, this method will ensure that the delivery person doesn’t know exactly where you live.

Leave Deliveries at the Entrance

If you’re in a private home, request that they leave your package at the doorstep. Then, wait until they walk away before you open the door and get it.

Put Men’s Shoes by the Door

Trick other people into thinking you live with a man by placing a pair of men’s shoes beside your front door. Make sure that the footwear looks worn, and not brand new or untouched, a thrift store would be your best option here.

Put Men’s Shoes by the Door

You can even have some fun with it and choose relatively large shoes, making strangers think you’ve got someone Jason Momoa-sized living with you. That’ll scare off any wannabe intruders!

Live on the Upper Floors

If you’re moving into an apartment building, try to get a unit on one of the upper floors. Not only will this likely result in some great views, but it’ll also keep you safe.

Live on the Upper Floors

If someone who isn’t supposed to be in the building gains access, chances are they’ll be apprehended before they make it all the way up. Also, it means that no one’s breaking in through the windows — unless they’re Spider-Man.

Have Something in Front of the Door

Before going to sleep at night, place something in front of the front door. We’re not talking about heavy furniture or anything, just something that’d make some noise if knocked over. A broomstick, umbrella, or coatstand would all be good options here.

Have Something in Front of the Door

The idea is that if someone does manage to break in, you’d know the front door was opened, as you’d hear something crashing to the ground. Of course, this trick would only work if you don’t have pets that topple things over.

Look Around Before Going Inside

As eager as you may be to get home and take your heels off after a long day, dedicate an extra few seconds to looking around before unlocking your front door.

Look Around Before Going Inside

Sadly, there are people who’d lurk around an empty house, waiting for the unsuspecting tenant to come home and open the door. Of course, if you do see something suspicious, just keep walking as if you don’t live there, and call the authorities.

Get a Garage Door Alert App

There are apps out there that will alert you when your garage door is opening, which can be an excellent safety tool if you’re living alone. Have your phone by your bed, and if you hear the alert go off but aren’t expecting anyone, call 911 immediately.

Get a Garage Door Alert App

As an added bonus, the app will let you know if you’ve accidentally left the garage door open yourself. Some even allow you to check the status of the door when you’re not home!

Buy Curtains or Blinds

Curtains and blinds don’t just make for excellent home décor, but they’re also great for keeping peeping Toms away. If you’re able to invest, we suggest purchasing smart blinds, so you can close them from afar.

Buy Curtains or Blinds

The last thing you need when you see a creep looking in is to get up and walk closer to the window in order to close the curtains. That said, inexpensive blinds are certainly better than no blinds!

Keep the Lights On

If your funds for electricity allow it, have a lamp that you keep on at all times. This way, no one can know if you’re out, if you’re at home, or asleep, etc. Not only will it be impossible for a creep to learn your schedule, but even ill-intended passersby won’t know if the house is empty or not.

Keep the Lights On

If it’s in your price range, we recommend smart lights that turn on and off. They work even better at making it look like someone’s home.

Be Picky About Guests

Something worth keeping in mind when living alone is that anyone who’s invited to your home won’t only have your exact address, but they’ll also be aware that you live by yourself. Therefore, it’s wise to be picky about who you invite over.

Be Picky About Guests

While a huge house party in which people can bring a plus one who you don’t know may sound fun, it’s probably not the best idea if you don’t really trust everyone who will be there. Maybe have the bash at a bar instead?

Get to Know Your Neighbors

Make Mr. Rogers proud and get to know your neighbors! You don’t necessarily have to be best friends with them, if you’re a private person, but do take the time to introduce yourself.

Get to Know Your Neighbors

If the people living next door know that you’re a 20-year-old female living alone, they’ll be aware that they should check on you if a middle-aged man suddenly walks into your home. Plus, it’s always nice to have someone to go to if you run out of sugar.

Put Bells on Your Door

It’s important to put something noisy at the interior of your front door, so you’ll hear if someone enters your home. However, some people feel a bit uneasy about placing a broom or umbrella there, as it can seem overly cautious.

Put Bells on Your Door

We say, better safe than sorry, but if you’re uncomfortable with the idea, why not get some decorative bells to put at your front door? You know, the type that old-timey shops have. It can make for some cute deéor, as well as a more subtle safety feature.

Get Motion-Activated Lights

Placing motion-activated lights outside your house can deter break-ins as it’ll not only scare the person into thinking someone’s home, but it’ll also put them in a spotlight for all the neighbors to see.

Get Motion-Activated Lights

We suggest keeping the following in mind when shopping for motion-activated lights — first, try to find ones that can be installed over regular light fixtures, so you don’t have to worry about re-wiring. Secondly, check how close someone needs to be to the censor for it to be activated. Obviously, the further, the better.

Purchase a Video Doorbell

Video doorbells are a fantastic way to keep you safe! However, they can also infringe on passersby and neighbors’ privacy, which can lead to legal issues. In order to keep yourself secure without inconveniencing others, follow these steps when getting a video doorbell…

Purchase a Video Doorbell

Put it in plain sight, so people know they’re being recorded, and keep the audio off until you need it. We also recommend making sure that your camera is clearly pointed at the entrance of your property, and doesn’t appear to be looking elsewhere.

Own a Weapon

As much as it may make people uncomfortable, owning a weapon is really important if you’re living alone. We’re not saying to exercise the second amendment if you’re against that, but even a baseball bat is better than nothing.

Own a Weapon

Self-defense products such as pepper spray and stun guns probably offer the most security in the least controversial way. That said, make sure you’re familiar with these items and know how to use them before they’re actually required, as improper handling could end up hurting you more than a perpetrator.

Move to a Safe Neighborhood

We understand that relocating to a safe neighborhood isn’t possible for everyone, financially speaking. However, we do recommend implementing this tip as much as you can, as it really does make a massive difference in how secure you’ll be while living alone.

Move to a Safe Neighborhood

We’re not trying to tell you how to spend your money but, personally, we’d rather live in a smaller home we feel safe in than a huge house we’re scared to inhabit.

Change the Locks

In a perfect world, landlords would always change the locks when welcoming new tenants. Well, actually, in a perfect world, there’d be no need for locks at all! Unfortunately, we don’t live in either of those universes, so it’s advised to change your locks as a first step when moving into a new home.

Change the Locks

You should also swap out the locks if you break up with someone who had a key, if you’ve ever sublet your place, or had any other interactions in which someone could’ve copied your house keys.

Don’t Overshare on Social Media

Be mindful of what you post on social media and make sure that you aren’t accidentally revealing your address. For example, if you’re taking pictures on your front porch, make sure that your address — and your neighbors’ addresses — aren’t visible in the photos.

Don’t Overshare on Social Media

It’s also advisable not to post that you’re going on vacation in real time. That lets people know that your house is empty and an easy target to be broken into.

Familiarize Yourself With Emergency Protocols

Living alone safely isn’t just about protecting yourself from others, it’s also about being ready for natural disasters, danger in your apartment building, and any other issues that could potentially harm you.

Familiarize Yourself With Emergency Protocols

In order to be ready for anything, familiarize yourself with emergency equipment, such as fire extinguishers and first-aid kits, and determine an efficient escape route from your home. Also, when you first move somewhere, find out what sort of natural disasters (if any) that area may be prone to and how residents prepare themselves.

Hide Spare Keys Well

It’s completely understandable that you’d want to keep a set of spare keys around, but it’s best if you hide them expertly. Under the doormat or in the mailbox, for example, aren’t good options.

Hide Spare Keys Well

One clever choice is to conceal a key somewhere on or in your car. Alternatives are a fake rock that blends in well with the real rocks around it, inside the leg of a chair on your patio, or under a brick in the walkway.

Don’t Put Valuables in Plain Sight

Leaving valuable and expensive objects right in front of a big window may not be the wisest choice if you’re trying to avoid break-ins. Instead, be mindful of where your high-end items are, and make sure passersby aren’t aware that you just got a fancy new laptop.

Don’t Put Valuables in Plain Sight

Just in case your home does get robbed, you may want to keep your most precious items in a lockbox whenever they’re not in use.

Install Security Cameras

Installing security cameras can be well worth the investment, as it’ll give you an idea of what’s going on around your property — even when you’re sleeping or away. We advise you to get the wireless cameras that connect to your phone, so you can keep an eye on your house while away.

Install Security Cameras

Not only will security cameras prevent wrongdoers from entering your home, but they’re also a great way to keep tabs on your pets!

Don’t Tell Everyone

Be selective about who you let know that you live by yourself, and even more careful about who has your address. For example, if you’re on a first date with a guy you’ve just met, it’s advisable to meet him at the location itself, rather than giving him your address to pick you up.

Don’t Tell Everyone

If you’re in a situation that’s making you uncomfortable, say something along the lines of, ‘Well, my roommate’s probably waiting for me.’ In this case, the truth won’t set you free, but a lie can.

Assemble a Survival Kit

Have a survival kit ready to go in the event of a natural disaster, blackout, evacuation, etc. It’s also wise to inform some close friends or family members of where you intend to go if you ever need to leave your home quickly.

Assemble a Survival Kit

Be sure to give share your trusted ones’ contact information with each other, so they can rally if someone’s unable to reach you. Of course, some people go their entire lives without needing a survival kit, but wouldn’t you sleep better knowing that it’s there?

Learn Self-Defense

Taking self-defense classes will not only help you out while at home, but those skills will also make you feel more secure in public too. Not to mention all the physical and mental benefits that come with learning a martial art!

Learn Self-Defense

Interestingly, the mere knowledge of how to defend oneself will make you less likely to ever need to implement those lessons. Countless studies have shown that predators tend to stay away from people who look like they’d be confident in a fight.

Ask to See ID

If someone you don’t know wants to enter your home for any reason, ask to see some ID proving their qualifications to be there. For example, if the authorities want to speak with you, they should have no problem whatsoever showing you a badge.

Ask to See ID

As for people you’re expecting, such as a repairperson, you should still check with their company to make sure this is indeed the individual they’ve sent before you open the door.

Communicate With Your Landlord

Build up a friendly rapport with your landlord or property manager, and make sure to tell them if there’s a security concern. Don’t worry about being a nuisance, if a lock is wonky or the gate isn’t working, it’s the property owner’s job to fix it and you have every right to make that request!

Communicate With Your Landlord

And, just as with your neighbors, it’s good for your landlord to have a general sense of who you are and who they should — and shouldn’t — expect to see hanging around your unit.

Have Your Keys Ready

Have your keys ready to go when approaching your house, especially at night. Rummaging through your bag while standing at the front door gives predators time to attack.

Have Your Keys Ready

Instead, have your keys in hand as you head up your walkway, preferably placed between your knuckles like claws. The same concept should be implemented when leaving your house to your car — you should have your car keys in your hand and ready to go.

Vary Your Routine

Switch up your routine a bit from time to time, in order to remain unpredictable. You don’t want someone knowing exactly when you leave the house each day, and for how long. We’re not saying to drive yourself crazy and arrive at work three hours early.

Vary Your Routine

We’re just suggesting maybe not going for your morning jog at the exact same time each morning. Or perhaps explore a different route every now and then? It could be a nice change of scenery!

Keep Your Key Fob Close

Place your key fob on your bedside table, or somewhere else close by, when you go to sleep. This way, if there is an intruder at night, you can turn on your car alarm to scare them off and/or alert your neighbors.

Keep Your Key Fob Close

It’s also useful in case you need to sneak out through a backdoor or window. In fact, it’s good to keep your phone by the bed too for the very same reason.

Don’t Share Your Address With Rideshares

If you use any form of rideshare app, you may want to make the pickup/dropoff point somewhere other than your home. You can use a neighbor’s house, the street corner, or a nearby bench instead.

Don’t Share Your Address With Rideshares

Of course, this isn’t an issue if you live in an apartment complex. In that case, though, it could be a good idea to wait until the car leaves before you turn on the apartment lights, so they don’t know which unit you’re in.

Lock Your Car Straight Away

We all have our little routines that we do when we get into our car. Maybe you like to check your reflection in the mirror. Perhaps you immediately want to choose your music. What we should really all do, though, is make a habit of locking the car door immediately after getting in.

Lock Your Car Straight Away

That’s not to say that you can’t touch up your lipstick or turn on your favorite podcast before starting your drive. It just means you should make sure you’re safe and secure first.

Keep Your Phone Close

When you live with someone else, you can always yell for help if need be. However, when you’re living independently, you need to find another way to call for assistance. That’s where keeping your phone on your person — or at least in the same room as you — comes in handy.

Keep Your Phone Close

If having a device with you all the time isn’t your cup of tea, you can get an app like Siri or Alexa to shout to.

Save Outside Errands for Daytime

It’s best to run all of your household errands during daylight hours, as much as possible. Things like taking out the trash and getting the mail can be done during the day and, if you forget, it can absolutely wait until morning.

Save Outside Errands for Daytime

Laura Dugan, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland explains, “Predators will [typically] only attack when nobody else is around.” So, unless you have a team of loved ones watching you water the plants at night, just leave it ‘till tomorrow.

Use Personal Security Tools

There are quite a few personal security tools out there that are worth looking into. There are apps that will alert your loved ones if you need help, sending them your GPS location. There are also applications that will immediately call the authorities if need be.

Use Personal Security Tools

You can even get a device separate from your phone, such as a Birdie, which plays a loud noise and flashes strobing lights when activated — simultaneously scaring off attackers and alerting passersby that you need assistance.

Look for HOA Properties

HOAs (Homeowners Association) aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but they do tend to have a lot of safety protocols in place. For a monthly or yearly fee, HOA neighborhoods may have security patrols, cameras, well-lit pathways, and are even sometimes completely gated communities.

Look for HOA Properties

Many HOAs have rules for their residents — which is why a lot of people don’t like them — that make the area safer. Consider weighing the pros and cons of living in an HOA property, and see if it’s the right move for you.

Don’t Be Alone With Repair Workers

If you need to schedule for a handyperson or technician to come to your home, arrange to have someone you know and trust there with you. If you don’t want to entertain friends or family the whole day just for the sake of them being there for those 30 minutes, invite a neighbor over instead.

Don’t Be Alone With Repair Workers

In fact, some landlords will agree to be present during repairs if their tenants ask. This is the benefit of befriending those around your property!

Report Suspicious Activity

We completely understand that you don’t want to come off as paranoid or the neighborhood Karen, but seriously, would you rather something terrible happen to you? If you notice something odd going on in your area, report it to the authorities.

Report Suspicious Activity

That’s not to say that what you’re seeing is necessarily a crime or the person will get into any trouble — that’s for the professionals to figure out — but at least you’ll have done your part in bringing potential issues to the relevant people’s awareness.

Learn How to Use Tools

Learn how to use basic household tools and do simple repairs on your own. Not only will having that knowledge mean you don’t have to call strangers in to help you fix things all the time, but it also means getting things handled a lot more efficiently.

Learn How to Use Tools

Take a class, watch a YouTube tutorial, or ask questions from someone you know who’s handy. This way, you’ll feel much more self-reliant and safer living on your own.

Go to the Police Station

If you’re on the way home and you suspect someone’s following you, don’t go to your house! Although that may be where you feel safest, you don’t want to let that person know where you live. Instead, drive straight to the nearest police station.

Go to the Police Station

We’re pretty sure no creep is going to follow you there! They may be waiting near the station for you to leave, though. So, take note of the car they’re driving and what they look like so you can inform the authorities.

Get a Dog

Please don’t get a dog solely for safety purposes, as it wouldn’t be fair to the animal to live in a home in which they’re not truly loved. That said, if you are a pet person, dogs make for excellent protectors.

Get a Dog

Not only will your pup be your best friend, but their bark will scare away any intruder. Also, it can be nice to have some form of company, even if you prefer to live without other humans.

Put Up Signs

Send wrongdoers a very clear message that your house isn’t one to be messed with! Put up a sign warning wannabe intruders about a guard dog, security cameras, or your willingness to use the second amendment.

Put Up Signs

None of those things have to actually be true, because it’s unlikely that anyone will want to test you and find out. Remember, criminals want easy targets, so they’re gonna go for the house with the least resistance.