Quick Tricks to Make 10 Dreaded Chores Easier

iStock
iStock

Chores are a part of life that most of us just can’t avoid. But come next housecleaning day, don’t get mad—get creative. These tips will help those pesky little items on your “to do” list breeze by a little bit faster.

1. DRYING LOTS OF DISHES? USE AN OVEN RACK. 

Dish racks never seem to have enough space—especially after a big family dinner, when there are always plenty of extra implements that just won’t fit. Here’s a simple solution from the PBS series America’s Test KitchenWhen you’ve finished washing all the dishes, place a clean oven rack over one end of your sink. Put excess cups, plates, etc. on top—all their drippage will go straight down the drain.

2. POKE A HOLE IN YOUR TRASH CAN.

King Arthur might have pulled a sword from a stone, but even he'd probably have a hard time yanking an overstuffed bag out of a royal garbage bin. Why is this so difficult? It's all about suction: The tugging motion produces a stubborn vacuum. However, cutting a hole out of the bottom of your trash can will allow air to escape.

3. MICROWAVE THE STAINS OUT OF TUPPERWARE™ CONTAINERS. 

What do you do with nasty post-meal stains that cling to the plastic? Fill your container with a quarter cup of bleach, a little bit of dish soap, and plenty of water. Put the Tupperware™ into your microwave for about 40 seconds (or until the mixture starts bubbling). Remove the container and let it sit until the water turns lukewarm. Then, clean it out with soap and water or put it in the dishwasher.

If you don't want to use bleach, try the lemon juice method.

4. USE ALKA SELTZER TABLETS TO CLEAN THE TOILET. 

These indigestion-fighting tablets are a secret weapon that belongs in everyone's cabinet: You can use them to clean everything from jewelry to your toilet. Drop four tablets into the toilet bowl; wait about 20 minutes, then give the bowl a quick once-over with a brush followed by a single flushing. Finally, admire your sparkling toilet.

5. FOLD T-SHIRTS IN 2 SECONDS.

Pinch the garment with your right hand halfway between the right sleeve and the neck hole. Now, imagine a straight line extending from this point to the bottom of the shirt. Using the free hand, pinch said line at its halfway point. Without releasing the sleeve area, cross your left hand straight down to the bottom. Grab a piece of it, then lift the shirt and uncross your arms. You’ll find that one sleeve will still be dangling down—utilize a hard surface to fold this underneath the article of clothing. If you're having trouble visualizing, watch the video above.

6. OIL UP YOUR SNOW SHOVEL. 

It’s almost that time of year again. Getting up early to shovel the driveway is always a hassle, but clingy snow makes this chore even worse. Prevent snow from clinging to your shovel by spraying non-stick cooking oil over both sides before going out. Don't have cooking spray handy? You can also use car wax.

7. SQUEEGEE THE PET HAIR OUT OF YOUR CARPET. 

When our four-legged friends start shedding, not even vacuums can get all the fur out of a carpet. Tough rubber squeegees, on the other hand, are great at stripping away hard-to-reach cat or dog hair.

8. SOCK IT TO YOUR BLINDS.

Whoever said “nothing is certain but death and taxes” forgot to mention dust accumulation. When this stuff builds up on your blinds, removing it can take what feels like an eternity. Fortunately, there’s a cheap way to cut down on your dusting time. Slide a clean sock over your hand and dunk it into a 50/50 water-vinegar blend. Now swipe the wet garment over each individual slat. For best results, manipulate the sock like it’s a children’s puppet while grabbing each blind.

9. USE A GRAPEFRUIT TO CLEAN UP A BATHTUB.

Sponges are old hat. Next time you notice some dirt and grime inside your bathtub, chop a grapefruit in two. Liberally smother each half with kosher salt and start scrubbing (ideally, you’ll want to squeeze some of the juice out every so often). This should remove even the toughest of grime.

10. Make Your Bed—Without Getting Out of It!

Straightening sheets every morning can be pretty obnoxious. So is getting out of bed. Here's how to make the bed without even getting up: If you use a throw blanket, lean down and straighten it. If not, grab the corners of the sheet and comforter. Now stretch out your arms as far as they go. While still holding those corners, lean backwards, and pull them taut over your head. Next, sit up at a 90-degree angle and slowly lower the corners, thus creating an attractive fold. Release the corners when you’ve done so. Finally, slip out from under the sheets as gently as you can, taking care to keep the edge of that fold straight and parallel to the headboard.

Congrats! You’re now ready to face a brand new day. This calls for some coffee.

10 Rad Gifts for Hikers

Greg Rosenke/Unsplash
Greg Rosenke/Unsplash

The popularity of bird-watching, camping, and hiking has skyrocketed this year. Whether your gift recipients are weekend warriors or seasoned dirtbags, they'll appreciate these tools and gear for getting most out of their hiking experience.

1. Stanley Nesting Two-Cup Cookset; $14

Amazon

Stanley’s compact and lightweight cookset includes a 20-ounce stainless steel pot with a locking handle, a vented lid, and two insulated 10-ounce tumblers. It’s the perfect size for brewing hot coffee, rehydrating soup, or boiling water while out on the trail with a buddy. And as some hardcore backpackers note in their Amazon reviews, your favorite hiker can take the tumblers out and stuff the pot with a camp stove, matches, and other necessities to make good use of space in their pack.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Osprey Sirrus and Stratos 24-Liter Hiking Packs; $140

Amazon

Osprey’s packs are designed with trail-tested details to maximize comfort and ease of use. The Sirrus pack (pictured) is sized for women, while the Stratos fits men’s proportions. Both include an internal sleeve for a hydration reservoir, exterior mesh and hipbelt pockets, an attachment for carrying trekking poles, and a built-in rain cover.

Buy them: Amazon, Amazon

3. Yeti Rambler 18-Ounce Bottle; $48

Amazon

Nothing beats ice-cold water after a summer hike or a sip of hot tea during a winter walk. The Yeti Rambler can serve up both: Beverages can stay hot or cold for hours thanks to its insulated construction, and its steel body (in a variety of colors) is basically indestructible. It will add weight to your hiker's pack, though—for a lighter-weight, non-insulated option, the tried-and-true Camelbak Chute water bottle is incredibly sturdy and leakproof.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Mappinners Greatest 100 Hikes of the National Parks Scratch-Off Poster; $30

Amazon

The perfect gift for park baggers in your life (or yourself), this 16-inch-by-20-inch poster features epic hikes like Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Once the hike is complete, you can scratch off the gold foil to reveal an illustration of the park.

Buy it: Amazon

5. National Geographic Adventure Edition Road Atlas; $19

Amazon

Hikers can use this brand-new, updated road atlas to plan their next adventure. In addition to comprehensive maps of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico, they'll get National Geographic’s top 100 outdoor destinations, useful details about the most popular national parks, and points on the maps noting off-the-beaten-path places to explore.  

Buy it: Amazon

6. Adventure Medical Kits Hiker First-Aid Kit; $25

Amazon

This handy 67-piece kit is stuffed with all the things you hope your hiker will never need in the wilderness. Not only does it contain supplies for pain, cuts and scrapes, burns, and blisters (every hiker’s nemesis!), the items are organized clearly in the bag to make it easy to find tweezers or an alcohol wipe in an emergency.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiker Hunger Ultralight Trekking Poles; $70

Amazon

Trekking poles will help increase your hiker's balance and stability and reduce strain on their lower body by distributing it to their arms and shoulders. This pair is made of carbon fiber, a super-strong and lightweight material. From the sweat-absorbing cork handles to the selection of pole tips for different terrain, these poles answer every need on the trail. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Leatherman Signal Camping Multitool; $120

Amazon

What can’t this multitool do? This gadget contains 19 hiking-friendly tools in a 4.5-inch package, including pliers, screwdrivers, bottle opener, saw, knife, hammer, wire cutter, and even an emergency whistle.

Buy it: Amazon

9. RAVPower Power Bank; $24

Amazon

Don’t let your hiker get caught off the grid with a dead phone. They can charge RAVPower’s compact power bank before they head out on the trail, and then use it to quickly juice up a phone or tablet when the batteries get low. Its 3-inch-by-5-inch profile won’t take up much room in a pack or purse.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Pack of Four Indestructible Field Books; $14

Amazon

Neither rain, nor snow, nor hail will be a match for these waterproof, tearproof 3.5-inch-by-5.5-inch notebooks. Your hiker can stick one in their pocket along with a regular pen or pencil to record details of their hike or brainstorm their next viral Tweet.

Buy it: Amazon

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Warby Parker Created a Spray to Prevent Your Glasses From Fogging Up When You Wear a Face Mask

They're smiling under the masks (because their glasses aren't foggy).
They're smiling under the masks (because their glasses aren't foggy).
Julian Wan, Unsplash

A face mask won’t keep you from getting enough oxygen, but it might keep you from seeing clearly through your glasses. When you exhale, your warm breath usually dissipates into the air in front of you. When you’re wearing a face mask, on the other hand, it gets funneled through the gaps around your nose and turns into tiny water droplets after colliding with your much colder lenses. In other words, it fogs up your glasses.

To prevent this from happening, Warby Parker has created an anti-fog spray that absorbs those droplets as soon as they form on your lenses, before they can cloud your view. It’s not the only product like it on the market—Amazon alone has dozens—but Warby Parker’s version has the added benefit of cleaning your lenses, too.

The perfect solution.Warby Parker

As Prevention.com reports, the spray is part of the company’s “Clean My Lenses Kit,” which comes with a bottle of anti-fog spray, a microfiber cloth, and a pouch for your glasses (or for storing the other two products in the kit). All you do is spritz both sides of your lenses, wipe them down with the cloth, and venture out for your fog-free day.

The spray works with any type of lens, which makes it a useful innovation even for people who just wear regular sunglasses. It can also come in handy during plenty of other fog-inducing situations, like sipping a hot beverage or cooking over a hot stove.

You can order a kit online for $15, or look for one in your local Warby Parker store. In the meantime, here are a few DIY ways to keep your glasses from getting foggy.

[h/t Prevention.com]

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