Life Hacks: Why We Love Them

Monday Author:  Susanne Skinner

Life Hacks, Hacker, Susanne Skinner, tips and tricks, hackLife hacks are the kind of shortcuts that tap into my practicality and organizational OCD. When it comes to organizing, I believe everything must be in its place, and I must know where that place is.

I’ve been a hacker for a few years and admit they have their place! You can never have too many good ideas so I periodically check internet articles to see what’s new and useful..

Lifestyle hacks gained popularity during Covid’s forced isolation. I became even more focused (obsessed) with ways to simplify my life. Finding a hack that saves money is a bonus.

The caveat is knowing how far down the hack rabbit hole you want to go.

Tips and Tricks

Repurposing ordinary and sometimes destined-for-the-trash- items is genius. Hacks are creative problem solving at the most basic—and cheap—level of implementation.

The internet is full of hack articles. Some are topic specific, like baking or gardening, while others integrate Pinterest trends or fads. If a purchase is required the idea must be worthy of my time and money.

I keep a file of tips and tricks that sound promising. Once in a while I spend an afternoon seeing if they actually work.

Not all of them do. Some are just plain ridiculous while others are dangerous. Not all hacks work as shown; they often hide behind the scenes. Just because someone claims it does not make it so.

I apply common sense and three simple guidelines.

  1. First, it can’t take up space, it has to minimize or reduce it.
  2. Second, the results need to look decent—no exposed toilet paper rolls or old socks.
  3. My final rule of thumb is the requirement that it solve or eliminate a previously identified challenge or problem.

Fake Hacks

After watching a clever hack online, maybe you’ve thought, “That’s brilliant. I ‘m going to try it!” In an ideal world, everything goes down exactly like the video and you end up learning something new.

keep cake moist, fake hack, pro tipBut we’re smart people; we know not to believe everything we read on the internet. Be aware of appealing yet implausible ideas. They might sound like good ideas and some actually look like they work. But they are all fake.

Their primary purpose is deception, using sensationalizing or misleading information that convinces you to click and read.

Cooking hacks are my pet peeve, often appearing in videos on You Tube channels  Blossom and So Yummy. Not only do they not work, but many of them are also dangerous. It is click bait and it leaves you with a mess on your hands. That said, I am guilty of watching and some do work.  Even then, however, they are not worth the effort.

Three Repeating Hacks

Here are three hacks that seem to be on repeat and people think they work.  They don’t.

  • Turn Your Toaster on its Side for Sandwiches
    One of the worst hacks ever. Just use your stove. At best you have melted cheese in your toaster and it’s a fire hazard.
  • Pancake Batter in the Ketchup Bottle
    Filling an old ketchup bottle with pancake batter to make perfect pancakes is more trouble than its worth. The bottle will always have a residual smell and the batter gets stuck just like the ketchup did.
  • Cherry Tomato Slicing
    If you place cherry tomatoes between two plates and push down firmly, you can slice through all of them at once. You end up with a mashed mess and the realization that it would have been quicker and easier to slice them individually.

Don’t waste your time on any of them.

Practical Hacks

I’m all over a practical hack.  I look at them and hear the little voice in the back of my mind saying, “This could actually work!”

Paper clips, end of tape roll, hack, practical hacksOne of the best hacks ever is rolling my clothes while packing a suitcase. As a frequent traveler this trick keeps wrinkles out and allows more items in. It is also a practical way to put clothing in drawers. Vertical stacking means seeing everything at once.

Check out the photo above. Who hasn’t invested frustrating minutes looking for the end of the tape?  Simple fix—problem solved.

We all look for ways to make life easier. Simplifying brings peace of mind when it comes to organization, and this is where a hack makes a difference. There is something for everyone. I am less enamored of cooking hacks because I believe if it’s worth doing take the long way and do it right.

When researching options, focus on what makes sense for you. Spend a few minutes (you’ll get a kick out of it) looking at videos suggesting ways to make something easier or better. When it makes sense, it’s a good hack.

Remember, if it seems too good to be true…. there are props behind the scenes making it look easy or workable. A photo of the hack is often the best way to see just how well it’s going to work for you.

Everything in Life is a Hack

The internet makes this possible. There are hacks on every subject imaginable, from parenting to cooking.  Some are quick fixes, some use items already on hand, and some are just interesting to read about, knowing you’ll never try them.

paper clips, organize cables, hack, technologyIt didn’t start out that way. Hacking as a term originated in 2003 with a tech writer named Danny O’Brien. He used the term to describe programmer shortcuts. It started as a cult movement among computer nerds that fell into the mainstream and caught on.

We all want to get more done, be our best selves and live our best life. Books, blogs, podcasts and even friends offer shortcuts and time savers for this thing called life.

I like a good hack for its creativity and practical application. I also like reading and writing about them. Hack on and share your finds!

Previous Life Hacks