Whether it's saving money, avoiding clogs, or creating more space, home hacks are shortcuts to simplifying home life. They help homeowners save time, money, and effort. Plus, they can help keep your home brighter and cleaner and your possessions lasting longer.
Use these 10 storage, energy, laundry, eco-friendly, and cleaning tips in your home maintenance routines.
Laundry Hack: Use the Washing Machine's Cold Cycle
Opt for cold cycle washing on all your clothes. Typical top-load and front-load washers clean clothes better with warm and hot cycles. But they also consume more energy. Conserve energy and get your clothes just as clean by choosing the cold cycle on the washing machine.
Cold washing is also beneficial for clothes. Heat shrinks clothes. A hot or warm wash also can remove portions of clothing dye in color clothes and transfer it to your white clothes, staining your white clothes and deteriorating color clothes. A cold wash keeps your whites white and your colors bright longer.
Laundry Hack: Use a Clothesline
Since the dryer shrinks clothes due to the hot heat, why not take advantage of sunny days and hang clothes on a clothesline? Washing and drying clothes is faster than washing and hanging clothes on a clothesline. With hand drying clothes on a clothesline several times, clothes last longer. Plus, you save energy.
A clothesline is usually a long wire, cord, or rope anchored by two immovable objects such as trees or a post. To use it, just hang the clothes single-file and spaced out on the line. Then, attach the damp clothes to the line using clothespins.
A few tricks to consider:
- Don't let the clothes touch because they won't dry as fast.
- Check the line often to make sure the clothes don't fall due to high winds or outdoor animals.
- Squeeze out all the water in the clothes before hanging it on the line for faster drying. An alternative is letting them drip dry overnight in the bathtub or shower.
- Horizontally cut a pool noodle in half with a box cutter or scissors. Carefully slip the noodle around the clothesline. Lay clothing on top of the pool noodle to dry. This home hack prevents wrinkles in clothes.
An alternative to a clothesline is a drying rack. Find a drying rack at the hardware store in all designs, sizes, and colors.
Natural Cleaning Hack: Create a Homemade Cleaning Solution
Cleaning products have harsh chemicals that are hazardous to your eyes and skin and carry an unpleasant chemical smell. All-natural, non-hazardous, and eco-friendly cleaning products are available in stores, but they can be expensive.
Get the best of both worlds by creating a DIY cleaning solution. You’ll still clean effectively without needing to protect your eyes and skin. Here are some cleaning hacks to use with more cleaning solutions at this link and this link:
- Add 4 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 quart of warm water in a spray bottle. Screw on the top, shake the bottle, and it's ready for use.
- Pour 1/2 cup of vinegar and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. Add 20 drops of essential oil like citrus oil, tea tree oil, or eucalyptus oil. Shake the bottle after screwing on the top. It's ready for use.
- Alternatively, add one piece of lemon rind and one rosemary sprig into the bottle. Fill half the bottle with water. Fill the other half of the bottle with vinegar. Insert the top securely and shake the bottle. Wait one week before using it to clean surfaces.
Drain Clog Hack: Use SinkShroom and Kitchen SinkShroom
DIY combos like baking soda and vinegar and baking soda and water above also help remove clogs. However, to truly rid clogs from the bathroom and kitchen drains, you need something to stop items before it enters the drain and collects grime.
Leave it to SinkShroom and Kitchen SinkShroom to be the superheroes. Both catch fallen items before they fall into the drain.
To install, gently insert one of these products into the appropriate drain. The removal process is equally simple — just pull them out. Manually dispose of hair and small items from the SinkShroom (and the food waste from the Kitchen SinkShroom). Rinse the debris under faucet water and reinsert for reuse.
Storage Hack: Utilize Floor-to-Ceiling Space
When you run out of storage space, use every inch of space from floor to ceiling as a storage solution. This storage hack is wonderful to extend closet space, but it also works for pantries, kitchen cabinets, the living room, laundry room cabinets, and bathroom storage cabinets. Here are some easy DIY home hacks to ensure you use all vertical space available:
- Install hooks on the bare cabinet side in kitchens to hang kitchen utensils and oven mitts.
- Extend kitchen cabinets to the ceiling by hiring a contractor to fill the space (between the kitchen cabinets and the ceiling) with additional cabinets or open shelving.
- In the pantry, stack boxed items so more food fits. Stack bins, boxes, and containers too.
- Install open shelves (or floating shelves) on empty walls such as drywall.
- Buy and/or assemble freestanding shelves, ladder shelves, rolling carts, and/or over-the-toilet cabinets.
- Repurpose unused bookshelves and spice racks as storage space.
- Place a small cabinet inside the closet to make use of the space between the clothing and the floor.
- Add overhead storage shelves in the garage for seasonal items and hard-to-hang items like surfboards and Christmas trees
Storage Hack: Hang Garage and Shed Items on the Wall
The garage and shed are great places for storage for power tools, garden equipment, sports items, and seasonal/holiday items. It's also the last resort when you run out of storage in the house. Instead of stuffing those items in boxes scattered across the floor, hang the bulkier items on the wall.
By hanging the larger items on the wall, you free up lots of space for car parking. It will make the floor and wall clean and organized. It will also have a great appearance because hanging large items can double as wall art. Therefore, you can walk freely through the garage without tripping over items. Plus, it’ll be easier to find what you need.
The DIY way is screwing one long wood plank horizontally to the garage wall from top to bottom and adding hooks and hangers. Here are some more storage hacks:
- Add small baskets, buckets, and/or containers in various sizes on some of those nails and hooks to create additional storage space for garden tools, manual screwdrivers, and scissors.
- Add open shelves to the wall for additional storage.
- Because of its long handle, grab tool hangers to hang a rake, garden hoe, broom, and shovel.
- Install slat wall storage panels to the garage to make organizing simpler. It is the garage version of a closet organizer. A pegboard is a great substitute.
- Grab an over-the-door shoe organizer and hang it over the garage door (the interior side — you don't want anyone seeing it and stealing it) to store small items like nails and thumbtacks.
Eco-Friendly Hack: Repurpose Clothes
It's easier to throw out clothes you no longer wear and buy a new outfit than repurpose clothes. However, it’s also more expensive.
Turning clothes into something else gives it new meaning, enticing you to keep the item longer. It saves money while protecting the environment from unnecessary waste.
Examples of reusing clothes are turning pants into shorts and capris, turning long sleeve turtlenecks into a sleeveless shirt, and turning shorts into a skirt or skort. Dresses can transform into a fantastic top or a lovely skirt. You can also swap clothes with a family member to refresh your closet.
An alternative example is turning unwanted clothes into cleaning rags. In place of paper towels and kitchen towels, use a cleaning rag to wipe up spills, wash food scraps off dishes, and remove wall stains. Wash the rag, hang it out to dry, and place it in storage for reuse. The colors, designs, patterns, and prints of clothes are great fabric scraps for decorative pillow covers and tablecloths.
Eco-Friendly Hack: Reduce Plastic Footprint
Plastic is in water bottles, straws, grocery bags, and six-pack rings along with cell phones, outdoor furniture, plumbing pipes, and beyond. However, plastic is not biodegradable and contains toxic chemicals. It releases those chemicals while in a landfill.
You can't rid the world of plastic, but you can do your part to use less of it. Cut back on plastic use by incorporating these home hacks into your life. More tips to reduce plastic are here.
- Make homemade versions of fruit drinks and cleaning products instead of buying the products in plastic containers from grocery stores.
- Stop buying disposable razors and plastic containers and buy a stainless steel safety razor and stainless steel leftover containers instead.
- Purchase shampoo and conditioner soap bars over shampoos and conditioners in plastic bottles.
- Opt for reusable grocery bags over plastic ones.
Energy Hack: Refresh Home Insulation
Re-evaluate and update current home insulation (or add insulation if you don't have any installed). While you can hire a contractor to insert or refresh the attic, crawlspace, and basement insulation, this is also a doable DIY project:
- Seal holes and cracks throughout the home interior and exterior walls with caulk.
- Repair or replace broken, shattered, or damaged windows and doors.
- Add weather-stripping to windows and doors between the window/door and the frame.
- Add a door stopper (aka door snake, draft blocker, and draft dodger) at the bottom/foot of the door. It doubles as a barrier to prevent pests from entering.
- Cover the top of outdoor air conditioner units with plywood or a mesh cover, especially during the winter months. This prevents leaves, rocks, branches, dirt, grass, ice, and rainwater from damaging the unit.
Energy Hack: Use a Programmable Thermostat
Lower the temperature 5-10 degrees below the current preset temperature in the winter. This saves you about 10% on your energy bill.
Manual thermostats are fine, but with constant comings and goings, it becomes difficult for homeowners to adjust the thermostat every time they leave home. The best thermostat are the smart, responsive, and programmable variations that follow a schedule and respond to voice commands. These gadgets include an app and/or website to access the thermostat wherever you are.
Make Your Life Easier With These Home Hacks
The life hacks mentioned above are small steps toward improving how you organize, clean, reuse, heat/cool, conserve energy, and reduce footprint. Life is already hectic, and these will take a few stress-inducing items off the list.
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