The items we use every day, from bottle openers to pom poms and boots, are designed to make our lives go a little more smoothly. I mean, what’s the sense in buying a product that adds more difficulty to your routine? None, if you ask me. But did you know that a lot of these items can be used in more ways than one? The way in which we use any household item, like a wooden spoon to stir tomato sauce, has been passed down from family and friends, and we learn by trial and error, like how to peel an egg. It’s these habits that we create while cooking, cleaning, driving, eating, drinking, etc. that show us how to approach small routines (like filling your gas tank) with efficiency and effectiveness.
I’ve been doing things the way I have for as long as I can remember, and I’m sure you have too, but what if I told you there’s a better way to achieve greater results than the way you’ve been slicing oranges, pouring wine and folding your pants? There are even some features and benefits of products you’ve been using your whole life that you probably never noticed, like what the grooves are really meant for in #34 and what that weird concave shape is designed to do in #5. Brace yourself – these 41 everyday items have an extra purpose – a far more effective way of using them to get the job done right! Guaranteed, there are a few hacks in here that you didn’t know but it’s never too late to learn, apply and be wowed by the simplicity of it all. The more you know, right? I’ll be the first to admit, I will be adapting most of these handy tips to make my life easier, will you?
43. The Backpack Patch That Can Help You Climb A Mountain
You’ve seen that diamond-shaped patch that has two slits, facing outwards. It’s known as a “lash-tab “but what’s it good for? It dates back to when old alpine bags were used to carry an ice pick. The pick was secure through this attachment for easy access. Today, snap on a carabiner for an easy, on-the-go lock and snap attachment. How clever!
Confession: I thought this was just a part of the design this whole time…
42. The Little Hole At The End Of The Lollipop Stick
Next time you’ve got a lollipop (more specifically A Chupa Chup, but most 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. 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! I’m sure the makers of Chupa Chup wouldn’t just put a random hole at the end of the stick—everything has a purpose, peeps!
41. Tie Up The Ends Of Your Extension Cords
Ever been in a situation where you just don’t understand how to keep your power cords together? You can be on vacation and using a power bar to attach your blow dryer to the plug when it all falls apart as your husband walks right into the cords, dismantling everything—now that’s a fine example! Well, you never have to find yourself disconnected from your source of power ever again when you tie up your extension cords together!
40. Tap And Blow To Peel A Hard-Boiled Egg
I love breakfast, and more specifically, I love eggs. What I don’t love is taking them out of the shell after they’re boiled. But, to make things easy-peasy, all you have to do is tap the top and bottom of the hard-boiled egg on the counter, remove the pieces of shell, place your lips on one end and blow. A perfectly peeled egg pops right out! It almost sounds unbelievable, but it works! Try it for yourself.
39. Applesauce Actually Comes With A Spoon
Did you pack a handy single serve container of applesauce and forget to pack a spoon? I think this happens to 90% of the people who pack a snack like this for lunch. But, here’s a lifesaver, so, have no fear—you can still enjoy it. Remove the foil top, twist half of it, and make yourself a convenient little spoon. There’s a reason they made the seal the way they did—these apple sauce companies got your back!
38. Juice Boxes Come With Handles
I faced this problem when I was a kid, and now I see it happening with my niece and nephew. I feel like I just don’t know how to serve a juice box to a kid anymore! The moment they take hold of it, the juice just starts spilling out of the straw! Does anyone else have this problem? *thousands of hands go up*
Well, here’s something to consider: Lift the tabs on the juice box and use them as handles to avoid the mess. Problem solved. (I know, there was almost no need for that rant above…the solution was right around the corner!)
37. The Real Way To Floss
I know a lot of people who don’t floss their teeth every day…you should, but you don’t. Some are lazy, and others just forget, but there are those who prefer not to because of the pain that flossing can inflict. Here’s a tip the next time you floss and want to avoid weird-looking, painful fingers: Make a loop and floss like this for optimal dental health from this day forward. No more purple sausage fingers!
36. There’s A Little Home In The Pop Can Tab For Your Straw
Here’s another product that proves the fact that there is a purpose for everything. Believe it or not, there is more than one purpose for the tab on your soda can. Not only can you collect them and give them to local charities (some charities help make wheelchairs out of these tabs), you can also use these as a way to hold your straw in place. How? It’s simple. When using a straw, turn the tab around so that it holds the straw still and keeps it from bobbing out.
35. There’s Even A Reason For The Loop On The Back Of Your Shirt
It may look silly, and you’ve probably never used it before, but that loop on the back of a dress shirt is used to hang the shirt from a hook of the clothesline. Hanging it this way will prevent wrinkles. It would also be smart to use this loop instead of the collar to prevent the collar from oddly popping out. For those who have done this before, you’ll notice that hooks can make an interesting looking “indent” into your shirt that sticks out all day!
34. There’s Right And Wrong Side For Bobby Pins
Whenever I think of bobby pins, two things come to mind: 1) How in this world do I lose an entire pack of them in like two days?; 2) Am I even using these right?
Now, let’s talk about my latter confession for a second. If you’ve ever used bobby pins, you’ve probably used them wrong. Most people place them in their hair with the flat side towards their scalp. But, putting the ridged side down actually helps with grip.
33. Press In The Tabs On Your Aluminum Foil And Plastic Wrap
I have lost count of the times I’ve gone to rip a piece of foil paper off the roll, and magically, the entire roll unravels and comes out of the box. It’s frustrating, to say the least. Do you agree? Well, if so, here’s something that might help us out: Most boxes of aluminum foil and plastic wrap have little tabs on the end of the box. Press those tabs and in it will prevent the roll from being pulled out when you pull.
32. Chinese Take Out Containers Double As Plates
Ditch the plates the next time you have Chinese take-out. That statement might sound obvious for someone who eats right out of the box, but if you use plates then know that the box turns into a plate for you! I’ve definitely never thought to do this before, but if you open up the container from your Chinese take-out and lay it flat, it works perfectly as a plate. Chopsticks come with the meal, so you don’t need anything extra!
31. The Drawer Under Your Oven Isn’t Storage
There are certain things that are just a given in the household. For me, growing up, whenever I needed Tupperware, I knew to look into the drawer under our oven. That was where we stored all our extra containers…my mom still does; the drawer under my oven also stores cookie sheets and baking pans. But, this isn’t its intended purpose; it’s meant to keep your food warm. After the food is cooked, place it in the drawer to keep it warm without drying it out.
30. Get A Perfect Piece Of Toblerone. Every. Single. Time.
Everything about eating chocolate is fun. From the taste to the idea of breaking pieces that are the perfect size and shape, nobody ever said chocolate is no fun. I’ve always loved snapping a piece of chocolate off the entire bar, there’s something satisfying about it. But, I think breaking Toblerone is a bit different than the others. If you try to pull the segments of a Toblerone bar apart, you can end up with messy pieces. Push the piece towards the bar and get a perfect segment of tasty chocolate.
29. Your Bottle Opener Opens More Than Just Bottles
I don’t have one, but I know many of us have a bottle opener on our key chains. It does an excellent job opening, well, bottles. Yet, we’re still breaking fingernails opening cans. (This isn’t a lot of fun when you just got a fresh manicure, trust me!) However, most bottle openers have a slot that is perfect for opening cans. Talk about being versatile. I think this piece is 3-in-1: bottle opener, can opener, and a key ring. Bingo!
28. Get More Out Of Your Condiments
If you’re like me, you love a good sauce. BBQ, Chipotle Mayo, or a classic Peri Peri—these all go a long way when you’re just trying to enjoy a good meal at your local fast food joint. But, when you’re picking up condiments for your meal, one of those tiny cups is never enough ketchup for your fries. Just pull that cup open and you can carry much more in a single cup, rather than five little cups.
27. Tic-Tacs Have A Single Candy Dispenser
Everyone enjoys a good mint, and for many tic-tac is the way to go—the flavors are so much fun! But, think about getting just ONE tic-tac out of the container. You know what happens…you shake the tic-tac container to get a single tic-tac, but ten come tumbling out. Uh oh. Then, you have to put them all back in. The tab on the container has a little space meant for dispensing a single candy.
26. Oranges Are Super Easy To Peel
We all need some good ol’ vitamin C. There comes a moment when you go to the fridge and pick up an orange to have, but then a thought comes to your mind: “This is going to get messy.” You may think that peeling oranges has to be messy and difficult, but that’s not the case at all. Simply cut off the top and bottom and make one small slice. Open it up for neat, easy to eat segments.
25. You’ve Definitely Been Peeling Your Bananas Wrong
I assume most people peel their bananas from the top. I know that I do. But, that’s the wrong way; you should be peeling it from the bottom. How do we know this? Because that’s how monkeys do it and if monkeys know anything, it’s how to peel a banana. On a more serious note, it’s just more efficient to peel from the bottom up, and it also prevents a ripe banana from squishy from up top.
24. Cupcakes Make Fantastic Sandwiches
I don’t think anyone can relate a sandwich to a cupcake. Well, up until now that is. Sometimes, with so much icing on the top and cake on the bottom, a cupcake can be an unbalanced treat. But, if you cut off the bottom half of the cupcake and put it on top, you have a perfect, yummy cupcake sandwich. It might sound bizarre, but this is how cupcakes are ACTUALLY meant to be eaten.
23. Perfectly Balanced Natural Peanut Butter Everytime
I love peanut butter. It’s a healthy treat and something that I can eat right out of the jar with a tablespoon (note: NOT a teaspoon, but a tablespoon…). But, it can also get a bit tricky to eat because of oil separation. Oil separation is going to happen but oily peanut butter is gross. When you’re done using it, flip your jar upside for storage and open it up the next time for a perfect peanut to oil ratio. Just make sure the lid is on extra tight!
22. The Hole In Your Spaghetti Spoon
I just can’t ever get my pasta servings right. Sometimes I make way too much when there are only my husband and me eating, and other times it’s not enough and I have hungry nieces and nephews to feed. This happens especially when I’m making spaghetti—I always make too much or too little when I’m cooking spaghetti. But, it turns out that hole in my spaghetti spoon actually measures a perfect serving of pasta.
21. Rest Your Spoon In The Hole Of Your Pot’s Handle
This one has to be one of my favorite hacks, it’s a lifesaver because I cook A LOT! So, you’re cooking a sauce or a soup and as you finish stirring, you notice that you have nowhere to set your spoon. What do you do then? Save space on your counter and avoid making a mess by using the hole in the handle of your pot as it’s intended–like a spoon rest. You’re welcome…
20. Rearview Mirror Tab For Less Bright Lights
Because I drive a small car, I feel like I’m a lot lower than a lot of people, and people who tend to drive with their high beams on are of particluar annoyance. There was no escaping their blinding light until I discovered a tab on my rearview mirror. So, the 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.
19. This Plunger For Your Sink, That Plunger For Your Toilet
Sometimes you can go years without knowing how something particular works in and around the house. I think this fact is something that will blow everyone’s minds: Guess what? Different plungers each have a different purpose. Cup plungers (right, which most people use for toilets) are actually meant for unclogging sinks. Flange plungers (left) are what you should be using in your toilet. Which one have you been using for what? We’d love to know!
18. Soda Cap Tab That Keeps In Carbonation
Nothing like a sparkly bottle of soda to wash down pizza! You can thank the round plastic lining underneath the cap for keeping your fave soft drink extra fizzy. Otherwise, the gasses would just leak out and you’d be left with flat pop. Ew. you’re also saving yourself the trouble of hearing little ones and significant others complain about flat pop. No one wants that just before they’re about to dig into a double-cheese double-pepperoni pizza!
17. iPhone’s 3rd Microphone
Have you ever wondered how people are able to pick up your voice when you’re on FaceTime or a video call and using your iPhone? Take a moment and have a look at the back. You’ll see your camera, your flash, and another little hole (I didn’t pay attention to it until just now, to be honest). That one is the phone’s third microphone, able to pick up forward- facing sound when you have your video on!
16. Slender Bottle Shape For Colder Beer
You just can’t get away with a cold beer. It’s not possible, can you agree? Of course, manufacturers understand their customers’ need, and so there’s a reason why the bottles are shaped the way they are: A beer bottle’s slender design is so that when you hold it around the neck, preventing the heat of your hand from warming up your refreshing beer. This is super important to note, unless you like warm beer, of course! (Does anyone?)
15. The Extra Eyelet On Shoes That Optimizes Performance
Ever notice the extra little hole way at the top? That extra eyelet helps you tie up your shoes way tighter, perfect for a marathon or if you want extra ankle support. Plus, it helps alleviate chaffing and blisters, who knew?!
Confession: I’ve bought a pair of shoes one size too big mainly because I’ve loved them but they weren’t in my size…this is a handy tip to make them extra secure and not have my feet swimming in them!
14. The “Underwear Pocket”
Most women’s underwear comes with another layer. While it may look like a secret stash pocket for a lipstick or a wad of cash, it is, in fact, an extra layer of soft fabric for comfort. Its sewn in when the outer fabric of the underwear doesn’t meet health standards, so this layer is a little more “breathable.” Interesting fact that I bet a lot of people didn’t know, not even the women who wear these types of underwear every day! Well, you learn something new all the time, right ladies?
13. The Hole In A Pen Cap To Immediately Stop Suffocation
Grab a ballpoint pen with a removable cap. Don’t worry about the color of the ink, we’re not going to have you write anything. Notice how there’s a hole at the tip? It’s not a design flaw. Heaven forbid someone ingests the cap. The hole allows for a small passage of airflow to prevent suffocation. Furthermore, it helps regulate air pressure when you open and close the cap on the tip. Someone really thought out the safety of the users before going through with this design.
12. Karate Chop Ketchup For An Instant-Flow
The next time you find yourself in a face 0ff with the slow-as-molasses ketchup bottle, simply turn it on a 45-degree angle and using the meaty part of your lower, outer palm, karate chop the embossed ’57’ logo at the base of the bottle’s neck. You should have a waterfall of ketchup in no time. Then, feel free to dig into all the french fries you want. The logo is very well-placed, I must say.
11. Pom Poms As Little “Helmets”
Pom poms on a hat are a fashion-forward trend that’s been appearing for decades but looks a little different every year–small or big, colorful or plain. The history dates back to when French marines wore a pom pom on top of their hat to provide a little cushion, a little buffer zone for when the boat got rocky and hitting their heads happened on the regular. You would think that this was just so you can match the color of the pompom to the rest of your outfit, right?
10. Top To Bottom Pant Crease For Easy Storage
Men’s slacks typically have a pronounced crease from waist to ankle, in the front, and in the back. It’s called the “traveler’s crease” and allowed for pants to look crisp and business-ready even after traveling for weeks folded in a trunk. When the pants would come out, the crease would be impossible to get out, therefore they became a part of the design! It also makes the slacks super easy to fold and store again. Win-win for all!
9. Boot Loops For Hanging Up
If you’ve ever noticed, military-style boots have a loop at the top of the boot in the back. They are super useful for pulling up while you put your foot inside, but they also prove pretty helpful when your boots are wet and need to be hung up to dry. Furthermore, you can wrap your laces up and through them if you want more ankle support or a cool look. Now, isn’t that something cool?
8. The Bottom Shape Of A Wine Bottle For Better Wine
That concave shape at the bottle of your favorite Shiraz is called a “punt” and while some might complain that it gets in the way of more wine in your bottle, think again. It’s an ergonomic feature that actually helps keep the bottle from tipping over. It makes the wine easier to chill, catches sediment more effectively, and makes the bottle more resistant to high pressure. It’s because of this feature that we’re able to enjoy our favorite wines, that’s for sure. Cheers!
7. Keyboard Feet For Better Visibility
See those two little hinges/steps underneath your keyboard? One school of thought is that it’s meant to raise your keyboard to be easier on your wrists–but this just in: the angle is for user visibility. The angle allows you to see the layout of the keys, optimizing the height at which you see them for accurate and faster typing! Again, a win-win situation for anyone looking to help their wrists, and for those who want better visibility. Such a versatile addition to the keyboard!
6. Small Piece Of Cloth As A Tester
When you spend your hard earned money on a nice blazer or pair of slacks, the last thing you want is to destroy it by washing it wrong! That’s why, with every nice article of clothing, there’s a little plastic baggie with a button and a small scrap of cloth. The extra button is obvious, but the cloth is meant to be used as a tester in your washing machine with your detergent to see how it fares after a wash. See where thinking ahead gets you?!
5. Padlock Hole For Smoother Use
Have you ever used one these locks? If so, have you ever noticed a random little hole on the left? Flip over a padlock and you’ll see a needle-sized hole at the bottom. That hole is an exit point for moisture (who thought there was such a thing, right?). Also, if the key isn’t turning because it’s rusty, a few drops of oil in the hole will get everything moving again. Super convenient and nifty!
4. The Small Inconspicuous Jean Pocket
Jeans were designed for wear and tear. After all, these now-popular pants were meant for the working man and cowboys. Always on the go, these men needed a safe spot to keep their pocket watch. Alas, the tiny jean pocket (and punctuality!) was invented.
Here I am thinking these pockets are meant for your kids to store chewed gum, bread tags, and marbles in…you’d be surprised what moms find in the laundry, it never gets boring!
3. A Headrest As The Jaws Of Life
In an emergency when you’re stuck inside the car, start by simply removing the headrest. Hold it vertically so the pegs are stacked then place the top peg an inch deep between the rubber seal and the window where it retracts. Push down using the cushion as a lever and the peg should pierce and shatter the window. Voila! This trick is good to know, it’s a life-saving hack that so many people can benefit from.
2. Fast Food Drink Lid As A Coaster
No one likes moisture rings on their table, especially left by the condensation in a fast food drink cup. This is what coasters are for. But, in case you don’t have a spare one sitting around, here’s something else you can try: Remove the lid and tuck it underneath the drink cup. Then, notice how the grooves perfectly accommodate the bottom of the cup, doubling as a handy-dandy coaster! Now, isn’t that neat. Did you know this is what lids were for?
1. 2-Piece Gas Station Fuel Line For Safety
In the event you totally space out while filling your tank with gas and don’t remove the nozzle, there’s a security measure in place to ensure that the whole place doesn’t go up in flames. Where the hose meets the metal coupling at the top of the pump, that’s the breakaway point is: Enough force will cause the fuel line to break into two, and the check valves inside will prevent gas from leaking out.
What’s your take on the use of these everyday items? How many of them have you been using wrong?