Easy
Takes:

less than 5 minutes

Makes:

for an easier life

Costs:

almost always free

Old School Hacks

Easy-peasy DIY's that make life a little less complicated.

1

Remove a stripped screw. Use a rubber band to dig out a stripped screw. (Photo: New Nostalgia)

2

Separate garlic. Place a head of garlic in a bowl. Set a smaller bowl inside of the larger one, face down. Hold the two bowls closed as you shake vigorously for a minute. Open it up and all of the cloves have been separated and peeled.

3

Clean fruit. Clean the wax and dirty film off of your fruit by soaking it in a sinkful of water with 1 c vinegar. Your fruit will shine, last longer, and taste better. (Photo: Pinterest)

4

Remove grease spots. You can pre-treat any grease spot with some chalk to soak up the stain before you wash. (Photo: Pinterest)

5

Iron without an iron. Create a makeshift version by covering the bottom of a pot with tinfoil, heating it on the stove for 15 seconds, and then use the bottom of the foil-covered pot to de-wrinkle. (Photo: Etsy)

6

Get rid of fruit flies. Take a small piece of paper & make a cone. Fashion cone so there is a small hole at the bottom, secure w/ tape. Put an in. of apple cider vinegar in the glass. Rest cone pointy side down in glass. Refresh vinegar & toss out dead flies every few days.

7

Remove gum. Boil vinegar, pour on the gum, and use a toothbrush to wipe off. (Photo: Pinterest)

8

Hold a nail in place. Use a fine toothed comb to hold a nail in place while you drive it into the wall. (Photo: Pinterest)

9

Keep critters out. Place a bay leaf in flour, rice, and pasta to keep critters out. (Photo: Only Foods)

10

Remove sweat stains. Squeeze lemon juice directly on to discolored area, rub in gently, and let sit for 20 mins before you wash.

11

De-gunk dirty kitchen cabinets. Mix baking soda and vegetable oil in a bowl, dip an old toothbrush into the mix, and scrub cabinets for a fresher, newer looking facade. (Photo: Pinterest)

12

Save soap. Push together last sliver of soap with your new bar and keep the magic alive.

13

Keep brown sugar fresh. Throw a couple of marshmallows in your brown sugar bag or canister to keep the good stuff from clumping and hardening. (Photo: Pinterest)

14

Freshen air. Toss cinnamon sticks, cloves, sliced oranges & lemons in water and set on the stove top to boil, then reduce to a simmer. Added bonus: use apple juice instead of water, strain it, and drink it — double duty spiced cider. (Photo: Sweet and Simple Things)

15

Fix shrunken clothes. Soak the undersized item in a mix of hot water and a cap full of hair conditioner or baby shampoo for 5 minutes to relax the fibers. (Photo: Pinterest)

16

Make non-drip candles. Stick them in the freezer for a few hours before burning. (Photo: Pinterest)

17

Make kindling. Use dried orange peels or lemon peels for an aromatic fire starter. (Photo: Little Eco Footprints)

18

Keep socks paired in the wash. Safety pin them together before tossing in the wash. (Photo: Pinterest)

19

Remove a splinter. Fill a wide-mouthed bottle with hot water and press the affected area tightly against the mouth of the bottle. The suction will pull the skin taut while the steam will help to draw the splinter out. (Photo: Reddit)

20

Clean your coffee pot. Add ice, salt, and lemon rinds; give it a few good swirls, dump, and rinse. (Photo: Pinterest)

21

Reduce the puffiness around your eyes. Place the moist side of a fresh potato peel to the skin for 15 mins. (Photo: Pinterest)

22

Make a banana sugar scrub. Sprinkle sugar on the fleshy side of a banana peel and use it on the skin as an exfoliating loofah. Rub then rinse. (Photo: Pinterest)

23

Soothe a burned tongue. Apply a little sugar to the scorched spot and let the sweet stuff take the pain away. (Photo: Recipe.com)

24

Make a layered cake. Wrap a wet piece of cloth around a cake pan before baking. The wet cloth will make the inside and outside of each cake layer bake evenly, keeping each layer flat and perfectly stackable. (Photo: Girl Versus Dough)

25

Humidify your home. Boil a pot of water to add moisture to the air, which helps prevent the transmission of viruses and bacteria. If you're already sick, the moisture will help a dry, hacking cough. (Photo: DIY Life)

26

Fix that funk. Put a dry tea bag in smelly shoes or your gym bag to absorb unpleasant aromas. (Photo: Pinterest)

27

Make a homemade ice pack. Mix 1 part rubbing alcohol with 3 parts water for a really cold but not solidifying healing compress. (Photo: Etsy)

28

Protect light switches and doorknobs. If you run out of tape, sub tin foil to cover up. (Photo: Etsy)

29

Nail it. Glue a magnet to the bottom of your hammer handle and stick nails to it, great for when you're atop a ladder, or working at an awkward angle. (Photo: Pinterest)

30

Remove dead skin cells. Mix yogurt, a natural chemical exfoliate, with a bit of flour or dry oatmeal in a bowl and apply to skin. Once it dries, rub off in a circular motion with a washcloth.

31

Test your baking powder for freshness. Add a teaspoon to a glass of water. If it doesn't fizz, the baking powder is old— time to toss it.

32

Pull ink from clothing with toothpaste. Apply the paste, let it dry, and simply rinse off with water. (Photo: Pinterest)

33

Make stale cookies soft again. Place them in a plastic bag with a piece of bread and leave it over night. (Photo: Pinterest)

34

Untangle knots with cornstarch. Rub some onto shoeleaces, chains, or string and watch the knot unravel. (Photo: Pinterest)

35

Toss a bad egg. Determine if your egg is fresh by placing in a large bowl of water. If your egg floats, it's time to toss.

36

Remove oil stains from leather. Sprinkle a little baby powder and leave overnight. If the spot remains, repeat the process. (Photo: Pinterest)

37

Stop hiccups. Sugar does more than help the medicine go down — next time you get the hiccups, chew about a teaspoon of sugar to stop the spasms. (Photo: Pinterest)

38

Clean tarnished silver with cola. Simply drop your pieces into a glass of Coke (yes, Coke) and soak for an hour. (Photo: Pinterest)

39

Cut cherry tomatoes in no time. Sandwich them between two equal-sized plates and carefully slide a knife through the middle. (Photo: Pinterest)

40

Whiten your teeth with a banana peel. Rub the inside of a peel on your teeth for 2 minutes (try to ignore the nasty texture), and rinse.(Photo: Pinterest)

41

Rid yourself of weeds. Spray white vinegar directly on the base of the plant. Dead weed, happy garden.

Go back to Step 1

Materials
  • stuff you already have laying around the house

Underachievers

  • Not really a checker-backer? No problem. Like Old School on Facebook for weekly hacks (not to mention awesome features), straight to your feed.
    From lighting a fire when you’re fresh out of kindling to getting stubborn sweat stains out of your clothes, a lot of life’s little annoyances can be remedied with a simple fix — using stuff you already have lying around — and our hearty list of home hacks aims to do just that. Check it out, and then keep checking back as we keep adding to the list.

    Lesson Plan

    These are just a few of our favorite things:
    1. Remove a stripped screw. Use a rubber band to dig out a stripped screw.
    2. Separate garlic. Place a head of garlic in a bowl. Set a smaller bowl inside of the larger one, face down. Hold the two bowls closed as you shake vigorously for a minute. Open it up and all of the cloves have been separated and peeled.
    3. Clean fruit. Clean the wax and dirty film off of your fruit by soaking it in a sinkful of water with 1 cup vinegar. Your fruit will shine, last longer, and taste better.
    4. Remove grease spots. Pre-treat any grease spot with some chalk to soak up the stain before you wash.
    5. Iron without an iron. Create a makeshift version by covering the bottom of a pot with tinfoil, heating it on the stove for 15 seconds, and then use the bottom of the foil-covered pot to de-wrinkle.
    6. Get rid of fruit flies. Take a small-ish piece of paper (ours is a half of a letter-sized sheet) and make a cone out of it. Fashion the cone so that there is a small hole at the bottom. Put a piece of tape where the paper edges overlap just to hold it into place and preserve the hole. Put an inch of apple cider vinegar in the bottom of a glass. Rest the cone on top of the glass, pointy side down into the glass. The vinegar attracts the flies, and they get in through the hole, but can't figure out how to get back out. Refresh vinegar and toss out the dead flies every couple of days.
    7. Remove gum. Boil vinegar, pour on the gum, and use a toothbrush to wipe off.
    8. Hold a nail in place. Use a fine toothed comb to hold a nail in place while you drive it into the wall.
    9. Keep critters out. Place a bay leaf in flour, rice, and pasta to keep critters out.
    10. Remove sweat stains. Squeeze lemon juice directly on to discolored area, rub in gently, and let sit for 20 mins before you wash.
    11. De-gunk dirty kitchen cabinets. Mix baking soda and vegetable oil in a bowl, dip an old toothbrush into the mix, and scrub cabinets for a fresher, newer looking facade.
    12. Save soap. Push together last sliver of soap with your new bar and keep the magic alive.
    13. Keep brown sugar fresh. Throw a couple of marshmallows in your brown sugar bag or canister to keep the good stuff from clumping and hardening.
    14. Freshen air. Toss cinnamon sticks, cloves, sliced oranges & lemons in water and set on the stove top to boil, then reduce to a simmer. Added bonus: use apple juice instead of water, strain it, and drink it — double duty spiced cider.
    15. Fix shrunken clothes. Soak the undersized item in a mix of hot water and a cap full of hair conditioner or baby shampoo for 5 minutes to relax the fibers.
    16. Make non-drip candles. Stick them in the freezer for a few hours before burning.
    17. Make kindling. Use dried orange peels or lemon peels for an aromatic fire starter.
    18. Keep socks paired in the wash. Safety pin them together before tossing in the wash.
    19. Remove a splinter. Fill a wide-mouthed bottle with hot water and press the affected area tightly against the mouth of the bottle. The suction will pull the skin taut while the steam will help to draw the splinter out.
    20. Clean your coffee pot. Add ice, salt, and lemon rinds; give it a few good swirls, dump, and rinse. (Photo: Pinterest)
    21. Reduce the puffiness around your eyes. Place the moist side of a fresh potato peel to the skin for 15 mins.
    22. Make a banana sugar scrub. Sprinkle sugar on the fleshy side of a banana peel and use it on the skin as an exfoliating loofa. Rub then rinse.
    23. Soothe a burned tongue. Apply a little sugar to the scorched spot and let the sweet stuff take the pain away.
    24. Make a layered cake. Wrap a wet piece of cloth around a cake pan before baking. The wet cloth will make the inside and outside of each cake layer bake evenly, keeping each layer flat and perfectly stackable.
    25. Humidify your home. Boil a pot of water to add moisture to the air, which helps prevent the transmission of viruses and bacteria. If you're already sick, the moisture will help a dry, hacking cough.
    26. Fix that funk. Put a dry tea bag in smelly shoes or your gym bag to absorb unpleasant aromas.
    27. Make a homemade ice pack. Mix 1 part rubbing alcohol with 3 parts water for a really cold but not solidifying healing compress.
    28. Protect light switches and doorknobs. If you run out of tape, sub tin foil to cover up.
    29. Nail it. Glue a magnet to the bottom of your hammer handle and stick nails to it, great for when you're atop a ladder, or working at an awkward angle.
    30. Remove dead skin cells. Mix yogurt, a natural chemical exfoliate, with a bit of flour or dry oatmeal in a bowl and apply to skin. Once it dries, rub off in a circular motion with a washcloth.
    31. Test your baking powder for freshness. Add a teaspoon to a glass of water. If it doesn't fizz, the baking powder is old— time to toss it.
    32. Pull ink from clothing with toothpaste. Apply the paste, let it dry, and simply rinse off with water.
    33. Make stale cookies soft again. Place them in a plastic bag with a piece of bread and leave it over night.
    34. Untangle knots with cornstarch. Rub some onto shoeleaces, chains, or string and watch the knot unravel.
    35. Toss a bad egg. Determine if your egg is fresh by placing in a large bowl of water. If your egg floats, it's time to toss.
    36. Remove oil stains from leather. Sprinkle a little baby powder and leave overnight. If the spot remains, repeat the process.
    37. Stop hiccups. Sugar does more than help the medicine go down — next time you get the hiccups, chew about a teaspoon of sugar to stop the spasms.
    38. Clean tarnished silver with cola. Simply drop your pieces into a glass of Coke (yes, Coke) and soak for an hour.
    39. Cut cherry tomatoes in no time. Sandwich them between two equal-sized plates and carefully slide a knife through the middle.
    40. Whiten your teeth with a banana peel. Rub the inside of a peel on your teeth for 2 minutes (try to ignore the nasty texture), and rinse.
    41. Rid yourself of weeds. Spray white vinegar directly on the base of the plant. Dead weed, happy garden.