Wednesday, September 17, 2014

52 Life Hacks Every Lexington Home Owner Should Know

Are you somebody that hates when tacos or ice cream cones break and get messy? What about when paint brushes splatter all over the place when painting?
For those pesky, brittle tacos and cones, line a large lettuce leaf inside the taco shell to prevent the contents from spilling when the taco breaks, or put a marshmallow on the bottom of that ice cream cone to help prevent the ice cream from spilling out, (while adding an extra sweet treat.)
Are you an avocado lover? Did you know that they can be cut in half, pitted, and frozen with saran wrap? Or it can replace the butter in your cookie recipes?
Find these tips and much, much more!

  1. Use flower pots to keep bugs and dirt off of your food during an outdoor BBQ. Tie a loop in a length of rope and slip it through the hole in the bottom for a simple handle.
  2. Waste less water. The water you use to boil vegetables, eggs, and pasta is full of nutrients that your plants will love. (Be sure to let the water cool before watering your plants.) You can also water your plants with the water from your fish tank after you clean it.
  3. Soaking your popcorn kernels in water for a few minutes will help the corn pop quicker and result in few unpopped kernels.
  4. When preparing tacos, line your taco shell with a large lettuce leaf. If the shell breaks (like most of them do) the lettuce leaf will hold the rest of the contents together.
  5. A simple way to hang a heavy item on the wall. Cut a length of wood in half at a 45 degree angle. Attach one piece to the wall and the other to the back of the object you are hanging.
  6. If you accidentally burn your gravy just transfer it to another pan and continue cooking it. Slowly add sugar (tasting as you go to avoid adding too much). The sugar will cancel out any of the burnt taste.
  7. It's always a good idea to wear gloves while chopping chili peppers. However, if you don't have any gloves on hand, try rubbing cooking oil on your hand before you begin cutting. The cooking oil will keep the your skin from absorbing the oil on the peppers.
  8. Place a marshmallow in the bottom of your cone before filling it with ice cream. This will stop any ice cream from dripping out the bottom of the cone and minimize messes. 
  9. To soften butter quickly, place it between two sheets of wax paper. Using a rolling pin, roll out the butter until it is about 1/4 inch thick.
  10. When you freeze a block of bacon, you have to thaw out the entire block at once. So what do you do if you only want to that out a few pieces? Before freezing, lay out a long sheet of wax paper. Starting a couple inches from the end of the paper, lay each individual strip of bacon vertically across the wax paper leaving an inch gap between each strip. Once your paper is full, start at one end and begin rolling up your paper and bacon. Place the entire thing in the freezer. When you need bacon, unroll your wrap, take out as much bacon as you need then place the rest back in the freezer. 
  11. If you are heading to the beach, place your phone inside a small Ziploc bag. The bag will keep your phone dry and you can still use it through the plastic.
  12. Recycle a soda box to organize cans in your pantry!
  13. Add grommets around the edge of a vinyl tablecloth. After placing your tablecloth over your outdoor table, Stretch bungee cords under the table slipping each end into a grommet on the table cloth. This will keep your tablecloth (and everything on it) from blowing away if it gets windy.
  14. A simple way to squeeze lemons is by placing them between a pair of tongs.
  15. Glue a magnet to the side of a paintbrush. When you need a break from painting, stick the paintbrush to the inside edge of your paint can. Any drips will drip back into the paint can and stay off of the floor.
  16. Ever try to fill a frosting bag and end up with more frosting on the counter than in the bag? Place the bag inside a tall glass then fold the open end over the outside of the glass. This will hold the bag in place while you fill it and eliminate the mess. 
  17. Use a light bulb carton to protect photos when sending them through the mail.
  18. For perfect French tips, wrap a rubber band around your nail and stretch it tight. While you are painting the tip of your nail the rubber band will keep the polish where you want it and form a nice even line.
  19. Try this super simple trick to peel an entire head of garlic in a cinch.Place your head of garlic on a hard surface such as a table or counter. Using a cutting board, your hand, or other solid object, push down on the top of the garlic until it smashes and separates the cloves. Now place the cloves inside a food storage container and violently shake the container for about 15 seconds. That's it! The shaking will separate the peels from the cloves and you just saved yourself a several minutes of peeling garlic.
  20. Screw a hook into the underside of your kitchen cabinets or a shelf in your pantry. Use an S hook to hang your bananas and keep them off the counter.
  21. Use Drain cleaner to remove stains from concrete. Pour the drain cleaner on the stain, wait a couple minutes, then wash it off. 
  22. Use a Lazy Susan in your fridge to organize your condiments. This will keep things from getting lost in the back of your fridge. 
  23. Slip a bungee cord around your existing curtain rod to hang a second panel. Hang blackout curtains or sheer panels behind your existing curtains.  
  24. Use a paper clip to put on a bracelet.
  25. Clean the top of your ceiling fans with a paint roller and extension handle. Wrap a dryer sheet around a clean paint roller and secure with rubber bands. Attach your extension handle and swipe the roller across the top and bottom of each fan blade.
  26. When pouring liquids from a large container hold a straw across the top of the opening. The liquid will run down the straw and you will avoid any drips down the side of the container. 
  27. Cut a slit in a plastic lid and slide it over your paintbrush to control paint splatter.
  28. Remove scuff marks from your floor by rubbing over them with a dry tennis ball.
  29. When ironing your shirts, use a hair straightener to iron those hard to reach areas in between buttons and around the collar.
  30. Replace the plastic tube in a spray bottle with a more flexible one (found in hardware stores), then glue a couple nuts around the end of the tube. The nuts will act as a weight, keeping the end of the tube in the solution, allowing your to spay even when the bottle is turned upside down. 
  31. Use a paper clip holder for you bobby pins.
  32. Use a paper towel holder to organize ribbons and rolls of tape.
  33. Covered in sand after a day at the beach? Dump a small amount of baby powder onto your hands and rub over your arms, and legs to remove the sand.
  34. A toothbrush holder is the perfect size for holding straws. Keep them in your purse in case you ever need them. Great for traveling or going to restaurants with toddlers.  
  35. Do your kids make a mess with the toothpaste? Squeeze the toothpaste into a clean soap dispenser.  This will eliminate the mess while providing just the right amount of toothpaste for your kiddos. You could also wrap a hairband around the neck of the dispenser to keep it from squirting out too much toothpaste.
  36. To wash tennis shoes in the washing machine, tie a large knot in the shoelaces. Place the shoes in the washer with the laces laying across the top of the door. Close the door making sure the knot is on the outside of the washer. This will hold the shoes against the door while washing and keep the noise level down.
  37. If you want to listen to music on your phone but don't have any speakers, try placing your phone inside a glass. The music will echo and fill the room. 
  38. Save your child's birthday cards. Punch holes in them and store them in a binder then give it to them as a gift when they are older. 
  39. Fold a 'pocket' into your wrapping paper to hold cards and gift tags.
  40. Dry your clothes faster and save money on your electric bill by tossing a clean dry towel in with your wet clothes.
  41. Using pine cones as mulch will keep dogs and other critters out of your flower and veggie garden. 
  42. Use an arts & crafts organizer to corral food while traveling in the car.
  43. If you have some old wooden drawers that are hard to open try rubbing a candle stick on the tracks. The wax will help the drawers open and close smoothly without sticking.
  44. Apply a cotton ball soaked in vinegar to fresh bruises. The vinegar will help reduce any darkness and cause the bruise to disappear faster. 
  45. Thaw out meat quickly. Heat some water in a pan until it reaches 140* then turn your burner off. Place your meat inside a food storage bag and place into the hot water. Chicken will take about 10 minutes to thaw and other cuts will take around 12 minutes. This method will not cook the meat and most importantly, bacteria will not develop.
  46. To tell if an avocado is ripe or not just pop off the stem. If the skin under the stem is dark the fruit is too ripe. If the skin under the stem is light in color then it is just right. 
  47. Speaking of avocados, did you know that you can freeze them? Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Wrap each half individually in saran wrap and place inside a freezer safe bag. When you need to use one just place it in the fridge the night before to thaw out.  
  48. And one more avocado tip. Did you know that you can replace the butter in your cookie recipes with mashed avocado? You won't be able to taste the avocado in the cookies but it will cut down the fat content as well as the number of calories.
  49. Build a trellis to shade plants such as lettuce that require less sun.
  50. Pour cupcake batter without the mess. Clean out used condiment containers such as ketchup and mustard bottles. Pour in your batter then squeeze into the cupcake pan.
  51. Add a tablespoon of vanilla extract to your paint (1 tablespoon per gallon) before you begin painting your home. This will not affect the paint color, however, it will mask paint fumes and your entire home will smell like vanilla.
  52. Clean your fireplace glass using a wet paper towel dipped in ashes. The ashes will scrub off any dirt and charcoal.

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