When it comes to saving money (and time!) at home, a little can go a long way. Whether you want to keep your plants fresh while on vacation without hiring someone to water them, or you’re looking to remove scruff marks from the wall, or even if you can’t seem to keep your Tupperware collection in order, we’ve got a solution for you.
Check out these clever home hacks that will not only help you save cash, but also time and hassle!
House Plant Hack
Keep plants hydrated when you’re away.
Instead of paying someone to water your houseplants while you’re out of town on vacation, try this: Set a water-filled bowl on a box and place your plants nearby. For each plant, cut an 18-inch length of cotton rope and tie a paper clip to one end. Put the clip in the water (to hold the rope in place); bury the other end of the rope in the plant’s soil. The water will saturate the rope and travel down to the plant, keeping the soil moist for days. Genius!
Laundry Overload Hack
Nix laundry soap overflow.
Yikes! Your teenager used too much detergent while doing a load of laundry and there’s a mountain of suds left in the washer. The save: Shake a handful of salt right on top of the bubbles. The salt will cut through the oils in the soap to dissolve the bubbles on contact. Then run the clothes through another wash cycle without detergent.
Garden Tools Hack
Keep garden tools in reach.
”I used to carry my trowel, hand tiller and shears back and forth from the shed to my garden whenever I needed them, which was a bit of a hassle. Then my neighbor said she stores her smaller tools in a decorative mailbox tucked away in her garden. I loved the idea, so I picked one up at a yard sale. Now my tools are right where I need them and they’re protected from the elements. Plus, it’s a fun addition to my garden.” —Erin Ryan, Chicago
Clean Screen Hack
A clean screen for pennies.
To de-grime your phone screen without buying pricey wipes, try this: Pour equal amounts of distilled water and rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle. Shake well. Cut a square from an old pair of pantyhose, lightly spritz with the solution and wipe the screen. The nylon gathers dust and the alcohol cuts through grime.
Open Envelope Hack
Easily open a sealed envelope.
You forgot to include the gift card in the birthday card for your niece, and the envelope is already sealed. To open it, place the card in a plastic bag in the freezer and leave it for an hour. Remove and promptly open it with a knife. The cold air will evaporate the moisture that’s holding the envelope closed so you can easily open it. To reseal, just dampen the adhesive again.
Broken Key Hack
Remove a broken key.
Oh no! The key broke when you tried to unlock your front door and you can’t get it out of the lock. As long as the edge of the key is visible, try this locksmith trick to remove it: Squeeze superglue onto the broken edge of the key piece that’s not stuck in the door. Press it firmly against the half that’s in the door. Let dry for three minutes, then slowly pull it toward you. The glue will fuse the two pieces together so you can extract the key. Then you can take it to the hardware store to get a new copy made.
Plastic Container Hack
Outsmart plastic container chaos.
If you’re forever trying to match a food-storage container lid to its bottom when it comes time to store leftovers, put an end to the hunt with this clever trick: Use permanent marker to mark each container and its corresponding lid with a number. Now when you open the cupboard, you can see at a glance which lid goes with which bottom.
Wall Scuff Hack
Protect a wall from scuff marks.
You need to remove a nail from the wall, but you don’t want the hammer to leave unsightly marks on the wall. The easy solution? Slide a plastic spatula between the hammer and the wall as you pull the nail out. The spatula will act as a barrier between the wall and the tool so you can get the job done — without damaging your paint job.
Car Wax Hack
Give your car a high shine.
When you get down to waxing your car on a hot day, the car wax tends to dry before you get a chance to buff away the excess, leaving the surface looking cloudy and dull. To lift the residual wax, sprinkle a little cornstarch onto a cloth and wipe it on the cloudy areas. The fine powder will soak up the extra wax without harming paint, leaving your ride shining.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine