Whether you rent or own, odds are maintaining your home takes up a significant portion of your time on a daily basis. In fact, taking care of a home, from cleaning to cooking to maintenance, takes the average American an average of 111 minutes—or nearly two hours—every single day. Perhaps more shocking yet is the cost of outsourcing these tasks: according to a recent study from Bankrate, Americans will shell out $2,000 to have someone else tackles these onerous chores.
Fortunately, the solution to your household woes don’t have to include spending huge amounts of cash or time you don’t have to solve them. We’ve rounded up 30 easy home hacks that will save you time, money, and most importantly, your sanity along the way. And if you’re eager to get your home sparkling from top to bottom, start with these 20 Genius House-Cleaning Tricks That will Blow Your Mind.
Turn magazine holders into space-saving storage
If you’re looking to store anything from office supplies to cans, but hate the messy look of plastic bins, try using a magazine holder instead.
Wire mesh magazine holders are the perfect size to keep your smaller goods in order while making them easy to find. And for more easy ways to make your space seem larger, try out these 30 Genius Home Storage Hacks That Will Clear Up So Much Space.
Clean your blender with dish soap
Anyone who’s ever attempted to clean a blender knows just how perilous doing so can be—after all, you’re essentially sticking your hand into a pitcher of knives. The solution? Add a little dish soap to your machine, pour in two cups of warm water, and blend until that caked-on grime is a thing of the past.
Line the edges of a caulked area with painter’s tape
There are few things that make a tub or window look less presentable that a messy line of caulk. To ensure that you always have a perfectly-caulked surface every time, use painter’s tape on either side of where the caulk will go and voila! No mess and a professional-looking job. And before you hand over your paycheck to a handyman, master these 20 Home Maintenance Tips Everyone Should Know.
Drill a hole in the bottom of your trash can to keep bags from sticking
There are few things more frustrating than trying to remove a garbage bag from your can, only to find that it’s holding on for dear life. The solution? Simply drill a small hole in the bottom of your trash can and you’ll prevent the vacuum-like seal that often makes the bags stick.
Prevent doors from locking with a rubber band
If you have easily-locked doors and clever pets or children, you know just how easy it is to find yourself locked out of a room. Fortunately, all it takes is a rubber band to keep those doors from locking. Simply loop it around one doorknob, twist it over the latch bolt so it’s pressed into the door, and loop the other end of the band over the other doorknob.
Use stick-up LED lights to illuminate dark cabinets
If you’re dealing with a less-than-ideal kitchen—especially one that’s particularly dark—use some LED lights to brighten up your set-up. Instead of installing pricey under-cabinet lighting, a few stick-up LEDs can help illuminate your countertops for virtually no money.
Use towel-wrapped tongs to clean blinds
Having a hard time getting all the dust off your blinds? All it takes is a few items you already have in your home to get them squeaky clean. Simply wrap dish towels around either side of a pair of tongs and secure with rubber bands. Then slide the tongs between slats and voila! Dust-free blinds in seconds. And when you want to want to get your home looking like a million bucks, invest in these 20 Products That Make Cleaning So Much Easier.
Put down masking tape before nailing into plaster walls.
While plaster walls may offer better soundproofing than drywall, they’re not without their own problems, particularly when you’re trying to hang something on them. But all it takes is a little tape to fix the issue.
Before you nail a hole in your wall, first put down a small square of masking tape or painter’s tape over the area where you’ll be placing your nail. That way, when you nail into the plaster, it’s unlikely to flake or spread dust, and may even prevent future cracks down the line.
Keep your door from hitting the wall by covering the knob with a tennis ball
If you live with someone who seems incapable of opening a door gently, there’s a quick and easy solution that will save your sanity and your walls. Simply cut a slit in a tennis ball and wrap it around the offending knob—when it hits the wall, it will bounce right off rather than leaving an indentation.
Hang a painting on hinges to conceal an unsightly alarm system
While alarm systems can give you peace of mind, they’re not always pleasant to look at. However, if you want to make them blend seamlessly into your existing décor, all it takes is a piece of art and some hinges. Attach one side of a pair of hinges to the frame of a painting and the other side to the wall near your alarm panel, and you’ve got an easy way to cover it while keeping it accessible.
Organize pot and pan lids with a magazine rack
There’s no denying that pot and pan lids take up more than their fair share of space in cabinets. The solution? Use a vertical wire magazine rack to keep them organized on the inside of your cabinet door.
Remove small scratches on furniture with toothpaste
Small scratches in the finish of your furniture can happen to the best of us. However, before you go spending hundreds to get the piece refinished, simply use some toothpaste to get it out. Using a pea-sized amount of non-gel paste, rub the scratch in a circular motion until it buffs out and then clean the remainder with a damp towel.
Use Mason jars to store excess paint
Paint cans are cumbersome, unsightly, and, if improperly hammered, not exactly the best way to keep your paint fresh, either. If you want to keep any excess paint without having to store an entire bulky can, use a Mason jar instead. Just pour the paint in and make sure the lid is screwed on tight for a mess-free alternative to those enormous aluminum cans.
Use a second shower rod to store toiletries
Instead of letting your sponges, loofahs, and smaller toiletries languish in your damp shower, inevitably becoming a breeding ground for bacteria, hang them up. Install a secondary tension rod in your shower and attach some mesh bags on S-hooks to keep those shower supplies from getting waterlogged.
Store plastic bags in a disinfecting wipes container
We all know the struggle: you forget your reusable bags at home and end up with a hundred plastic ones after a single trip to the grocery store. However, while tossing them in the trash isn’t exactly a responsible move, there’s an easy way to keep them on hand for when you need them but otherwise out of sight. After you’ve finished using a container of disinfecting wipes, put your trash bags in it and pull them out as needed.
Hang cumbersome utensils on hooks inside cabinets
There are few things more likely to make a kitchen drawer permanently stuck than a stray spatula. Rather than taking the risk, attach some adhesive hooks to the inside of a kitchen cabinet door and hang them instead.
Make your rugs non-slip by adding a line of caulk on the bottom
Your rug may be a surprising source of peril in your home. In fact, according to research from the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, rugs and carpets cause approximately 37,991 falls among U.S. senior citizens every single year. To help mitigate some of the risk they cause, simply add a few lines of caulk to the back of your rug to prevent them from slipping.
Clean a messy ceramic cooktop with a Magic Eraser
Ceramic cooktops may seem like a convenient alternative to gas ranges, but they’re not always easier to clean, with razors generally assumed to be the go-to tool for making them shine. Fortunately, there’s an easier solution: a Magic Eraser. This gritty sponge can get those caked-on messes off in just a few swipes without the potentially-perilous razor treatment.
Wrap a rubber band around the neck of a soap dispenser
If you have little ones who think every hand-washing session merits using a cup of soap, or a particularly germ-conscious spouse or roommate, this trick can save you serious cash. Wrapping a rubber band around the neck of a soap dispenser will slow its flow, meaning you’ll get an appropriate amount of soap with every pump rather than running through a bottle every week.
Freeze your pillowcases before hopping into bed on a hot night
On particularly hot nights, it often feels like there’s no way to get comfortable in bed. Luckily, you can still cool off without having central air installed. Simply spritz your pillowcase with a tiny bit of water and freeze it for 20 minutes before putting it on your pillow, helping you stay cool even on the hottest nights.
Use a magnetic rack to keep spice rack clutter at bay
While purging your spice collection would only serve to leave your food woefully under-seasoned, if you’re like most people, your spice cabinet could use some serious reorganization. Fortunately, a magnetic spice rack can kill two birds with one stone: help you find your favorite seasonings in a snap and give you something to put on your fridge other than bills and grocery lists.
Put mini furniture sliders on the bottom of flowerpots
Plants can instantly brighten up any home, but heavy flower pots—and their ability to scrape the surfaces under them—can often seem like more trouble than they’re worth. To help keep your pots from damaging your floors or windowsills, simply add furniture sliders to the bottom and you’ll keep your surfaces scuff-free.
Add some paper to the bottom of your trash bag to keep liquids from leaking out
Before you toss another liquidy mess into your trash bag, add some old newspaper to the bottom first. By adding a layer of newspaper to the bottom of the bag, you can catch leaky messes before they drip on you on trash day.
Limit the amount of water your toilet uses by putting a heavy item in the tank.
Is your water bill outrageously high? Your toilet tank could be the problem. To help reduce the cost, put a brick or other heavy item in the tank. This will displace at least a few cups of water, helping you reduce the amount you use with every flush.
Fix a hole in a window screen with clear nail polish
Whether you’ve snagged it on your keys or it’s just weakened over time, a hole in your screen render it practically useless. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution for those small tears: clear nail polish. If you have a minor hole in your screen but don’t want to replace the whole thing, simply add a swipe of clear nail polish to the screen to cover the hole and it’ll be as good as new in minutes.
Get pet fur off of furniture with a squeegee
You may love your pets, but odds are you don’t relish getting covered in their fur every time you take a seat on a piece of fabric-upholstered furniture. However, instead of spending endless cash on lint rollers that hardly pick up a thing, there’s an easier solution. With a squeegee—the same one you use to get your windshield gleaming—you can get all the pet fur off your furniture in a single swipe.
Avoid clutter by hanging pots and pans inside cabinet doors
Even if you don’t have space for an overhead rack, you can still make room for your pots and pans. Simply attach your cooking tools to the side of your cabinets with hooks to clear up space. To do so without damaging the woodwork, try attaching cork board to the inside of your cabinets with foam tape and add some stick-on hooks.
Stick a paper clip to the end of a roll of duct tape
Instead of wasting duct tape by folding it over to mark where the roll ends, simply stick a paper clip to the end of the roll. This way, you won’t have to feel around with your fingernails, but you won’t have to cut off the inch that you’ve folded, either.
Keep nails accessible by adding some magnetic tape to your hammer’s handle
Anyone who’s ever hammered a nail knows that there are two acceptable places to put it: your mouth, or on the surface below where you’re hammering, where it will inevitably get lost. The solution? By adding a strip of magnetic tape to the handle of your hammer, you can keep those nails where you need them and never risk losing another.
Make your house smell fresh by warming a vanilla bean in water on the stove
Air fresheners may smell great, but what they’re doing to your lungs isn’t so terrific—they’ve been linked to a host of respiratory illnesses, as well as eye irritation. Fortunately, there’s a simple alternative: by simmering a vanilla bean in two cups of water on the stove (adding some cloves or cinnamon if you want a spicier scent), you can perfume the air in your house without putting your health in jeopardy. And for more easy ways to improve your living space, check out these 25 Genius Hacks for Mouse-Proofing Your Home.
To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to sign up for our FREE daily newsletter!