From creating arrowheads out of old keys to bug repellent mixology and everything in between, we’re helping you navigate life one hack at a time. New hacks added each week!

Hack #250 Shower Shoes

Summer is a great time for traveling (mostly because it likely means you’re on vacation…), but this tip is a great life hack for travelers any time of year—whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure. When you’re on the go, one of the more difficult things to figure out how to pack are your shoes. Not only are shoes difficult to pack because they never fit properly into your luggage, but they’re also a nuisance because—without fail—no matter how “clean” your shoes are before you put them in the bag, you always find sand and dirt granules at the bottom of your after you unpack.

So what’s the solution? Use cheap shower caps to wrap up your shoes and protect your clothes (and, hey, next time you’re at a hotel room, you can always stock up on more shower caps!). If you don’t have any shower caps on hand, a simple shopping bag from your recycling pile will work just fine too. And as a bonus, you can even use your shoes as a storage pocket for your socks, which saves space and helps you keep track of our of your smaller suitcase items!

Hack #608 Oh, nuts! Fixing Scratches with Walnuts

So, you’ve got a small scratch in your hardwood floors, and no matter how it got there all you know is that it needs to come out. Before you have visions of ripping up entire pieces of flooring to replace the damaged wood, consider stopping by your pantry and grabbing a walnut.

Rub your finger over the scratch then rub the walnut along the scratch. The walnut’s oils will fill the scratch and then you can buff out any excess residue with a soft cloth. (Seriously, make sure it’s a soft cloth. You’ll never forgive yourself if you grab the abrasive dish cleaning cloth!)

If you have darker hardwood floors, you can try using coffee grounds. All you do is take used grounds, apply it to a q-tip, rub the grounds into the scratch using the q-tip and let them sit for approximately ten minutes. Use a cotton cloth to wipe away any excess grounds. This method uses the grounds as a stainer rather than a filler, but it still works to make scratches significantly less noticeable!

Hack #92 Cleaning with Coke

For this hack, it’s probably best not to think about what the following truths mean for your teeth!

Coca Cola’s chemical make up includes phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid is MORE acidic than lemon juice or vinegar, so if you use those for cleaning, you’re already starting to see why Coke may be able to put a dent in your more stubborn stains.

So, even though this week’s life hack may seem a little counter intuitive due to the sheer amount of sugar hiding in a single can of Coke, the phosphoric acid is your best friend when it comes to attacking those stubborn stains.

If you have a toilet bowl that looks like it belongs in a boys’ hall bath with more stained surfaces than clean ones, just pour one can of Coca Cola into your stained toilet bowl and let it sit over night. In the morning, give the bowl a simple scrub with soapy water, and then enjoy the shine of your sparkling, clean toilet. 

Hack #841 Spoon Me

han·grybad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger

Hanger. It’s one of the worst types of anger. Not only are you hungry, but your hunger has escalated into a frustrating anger and—damn it, Karen!—there’s no end to your hunger in sight and thus no end to your anger. Will this insanity never end?!?!

But, wait! There may be reprieve because, luckily, you packed a yogurt cup in your lunch box. Thank the dairy gods! But, oh no! The hanger. It’s returning. It’s returning with a vengeance because—You. Forgot. A. Spoon. How will you ever survive the post-lunch, pre-dinner slump?

Thankfully, there’s a life hack for that! All you need to do is remove the aluminum foil lid, fold it into a make-shift spoon, enjoy your snack, and satiate your hunger. There are lots of approaches to this spoon-crafting—like the “disc and twist” for a more traditional looking spoon or the “shoveler” for a gadget that really just gets the job done when all you want is to shovel food into your face.

The Disc and Twist

The Shoveler

Hack #539 Protecting Your Wood

Alright. Get your head out of the gutter.

We’re coming up on summertime, and as the flowers begin to bloom, the urge to craft and create begins to grow as well. This culminates into your ambitious summer project that you may—or may not—finish, but that’s beside the point. Maybe you use projects as a source of stress relief, maybe you’re an amateur woodworker who’s passionate about furniture and you want the finished product to be flawless. Whatever your situation, we’ve got a hack that will help keep your latest project dint free!

If you find yourself needing to hammer nails into wood and you want to avoid creating indentations from the hammer’s point of impact, simply place a rubber chair stopper over the head of the hammer. This will create a more padded impact keeping your summer project free from dints and dings.

Hack #390 Knife Sharpening

There’re few things in life more frustrating than a dull knife. Next time you find yourself needing to sharpen your blade, try using an old leather belt. The only requirements are that the belt be genuine leather with a smooth and rough side.

To prepare the belt for sharpening, all you need to do is rub a thick layer of red oxide powder into the belt’s rough side. Next, place the blade flat against the belt and pull it away from the cutting edge. You can’t really over-sharpen a knife, so feel free to continue this process until your inner Sweeney Todd is thoroughly satisfied. (Although, if you’re working with a relatively new knife without much damage, about 15 strokes will do just fine!) After you’ve sharpened the first side, don’t forget to flip the knife over to the other side and repeat the process.

Vois la! A sharpened knife!

Now, if you want to polish your knife too, just flip the belt over to its smooth side and repeat the same strokes you originally made to sharpen the knife to get a nice, finished shine.

Hack #147 DIY Mosquito Repellent

Spring is amazing; mosquitos are not. From childhood and well into adulthood these pesky, blood sucking demons never really cease to disturb ones outdoor experience. Eventually you’ll find yourself spraying ungodly amounts of chemicals into the air and onto your skin hoping to keep the mighty mosquito at bay. And somehow, after all that, you still end up with a least a bite or two.

Or, if you’re a part of an unlucky group of individuals, you end up with a bite or twenty. What group of human beings is this? Well, there are a few factors that can increase how attractive you appear to mosquitos—some you can control, some you can’t.

For example, people with higher metabolic rates and higher carbon dioxide outputs are more attractive to mosquitos. Why? It’s because you’re signaling to the mosquito that you’re alive, pumping blood, and you’re pumping a bunch of it—you’re basically a moving buffet. There’s also some indication that people with Blood Type O are more attractive to mosquitos than people with Blood Types A or B. Why? The science isn’t really clear on that. You might’ve just lost the genetic lottery on that one, Type O. And next time you’re at the family BBQ, you might want to lay off the beer. It turns out mosquitos are boozy bastards that find the alcohol in your blood particularly appetizing.

So, what can you do other than drowning yourself in DEET, which has literally been identified as a neurotoxin (aka toxic to your brain)? Make some natural mosquito repellent. It’s really quite simple and it smells amazing.

In a spray bottle, combine Lemon Eucalyptus Oil and Witch Hazel in a 1:3 ratio respectively. Once you make sure the two ingredients are well combined, you’re ready to spray and play! Research has shown that this combination is effective against 95% of mosquitos for up to 3 hours.

Hack #937 Nature’s Headache Remedies

If there’s anything most every human being can agree upon, it’s the fact that headaches are a not-so-fun, pretty-miserable experience.

Headaches make it difficult to focus and function. And, whether you’re in a survival situation or just going about your day-to-day life, being able to focus and function are pretty important things. So, if you find yourself caught in a situation without access to medication, try some of these natural remedies to help ease the pain.

Toss back a handful of almonds. These powerhouse nuts contain an anti-inflammatory agent called salicin, which is found in some over the counter medications including aspirin! Almonds are also naturally high in magnesium, which helps relax muscles and lessen nerve sensitivity, so if your headache was brought on by stress or anxiety almonds could help you too.

Essential oils—specifically peppermint and lavender—have been shown to help relieve headache symptoms. Peppermint oil applied to the temples will relieve tension headaches, while lavender oil placed under the nose and inhaled will help ease migraines. What’s great about essential oils is that they’re derived from easily accessible, wild plants, so even if you found yourself caught in the wilderness you could have access to these remedies!

If you’re a fan of liquid medication, you could also try sipping ginger root or butterbur root tea. Like some of the remedies listed above, these roots also have natural anti-inflammatory properties that just might take off the edge. Speaking of taking off the edge and liquid medication, it’s also a good idea to avoid alcohol and increase your water consumption when you have a headache (you may just be dehydrated!).

Hack #204 Recognizing the Difference Between Venomous and Non-Venomous Snake Bites

Knowing the markers of venomous and non-venomous snakes is vital if you spend time in the great outdoors. I can tell you from personal experience—being bitten by a snake isn’t fun, and it will send instant chills down your spine. But, keeping a cool head around these cold-blooded creatures is very important, especially when you’re trying to access the situation.

Quickly after I was bitten, I was able to identify the perpetrator as a harmless Green Garden snake, which made the whole experience much less traumatizing.

So, what should you be looking for? Venomous snakes have diamond shaped heads and vertical pupils (like a cat!). Venomous snakes attack their prey and administer their venom through fangs, so if you ever are bitten and you have two distinct puncture wounds, you’ll definitely want to seek medical assistance.

By contrast, nonvenomous snakes have rounded heads and eyes. If you’re bitten by a nonvenomous snake, the bite will be in a horseshoe shape with multiple small punctures, but nothing overtly distinct like the fangs of a venomous snake.

Can you tell if the guy pictured is venomous or not? He’s a part of the Crotalinae sub-family of snakes. Were you right?

Hack #426 Remove a Drywall Anchor With a Wine Corkscrew

Removing an anchor from drywall has the potential to be a DIY nightmare filled with flathead screwdrivers, careful and strategic prying, some choice words whispered under your breath—and all of that just to end up with an even bigger hole in your wall that you need to spackle, sand, and paint. Once you’ve done all that it can feel like you should’ve just left the darn thing in the wall and prayed your significant other never noticed.

Well, put your tools down. This is the only gear you need:

  • a wine corkscrew,
  • a bottle of wine (I personally recommend a Malbec), and
  • your choice of dessert

The last two items on the list aren’t required per se, but once you finish whatever project you’re working on, you may just be in the mood to celebrate. Plus, a bottle of wine and a delicious dessert are never bad things to have on hand.

The wine corkscrew works essentially like an old-timey manual drill. You can put the corkscrew flush with the wall and insert the essential “drill bit” into the anchor. See the image to the right for a helpful diagram. Once you’ve drilled in, you can remove the anchor the same way you would remove a cork from a wine bottle. For the sake of your wall though, we would recommend using a little less brute force than a corked bottle of wine requires.

Once you’ve removed the anchor and completed your DIYing, grab those other two pieces of gear—you know, the wine and the dessert—and enjoy your job well done!

Hack #782 Know Your Steak’s Doneness Without a Thermometer

Generally speaking steak is cooked in five varying degrees—Rare, Medium Rare, Medium, Medium Well, and Well Done. There are a few other specialty finishes for your meat like Blue Rare, which is essentially raw meat that’s been seared on the outside. And don’t even get us started on the variety of ways you can cook your steak—on the grill with indirect heat, on the grill with direct heat, seared in a pan, roasted in a pan, dare we even mention cooking it in the oven?!

Being able to grill your steak to the perfect finish seems to be some sort of unspoken right of passage for men. And with so many approaches out there, it’s hard to know how to do it right. And with the price you paid for that slab of meat at the market, you certainly don’t want to mess this up.

So, whether you’re trying to accomplish the perfect finish to impress your father-in-law, your newest lady friend, or the guys at the game, we’re here to help you earn your meat medal of honor. There are plenty of guides online that tell you how long to leave the steak on or what the internal temperature should be when you pull it off the grill for the finish you want (see the chart to the left for exhibit A). If you find yourself without a meat thermometer or forgot to check what time you put the steaks on, it would seem you’re SOL. Not anymore!

This life hack is simple and genius. The answer to the question of your meat’s doneness is at your fingertips—literally. All you have to do is use the finger test.  By placing each of your four fingers to your thumb and feeling the rigidity of your thenar muscle (the cushy, fat part at the base of your thumb), you can get a pretty accurate idea of the meat’s toughness and therefore doneness. All you have to do is prod your meat with a fork to test its rigidity and compare. As it approaches your desired tenderness or toughness, go ahead and remove the meat from the heat. Often due to the high heat the meat has been exposed to, it will continue to cook a little once it’s been removed from the heat. Remember, you can always put your meat back on to cook, but once it has passed a certain doneness you can’t go back!

Put this life hack to the test. Let us know how it works. Take a picture and tag us in your meaty badge of honor!