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Every Life Hack I Learned During Quarantine

We might have felt unproductive during quarantine, but these life hacks say otherwise.

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A woman using smart / mobile phone at home
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A journey of reform, introspection, and growth

During quarantine, some people started Duo Lingo. Some got abs. Some crocheted. Some rollerbladed. Some took masterclasses. Some made sourdough. If I had to draw something positive from quarantine (which I don’t), it would be the way everyone was committed to betterment. You should never stop emerging! Quarantine distilled this energy. I was determined to find the many, minuscule ways that I could improve my quality of life—ways that were micro-yield and macro-return. After, learn the everyday habits that could, and should, change after coronavirus.

Close-Up Of Computer Printer On Table
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Save $700 annually on printer ink

Printer ink can become a major business expense in your home office, and your business might not actually expense it all. Fortunately, a few clever TikTok-ers figured out how to do it themselves. Instead of shelling out for a new cartridge each time it runs out, purchase a black ink bottle and syringe kit. Peel the sticker off the cartridge to find five holes behind it; the top three lead to the ink reservoir. Draw the amount of ink your cartridge holds into the syringe, inject, and reload. If you have an 18ml cartridge, a 500ml bottle of ink can save you over $700 a year.

Fresh organic aromatic and culinary herbs
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Keep your special herbs and spices from going bad

If you’re like me, it is very difficult—nay, impossible even—to predict when you will and when will not be up to the task of gourmet cooking. However, that often leaves handfuls of rosemary and oregano and thyme and dill that might go bad before I’m ready to cook again. Simply freeze the herbs in olive oil and make little herb-olive oil ice cubes. They’ll stay fresh until you need them again, and since many recipes require both herbs and olive oil, you can toss them right in the pan together to melt. We’re in constant awe of the power of ice cubes. This cool ice cube trick will completely clear your stinky garbage disposal.

Towel hanging out of a washing machine
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Expedite dryer time

Need to dry your favorite outfit ASAP? Speed up the drying process by tossing a clean, dry bath towel in with your next full load. Remove it after 15 minutes—it’ll have soaked up the majority of the water from your clothes. Here are some things you didn’t know your dryer could do.

Directly Above Shot Of Eating Utensils On Table
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BAYOU: Bring All Your Own Utensils

Stock a small pencil case (or any holder of your choosing) with a fork, knife, spoon, chopsticks, metal straw, and any other utensil you regularly use for eating. Keep it in your car, bag, at work, wherever. Not only can you forgo single-use plastics, but you’ll never find yourself forkless if plastic cutlery isn’t available. Keep a collapsible container in your car or bag too, so you can pack restaurant or dinner party leftovers yourself. If you’re not going to be sustainable at least be prepared! Find some other reusable versions of things you use every day.

drill making hole in wall
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A strong, independent woman who doesn’t need a stud-finder

On a measuring tape, the small black diamonds that run along the tape indicate stud centers. Start at the wall corner, and anywhere a black diamond lands, there should be a stud right underneath.

hand with water can watering indoor plants on windowsill
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Water the fern, water the soul

Plants are our best friends during quarantine. From writer Joél Leon: “Name one of your plants after you. When you talk to it, feed it love, water, light, and affirmations, you’ll be telling and feeding yourself all the things you need.” Try one of these best houseplants for you, based on your zodiac sign.

Woman heating leftovers in microwave

Banish plastic container sauce stains

You eat one serving of spaghetti and Bolognese out of a plastic container and the container never lets you forget it. That orange tint is there for LIFE—unless you add ice water and dish soap, then close the lid and shake it within an inch of its life.

Mixed race woman putting on bracelet
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Be your own helping hand

Hook a paperclip into the last link on your bracelet, using your bracelet hand to hold the paperclip and bracelet in place. This frees up your other hand to wrap the bracelet around your wrist and easily attach it. This comes from TikTok-er @jonathanblogs.

Whiteboard markers
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Draw more life out of a dry-erase marker

Before you toss that “empty” dry-erase marker, tightly tie a two-foot-long string around it. Whip it in circles like a helicopter propellor for a minute or two. If there’s any ink in there at all, you’ll copter it out.

A bowl of chocolate brownie ingredients being stirred by a spatula.
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Save a dish (and your mind)

Why on Earth were we ever making brownie mix in a big mixing bowl, only to pour it all into a brownie pan of the same volume, dribbling ooey-gooey (albeit ooey-gooey goodness), everywhere? Just throw everything straight in the brownie pan and mix it all up there! Save yourself a difficult dish. This tip will really resonate with those of you baking your way through quarantine.

chicken tenderloin
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Tendon-less tenderloins

To get the tendon out of your chicken tenderloin, pull the tiny bit sticking out the tines of a fork and give it a good pull. The whole tendon will come out all at once, in one piece. You can thank TikTok-er @raising_krazies for this one. If you really want to rough it, here are the easiest foods to grow at home during quarantine.

Hard-boiled egg.
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This egg hack

Instead of peeling teeny, tiny pieces of shell off your hardboiled egg until it’s free, just crack a small hole at the top of the egg and a slightly bigger one at the bottom. Then, play the smaller hole like a trombone and blow the entire egg out of the bigger one. Yes, it actually works! Find out how to crack an egg the right way.

Fruit bowl in the kitchen
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Fruit basket high rises

To free up some counter real estate, install some wall planters in your kitchen (you know, the kind for planting plants). Store your apples and bananas in there and toss that space-wasting fruit bowl. Here are some ways to make your bananas last longer.

Tiled Modern Bathroom with Glass Shower Doors and steam shower
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Keep your bathroom mirror unfogged

Coat your bathroom mirror with hand soap, fully from top to bottom, then buff it out with a clean cloth. Learn how to clean your bathroom in 5 minutes or less.

High Angle View Of Vegetables In Bowl On Table
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Lettuce taco ‘bout it

When building the perfect hard-shell taco, first line the inside with the lettuce leaf. This way, when the shell eventually breaks from so many delicious bites, the other ingredients don’t come spilling out.

Close up Netflix website in laptop screen. Netflix being popular internationally.
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Always bet on Netflix

Picking what you want to watch on Netflix takes longer than the actual show or movie. Sometimes, it feels like you’ve watched every show or movie on Netflix. Netflix Roulette takes the burden of choosing your next viewing experience off your shoulders. Just choose TV show or movie, genre, and IMDB and Reel Good scores, and it’ll automatically identify something that meets your criteria.

Studio shot of drinks on tray
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Mix it up with some mixies

Why make mundane drinks when you could make gourmet cocktails? With Make Me a Cocktail, you can input every ingredient you have in your house: beers and wines and liquors and garnishes and mixers alike. From there, it’ll generate every possible cocktail you can make with those ingredients. Cheers!

Small trash can standing and toilet paper container
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Command your trash bag stay in the can

Does the plastic bag you use to line your bathroom garbage can keep falling in, even if you tie it in a knot around the rim? Attach a pair of upside-down Command Hooks to each side. You can attach the bag handles underneath them, keeping it taught and ensuring it won’t fall in. Easy removal too! Here are some other, larger—but easy—home improvement projects you can get into during quarantine.

Open dishwasher with clean plates, mugs and stainless cutlery in basket. Kitchen Dishwashing machine in kitchen
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Plastic container shark cage

There’s nothing more annoying than finding your set of plastic containers flipped over in the dishwasher and will need another cycle. Next time you run it, arrange them all in one corner and place a flipped dish rack over top of them. No more dishwasher musical chairs. These are the things you never knew your dishwasher could do.

Startup small business owner working with laptop computer at workplace. Cardboard parcel box of product for deliver to customer. Online selling. E-commerce. Online Shopping. Packing concept.
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The gift that keeps on giving

Put in a different birthday each time you sign up for something online or become a member at a store. This way, instead of being flooded with celebratory discounts that you might not be able to take advantage of all at once on your actual birthday, you’ll get regular discounts throughout the year. Take advantage of these other savvy shopping tricks, too.

E-mail application on iPhone 6S Screen
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Use those cookies to your advantage

When you’re thinking of making a big purchase on Amazon, leave it in your cart for a few days or weeks first. You might get a discount offer in your email for it once they see you’re thinking about it. Who’s spying on who now?

Close-Up Of Message Icon In Laptop On Table
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An email service that’ll get your money back for you

Paribus will automatically account for all the receipts sent to your email inbox. If the retailer’s price drops from the amount you originally paid, it’ll send an email from your address asking to be reimbursed. It’ll also contact the retailer if your shipment is late, which you might not even notice. The company claims to save customers an average of 10 percent per purchase. Here are some other easy ways to save money online.

Car keyless remote.
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Turn your brain into a key fob satellite

According to Popular Mechanics, body fluids help extend your car key fob’s wireless signal. So, if you’re wandering all over the parking garage and still can’t find your vehicle, put the fob under your chin, and then try it. Try some more car hacks to make driving so much better.

God Bless John Wayne bumper sticker on the rear window of a truck seen in Tombstone, Arizona
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Unstick a bumper sticker

Have you ever put a bumper sticker on your car (the glue kind, not magnetic), then a year later decided that you are a mercurial and ever-evolving being in a constant state of reinvention and wanted it off? Dampen a sheet of newspaper and lay it over the sticker for 15 minutes, it should disintegrate so you can easily wipe it away.

Windshield wipers of a white car
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Give your windshield a manicure

Nail polish can help repair small cracks that arise in your windshield. Just apply a liberal layer of clear acrylic polish. It’ll dry invisible! Learn another hack to keep your car windows from fogging up.

man using smartphone at home - close up

Double lock the iDoor

TikTok-er @jessicawangoffical found a brilliant way to lock specific apps on your iPhone. In Settings, put a one-minute screen time limit on the desired app. It’ll ask you to enter a four-digit passcode to open the app once that limit is reached, which is almost instantly. Here are more iPhone tricks you didn’t know.

Using Apple iPhone 6
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Screenshot the whole caboodle

Next time you need to screenshot a webpage on your iPhone, select “Full Page” before saving it to your camera roll. It’ll capture the entirety of the webpage, not just the top. This way, you don’t have to take several screenshots if you want to save an entire page.

Little boy using a phone to identify plants
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Turn your iPhone into a magnifying glass

There’s a way to turn your iPhone into a magnifying glass if a menu has teeny-tiny font or you forgot your glasses.. Go to Settings>Accessibility>Magnifier. Then, all you’ll have to do is click the home button three times and the camera will open with a sliding scale to magnify the lens. If you think that was a good secret, check out these hidden Apple Watch hacks that are right under your nose.

Woman dancing on the sofa
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Raise your iPhone’s volume, then the roof

To make your iPhone’s speaker play music a bit louder, go to Settings>Music>EQ>Late Night. It lowers the volume of loud sounds and raises that of quieter ones, which makes music sound louder.

Hands that make productivity happen
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Separate e-business from e-home

If you’re a person who uses the Internet for work, it might be in your best interest to use a different browser for work than you do at home. Set up one browser tailored to your work: specialized bookmarks, shortcuts, and plug-ins. This way, those for personal use aren’t there to distract you when you’re trying to leave the office in time for happy hour.