Her Hacks: Making your life easier one hack at a time

The Her Hacks team made a resolution this year to get back down to basics. What followed was seven months of debate trying to decide what constitutes “back to basics.”

After much debate, some small committee work, a couple of ice breakers, five all-nighters, a reboot, several hundred memoranda and a tense, five-day vote the team came up with this: “Hacks should make your life easier.”

Now, that’s work well spent.

In that back-to-basics spirit, we’ve picked a few rooms of your house (and one outside) where we can hack your way into not just better living, but more efficient living. If that’s not hack heaven, we don’t know what is.

In the kitchen

Few things are more frustrating and time consuming in the kitchen than getting ready to prepare a delicious meal and realizing you’ve got to peel 135 cloves of garlic before you can begin.

But fret no longer, as guides to easy peeling have become something of a cottage industry on the internet.

Starting with that perennial killer of tear ducts, let’s look at the humble, stinky onion.

Lifehack.org has a guide to kitchen hacks that gives you some great pointers on slicing up some Allium cepa. First, there’s getting it peeled, next there’s slicing it (protip: Try cooling it in the fridge first) and finally, enjoying the veggies of your labor.

The guide also includes a couple of garlic peeling methods (shake versus flat knife) and will have you blowing on your boiled eggs before you know it.

Check it all out at tinyurl.com/y4478m6m.

There are few things sweeter in life than eating a cool orange on a hot day. And there are plenty of hot days yet to come this summer.

But one of the things that many people find frustrating about fruit (and what probably drives them to the canned variety) is that peeling some types of fruit can be arduous at best.

Enter the appropriately named Mashed (tinyurl.com/yx9j5y8v) to hack your fruit into a more edible form.

Some of the highlights include unrolling an orange rather than segmenting it, using a drill bit to peel an apple, creating a “mango hedgehog” and a no-muss-no-fuss method for that king of all breakfast fruit: Grapefruit.

Finally, no kitchen or food hacks would be complete without a top-down YouTube video demonstrating all sorts of tips and tricks, courtesy of Blossom.

Tune your browser to tinyurl.com/yy5p8bwn and you’ll be amazed by such feats as peeling and deveining shrimp with a fork tine, perfectly cracking lobster tail with a towel and pulling apart a pineapple one section at a time. The Her Hacks team’s favorite is the easy corn shuck.

In the bathroom

The bathroom is one of those places everyone wants to relax for a bit but no one wants to clean and organize.

That’s why you should let the hacking commence with a few guides to making your bathroom experience quicker, easier and more appealing.

First, Lifehack makes a return appearance with a 25-item list on bathroom organization (tinyurl.com/yxbmv9jd). While you’ve no doubt used the old trick of putting shaving cream cans upside down to avoid rust rings, have you used a magazine/folder holder as a resting place for your hair dryer? What about organizing makeup on a magnetic board?

The list is filled with such tips that, while little, add up into a big, bad bathroom.

Next up, Babble has a similar organizational guide at tinyurl.com/yxhottas. While you might at first think that Her Hacks is copping out by presenting two lists on the same subject, Babble’s has a bit more of a designerly flair to it.

And, any list that finds a clever way to upcycle toilet paper rolls (hint, they’re great electric cord holder) is one worth including.

Now that we’ve covered organization, let’s tackle cleaning. No one likes scrubbing toilets or chipping away at soap scum, but everyone at one point or another has to do it.

That’s where The Savvy Couple comes in with its handle cleaning guide — tinyurl.com/y34azcm4.

Starting with a list of necessary tools, the guide goes on to make a good case for a very particular order to what you clean when.

And, don’t miss the homemade toilet cleaning bombs in the tips and tricks section at the end.

In the bedroom

One of those rooms with untold untapped potential, your bedroom might be a strictly utilitarian space for sleeping, that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to take better advantage of it.

And, if you’re the sort who likes to put a little more decoartive pizazz into your sleeping space, look no further than SpaceWise’s list of smart organization ideas.

There’s a particular emphasis on organization (something Marie Kondo would be proud of) and a lot of the tips will do nothing but improve the attractiveness of the room.

A particularly nice one is the entry on using jewelry as art. Read about it at tinyurl.com/y5d82gdg.

If you are one of the many people who make do (or perhaps revel in) having a small sleeping space, we’ve got you covered, too.

Expert Home Tips has a guide to space saving in the bedroom (tinyurl.com/y2gtrhex) that will not only save you some space but will do so in a clean, attractive way.

The ideas for corner shelves and hanging shelves are worth the price of admission by themselves.

In the backyard

And, finally, we’ve come to the unofficial room of the house. The backyard, long a bastion of swingsets, barbecues and worm digging, is responsible for at least as many memories as the family room.

When you’re thinking about hacking the backyard, the first place your mind turns probably isn’t the shed. But, that’s exactly where you should start, according to SpaceWise.

The guide — tinyurl.com/y64zgjrf — will take you on a journey of organizational wonder so amazing that it would leave Willy Wonka’s head spinning.

Really, any excuse to turn an old wooden pallet into something else — not to mention a useful something else — is worth a peak.

Speaking of sheds, if you’re the crafty/DIY type, Shed Liquidators has a back-to-basics guide to getting your outdoor storage under control at tinyurl.com/yyog2clt.

From creating an all-in-one tape dispenser to creating bungee cord ball storage, there’s bound to be at least one project to add to your summer list.

And, we couldn’t be talking about sheds, outdoor storage and tools without tipping our collective hat to Bob Villa.

The quintessential handyman’s website has a guide to thinking outside the typical shed box at tinyurl.com/y2my8q86.

Sure, you could opt for a prefab shed or one of those classic whitewash and cement slab jobs, but why not add a little style?

From greenhouse sheds to reclaimed wood sheds to an A-frame shed, there’s bound to be something on the list to get your creative juices flowing.

Anthony Frenzel writes for the Telegraph Herald. Send your hacks, tips, suggestions, DIY thoughts, inspirations and cobbled-together-machinations to tony.frenzel@thmedia.com or share your pins with me on Pinterest (Anthony Frenzel), and you might just be featured in an upcoming edition of her Hacks.

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