Being a parent is about three parts blood, sweat and tears mixed with three parts MacGyver and a dash of drill instructor.
In other words, it’s a hard job. But it’s one for which the Her Hacks team is dedicated to helping you be prepared.
For our parents’ generation, being prepared often took the form of the fabled junk drawer. With everything from a stray spindle of twine to a paper hole puncher to tacks stuck in that little piece of cardboard, the junk drawer was the first line of defense against school projects, homemade birthday cards, room decorating, impromptu games and lazy afternoons.
But, rather than such a scatter gun approach, the Her Hacks team is bringing you a few solutions that are in search of your problems, like a personals ad for around-the-house projects.
Or, you know, a junk drawer full of hacks.
The tale of the tape
There comes a time in everyone’s life when they’ve just got to say, “Darn it, duct tape will do.” And if Red Green is anyone to go by, it does.
The miracle of duct tape dates back to around World War II (though some of its antecedents date into the 19th century). And, despite what you might think, it originally was called “duck tape” because it was made of duck cloth and was water resilient, “like a duck’s back.”
We’re not here for a history lesson, though. We’re here to solve some stuff with the some tacky tape.
Since we’re not all blessed with vehicles that have the oh-so-magical driver position memory, why not consider marking your spot with a piece of duct tape, as suggested by Definition.org at tinyurl.com/tpuo7xr?
That same list also includes gems like using it to make your dust pan more efficient (not to mention making it so you don’t have to hold it by hand), using it as leverage to open a jar and the ever-useful makeshift lint roller.
Instructables.com also has a list of duct hacks at tinyurl.com/wvmbksu. Maybe avoid the one about the spear, but the two that seemed especially useful were using “the handyman’s secret weapon” to pull tape residue off surfaces and using it and some pennies to create a book weight.
If crafts are what you’re looking to make with your tape (and if so, stay tuned for the next section), take a look at this list: tinyurl.com/rmgu726. It includes some easy stuff — duct tape bookmark, duct tape desk organizer — as well as some more complicated, perhaps multi-session tasks — duct tape snowshoes, geodesic duct tape dome.
Let’s get crafty
You love crafts. We love crafts. Kids love crafts. So let’s hack them.
DIY Joy has a list of hacky crafty ideas at tinyurl.com/s4pf6yv. Some standouts include homemade magnetic button rings to hold pins, a custom glue gun stand and one we know we’re going to use over and over in the future: Using a fork to make a bow.
If you’re looking for some more kid-friendly crafts, KidsActivitiesBlog.com has a roundup at tinyurl.com/subdou6. It’s got everything from using a potato as a stamp (seriously, it’s pretty fun) to using a mason jar with a salt lid as a glitter shaker. And, don’t miss out on the decorating hacks, especially creating a DIY gallery wall for all of those hackily facilitated creations.
Speaking of decorations, if you’re looking to get the most out of your space (craft room or otherwise), StorageTalk.com has a guide with suggestions for organizing beyond the obvious. Using contact paper to decorate boxes is an old favorite of the Her Hacks team, but using both sides of shelves by securing jar lids to the bottom of the shelf and using a wine rack as a yarn storage (and display) are next level. Read all about it at tinyurl.com/uyxn6ms.
A clean slate (and everything else)
No one likes spending all day cleaning the house, and yet there’s no denying a sense of satisfaction and comfort in a job well done.
So, why not shoot for the best of both worlds?
Cleaning hacks might be responsible for the whole hack craze in the first place, and there are more lists of them than opinions about the Snyder cut “Justice League” movie floating around on Reddit.
That’s why we went looking for the most complete list possible.
Of course, you could just go on Pinterest and search “cleaning hacks” (here’s a handy shortcut link: tinyurl.com/woxx5uj) and end up with what’s basically an endless list.
But, if you’re looking for something a bit more curated, we found LifeHack.org’s list of 50 to be fairly complete (tinyurl.com/y29prg5y).
It start with that oldie but goodie of cleaning your cutting board with a sliced lemon and salt and ends with the less common but no less useful using a dustpan to pick up small toys
en masse. You’ve probably seen a lot of these from other sources, but there’s bound to be a few newbies as well as some forgotten gems.
From the professionals
Finally, let’s step into the realm of the professional child rearer. No, not a family therapist, we’re talking about boots-on-the-ground parents.
The Huffington Post has helpfully put together some of the best #ParentingHacks from Twitter, and you’re life might never be the same.
Some of our favorites are:
“Mom hack: When your kids don’t finish their lemonade, make margaritas.”
“Joe: ‘We’re living the life of luxury! We’ve got BREADSTICKS!’ Parenting hack: keep expectations low.”
“Toddler parenting hack: Carry mini M&Ms in your purse so you can get the mini humans to do what you want.”
Check them all out at tinyurl.com/tehgtt8.
Send your hacks, tips, suggestions, DIY thoughts, inspirations and cobbled-together-machinations to firstname.lastname@example.org or share your pins with me on Pinterest (Anthony Frenzel), and you might just be featured in an upcoming edition of her Hacks.
Anthony Frenzel writes for the Telegraph Herald.