Things You Had No Idea You've Been Doing Wrong

By Jake Schroeder
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Photo Courtesy: Edgar Castrejon/Unsplash

While most tasks in life may seem pretty obvious by now to us adults, there’s a surprising number of things we've all been doing wrong for years. As it turns out, there are hidden features on everyday objects that most of us have simply never noticed — and we can use them in innovative ways. When it comes to other tasks, we may have just never known that much easier ways existed. Here, you'll find a list of life hacks you won't believe you never thought of.

Removing the Plastic Deodorant Cap

You know that plastic cap that comes wedged into the top of a new deodorant stick? Attempts to lift it by sheer force of will can feel like trying to pry the sword from the stone. And you’re reminded yet again that you’re definitely not Arthur.

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Photo Courtesy: @SureDeodorant/Twitter

Many of us have resorted to grabbing the tabs with our teeth or looking for the nearest set of pliers, but it turns out there's an easier way. Simply turn the bottom wheel to lift the actual deodorant up, and the cap will lift right up as the deodorant stick rises.

Making Sandwiches

There's perhaps no more vexing first-world problem than fitting round lunch meat on square bread. No matter how cleverly you attempt to arrange the deli slices, there always seem to be those uncovered corners.

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Photo Courtesy: 5-Minute Crafts/YouTube

Today’s the day such problems end forever. Simply cut two pieces of the circular-shaped meat in half. Then arrange them with the still-rounded sides of the circles pointing towards the center of the bread — one on each side of the bread slice.

Holding Your Wine Glass

There are two types of people in this world. There are those who hold their wine glasses by cupping the bowls in their hands and those who lift by the stems. As it turns out, the stem-holders have been correct the whole time.

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Photo Courtesy: Pexels/Pixabay

Wine is a notoriously fickle beverage that comes with its own unique set of rules. By cupping the bowl of the glass, the heat of your hand warms the wine up quickly and causes it to lose some of its tastiest properties. Keep it cooler by grasping the stem.


Measuring Pasta

Measuring out the perfect amount of uncooked pasta noodles seems to be an art form all its own. The struggle is real when it comes to achieving the perfect balance between accidentally cooking way too much or way too little.

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Photo Courtesy: Facts Verse/YouTube

Apparently the key to this riddle has been right in front of us the entire time. You know that large hole in the middle of most pasta scoops? It's not just there to drain water, but also to help you measure out the perfect amount of uncooked noodles for a single serving.

Charging Your Phone

If you've ever noticed that your smartphone battery seems to deteriorate over time, then you're not alone. It feels like, as the months go by, even the longest-lasting batteries tend to get weaker and weaker. Unfortunately, it turns out that it's probably been the fault of phone owners all along.

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Photo Courtesy: FreePhotosArt/Pixabay

While many of us like to plug in our phones overnight and enjoy a full charge the next morning, we're actually causing battery strain by charging too long. The best way to prevent this is by charging in short bursts and removing the charger as soon as you're done.

Steering Your Car

For years now, drivers ed instructors have been pointing their student's hands towards the 10 and 2 o'clock positions on their steering wheels. It turns out that this method is so pre-1990. This position was recommended before airbags were common. Now, that positioning is a great way to break your thumbs or cause other injuries if your airbag deploys.

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Photo Courtesy: Be Amazed/YouTube

These days, in modern cars, the 3 and 9 o'clock positions are the safest places for your hands. In the event of an accident, these spots (coupled with a deploying airbag) are far less likely to result in your hands flying straight into your face.


Connecting Extension Cords

You probably have at least a few extension cords delivering power to various faraway electronics throughout your home. There's nothing worse than when they manage to unhook as you move your appliance or accidentally trip over the cords. Though it won't prevent tripping, there's an easy way to keep your cords securely attached.

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Photo Courtesy: 5-Minute Crafts/YouTube

Just tie them in a loose knot, as shown here, before you plug them into each other. That way, instead of unhooking, they'll enjoy extra slack that can keep them together in the event of accidental tripping.

Keeping Your Straw in Place

As it turns out, those little tabs that open aluminum cans are useful for more than just popping your soda top. The fact that they can swivel over the drinking hole means you have a great way to keep your straw from going rogue.

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Photo Courtesy: @zindagimuskraye/Twitter

The swivel top can also prove useful when you're at a party or gathering where it's hard to keep track of which drink is yours. Just swivel the tab over the drinking hole or even to the side and you'll set your drink apart from the rest.

Not Embracing the Dress Shirt Loop

Have you ever noticed that little loop on the back of men's dress shirts? Why is it there, and what does it want? According to fashion lore, it's actually there for a reason. It all began back in the day when sailors used them to hang up their shirts on hooks while they changed.

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Photo Courtesy: Facts Verse/YouTube

Ultimately, the fashion world at large saw that the concept made sense and started incorporating the loops into dress shirts back in the 1960s. They're a handy way to hang your shirt in a locker without wrinkling it as much.


Solving the Great Over vs. Under Debate

For decades, the debate over the correct way to hang a roll of toilet paper has raged on. Should the little flap that you pull on hang over the front of the roll or behind it? Each person has their own preference, but it seems that a look at the original toilet paper patent paperwork may provide some clues.

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Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia

As depicted in its original 1891 patent drawing, the first roll of toilet paper seems to have favored the over method. Perks of the method also include keeping the paper from rubbing against whatever germs might be lurking on your bathroom wall.

Hanging Pictures

If you too have spent far too long attempting to slip a wire or string over an unseen nail in order to mount a picture to the wall, then this one's for you. The next time you're faced with this situation, slip a fork over the top of the nail first.

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Photo Courtesy: 5 Minute Crafts/YouTube

Then you'll be able to slide the wire or string that the picture hangs from over the top of the fork and right onto the nail itself. Simply remove the fork when you're done and enjoy a stress-free photo-hanging experience.

Resting Your Wooden Spoon

How many times have you found yourself standing there with a dripping stirring spoon while you cooked a pot of sauce? Unsure what to do with the spoon until its next stir, you may have found yourself scrambling for a random object to prop it on in an attempt to avoid getting the sauce everywhere.

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Photo Courtesy: Facts Verse/YouTube

Scramble no more. Those little holes at the ends of your pots are for more than just hanging them from hooks. Just slip the end of your spoon handle into the hole and you've got a perfect place for your spoon to hang out.


Guessing Which Side Your Gas Tank Is On

Ever found yourself driving into the gas station in a new or rented car and discovering that you couldn't remember which side the gas tank was on? As it turns out, the answer was right in front of you. The next time you're behind the wheel, glance down at the little gas tank symbol on your gas gauge.

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Photo Courtesy: Brett_Hondow/Pixabay

Most cars have a tiny arrow beside the symbol that points to one side or the other. It's not just there for random decoration, but to tell you which side of the car your tank is on.

Removing Nails

There's nothing worse than removing a stubborn nail from your wall, only to find that the top of your hammer left all kinds of nasty residue behind on the wall beneath. Don't let it happen to you! The next time you're in the nail-removing mood, grab yourself a dry sponge.

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Photo Courtesy: 5-Minute Crafts/YouTube

Place it beneath the nail and remove the nail with your hammer as normal. The extra cushioning will keep your hammer from its usual antics by keeping your wall clean and preventing the hammer from making accidental dents.

Underutilizing Your Stove's Drawer

You know that drawer at the bottom of your stove that most of us assumed was a place to stash random cooking trays? As it turns out, it's so much more. This drawer is actually a "warming drawer."

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Photo Courtesy: GE Appliances/YouTube

When your stove is on, the space in this drawer gets toasty as well. If you're cooking multiple dishes and want to keep them warm until it's time to serve them, then try placing them inside the drawer. That way, you can keep all your food from getting cold until you're ready to eat.


Making Eggs

If you're a fan of sunny side-up eggs, then you may have noticed that the ones you make at home don't tend to be as perfectly round as those at diners. This can be especially frustrating if you're attempting to make them for a sandwich.

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Photo Courtesy: Facts Verse/YouTube

The answer is no further away than an onion. Just cut the onion in half and remove the outer ring. Place it into your frying pan and then pour the raw egg inside of it to cook. You'll end up with a perfectly round egg when it's done.

Drinking Juice Boxes

While all kids love juice boxes, it can be frustrating for a toddler to attempt to take those first few sips without squeezing so hard that the juice squirts out from the straw. Little did you know, there's a built-in way to prevent such spillage right at the top of your average juice box.

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Photo Courtesy: @kyliebanxx123/Twitter

Just unfold those little flaps at the top outwards and have your child hold them instead of the box itself. This makes for an easy and clever way to sip without having to worry about gripping it correctly.

Wearing Earbuds

As nice as it is to opt for earbuds over huge, hulking headphones, the choice to do so sometimes comes with an unfortunate trade-off. Earbuds don't seem to be made in such a way as to actually stay in your ear when you're running or moving around a lot.

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Photo Courtesy: HiFi Headphones/YouTube

This may be because most of us have been wearing them incorrectly this whole time. It seems that the earbud was actually designed to loop over your ear. So the next time you're having a hard time keeping a pair in, try turning them upside down.


Using Kitchen-paper Boxes

While kitchen papers such as aluminum foil and parchment paper are great for a variety of culinary needs, it sometimes seems like the entire roll is ready to launch from the box each time you open it. This is because we've all been missing a built-in feature on the boxes this whole time.

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Photo Courtesy: Kool FM/YouTube

Go grab the nearest box of aluminum foil and look on the side of one of the ends. You'll find a little spot that directs you to push the box inward. When you do this on both ends, you'll find the roll locked securely in place.

Cleaning Your Toaster

Many of us have muddled through life with no idea that cleaning out a toaster was even possible, much less easy. Those of us who have tried to keep things tidy have likely resorted to turning the whole contraption upside down to shake out all the stray crumbs.

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Photo Courtesy: DualitVideos/YouTube

Little did we all know that most toasters come with a feature that allows you to open them from the bottom. Rather than go all shaky on your toaster next time, spend a moment to check for the secret door on the bottom and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Peeling Bananas

What could be easier than peeling a banana? Though it may be a task that we've all done a million times, it turns out that monkeys have been silently judging our peeling methods from afar for centuries. While most of us peel from the top, monkeys have a whole other method entirely.

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Photo Courtesy: apic/Pixabay

They pinch the bottom until the skin cracks open and peel the banana upside down. This eliminates the weird stringy things that you always have to peel off — and the little nub that's usually waiting for you in the last bite.


Applying Bandages to Your Finger

Papercuts are the worst, and applying a bandage to one on your finger seems to be the only way to keep it from stinging even worse. The trade-off, however, is often looking down to discover that the bandage has managed to slide off at some point.

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Photo Courtesy: 5-Minute Crafts/YouTube

End this cycle of frustration once and for all by cutting slits in both sides of the adhesive straps before applying. After you've placed the padded part on the wound, wrap each of the four adhesive strips diagonally and you'll end up with a slip-free fit.

Eating From Take-out Boxes

Most of us have enjoyed the convenience of Chinese take-out boxes, but few of us have realized the hidden function the boxes are capable of. We all know that the boxes are constructed by folding the sides into a cube-like shape, right?

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Photo Courtesy: @NJ_Nmaster/Twitter

What you may not have realized is that when you get home, you can unfold the sides in order to make a little paper plate. Not only does the container provide a nifty carrier for your food, but it also makes it easy to enjoy your meal without having to do dishes afterward.

Using a Tape Measure Tool

Most of us have used a tape measure at some point in our lives, but many of us haven't paid close enough attention to notice the cool hidden features. The next time you're attempting to measure something, check out the little metal tab on the end of the tape.

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Photo Courtesy: seejanedrill/YouTube

The groove you'll find on the surface can hook onto a nail and measure without the tape moving around. The jagged edges at the bottom mean you can drag it across wood to make a mark that serves as a placeholder before you cut the wood.


Underestimating the Pom-pom

At some point in your life, you've probably owned a winter hat with a pom-pom on the top. While many of us have always assumed that it was there merely as a playful decoration, its purpose actually goes back to the days of yore.

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Photo Courtesy: Free-Photos/Pixabay

The pom-pom hat became popular with sailors back in the day because of the close quarters in a ship. It was easy to accidentally bump your head on the ceiling when you were working below the deck or in tight spaces, so the pom-pom added extra protection and padding.

Drinking From Solo Cups

Chances are, the mere sight of a solo cup conjures up images of parties in your mind. Whether they’re at crazy college keg parties or friendly adult get-togethers, solo cups offer a great way to enjoy a few beverages without having to do a ton of dishes afterward.

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Photo Courtesy: Be Amazed/YouTube

But did you know that the lines on the cups are there for a reason? The bottom one measures out a standard shot of liquor, the middle one indicates the level for a glass of wine and the top one is for measuring out a glass of beer.

Ignoring These Handy Cord Wraps

If your power charger looks like it has little bent arms, then you may have assumed they were for propping it in an upright position. When you really think about it, however, how much sense does that make? It turns out that those little guys are there for a whole other reason.

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Photo Courtesy: @itsJeremiahS/Twitter

They’re actually cable hooks to make folding up and storing your charger a lot easier. So unless you're really digging the sight of your randomly upright charger, try putting those legs to use for their true purpose.


Hammering Nails

There are few things more nerve-wracking than attempting to hold a nail in place as you give it those first few taps with a hammer. No matter how great your aim is, it seems that the hammer is naturally predisposed to go for your fingers instead.

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Photo Courtesy: Money Talks News/YouTube

The next time you find yourself in this position, grab a pair of pliers or even a clothespin instead. Let them hold that nail in place so that if things go awry with your hammer, at least you won't have a broken finger to worry about.

Using Your Ceiling Fan

While we may think that ceiling fans are pretty self-explanatory, even they have a hidden feature that most of us have remained in the dark about. If you look closely at the average ceiling fan, you'll notice a little switch on the bottom.

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Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

By flipping it, you can control whether the blades turn clockwise or counterclockwise. By running them counterclockwise in the summer, you'll enjoy a cool breeze. In the winter, you'll want them to run clockwise to help push the warm air that naturally rises back down into the room.

Struggling to Open Jars

Opening stuck jars can seem like a Herculean task, especially when the lid is stubborn and tight. Fortunately, there are a few other options besides summoning your inner strongman. Try attaching several strips of duct tape around one side of the lid, and then use them to pull it in the direction it opens.

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Photo Courtesy: KOAT/YouTube

Alternatively, you can pick up a spoon and hold it upside down. Tap the heavy part of the handle on the lid of the jar at several points all around the edge. This can help break the seal and make the lid easier to turn.