It can sometimes feel like you could spend the rest of your life trying to clean and organize your home and never actually cross every item off your to-do list. However, just because you're short on time doesn't mean you have to ignore those projects you're eager to get done. Whether you're looking to get your house spotless in a hurry or just want to add some extra aesthetic appeal to your space, there's an easy way to tackle all those tasks while saving yourself time along the way.
With the help of experts, we've rounded up 50 amazing home hacks that will improve your life faster than you can say, "Do we have room in the budget for a housekeeper?" And if you want to get more done in less time, check out these 30 Amazing Cleaning Tips You'll Wish You Knew Sooner.
Unclog a stuck drain with coffee.
Whether your kitchen sink is holding water or your tub won't drain after another at-home haircut, there's an easy solution to those plumbing woes that doesn't involve a trip to the store.
"Coffee grounds can be mixed with dish soap and boiling water to unclog drains," says Alex Azoury, founder and CEO of Home Grounds. Azoury recommends mixing the grounds with soap and adding the mixture into your drain, following it up with a lengthy pour of boiling water, the combination of which will break up whatever's clogging your pipes. But before you make a costly error, make sure you know these 21 Ways You're Damaging Your Home, According to Your Plumber.
Or use coffee grounds as a degreaser.
Have some leftover coffee grounds after your morning pour-over? Use them to tackle that ring around the tub.
"Rub some coffee grounds into the grease or soap and it'll gently buff off any residue," says Azoury. Rinse off the mixture with warm water afterward and voila! A squeaky-clean tub.
Use essential oils to polish furniture.
No furniture polish on hand? No problem!
According to Jane Wilson of Fantastic Cleaners Melbourne, essential oils are great for freshening up wood furniture.
"You can use lemon essential oil to quickly polish any dark wood and effectively clean stains and spots." Wilson also notes that tea tree oil is another effective furniture polish and has the added benefit of being a bug deterrent. However, she cautions against using this trick of food preparation surfaces, as many essential oils are not safe for consumption. Sanitizing your space? Here's How Quickly Your Favorite Disinfectant Kills Coronavirus.
Or remove small scratches on furniture with toothpaste.
We all end up with small scratches in the finishes of our furniture from time to time. However, before you go spending hundreds of dollars to get your couch refinished, try using some toothpaste to get those marks out. Using a pea-sized amount of non-gel paste, rub the scratch in a circular motion until it buffs out, and then clean the remainder with a damp towel.
Remove candle wax from furniture with ice cubes.
If you ever spill candle wax on a piece of furniture, don't risk ruining its finish by trying to scrape it off. Instead, fill a plastic bag with ice cubes, place it over the wax, and let it sit for a few minutes. Once the wax has sufficiently cooled and hardened, you can pick it up easily without ruining your furniture's finish or fabric.
And get it out of the carpet with a steam iron.
Spilled some hot wax on your shaggy carpet? No problem! Just put a paper bag over the wax and lightly go over the area with a steam iron. The steam will help lift the wax from the carpet and cause it to cling to the bag instead.
Use a hairdryer to get crayon marks off the walls.
If your kids like to use your white walls as their personal crayon canvas, all hope is not lost. Simply heat the offending portion of the wall with a hairdryer for a few seconds to soften the crayon's wax and then wipe any marks away with a soft cloth.
Use cooking oil to get rid of sticky label residue.
Anyone who's ever peeled a label off of a jar knows how frustrating it can be when the spot remains as sticky as honey. Thankfully, cooking oil makes it easy as pie to get rid of that residue. Using a cotton pad and some cooking oil, rub the sticky area and let it sit for a few minutes. Once the oil has sunk in, it'll wipe away easily.
Use vinegar to get odors out of your microwave.
If your microwave is smelling less than fresh, there's a simple way to get it clean and odor-free without using harsh chemicals.
"Just place a bowl of vinegar in the microwave for around five minutes and simply wipe it afterwards," says Wilson.
Or use it to get your surfaces streak-free.
Make those spotty mirrors and windows a thing of the past by using white vinegar in place of your usual ammonia-based cleaning fluid.
"Make a quick solution from cold water and white vinegar, spray it on the area, and wipe with a clean microfiber cloth," suggests Wilson. And if you want to keep your home safe and healthy, make sure to replenish these 7 Cleaning Supplies You're Definitely Not Replacing Enough.
Clean your HVAC vent registers in the dishwasher.
Those grimy HVAC registers can easily be cleaned in your dishwasher! Just pop them off, run them through a quick rinse cycle, and dry them thoroughly before reinstalling.
Use towel-wrapped tongs to clean your blinds.
Having a hard time getting all the dust off your blinds? All it takes is a few items you already have in your home to get them squeaky clean. Simply wrap dish towels around either side of a pair of tongs, secure them with rubber bands, and you've got your very own DIY duster.
Limit the amount of water your toilet uses by putting a heavy item in the tank.
Is your water bill outrageously high? On overly full toilet tank could be the problem. To help reduce the cost, put a brick or other heavy item inside the tank. This will displace at least a few cups of water, helping you reduce the amount you use with every flush.
Clean your toilet bowl with mouthwash.
When your toilet bowl is in dire need of a good clean, grab your mouthwash instead of heading to the store to pick up yet another expensive and unnecessary cleaning product. Simply pour a capful of the stuff into your toilet bowl and let it sit for half an hour. When you're ready to give the bowl a scrub, any grime will come off easily.
Keep your toothbrush off the dirty countertop with a clothespin.
Your bathroom counter is teeming with germs, so it's the last place you want your toothbrush to be. And if you don't want to spend money on a whole slew of new bathroom accessories, a clothespin is just as effective at holding up your toothbrush, far away from all that bacteria.
Use a second shower rod to store toiletries.
Instead of letting your sponges, loofahs, and smaller toiletries languish in your damp shower and inevitably become a breeding ground for bacteria, hang them up. All you have to do is install a secondary tension rod in your shower and attach some mesh bags on S-hooks to keep those shower supplies from getting waterlogged. It's one of those simple DIY home hacks that saves you time and money in the long run!
Wrap a rubber band around the neck of a soap dispenser to avoid overuse.
If you have little ones who think every hand-washing session merits using a cup of soap, this trick can save you some serious cash. Wrapping a rubber band around the neck of a soap dispenser will slow its flow, meaning you'll get an appropriate amount of soap with every pump and won't run through an entire bottle each week.
Clean a messy ceramic cooktop with a Magic Eraser.
Ceramic cooktops may seem like a convenient alternative to gas ranges, but they're not always easier to clean. Fortunately, a Magic Eraser can come to your rescue. This gritty sponge can remove those caked-on messes in just a few swipes without doing any damage to your cooking surface.
Use a magnetic rack to keep spices tidy.
If you're like most people, your spice cabinet could probably use some serious reorganization. Fortunately, a magnetic spice rack can kill two birds with one stone by both making your spices more organized and giving you something to put on your fridge other than bills and grocery lists. It's decorative and it's functional—what could be better?
Clean a pan with Alka-Seltzer tablets.
Is that mess from dinner not budging from your pan? Fill it with hot water, drop in an Alka-Seltzer tablet, and let it sit. In about 15 minutes, that mess should wipe up easily.
Use stick-on LED lights to illuminate dark cabinets.
If you're dealing with a darker-than-ideal kitchen, you can use some LED lights to brighten things up. Instead of installing pricey under-cabinet lighting, a few stick-on LEDs can help illuminate your countertops and cabinets at virtually no cost.
Clean your blender with dish soap.
Anyone who's ever attempted to clean a blender knows just how perilous doing so can be. After all, you're essentially sticking your hand into a pitcher of knives and hoping for the best. Thankfully, there's a safer and simpler way to clean your blender after you make a smoothie or shake. Add a little dish soap to your machine, pour in two cups of warm water, and blend until that grime is a thing of the past.
Organize your bathroom essentials with a silverware tray.
Silverware trays aren't just good for forks, spoons, and knives. In the bathroom, you can also use these handy dandy accessories to store and organize all of your essentials, from toothbrushes and toothpaste to makeup brushes and mascara tubes.
Use suspenders to keep a fitted sheet in place.
If you find your fitted sheets slipping off the corners of your bed, look no further than your closet for an easy fix. Take a pair of elastic suspenders, clip one end to each corner under the mattress, and your sheet will for sure stay put.
Drill a hole in the bottom of your trash can to keep bags from sticking.
There are few things more frustrating than trying to remove a garbage bag from the bin, only to find that it's holding on for dear life. Thankfully, all you have to do is drill a small hole in the bottom of your trash can to get rid of the vacuum-like seal that often makes the bags stick.
Add some paper to the bottom of your trash bag to keep liquids from leaking out.
Before you toss another liquidy mess into your trash bag, add some old newspaper to the bottom first. By adding that layer, you can catch and absorb leaky messes before they drip on you come trash day.
Store plastic bags in an empty disinfecting wipes container.
There's an easy (and neat) way to store all those plastic bags that inevitably begin to pile up in some corner of your home. After you've finished using a container of disinfecting wipes, put your plastic bags in it and pull them out as needed. You can even keep this DIY invention in your car so you never forget your bags on the go!
Use plastic straws to help wilting flowers stand up straight.
Wilting flowers aren't exactly the most aesthetically pleasing home decoration. However, you don't have to throw out that bouquet just because it's starting to look sad. Rather, you can place plastic straws around the flowers' stems so that they stay upright and can still get their necessary nutrients from the water in their vase.
Fix a hole in a window screen with clear nail polish.
A hole in your screen door or window renders the entire thing practically useless. Fortunately, there's a simple solution for those small tears: clear nail polish. If you have a minor hole in your screen but don't want to replace the whole thing, simply add a swipe of clear nail polish where there's a rip and it'll be as good as new in minutes.
Organize pot and pan lids with a magazine rack.
There's no denying that pot and pan lids take up more than their fair share of space in cabinets. The solution? Use a vertical wire magazine rack to keep them organized on the inside of your cabinet door.
Prevent doors from locking with a rubber band.
If you have sensitive locks on your doors and pets and children running around the house, you know just how easy it is to find yourself locked out of a room with no easy way in. Fortunately, all it takes is a rubber band to keep those doors from sealing shut. Simply loop the stretchy band around one doorknob, twisting it over the latch bolt so it's pressed into the door. Then, loop the other end of the band over the other doorknob, and you'll never accidentally get locked out again.
Keep your door from hitting the wall by covering the knob with a tennis ball.
If you live with someone who seems incapable of opening a door gently, there's a quick and easy solution that will save your sanity and your walls. Simply cut a slit in a tennis ball and wrap it around the offending knob; when the door hits the wall with force, it will bounce right off of it rather than leaving an indentation.
Use a foam noodle to prevent dings in your car door.
Few things are worse than opening your car door straight into the wall of your garage. The good news? There's an easy fix. If you happen to have an old pool noodle lying around, you can cut it in half and attach it to the garage wall, making sure to line it up with the height of your door handle. That way, if you accidentally open the door too far, it will hit the soft noodle instead of the hard wall.
Hang a painting on hinges to conceal an unsightly alarm system.
While alarm systems can give you peace of mind, they're not always pleasant to look at. And if you want to make your alarms blend seamlessly into your existing décor, all it takes is a piece of art and some hinges. Use two hinges to attach your painting to the wall near your alarm panel, and you've got an easy way to cover it while keeping it accessible.
Put down masking tape before nailing into plaster walls.
Though plaster walls offer better soundproofing than drywall, they too have their fair share of problems, particularly when you're trying to hang something on them. However, all it takes is a little tape to fix the issue.
Before you nail a hole in your plaster wall, put a small square of masking tape or painter's tape over the area where you'll be placing your nail. That way, when you nail into the plaster, it's unlikely to flake or spread dust.
Keep nails accessible by adding some magnetic tape to your hammer's handle.
Anyone who's ever hammered a nail knows that they're incredibly easy to lose. The solution? Add a strip of magnetic tape to the handle of your hammer and you can keep those nails right where you need them.
Use mason jars to store excess paint.
Paint cans are cumbersome, unsightly, and, if improperly sealed, can dry your paint out prematurely. So, if you want to keep any excess paint contained, use a mason jar instead. Just pour the paint in and make sure the lid is screwed on tightly for a better alternative to those enormous aluminum cans.
Remove excess paint from your brush with a rubber band.
Wiping excess paint off on the lip of your paint can only leaves it sticky and hard to re-seal. However, there's a better option for dealing with that extra product. If you wrap a rubber band or two around the open part of your paint can, you can use that to wipe off any excess paint and ensure that you have the perfect amount on your brush every time.
Line the edges of a caulked area with painter's tape.
There are few things that make a tub or window look less presentable that a messy line of caulk. To ensure that you always have a perfectly caulked surface every time, use painter's tape on either side of where the caulk will go.
Get pet fur off of furniture with a squeegee.
You may love your pets, but odds are you don't relish getting covered in their fur every time you take a seat on a piece of fabric-upholstered furniture. Instead of spending endless cash on lint rollers that hardly pick up a thing, use a squeegee to get rid of all that excess hair—it'll come off easily in a single pass!
Protect your furniture from your cat's claws with aluminum foil.
Is there a specific part of your couch that your cat just won't stop clawing? If so, cover that area up with aluminum foil. The uncomfortable sensation of the foil against their claws should be unpleasant enough to deter them in the future.
Make your house smell fresh by warming a vanilla bean in water on the stove.
Air fresheners may smell great, but what they're doing to your lungs isn't so terrific: They've been linked to a host of respiratory illnesses, as well as eye irritation. Fortunately, there's a simple alternative: By simmering a vanilla bean in two cups of water on the stove (and adding some cloves of cinnamon if you want a spicier scent), you can perfume the air in your house without putting your health in jeopardy.
Make your rugs non-slip by adding a line of caulk on the bottom.
Want to make your rugs safer without investing in expensive rug pads? Simply add a few lines of caulk to the underside of your rug to prevent it from moving out of place and stop any slips before they start.
Put mini furniture sliders on the bottom of flowerpots to avoid scratches.
Plants can instantly brighten up any home, but heavy flower pots can often seem like more trouble than they're worth—especially since they have a bad habit of scraping the surfaces they sit on top of. To help keep your pots from damaging your floors or windowsills, simply place furniture sliders under each pot. You'll feel good knowing that your flower-lined surfaces are scuff-free.
Keep your garden green with an old water bottle.
Sprinklers and other fancy gardening gadgets can cost a pretty penny. Empty bottles, on the other hand, can be found in any household recycling bin, and they can easily be transformed into fully functional sprinklers. All you have to do is punch some holes into the bottle and tape it tightly onto your hose for a fabulous DIY sprinkler.
Neatly store wrapping paper in a garment bag.
Wrapping paper comes in handy during the holiday season and on the occasional birthday—but throughout the rest of the year, it simply serves to make your house look messy. So, if you want to neatly store your wrapping paper all year long, set aside a garment bag just for your rolls. You can hang this garment bag in your coat closet, and when it comes time to wrap a present, you'll know exactly where to go for all your supplies.
Stick a paper clip to the end of a roll of duct tape.
Instead of wasting duct tape by folding it over to mark where the roll ends, use a paper clip. With this method, you still won't have to feel around with your fingernails, but you also won't have to cut off that inch of perfectly good tape that you've folded, either.
Freeze your pillowcases before hopping into bed on a hot night.
On particularly hot nights, it can prove especially difficult to get comfortable in bed. Luckily, you can still cool off without using your air conditioner. Simply spritz your pillowcase with a tiny bit of water and freeze it for 20 minutes before putting it on your pillow. This will cool you down for just long enough for you to drift off easily.
Paint your keys to never get them confused.
How are you supposed to differentiate your house keys, your office keys, your car keys, and your mail keys when they all look virtually the same? With paint, of course! So long as you feel capable of remembering a color-coded system, painting each of your keys its own distinct color will ensure that you never again waste time trying every single one every time you need to unlock your front door.
Store your styling tools in a magazine rack.
Those wire magazine racks store styling tools just as well as they store magazines. If you have a bunch of curling irons and hair straighteners lying around, use a few of these office organizers to keep your tools in one convenient place—and without you running the risk of burning a wood or plastic surface along the way. And before you start cleaning up, check out these 30 Surprising Things You Should Never Put in the Garbage.