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Household stuff you’ve been doing wrong


We’ve all been doing household chores for years, so surely we know exactly how everything works and the quickest way to get things done, right?

Well, maybe not! Maybe some of the ways you’ve been doing chores have been making life more difficult and you didn’t even know it!

It is for that purpose we offer you these top ‘life hacks’ that will make your life that little bit easier!

You’re peeling potatoes the hard way

We have potatoes and we have potato peelers, so it’s pretty obvious, right? Well, there’s an easier way! Make a cut all the way around the middle of each potato, making sure it connects to its origin. Next, cook the potatoes in boiling water as usual (15-20 mins) and then remove and place in a bowl of cold water. After five seconds, remove them from the water and you should be able to just slip the skin off. Voila! Take a look at a video here.

You’re using the wrong plunger

You almost certainly imagine this image when you think of a plunger. If you’ve been unlucky, you’ve probably had to use it to unblock a toilet at some point too. But did you know you’re using the wrong plunger? That image is actually a sink plunger used for, you guessed it, sinks. A plunger you use for a toilet is called a flange plunger and is specifically designed to work with the shape of a toilet bowl, making it much more efficient for the job.

Monkeys have much to teach you about bananas

Using the lever-looking end of a banana to peel it just makes sense, right? Other than the way King Louie from The Jungle Book does it, that’s the only way to peel a banana! But there’s a less fussy way that means you won’t end up bruising the banana. If you use the opposite end and pinch it, the banana skin will split easily and you can peel from there. World = upside-down.

Watch this guy open a banana the easy way after making a comically inept attempt to peel it the ‘wrong’ way.

Aluminium foil and cling film boxes are trying to help

Not much will get you growling in frustration like cling film or aluminium foil falling out of its box and rolling away. There’s no way you’re going to get that rolled back up as it was. Well, it turns out that the boxes are well aware and have had the solution there for you all along. If you look to the side of the boxes there are small tabs that you can press in to hold the rolls in place when you use them. Simple, but helpful!

That pile of appliance manuals can go in the recycling

When you buy a new device or appliance, it’s important to have access to the instruction manual in case anything goes awry or there are functions that you aren’t sure how to use. But they sure are big and with all the appliances around the house, there is bound be quite the pile accumulating somewhere. Well, actually, you don’t need the physical copy! You can go to the manufacturer’s website, download digital versions of the manuals and store them on a cloud or drive somewhere, meaning that pile of paper can get recycled and the extra space can be used for more creative storage solutions.

Your saucepans are trying to help

Where to put your spoon when you’re cooking on the hob? If you put it on the kitchen surface, it’ll make a mess, but if you leave it in the pan you’ll likely burn it. Such a dilemma, right? But the pans themselves have been offering you a solution this whole time! Those holes in the handles you assumed were just for hanging up the pans? They work double-duty by giving you a clean place to keep your spoon.

Garlic doesn’t have to be frustrating

Garlic takes forever to peel: tearing cloves off the head and skinning the cloves with that flakey skin that gets everywhere is enough to make you wonder why you bother. Luckily there’s another option, as long as you have two large bowls.

Crush the head of garlic with the palm of your hand and place the whole mess into one of the large bowls. Cover with the other bowl placed upside-down on top of it and shake the contents about for a few seconds. The garlic should be completely peeled! Have a look at this guy doing it if you don’t believe us.

Save your phone after it gets wet

We all get our phone wet by accident. Maybe it slipped into the pool, maybe you filled the sink and it fell in or, more likely, maybe you dropped it in the toilet. Fear not, your phone can be saved! Although it does require a lot of synthetic desiccant packets: these are the small packets that come in the packaging for hard drives and shoes etc. Don’t throw them away! Keep a collection because they can be very handy.

Once your phone is wet, retrieve it asap and, if you can, remove the battery without pressing any buttons (if you can’t remove the battery, carefully turn it off). Don’t try to heat it up in the oven or blow dry it because that could cause further damage. Instead, grab those aforementioned synthetic desiccant packets that we said not to throw away. Place the packets you’ve collected and your phone in a sealed container and they should absorb all the moisture!

Stop making a mess out of your cake-cutting

Cutting a cake with a knife makes perfect sense, but, more than that, it makes a mess! It turns out there’s a much cleaner way to cut a cake using a household item: dental floss. Yes, the floss will make a smooth cut without disturbing the rest of the cake, although maybe don’t tell anyone at the party you’re using dental floss to cut their cake. It doesn’t sound particularly appetising.

Great eggs-pectations

Lastly, let’s take it back to peeling – this time not for fruit or veg but a hard-boiled egg. Everyone has their own way of doing it, but this is the quickest way we’ve seen.

First, make sure that when the egg is boiling you add a bit of baking soda to the water: this makes the shell easier to peel. Once it’s cool, remove a piece of the shell from the top and bottom of the egg and simply blow the egg out of its shell. And that’s it: no mess or waiting. Watch a demonstration here.

Those are 10 household chores you’ve been doing wrong all this time! We hope that you will save oodles of time with these new tricks. Or at least a few seconds or minutes each day. It all adds up.

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Andrew Montlake

Written by Andrew Montlake

Andrew Montlake, better known as Monty, began his journey with an Hons degree in Economics & Politics before starting in the mortgage industry in February 1994. As a main founder of Coreco in 2009, he successfully grew the brand, marketing, and communications, and was made MD in 2019 focussing on the overall vision, strategy, and culture of the company. As Coreco’s media spokesperson, Andrew can often be seen or heard on TV and radio as well as regularly commenting in the national, local, and trade press. He is the author of this acclaimed Mortgage Blog and is well-known for his social media, podcasts, and public speaking. Andrew is now proud to serve as Chairman of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, (AMI) as a cheerleader for the Mortgage Industry as a whole and continues to work at the coal face, writing mortgage business and advising clients.

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