As a busy parent, I rely heavily on household hacks. In fact, I would say just about everything I do around the house involves some sort of easy hack or trick or clever time-saver.
But some tricks work better than others, and some you wouldn’t believe it until you see it (or try it), which is why I searched around the web and set out to put together this list of some our very favorite easy household hacks that every parent should know.
From organizing all those keys to de-stinking shoes, you’ll find you can pull them off with things you probably already have at home, saving you lots of time and sanity. I hope.
At top: Tea Bag Shoe Deodorizer Household Hack | The Homemade Experiment
1. Use Paper Towel Tubes to Stash Cords
Cords might as well be house snakes. They’re unwieldy, unpredictable, and easy to trip over — and never mind that it can be almost impossible to remember which cord goes to which device. I love the easy household hack on Our Thrifty Ideas to use paper towel tubes to keep cords in check. Check out her site for tips on how she gets them looking so pretty too.
Though as nice as they look, I think I’d also label mine, just to cut down my chances of trying to jam the Wii U cord into the blender.
2. Stick kids’ cups to the refrigerator door with magnets
At Cool Mom Eats, Kristen recently shared her new favorite trick to help her four kids keep track of their water glasses — affixing them to the fridge door with magnets! She’s got some brilliant thoughts on how it’s saved her a ton of time and a ton of dishwashing — and even helps to stave off a few of those daily kid squabbles.
You definitely don’t want to do with with toddlers (choking hazard of magnets and all) but even for big kids, she describes how to make sure those magnets go on and stay on.
3. Use a Straw to De-Stem Strawberries for Kids
My kids love strawberries, but end up eating only half of each one because the stems skeeve them out too much. Ladyland smartly uses a straw to pop off the green things in this clever strawberry de-stemming household hack, resulting in “clean” and entirely edible strawberries.
Bonus: My kids love doing this themselves.
4. Use Regular Tea Bags as Shoe Deodorizers
Babies have little feet that you can nibble because they’re so fresh, sweet, and non-stinky. Kids do not. You can smell my kids’ shoe musk from the next county over, especially in the summer months. Oof. So, I love this idea from The Homemade Experiment to use tea bags as a hack to remove shoe odor. Click over to find out just how long he leave them there to get her shoes smelling fresh again.
And by the way, that site is an amazing resource for all kinds of easy household hacks. Worth a bookmark for sure!
5. Use Cupcake Liners to Cover Drinks in Summer
With the warm weather here…so is bug season. And nothing makes a fresh, cold cup of homemade lemonade less appealing to a kid than seeing a big bug floating in it. I love this idea at On Crazy House to use cupcake liners as glass covers to keep bugs and leaves and other floaties out of kids’ drinks. She also has a very smart age reco for this one that I wouldn’t have considered myself.
And hey, this household hack also works on adult drinks. I’m not a big fan of flying cocktail garnishes, myself.
6. Use Nail Polish to Quickly Identify Your Keys
When your key ring looks like a high school janitor’s, it’s helpful to be able to tell your keys apart at a quick glance. And OMG, I love this smart key color coding hack by Jewel Pie, which saves you a few bucks on those plastic key ID covers. Plus, if you’re carrying a crying baby or wrangling children who desperately need to pee, it could save you a few essentials seconds when you’re at the front door fumbling for your keys.
If keys happen to be your organization bugaboo, be sure to check her site for even more easy household hacks to help keep loose keys organized.
7. Keep Makeup Brushes Upright Using Coffee Beans, Marbles, or Plant Filler
A few years back, we tackled solutions to some of the toughest makeup organization problems, and discovered the fantastic idea to store makeup brushes in coffee beans to keep them upright. We wouldn’t exactly use a bag of Stumptown for this, and so we recommended marbles or floral stones instead.
Or try using plant filler, as seen in this tutorial from JMC Creations. Turns out it’s easier to find than we thought and looks pretty great.
8. Use Pushpins to Keep Tulips from Drooping
Tulips are lovely, but they’re also notorious for drooping as soon as you get them home. The solution: Use a pushpin to poke a hole through the top of the stem. Our editor Liz has been using this trick for years, and it’s so fun to do, now her kids ask to take on the responsibility every time she brings home tulips.
Click over to What’s Ur Home Story to learn exactly why this easy household hack helps tulips instantly stand straighter, as well as some other tips for helping to keep them stand tall.
9. Use a Carabiner Clip to Wrangle Hair Elastics
Our house must eat ponytail holders, because it’s guaranteed that we won’t find one when we need it most (the minute my daughter has to leave for school) — then of course they’ll turn up when we don’t want them to (on the floor, clogging up the vacuum).
So when I came across this household hack idea for keeping track of hair elastics courtesy of our friend, Asha Dornfest’s brilliant Parent Hacks website, it was like so many of life’s problems solved. And by the way, if you haven’t already read Asha’s Parent Hacks book, we so recommend you do. Talk about hacks that will change your life!
Now, if only there were a hack for finding the carabiner I already own.
10. Use Play Doh to Clean Up Glitter
I recently tested a ton of popular household cleaning hacks recommended on the web to find out which ones really work on the most common kid messes, and one that’s stayed with me: using Play Doh to clean up glitter. I even tested it against loops of clear tape and while that one works just fine for the bigger glitter dumps, when it comes to those annoying little final clingers, it’s Play Doh all the way.