Hacks are cool. No matter what category they fall under, they are simply fairly memorable tips that can help to make your life a whole lot easier. Well, in honor of hacks doing just that, today I thought we should look into some that can make the cleaning up and upkeep of your home a whole lot easier to do. Some of these household hacks, you may have heard of before. Still, something tells me that within these 15 tips, you will learn at least a couple of new things. Are you ready to say "whaaaaa?" a few times?
1. Paint Your Keys
These days, you can go to a local home improvement store and get a duplicate set of keys made in a design so that you can easily differentiate them. Still, if you are more of a DIY person, another option is to simply paint your keys; that way, you can easily tell the difference between what your house, office and car keys are. Some people even do it with nail polish. You can check out a video on how to do that here.
2. Warm Up Vanilla Beans in a Pot
I'll tell you what—something that can have the rooms of your house smelling absolutely unbelievable in under 10 minutes in a half cup of Fabuloso in three cups of water. Just put it into a pot and let it simmer on medium heat. On the other hand, if you're concerned that it could put some chemicals into the air, that's fair, I guess. An alternative is to replace the cleaner with some vanilla beans and/or cloves. Either way, both are a cool alternative to air fresheners (the scents typically last much longer too).
3. Place Straws into Your Vases
This particular hack has reminded me to get back into the habit of buying fresh flowers every Friday (I used to do it often). Anyway, I really dig this back because, while flowers can last for up to 12 days (if you take care of them correctly), around the time that they start wilting, now you don't have to toss them out. All you need to do is put some straws into your vase, all throughout the stems and they will serve as an "anchor" so that your flowers will be able to stand upright again. Pretty cool, right?
4. Apply a Paper Clip to Tape Rolls
Sometimes, it really is the little things, y'all. I don't know about you but something that drives me completely up the wall is trying to find where the end of a tape roll starts. One way to avoid the drama is to mark the end with a paper clip. It makes the end so much easier to find. Plus, now it won't take forever to pull the end of the tape up.
5. Secure Your Toothbrush with a Safety Pin
I keep my toothbrush in a cup, still this is kinda cool. If you're someone who'd prefer to keep your own brush off of your bathroom counter (because they tend to be on the germy side), all you need to do is put a safety pin around the "neck" of it. That way, the part of your toothbrush that you clean your teeth with will be suspended in the air and kept off of the counter.
6. Shave with Hair Conditioner
Instead of buying shaving cream for your legs and underarms, just pick up some cheap conditioner the next time that you're at the store. It works just as well as the commercial brands and it will save you a few coins. Also, if you want to extend the shelf life of your razors before tossing them out, soak them in a glass of olive or sweet almond oil. Make sure the razor part is what's in the oil. The oil will prevent rust from dulling your razors and it will moisturize your skin while you are shaving.
7. Clean Your Toilets with Mouthwash
Do your toilets need some extra cleaning? No worries. Instead of heading out to purchase some expensive toilet bowl cleaner, just pour a couple of capfuls of mouthwash in there and let it sit for 30 minutes before brushing. It will remove the grime and hard water stains pretty easily.
(By the way, mouthwash can cut the stink out of your garbage disposal if you pour a cupful down it as well. Mint is best.)
8. Polish Your Wood Furniture with Essential Oils
There's no need to purchase any furniture polish for your wooden pieces. Just put some olive oil into a bottle, add a few drops of lemon essential oil (and maybe another scent if you'd like) and the combo will work just as well. Plus, it'll be less harsh on your furniture which is definitely a bonus.
9. Use Ice Cubes to Remove Candle Wax
What should you do if candle wax drips onto your furniture? Well, what you should definitely avoid is trying to scrape the wax off because that could damage the finish that's on your tables and whatnot. Instead, put some ice cubes into a plastic bag and place the bag over the wax. It should harden the wax enough that it will be easy to pull it off with your hands without wrecking anything.
10. Sprinkle Some Splenda onto Your Carpets
This one is a trip. If you spill something on your carpet, you immediately sprinkle a lil' bit of Splenda on it and let it sit for 15 minutes, the Splenda should absorb most of the spill so that you can vacuum everything up without a stain being left behind.
11. Clean Pans with Alka-Seltzer
Is there anything more taxing than trying to clean up pots and pans that have "food gunk" all over them? Did you know that if you pour some hot water into them, add an Alka-Seltzer tablet, let the pots and pans sit for 20 minutes and whatever is stuck on should come right off? Try it. It just might amaze you.
12. Zap Your Sponges in the Microwave
Ain't nothin' worse than the smell of a nasty sponge. If you're someone who is quick to toss them, consider soaking them in some water and putting them in the microwave (on high) for a couple of minutes instead. Oftentimes, the issue isn't that it's time for the sponge to go; it just needs the odor-causing bacteria to be taken away from it. Your microwave is what can make that happen.
13. Scare Ants Off with Cinnamon Powder
Do you have a bit of an ant problem? Something that they hate—to the point where it kills them if they come into contact with it—is cinnamon powder. So, either sprinkle a little around their hangout spots or pour it onto them directly. It's a safer way to remove them without putting you or your pets at risk of the toxic fumes that come with standard insect sprays. Oh, and if spiders are your problem, they hate the smell of peppermint. Just for the record.
14. Freeze Your Pillowcases
Words can't express, just how much I hate going to bed when I feel hot. That's why I have a cooling mattress pad on mine, I make sure to turn my thermostat down (to around 67-68 degrees) and sometimes, I freeze my pillowcases. If you put your own cases in a big Ziploc bag and let them sit in your freezer for about 20-30 minutes, they'll be cool enough for you to fall asleep comfortably.
15. Squeegees Are Great for Pet Fur
Last one. It's been a while since I've had a pet. Yet something that used to be a pain was the pet fur that they left behind. A cool remedy? After vacuuming up as much as you can, simply run a Squeegee over the leftover hair. It should pick everything right on up. Then you can run the Squeegee underwater and use it again as usual on your mirrors 'n stuff. It's one of the best household hacks going, chile. Enjoy!
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports