Remember when our dad’s could fix almost anything with a roll of duct tape and some chewing gum? I think some of them still can, but now we don’t laugh at them carefully wrapping silver tape around anything that doesn’t move; we call them hacker’s, and they are probably laughing all the way to the bank, as they sign their second million dollar book deal telling us all about even more ways to use that five dollar roll of duct tape.
Maybe it’s because we are so busy, or maybe it’s a small nod towards saving money, but life hacks are one of the biggest trends right now. For some reason, a hack sounds far more fun than a short-cut, and while we can’t wait to try a hack, no-one exactly jumps up and down in anticipation of a new short-cut.
Regardless of the name, there are definitely some wonderful ideas out there, and if they don’t work, all we have lost is a little bit of time and something to laugh about.
Recently, I was so inspired that I really thought that putting duct tape on my bra was a good idea. As I ran out the door, I felt the wire from my bra poke through, and I grabbed the roll of duct tape sitting on my counter (it was black, and so was my bra – it seemed perfect). Strangely enough, the wire had poked through by the time I had got to work, and I was left with the disturbing realization that instead of doing what I had asked of it, the tape had firmly attached itself to my skin and my clothes. Apparently, duct tape can stop a five hundred pound air conditioner from falling out of my window, but it is no match for a tiny wire and some stretchy fabric. Needless to say, I would not recommend this idea to anyone, but for all the other quick fix fans out there, here are some of my favorite (tried and true) home design hacks….
Fix small nicks on appliances and tile with Nail Polish – it comes in a million different colors, and you can usually buy a cheap one for less than a couple of dollars.
Use a shoe organizer for storing toys, make-up, household cleaners, gloves and hats, snacks – anything but shoes (unless you are a perfect Women’s size 7, and have exactly twelve pairs of shoes).
When you’re done painting a room, store some extra paint in a screw top jar (label with the name, number, brand, date and room that you used it in). This is perfect for quick touch-ups, and will keep for much longer than if it is sitting in a paint can.
Update your old brass lamp stands (and accessories) with black chalk board paint for a gorgeous, matte black finish that is durable and looks like cast iron. No primer needed. (I have also painted shoes, walls, cupboards, picture frames and glass storage containers with chalk board paint).
Use old necklaces and costume jewelry as tie-backs for your curtains, and decorative shower curtain rings in place of curtain hooks.
Turn your window into a seasonal headboard – center your bed in front of it, place some nice curtains either side of it, then decorate the rest of the room. Your room will feel larger, and you will automatically have an ever-changing focal point.
Or, use a bookcase as your headboard – it looks great, and so practical!
Remove cupboard doors in your kitchen for instant open shelving, and take out a drawer or two to store and display cookbooks horizontally.
Use self-stick hooks to hang a light curtain rod, or, ditch the hooks altogether, and use a shower curtain tension rod to hang your curtains (which might have been made out of a pair of decorative sheets).
Update lamp shades by decorating them with paint, sharpies and decorative fringe etc. Tape off areas to create stripes, use heat safe glue to add decorations, and let the children draw all over them with sharpies.
Store necklaces, belts and scarves on an old tie rack, keep small pieces of jewelry in old tea cups, ice cube trays, plates and saucers, and stack bracelets on an old paper towel holder (which can also be used to store spools of ribbon if you like to wrap presents).
Add metal coat hooks to the backs of almost every door; ideal for keys, coats, bags, jewelry, organizers, brooms and mops (just attach a ribbon to the end of the handle – drill a hole if you need to – and hang them upside down).
For more by Wendy and the Blue Giraffe, go to: http://www.thebluegiraffe.com/