15 Crazy DIY Tricks That Actually Work

plastic bag tags

Not every DIY project is a gigantic undertaking. Sometimes it just takes a quick, clever hack to get the job done. Take a few of these quirky methods for a test drive and see if they don’t make your life just a little bit easier.

1. Break In New Shoes

You know what it’s like when you buy a pair of new shoes. You don’t just put them on and expect to walk around in them all day without getting blisters or a little bit of skin shredding along the ankles. Did you ever think you could break them in with some thick socks and a blow dryer in under five minutes? Try this on for size—pun intended:

Don a pair of thick socks and put on your new shoes. With a blow dryer, heat the shoes up, then walk around until they’ve cooled off. Now try them on without your socks, wear them for a couple of hours, and try not to slap yourself for not figuring this out earlier.

woman warming a shoe with a hair dryer

2. Fix a Flip-Flop

If you’ve ever had a vacation flip-flop blowout without a spare pair on hand, you know the pain of hobbling back to your hotel, trying to keep one foot from touching the ground. If you have a bag of bread with a plastic clip, you're in luck: snap the clip around the stem of the plunger at the bottom of your flip-flop to hold it secure and keep it from popping out again.

3. Use Mismatched Socks

Lonely socks are a fact of life, but a drawer full of unmatched pairs might be annoying if you’re not the type who wears two different socks for fun. You could make sock monsters with all those leftovers, or if you happen to be planning a move soon, save them for packing your glasses and fragile keepsakes.

4. Keep Bananas Fresh

If you’ve bought a bulk package of bananas from the warehouse store in an effort to save some money, good for you. Hopefully you’ll be able to eat them or turn them into smoothies before they get too ripe. Or you can try this trick to keep them from ripening too quickly: wrap the stem in foil to keep them fresh longer.

5. Chill Your Wine Quickly

Relaxing with a glass of chilled white wine is a perfect after-work activity for some people, but if you neglected to put that bottle of dry Riesling in the fridge before you left for work this morning, you might have to drink it at room temp. Um, no thanks. You could toss a couple of ice cubes in your glass, if you don’t mind diluted, watered down wine. For a fun, healthy alternative that won't affect the flavor of your beverage, keep a bunch of green grapes in the freezer. When it’s time to chill after work, drop two or three of them into your glass of wine, put your feet up, and relax with a nice cool sip.

frozen grapes

6. Fill a Bucket From a Small Sink

A shallow sink is fine for washing your face and hands, AND it's less surface area to clean. Not everyone needs a luxury sink you can practically bathe in, so if you have no plans to upgrade that bathroom just yet, but what if you have to fill a bucket that won't fit under the faucet? A dustpan with a hollow handle—one of the types that come attached to a broom—can be used to guide the water into a bucket set on the floor. Place the wide part of the dustpan underneath the faucet, and guide the stream of water into the waiting bucket below.

7. Keep Bottles Safe in the Fridge

If you have a small fridge with wire shelves, and have no space to store bottles of beer or wine standing upright, use binder clips to snap onto the wires to keep bottles on their sides and hold them in place instead of sliding around.

8. Light a Low Candle

Frugal folks like to use candles completely, but tall ones can be difficult to light once they have burned down into the well of the container. If you want to continue using that candle to the very end, use a dry spaghetti noodle to spark it up. Noodles light easily, and can extend into the narrow opening, allowing you to spend minimal effort for maximum ambiance.

9. Find Lost Jewelry

A lost earring is a bummer. If you think it may have escaped somewhere in the house, try slipping a nylon stocking over the suction end of a vacuum. It acts like a strainer, and will allow you to search the house without worry of losing your precious item in the depths of the vacuum cleaner.

10. Homemade Garage Bumper

You may want to put garage organization a little higher on your list of things to do this year, especially if you're noticing the tight squeeze after you've parked your car in there. Enter the summer pool noodle. Cut one in half lengthwise, and install the half onto the garage wall. Now you've got a bumper protecting your car door from dings and scrapes whenever you open it.

11. Organize Wrapping Paper

A busy household can go through toilet paper quickly. Recycle those leftover toilet paper tubes by cutting them down one side and using them to keep those messily unraveling tubes of wrapping paper secure.

12. DIY Laptop Cooling Pad

Don’t shell out the extra dough to purchase a cooling pad for your laptop. They run a range of prices from $15 to upwards of $40 depending on brand and features. Try this idea to save another item from ending up in a landfill: place a cardboard egg carton underneath your laptop for better air circulation to keep it cool and prevent the fan from running constantly. You might find it performs a little better.

turning airplane mode on in a phone

13. Speed Up Phone Charging

Being on the go means our cell phones have to be fully charged to keep us entertained and connected while waiting in line for fast food, picking up the dry cleaning, or at the kid's soccer game. For especially busy days, put your phone in airplane mode while charging, and it will charge twice as fast, giving you that much extra time to finish all your daily errands.

14. Stop Drill Dust

If you’re a regular DIYer, you may already know this trick. If not, prepare to be astounded. When drilling into walls, especially in an area where it would be difficult to clean up the dust that falls to the floor, bend a post it note in half, and attach it to the wall underneath the spot where you plan on drilling. The folded paper acts like a net to catch the mess generated from drilling.

15. Hammer Safely

For those who may not be the most coordinated when it comes to using a hammer, try holding the nail with a clothespin when getting that nail into the wall. Once it’s partway in, you can remove the clothespin and hammer safely without the pain of smashed fingers.

Voila! Genius hacks for the busy DIYer. It's not that the old way was wrong, but if we can make life a little easier and faster, why not?