I love life hacks — if they make sense. But four out of every five I’ve seen just don’t. After some observation, I’ve classified life hacks into five groups:
1. Real These work, and they are worth doing, and I wasn’t already doing them, and they solve a problem. Example: Put a stocking over the vacuum nozzle to find small objects lost in the carpet. Also, keep pot lids in a magazine rack, the kind that lets you see the top of each magazine, staggered vertically. These are good ideas that I would not have thought of, and I’m glad to know about them. These are the kind of tips that make me a life hack fan in the first place.
2. Just common sense These are things you should have been doing all along. They are just obvious ways to use things. There’s no hack to them. Example: When microwaving food, arrange it in a donut shape so it heats evenly. I thought everyone knew that was how you microwave food.
3. Doesn’t work Example: Hanging a shoe organizer on the inside of the door under the kitchen sink, then using it to organize liquid cleaners. First of all, if this sounds like it would improve your life, you are using too many different products. Second of all, that would weigh about ten pounds, depending on how many you have and how full they are. That can wear out the hinges. A shoe organizer might be a good place to keep cleaning supplies, but under the sink is not a good place to set the system up in most homes I’ve been in. Maybe a better idea would be to put a shower rod in the broom closet, if you have one, and hang the organizer from it.
4. Not a hack but a craft Example: Transfer a design to a candle using wax paper and a blowdryer. This is not an ingenious way of solving a problem. It is how you make a craft. It is no more a life hack than an applique pattern would be. And the final category…
5. Why? Some hacks not only don’t solve a problem, they don’t even address one. Example: Use a CD spindle as a bagel spindle. Why would you have a CD spindle when you don’t have CDs? And why would you put bagels on a spindle? How is that better than just putting bagels in a lunch bag? What is the advantage in spindling them? And wouldn’t it taste funny? Also, the “hack” of using a clothes hanger for all your sunglasses. How many sunglasses does anyone have? I like sunglasses, and I used to be notorious for wearing them all the time, but I don’t think I’ve ever had more than three pairs at a time. I usually have just one, in fact.