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Life Hacks of 2013

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Just like last year, I’m hosting GymPact Twitter Party to celebrate the New Year. This time around, we’re launching a *new* version of the app that will blow you away. Come join us for the Twitter party on New Year’s Day at 8 PM EST / 5 PM EST.  We’ll be tweeting under the hashtag #PactApp (did I mention there will be prizes?).  Follow us at @CaitlinHTP or @PactApp.

 

I love life hacks. Don’t you? In case you haven’t heard of the term, it basically is a tool or technique that makes your life easier, more organized, or more fun.  The Internet is swarming with hacks – some useful, some not.  Here are a few of my favorite hacks – they all really work!

 

HACK:  PUMP PARTS. 

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This one is for my exclusive pumpers.  One of the worst parts of pumping breastmilk is you have to wash the pump parts ALL THE TIME.  Right?  So annoying and so time-consuming. Well, here’s the hack:  after you’re done pumping, you can put all the pump parts in a big Ziploc bag and then toss it in the fridge.  The cold air keeps bacteria from growing on the pump.  You still need to wash the pump once a day, but once a day is way better than five to seven times a day!  (Thanks to the readers who told me this back when I was exclusively pumping… you saved my life!)

 

HACK: SEASONED OILS. 

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You know those fancy schmancy herb-infused oils?  They cost a million bucks but taste divine.  We recently figured out that you can make your own by combining olive oil and herbs.  We really like oil + rosemary + thyme and oil + dried orange peel + chili powder.

 

HACK: CLEANER FLOORS.

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Make your own Swiffer wet pads with vinegar and water. 

 

HACK: BETTER ICED COFFEE.

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Make iced coffee cubes and never drink crappy watered-down coffee again!

 

HACK: MONSTER SPRAY.

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I originally saw this on Pinterest and think it’s the BEST IDEA.  Henry isn’t scared of monsters (or ghosts or baddies or anything, really) yet, but when he does, we are definitely making Monster Spray.  Originally created by the Happy Go Lucky blog.

 

HACK: LOUDER MUSIC.

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Putting your phone in a bowl will amplify the sound.

 

HACK: PHOTOGRAPH YOUR FRIDGE.

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Take a picture of your fridge with your phone immediately before going to the grocery store.  You’ll never have to wonder if you’re out of milk or not.

 

In parking garages, I always photograph the sign that describes what level my car is on – super handy.

 

HACK: iPHONE SHORTCUTS.

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On the new iPhones, you can swipe up to get shortcut access to a ton of useful buttons, like flashlight, alarm, calculator, and camera, as well as lots of other handy shortcuts.

 

HACK: PRINT YOUR PHOTOS (AUTOMATICALLY).

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Perhaps this doesn’t quality as a true hack – but I have to say, Groovebook was one of the best apps I downloaded this year. For $2.99 (the app is free; you pay for printing and shipping), you get a monthly photo book with 100 of your smartphone photos.  The photos upload directly from your phone – no plugging into the computer – and the book arrives in just a few days. The photos are perforated so you can easily tear them out of the book. I would say that the printing quality is decent but not fabulous.  But hey – I actually get photos off my phone and into my hands, so that’s pretty cool.  And $2.99 is CHEAP.  Side note: If you use the promo code TIPPINGGROOVE, you get your first Groovebook FREE! <—That’s an affiliate link; thanks for supporting my blog!

 

HACK: BABY BRUSHES FOR EVERYONE.

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Bottle brushes are absolute best way to clean out yucky smoothie containers!  I almost tossed our brush when we were done with bottles but then I realized that it’s truly the ultimate cleaning tool.

 

HACK: BREATHE DEEPLY.

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Again, not really a ‘hack’ but definitely a trick worth trying… Next time you are super stressed out, set the timer on your phone, close your eyes, and breathe deeply for three minutes. You really do feel better afterwards.

 

HACK: WATER INDOOR PLANTS WITH ICE CUBES.

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Put a few ice cubes on the dirt instead of pouring water into the pot.  The water melts slowly, allowing the plant to thoroughly absorb it all.

 

What’s your favorite life hack?

{ 30 comments }

 

Leave a Comment

  • Elizabeth December 30, 2013, 2:13 pm

    Be careful with flavoring oils at home:

    “A word of warning: Oils made with fresh ingredients like garlic, herbs and vegetables can support the growth of C. botulinum, a dangerous bacteria that can make you sick. To be on the safe side, always store flavored oils in the fridge and use within 10 days (so make small batches).” http://www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/make-your-own-flavored-oils/index.html?oc=linkback

    Reply
    • Caitlin December 30, 2013, 2:14 pm

      Good warning :) Thanks!

      Reply
  • Ashley @ Saving Money in your Twenties December 30, 2013, 2:27 pm

    LOVE a good life hack :) My favorite of your hacks is the reusable swiffer mops- that’s absolutely brilliant!

    I saw an article like this awhile back that said you could light a piece of uncooked spaghetti to use as a match for really deep candles- that trick has saved me from having to by one of those long handled lighters!

    Reply
  • Melanie December 30, 2013, 3:15 pm

    Do you have a link to that baby bottle brush? I am always looking for a better one!

    Thanks!

    Reply
  • Abi@AbsofSteel December 30, 2013, 3:26 pm

    haha, i love the water your plant with ice cubes one. might just have to try that

    Reply
  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun December 30, 2013, 4:14 pm

    Love the ice cubes on plants! It seems so simple yet I would have NEVER thought of it!

    Reply
  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More December 30, 2013, 4:39 pm

    I LOVE the iced coffee cubes…I’ve seen this so many times, why have I not tried it yet?!

    Reply
  • Rebecca December 30, 2013, 7:11 pm

    I discovered the phone-in-bowl thing last year when my neighbor did it. I set mine standing up against a wall or something and that can amplify sound a little too.

    I just saw the photo thing on Pinterest today. Might have to do that at some point…

    Reply
    • Rebecca December 30, 2013, 7:12 pm

      Er, *the printing phone photos Groove book thing. Was what I meant I saw today. Haha.

      Reply
  • Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs December 30, 2013, 8:01 pm

    Love these! I’m always up for a good life hack :)

    Reply
  • Linz @ Itz Linz December 30, 2013, 9:27 pm

    I didn’t know a lot of these, but all great ideas!!

    Reply
  • Leila Dishes December 31, 2013, 1:16 am

    I love coffee ice cubes – great for coffee protein shakes too. Sometimes I make them with flavored coffee, because making a whole cup of flavored coffee can be too strong. But adding an ice cube or two gives just a hint of flavor.

    Reply
  • Christina @ The Beautiful Balance December 31, 2013, 2:02 am

    The ice cube idea is awesome!

    Reply
  • Mary December 31, 2013, 4:33 am

    Love the icecubes to water the plants and photographing the fridge.
    Something that’s saved me a lot of time this year is if I’m running late for work, rather than ironing my shirt I throw a jumper over the top and use my hair straighteners to flatten the collar.

    Reply
  • Ericka @ The Sweet Life December 31, 2013, 5:59 am

    Life hacks are so “why didn’t I think of that?” I need to copy these down, especially the taking a photo of the fridge one, I always end up buying something I already have! Thanks for the tips and reminder that I’m making things harder than they have to be. Now, breathe deep, it’s almost 2014! :)

    Reply
  • S December 31, 2013, 6:00 am

    I also love life hacks! Thanks for sharing yours! There’s a new TED talks on Netflix full of them that I’m planning to watch in the next few days. And, of course, Lifehacker.com is a great resource!

    Thanks for the Groovebook discount code! One of my goals for the new years is to take more pictures and actually print the pictures! This will go a long way in helping with that!

    Happy New Year!

    Reply
  • Laura @ SneakersandSpatulas December 31, 2013, 9:39 am

    Using vinegar as an all natural cleaner was one of my favorite hacks this year!

    http://www.sneakersandspatulas.com/2013/12/30/family-eats-and-fun/

    Reply
  • Jessica R @ FromtheKitchentotheRoad December 31, 2013, 9:49 am

    I am trying to soak up as much info as possible before baby comes in July. I like the pump parts hack. I also like the make at home swiffer hack. I don’t like things that get thrown away after one use if they don’t have to. Such a great idea.

    Reply
  • Rosey Rebecca December 31, 2013, 10:58 am

    The fridge photo idea is genius. I always end up with duplicates–like three bottles of soy sauce.

    Happy New Year!

    Reply
  • Dana December 31, 2013, 1:56 pm

    I refrigerate my pump parts at work! There’s no good space to clean them and refrigerating is so much easier.

    Reply
  • kath January 1, 2014, 8:42 am

    Loved this post!

    Reply
  • Whitney January 1, 2014, 1:15 pm

    Hello from exclusive pumping land. I refrigerate
    My pump parts but only after rinsing. Are you saying I don’t
    Even have to rinse them?? Pls tell me this is so!
    Anxiously awaiting an answer.

    Reply
  • Whitney January 1, 2014, 1:18 pm

    Hello from exclusive pumping land :) I refrigerate
    My pump parts at work after rinsing. Are
    You saying I don’t even have to rinse them, I can just toss
    In a bag?? Oh please say that’s so!!

    Reply
    • Caitlin January 1, 2014, 3:59 pm

      Right!

      Reply
  • Brittany January 1, 2014, 11:56 pm

    Love the advice. I am
    constantly telling my three year old to take a deep breath during a tantrum…works wonders to calm him and mommy down :)

    Reply
  • Jess January 2, 2014, 1:20 am

    You may have saved my sanity just now with the pump parts hack! IDK how I missed that post!

    Reply
  • Sara January 2, 2014, 8:31 am

    As an exclusive pumper, when I learned the whole “tossing the parts in the fridge” thing, it really saved my sanity. 4 1/2 months and I’ll hit my goal of a year. :-) I need to try that ice cube trick for coffee. I only drink it cold!

    Reply
  • Alex @ Kenzie Life January 2, 2014, 5:14 pm

    These are awesome tips, Caitlin!

    Reply
  • Leslie January 3, 2014, 9:14 am

    A thought about the monster spray…I specialize in therapy with anxious children. Using any sort of trick or superstition to get ride of “monsters” or other fears your child may have may actually lead to them being more anxious and worried as it sends the message that these things are real and should be feared. Acknowledge your child is afraid but be clear that there are no such things as monsters. Sorry to be a fun-sucker!

    Reply
    • Caitlin January 3, 2014, 9:17 am

      lol fun-sucker. That’s not fun sucking – that’s informing :) thanks for sharing your knowledge!

      Reply