9 Secrets No One Ever Told You About Everyday Items

stuff you're using wrong

They say you learn something new every day, and as someone who has been around for over 20,000 days at this point (thanks calculator!), I really do think that’s true. You never stop learning new things, from a new piece of trivia to the correct lyrics to a song you’ve been accidentally butchering for years.

And I hope today’s blog post will be another learning opportunity, because we’re talking about everyday objects that people either use the wrong way, or that have hidden features that are often overlooked. So put on your thinking cap, and get ready to learn something new about the stuff you use every day! :-)

9 Everyday Objects You Use The Wrong Way

stuff you're using wrong

1. Bobby Pins

If you put bobby pins in your hair with the wave side facing up, you’ve been wearing them the wrong way for years! The ridges on the wavy side grip your hair more effectively and help keep the bobby pin from slipping or sliding around.

Try it out for yourself by pinning a section of your hair back, first with the wavy side facing up, then again with the wavy side facing down. It makes a noticeable difference!

(And for over a dozen more unexpected and useful beauty hacks, check out this post!)

stuff you're using wrong

2. Plastic Wrap

Ever noticed that most boxes of plastic wrap and tin foil have perforated half-circles on each end? You’re supposed to press those inward, forming tabs that will keep the plastic wrap roll in place while you unspool it. (Trust me, they make plastic wrap a lot easier to use!)

stuff you're using wrong

3. Mascara

Many women have a habit of pumping their mascara brush in and out of the bottle, but that’s a bad idea for a couple of reasons. First, it introduces a lot of air into the mascara, which is nearly guaranteed to dry it out faster.

The other drawback of introducing more air into your mascara is that it can lead to uneven or even messy application. For longer-lasting mascara that’s easier to apply, pump the brakes on pumping your mascara wand!

stuff you're using wrong

4. Plungers

There are two different types of plungers for unclogging toilets, and many people use the wrong kind for the wrong task! Plungers for sinks and plungers for showers have a rubber cup with a flat bottom that will form a seal around a sink or shower drain.

Toilet plungers, on the other hand, have more of a mushroom-shaped cup. The wider top and tapered bottom allows this plunger to fit into a toilet pipe and form the necessary seal for plunging. Check your plunger to make sure you’re using the right one for the right job!

stuff you're using wrong

5. Pasta Spoon

If your pasta spoon is the type that has one hole in the center, you may be surprised to learn that hole isn’t just for draining water. You can also use it to measure out the right amount of spaghetti noodles!

The amount of spaghetti noodles that will fit through the center hole is about one serving of pasta. Use your pasta spoon to help eliminate the guesswork when you make your next pasta dish!

stuff you're using wrong

6. Toilet Paper

Do you hang your toilet paper rolls over or under? This simple question has sparked a surprisingly contentious debate, but illustrations from an 1891 patent show that the inventor of perforated toilet paper rolls fell firmly in the “over” camp!

The main advantages of hanging a roll of toilet paper roll this way is that it’s easier to unspool and find the end, and it can even be a bit more sanitary because the end is kept away from the bathroom wall. The more you know!

stuff you're using wrong

7. Foundation

There’s nothing wrong with getting your hands dirty, but it may not be the best approach for applying foundation! Applying foundation with your fingers can produce streaky results, and you’re very likely transferring bacteria from your hands to your face too.

Luckily, there are a lot of useful tools for applying foundation that are more effective and hygienic than your fingers. I personally use a foundation brush while others prefer makeup sponges (but as long as you clean them regularly, either one is a great option!)

stuff you're using wrong

8. Instant Pot

Not sure what to do with the lid once you take it off your Instant Pot after cooking something? It actually has a built-in lid holder you may not have noticed before!

The handles on each side of the Instant Pot base have rectangular holes, which are the same size as the rectangular protrusions on the sides of the lid. Just insert one side of the lid into one of the handle holes, and it’ll stay securely propped upright!

Get more clever Instant Pot hacks here.

stuff you're using wrong

9. Athletic Shoes

Some athletic shoes have an extra eyelet way at the top of the shoe, and while it’s easy enough to ignore, it serves an important purpose! It makes it easier to tie your shoes more tightly, which offers better protection and support for your ankles.

Using that extra eyelet can also help alleviate chafing and prevent blisters!

Have you ever learned something new and eye-opening about an everyday object?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • I’ve recently started using a foundation brush for applying my foundation. It also makes a big difference with getting breakouts. The other tip I recently learned is if you’re prone to getting spills on your clothes when eating- you can take Press -n-seal, and place directly on your shirt. It really helps to catch spills. After you finish eating just peel and dispose of it. I’ve also used it with our humid weather when it’s just too muggy wear one of my zip up sweats jackets and didn’t want to get cosmetic spills on my dressy clothes tops.

  • Hi Jillee, in #1, “If you put bobby pins in your hair with the wave side facing up, you’ve been wearing them the wrong way for years!” Pretty sure that should read “wave side facing _down_”. Thanks.

  • Yes! These were useful. I knew the one about the holes in the boxes, though not all brands have them these days! Always wondered about that hole in the sneakers! More useful ideas in the comments. Thanks

  • I was taught by a theatrical make up artist a million years ago that instead of pumping the mascara wand, you twist it in the tube. No extra air, but you coat the brush. Has worked perfectly for me for years, and with light-colored lashes, I am a veteran mascara user.

  • Great ideas. I was telling my mom about the bobby-pins one and the plastic wrap one. I haven’t really learned anything new. On the Mascara when mine starts to get dry and not being able to get much product adding a few drops of Saline really helps to get more usage.

  • All good things to know. As for the toilet paper, mine is always over and when I tear off what I’ll use the end is then bent over to the right so I know where the end is the next time without spinning it around. Also did you know most skillets have a hole in the handle for your spoon or spatula to rest when cooking. I use it all the time. Thanks for the great ideas.

    • Thanks Debra! The 2 best ways to clean a plunger are:
      1. Put several caps of bleach in the toilet bowl. Swish the plunger around and let it sit for a few minutes. Then flush the toilet 3 times.
      2. Do the same process, but put 1 cup of apple cider vinegar in the toilet bowl.

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