“Why Didn’t I Think Of That?” – Part One

Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Here on my blog, I strive to share simple, everyday tips and tricks that can help make life a little bit easier. But sometimes, the tips that I want to share aren’t something I can write a whole blog post about, so I tuck them away to use at a later date.

I’ve built up quite a catalog of these life hacks, so I decided to share a couple dozen of them today! Enjoy the first installment in the “Why Didn’t I Think of That?” series.

Be sure to scroll down to see some of these brilliant hacks in action on video!

Why Didn't I Think Of That?

1. Remove Strawberry Tops With A Straw

Use a drinking straw to quickly remove hulls from strawberries. This will save you a lot of time when using fresh strawberries in your baked goods or homemade strawberry ice cream!

Why Didn't I Think Of That?
It’s not just for eggs!

2. Slice More Than Just Eggs

In addition to slicing hard-boiled eggs, an egg slicer is a perfect tool for slicing other soft fruits and veggies too, like mushrooms and strawberries.

Why Didn't I Think Of That?

3. Prevent Cutting Boards From Slipping

If your cutting board tends to move around on your countertop when you’re using it, place a damp towel underneath it. This will provide enough resistance to keep it from sliding, and you’ll be much less likely to have a knife mishap!

Why Didn't I Think Of That?

4. Keep Wastebasket Liners In Place

I love reusing plastic grocery bags as liners in my smaller trash cans, but I hate when the handles slip down into the can, making it hard to get out. A simple fix is to place small removable hooks upside down on opposite sides of the can. Just slip the bag handles under the hooks, and the problem is solved!

YouTube video
Common trash can annoyance solved!
Why Didn't I Think Of That?

5. Snap A Photo Of Your Fridge

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to call home while at the grocery store to ask my husband or kids how much milk we had in the fridge because I forgot to check before I left. Now when I’m heading to the store, I stop and snap a photo inside of my fridge so I can refer to it while I’m shopping.

Why Didn't I Think Of That?
Two is better than one.

6. Connect Hangers With A Soda Can Tab

You can use an aluminum tab from a can of soda to create tiered hangers. Not only does using tiered hangers save on precious closet space, but it’s also handy for keeping outfits together.

Why Didn't I Think of That?

7. Turn An Empty Bottle Into A Charging Station

You can use an empty oval-shaped bottle (like a baby shampoo bottle or similar) to make a convenient charging cradle for your devices. Use a utility knife or craft knife to cut a straight line across the front side of the bottle, then cut around to the back so that the back side is an inch or two taller than the front.

Cut a hole near the top of the back side of the bottle. Finally, plug your phone in, hang your cradle on the charger, and place your device inside. Easy!

Why Didn't I Think Of That?

8. Clip Recipes To A Hanger

Hold your cookbook open to the correct page by hanging it from a clip-style hanger. It’s also a great way to keep a printed recipe closer to your eye level (and away from spills and splatters) while cooking.

YouTube video
It’s surprising how much this helps when you are trying to follow a recipe with lots of different steps.
Why Didn't I Think Of That?
Never struggle with a tape roll again!

9. Stick A Bread Tab To The End Of Your Tape

Use the plastic tab from a loaf of bread to mark the end of a roll of tape. No more hunting for the end, or struggling to get it unstuck!

YouTube video
Why Didn't I Think Of That?
Keyboards collect a lot of dust and crumbs, but a sticky note can help!

10. Clean Keyboards With A Sticky Note

If your keyboard keys are looking a bit dusty and grungy, all you need is a sticky note! Press the sticky side in between your keys to pick up dust and crumbs easily.

Why Didn't I Think Of That?

11. Keep Cords In A Glasses Case

Carrying around cords can turn into a tangled nightmare. Keep your cords organized and easy to find by storing them in a spare glasses case. (Looking for a way to keep your cords neatly coiled? Try a small hair clip!)

YouTube video
I’m sure we all have at least one unused glasses case lying around the house.
Why Didn't I Think Of That?

12. Protect Photos & Documents In Transit

If you’re transporting important photos or documents and are concerned about them getting bent or wrinkled, just place them in a large plastic baggie with a piece of cardboard or a paper plate to keep the bag sturdy.

Why Didn't I Think Of That?

13. Stop Toilet Paper From Unrolling

Tuck the end of the toilet paper roll inside the cardboard tube to keep pets and kids from unrolling them.

YouTube video
It only takes a second!
Why Didn't I Think Of That?
An ingenious way to save your plastic grocery bags!

14. Make A Pop-Up Grocery Bag Dispenser

Make a pop-up dispenser for your plastic grocery bags by storing them in a tissue box. Before putting a bag in, thread the bottom of the bag through the handles of the previous bag. This will make them pop up just like tissues.

YouTube video
You might have to watch this a couple of times, but you’ll catch on quickly!
Why Didn't I Think Of That?
Save those old dried-up markers!

15. Turn Old Markers Into New Crafts

Make watercolors out of old washable markers by placing them upside down in a bit of water with the cap off. The color will mix into the water, making some fun watercolor paints for the kids.

Why Didn't I Think Of That?

16. Test Your Eggs For Freshness

How fresh are your eggs? Find out by putting them in a bowl of water. Fresh eggs will sink to the bottom, old eggs will float, and eggs that are in-between will stand up on their ends.

YouTube video
Never guess if those eggs are fresh again.
Why Didn't I Think Of That?

17. Use Sunglasses As A Phone Stand

If you’re referencing something on your phone, it can be hard to see when it’s lying flat on a table. Make a simple kickstand for your phone by placing it on a pair of sunglasses.

YouTube video
This is a lifesaver when my hands get tired.
Why Didn't I Think Of That?

18. Use Nail Polish To Color Code Your Keys

Make your keys easily identifiable by painting the ends with different colors of nail polish. This is very useful when a lot of your keys look the same!

Why Didn't I Think Of That?

19. Don’t Waste A Drop Of Nutella

Got a nearly empty container of Nutella on hand? Get one last treat out of it by placing a scoop of ice cream inside, and eating it out of the container. Yum!

YouTube video
Because wasting even a drop of this chocolatey goodness is a crying shame! 😭
Why Didn't I Think Of That?

20. Take A Photo When A Friend Borrows A Book

I’m always happy to lend things to friends, but I’m not great at keeping track of who has what. An easy way to keep track is to snap a photo of your friend with the item they’re borrowing. You can also just keep a note on your phone with their name and the item.

Why Didn't I Think Of That?

21. Carry More Bags With A Carabiner

Make it easier to get all the grocery bags in the house in one trip by using a carabiner. Slide the bag handles onto the carabiner, and you’ll be able to carry several bags at once!

YouTube video
As someone who tries to make as few trips as possible when unloading groceries, this tip is priceless.
Why Didn't I Think Of That?

22. Add Accented Letters To Passwords

A simple way to create a stronger password is to add a letter with an accent mark. It’s easy to type on your devices, just hold down the letter and the accent options will pop up.

Why Didn't I Think Of That?
Nothing to steal here!

23. Hide Your Stuff In Plain Sight

Going to the beach or the pool this summer? A lot of people aren’t careful about their valuables while they’re in the water, and someone may walk off with them!

But you can easily “camouflage” your valuables by storing them inside an everyday item like a large sunscreen bottle. Just cut part of the container off, wash it out, place your items inside, and slide the bottle back together.

The “Why Didn’t I Think Of That?” Series

YouTube video
Check out more simple tips and tricks in this compilation video!

Read This Next


Jill Nystul Photo

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

MORE IDEAS FROM

Bright Ideas

  • Soda can tabs to connect hangers aren’t always the best bet, particulary with fine fabrics which may become snagged. A far better choice is plastic chain available at any hardware store: simply choose a chain with sufficiently large links through which your hanger tops will fit.

  • Kind of off topic, but I really love that green nail polish you show in the color coded key tip, where could i find a bottle of it?

  • RE: The carabiner tip for many grocery bags: if you are on foot or taking public transportation you can use a dog collar [I use one from the Dollar Tree], string the bags on the collar, split the bags into 2 groups, toss one group over your shoulder and the collar on your shoulder. This lets your back and legs take the weight of the groceries instead of your arms and hands. I’ve done it many times and I’m over 60.

  • This has nothing to what you shared , but our tax preparer gave us an awesome idea. Keep all your tax records , receipts , insurance paperwork and important information and records in a plastic zip lock inside a plastic container. If your home is damaged during a storm or water damaged then at least you will hopefully still have that information.

  • Like you tips. Some i have..Used . Some not seen before and will try. I know you have seen many uses of fabric softener sheets. I love using them for scrubbing in the kitchen washing dishes whatever you need to scrub. You can even stitch them to your dish cloth.

  • I have a tiny dot of colored nail polish on top of kindle to mark where the charger port is. I put a dot of polish on top of laptop where the USB port is and a dot on the upside of the cord. Match the dots without fumbling to plug in cord. I do the same thing with the recharge cord for the Roomba and a matching dot on the Roomba itself. Small pieces of sticker also work well.

  • If you’re going to the beach you can hide your wallet in a clean dipper folded as a dirty dipper. No thief will ever expect it to find it in there.

    (found this tip also online)

  • I wanted to remember some of the items on your “Why didn’t I think of that” page, so I took my IPhone and took a picture of the sections I wanted, right of the computer screen. That way I didn’t have to print off the whole article.

  • thank you so much for all the pertinent information and help that you provide so freely. Generally when I get your emails, i found it best to wait until I had at least an hour, due to the fact that I end up cross referencing so many things, then printing or saving to file. LOL. My home is cleaner, healthier, prettier and happier now. Should I nominate you for an order of magnitude? God Bless. See you again soon.

  • I have the old range hood. Its metal. I keep a magnetic refrigerator clip (you know, like a binder clip)on the side to hold by recipes. Right beside the baking supply cabinet.

  • If you don’t have a garbage disposal you can keep an empty plastic gallon ice cream container lined with a grocery bag, place your food trash there till garbage day. Stops unwanted smells

  • I keep an empty tissue box in the bathroom and fill it up with squashed empty TP rolls and other small cardboard items, then just toss the whole thing in the recycling. Love the garbage in the car idea too!

  • I just heard a great tip for keeping things safe at the beach. Wrap your wallet/keys/phone etc. in a clean disposable diaper. Roll it up and tape shut like you do when its dirty. No one will steal a diaper that looks used. I may just have to buy diapers… ;)

  • Now for my own idea: The other day I was annoyed how much room the dang placemats took up. Didn’t really like them in a drawer or a cabinet (nothing really worked). I thought I would try hanging them up on a wood skirt hanger. I was surprised they didn’t look too bad hanging, plus the hanger holds quite a few placements.

  • When I put a clean pillowcase on my bed pillow, I pin a safety pin to one hem, inside the pillowcase. When I wash my hair, I flip the case to the side with no pin in the hem. This keeps my hair cleaner, longer.

  • A fantastic use for an empty tissue box: trash container for the annoying “small trash” items in the car, like used gum, tissues, snack wrappers, receipts…it will hold a TON of stuff, and the plastic on top keeps it from falling out. Put one in the back seat for the kids, too. When it’s full, toss the whole thing. I store my empty tissue boxes in the garage so a new one is always handy.

    • Yes tissue boxes work great! I’ve cut them down to smaller boxes and have one taped by my sewing machines and on the ironing board. Cut down, they don’t take up much room in a night stand.

  • Be careful with the hanger for your devices when they’re charging. If the plastic touches the metal prongs, or the charging adapter itself gets too hot, the plastic could melt and start a fire.

  • I have found so many great ideas on the One Good Thing site. Thank you so much. One thing I have started doing is using a grease pencil (china marker) to mark the storage containers I put my pasta and rice in. I used to cut out the directions and put it in the container or tape on the outside. All I really needed was the time for cooking. My containers are glass so this works well. The reason I don’t use my label maker is that I may not put the same thing back in that container. I buy different thicknesses of spaghetti (depending on my mood and what is available in the store I’m in) and sometimes try different shapes of pasta I don’t normally use. I really loved the information you did on rice. Now I don’t have any hard pieces because there wasn’t enough water. My husband always complained about that, and I didn’t think to use more water because all the directions given are basically the same. Even in the old cookbooks.

  • I recently organized my spice and baking items cabinet. I put them in alphabetical order so I can find them faster. I also made an alphabetical list of all my items so I know what I have “at a glance” since some of the lesser-used items tend to get moved to the back. I post this on the inside of the cabinet. And of course I put the date I opened the spice in Sharpee marker on the spice!

  • Good ideas. I keep extra money that I’m saving for other stuff in a little folder, that is my filing cabinet. No one can get to it, because I have the key. I had the unfortunate experience of having money taken out of where I thought was a safe place. It turned out a friend of one of my brothers had been sneaking downstairs and my mom caught him. My mom didn’t tell my brother about it until after we had moved, because she didn’t want to ruin a friendship. Another tip we use is to save the plastic liners that are in the cereal boxes. We then rinse them out, and put meat bundles inside- after the meat has been divided up, leftovers, this also good for baked goods that you want to save. It protects stuff while in the freezer.

  • I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. I found you by accident on Pinterest and signed up for your daily One Good Thing. I love getting the wonderful tips in my email every day. Today’s post was super helpful. Several ideas truly did make me say why didn’t I think of that.
    Thank you for sharing all these things.

  • I have a question. Do you have a program you use for your smart phone to help remind you of errands? I have one for the grocery store but errands I have not found one. Thank you

  • I attached a small white board to frig with 3M hook/loop tape. It’s divided into categories for my grocery list; before leaving for store, snap a photo with phone and viola! No need to re-write list.

    Also I carry reusable grocery bags folded up in another bag with a harbinger hook, which I attach to the grocery cart ( gets them out of the way and easy to get to at check-out.)

    Love all your blogs and DIY cleaning ideas.

    Thanks Jillee for all your research!

  • this is one thing I do, I have a small kitchen an no room to do my chopping so I take pot holders put them on the gas range then put a large cutting board over to fit all 4 burners then i’ll put (well I use a rubber mat that ya use for like ur cabinet lining or under ur glasses for no slippage)(dollar store) then I put wat ever cutting board I need for chopping an go to town, easy clean-up.

  • I use the plastic grocery bags to line a large mixing bowl to create a counter-height disposal center. When I am cooking / baking, I use the lined bowl to throw in scraps, potato peels, wrappers – all the food trash – then simply pull the bag off the bowl and toss it.

    • Great idea!

      Though it reminds me of Rachael Ray’s “garbage bowl” which is just a bowl for scraps that costs $20 at Walmart. I mean it’s a nice bowl & all but why do we need a special bowl for scraps? lol

  • GREAT TRICKS- I use large paper clips for bags of unused chips etc. or you can also use plastic clothes pins to close bags. Also the large bags of chips I cut to fit inside an EMPTY COFFEE CAN and use for scraps on counter for easy cleanup just take bag out of can and put into trash when full. I use many of the tips above esp. the one for strawberries and you can get the straws at dollar stores that are very sturdy and work great. LOVE ALL YOUR BLOGS.

  • Great tips!!

    Binder clips also work fantastic for thinner cables. I use one to keep my earphone cables from tangling up in my purse. In fact, binder clips for everything. I also use them all around in the kitchen to close bags of rice/pasta/spices/flour, or to put towels on a hook which came without a hanging loop, or to secure tea bags so they don’t vanish into the pot when I pour in the boiling water. :D

  • I learned something today…………for easy peel…….I mean, when you make boil eggs…..just add 1 teaspoon of salt to the water, then boil…….they will be so easy to peel…..

    • Hi, I hardboil eggs on a nearly everyday basis and upon trying all of the tips I could find on the internet, the one that finally worked for me was immediately placing the eggs in ice water after boiling.
      You may like to try that as well. :)

  • You are using plastic bags in you garbage container.
    I always carry a foldable light fabric bag in my bag, and I do my shopping with a trolley. In fact, I almost never need the plastic bags. So I made washable garbage bags out of pul to put in my containers in the house. Pul is washable, a little stretchy and the wet stays in, no leaks. Pul has been used for washable baby diapers too.
    You can buy it in fabric stores. It is better for the environment than all those plastics, who already causes damage in little babies and animals, drinking water… And so on.

    • Marie-Christine, what a brilliant idea. I didn’t know this fabric existed until I read your post. I really like the idea of sewing the bags to fit my containers correctly. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  • I love your ideas. Here’s one: if you have stash of cash or money orders, and you are worried about it get a toothpaste box, fold the cash and put it in, then topped it with a half used tube, glue shut and put in suitcase with other sundry items, soaps, etc. Any burglars will probably overlook it.

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