99 useful hints and tips for everyday life

Most of the clever tips on this page will eventually come in handy for me. I tried the toilet roll iPhone speaker trick and it works!


    1. Well . . . it also says “left” on the sign. But now I’m going to be looking for that (if I remember by the next time I see a left exit–I’m not sure there is one in my entire city).

      Also, how many places are there that put tenths of a mile on the freeway signs? I’ve never seen that before. Is it an East Coast thing?

      1. Philadelphia especially, and a few other cities, sometimes get a number of exits stacked up on one another because of older major roads being quite close to one another.  Cities built after the Civil War typically had better civic planning and you don’t see it as much.

        It does indeed say left, but it’s buried at the bottom.  Having the information prominently displayed at the top from the get-go is a solution I’d never noticed.  I’m interested if it’s more than just Philadelphia and will be looking for it over the weekend myself.

          1.  Ah yes! Central Expressway. With the utterly useless ‘go’ lights to ‘help’ you use those ramps which are approximately the length of maybe two normal driveways…..

      2. The Right one doesn’t say Right, altough in the US I guess that’d be the normal side, explaining why the Left one says Left.

      1. Having a decent array of rentals in my history, this has been the savior of quicker fueling many a time.

      2. My mom just pointed out to me yesterday that, because our gas tank light (the ‘refill me, dummy’-light indicating that we need gas) is on the left, the tank is on the left.  So, maybe having my mom in the car with you would also be helpful for gas filling.

        1.  I don’t think that’s a reliable cue.  I’m pretty sure mine is on the right side of the panel, but my filler door is on the left.  The arrow, however, IS reliable.

          1. No, it doesn’t. The pump handle pictogram is irrelevant – or is so in the cars I’ve got. Pump handle to the right on the symbol, filler cap on the left. I think the pump handle is always to the right, actually.

            Most cars _designed_ in countries that drive on the right have the filler cap on the right – though there are exceptions. The other way round for cars designed in countries that drive on the left.

      1. We’re getting there in some cities, but right now a lot of us are depending on the GPS to tell us which lane to be in.  Your signs also neglect to mention how far away the exit is and what the number is, so one could argue that your are cryptic as well… :)

      2.  The problem with Australian road signs is that they put the bastards at the exit, not a km or two before it so you can actually get into the required lane without a dangerous swerve.

        Also, signage here is too damn verbose. For instance, instead of a simple yield sign half the free turn lanes at lighted intersections have:

        TURN LEFT
        AT ANY TIME
        WITH CARE

        Target fixation is something the designers of Australian signage have clearly never heard of.

        1. As if having warning signs in advance would ever convince drivers here in Chicago to get out of the furthest lane any sooner than 15 feet before the V separating the off-ramp from the rest of the highway….often with something quite permanent such as concrete or metal crash barriers making the slalom quite hazardous if done too late.

          1. Possibly, but the problem I’m describing seems to be worse in Sydney (according to other Australians). I’ve seen offramp signs perched on the island of a fork. If you take the freeway over the harbour bridge, for instance, the lane layout is like some kind of non-Euclidean nightmare and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can end up looking at your exit sign over two guidance curbs.

    1. Most of these tips are unconscious bragging. They are signs of wealth. Not just the obvious ones like hotels and holidays, but subtle things like the cords holder for electrical sockets. I don’t mean just owning lots of corded devices. Most European sockets are on the floor, and those that aren’t are either behind furniture or just above a surface. Why? Because wall space is gold, and is almost never empty. Empty walls are a sign of a big country with lots of cheap land. 

      I started replying to all 99, but it sounded mean spirited. I am happy that this man has wealth, but it just does not reflect my life or the life of most people on the planet.

      1. A website would hardly be the best place to put “Tips for starving war refugees,” just as a Red Cross tent wouldn’t be the place for “How to make your iPhone’s speaker resonate with somewhat more authority.”

    1. Did I have the only cat on the planet who was claustrophobic?  Of course, he was too lazy to get up on the desk anyway.

    2. That box tip would so NOT work with my cat. He LOVES to watch the cursor move around the page. It’s like a little cat toy for him.

  1. That is a great idea for hotel charging. I have forgotten the adapter to my USB a few times, never ever considered the service port on the television.

    1. I’m no genius, and was on vacation with no charger at all for my iPod and figured this out. It really can be a great help.

  2. Be very careful with the hotel tv usb charging trick, sometimes those ports are for diagnostics on the television and not to connect a usb device. This can completely destroy the t.v. Ask me how i know :(

    1. Shouldn’t such ports use the USB ‘slave’ end?  The plugs shown are the ‘PC’ or ‘controller’ end, for connecting peripherals.

      Not that I’d have any idea how TV diagnostic tools are designed…

  3. You can also try asking at the front desk. Odds are that they have a box full of chargers left by previous guests. Phone chargers are the most common things left in hotel rooms these days.

  4. I hate that I’ve wasted almost forty years of my life not knowing these things. WHERE’S THE HELPFUL TIP FOR THAT?

    1. I agree.  If I knew 40 years ago that I could recharge my iPhone via the USB port on our old Philco TV, life today would be very different!

      1.  Yes, but it prevented me from looking at anything else on the site until I figured out to kill it.

        1.  Tip #100: Hitting escape with the webpage loaded will stop any animated gif from giving you seizures.

          While I knew this already, this is the first time I can remember reeeally needing to use it on a webpage.

  5. Make sure the speaker of your smart phone is near the top edge so that the toilet paper roll amplifies the sound. Some smart phones have the speaker towards the bottom of the phone so the roll would have to be placed at the bottom of the phone instead of the top of the phone as shown in the photo. I learned that you could use an empty cornflakes box too. Just place the phone inside the empty box and enjoy the full range of sound amplified by the box so that everyone at the breakfast table can hear the phone at the same time. I also tried placing my phone inside the glove compartment while driving. I was unable to hear the phone at any speed tried, from a standing stop to 80 mph on the interstate, the only sound being the roadway and radio, NPR of course.

    1. a bowl works even better. Just toss your phone in, positioning can effect volume (speaker down and toward the bowl is the loudest). The bowl should be small enough to prop the phone up some what. its less fiddly and usually a little louder thanks to the general funnel shape.

  6. I’ve been using toilet paper tubes as a cable holder on kitchen appliances for years. Makes kettles and hand blenders much easier to store.

    1. My mom used to have a hand mixer that was avocado green. She had a toilet paper tube covered in coordinating contact paper to hold the cord.

  7. I can’t scroll down to see beyond the first few photos on his page, in either IE or Chrome. Help help?

    (never mind finally figured it out. That’s a TINY little button to click to scroll down)

    1. Ahhh, this is when I love knowing that I can open the developer console on Chrome and fuck with a site’s CSS.

      Stupid tiny cursor? Gone. Stupid tiny font? Gone. 6px-wide scrollbar? Make it normal.

      Ahhh… Now get off mah lawn, tumblr kids!

  8. Some of these are genius and I can even enhance a couple:

    – “Put a small amount of water in a glass when you microwave” … pretty much anything. Microwaves dry food out, so add a little extra.

    – “Use a piece of paper to organize parts” … well, I never thought of doing that, but you can combine it with the one I *ALWAYS* do: take a medium-length piece of tape (any kind … scotch works fine), fold it in half and stick it to itself, and stick that to the nearest surface. Stick your screws on there. They’re usually light enough that the tape sticks to them just fine, and now they won’t roll when you bump the table. When you want to pull one back off, press down on the tape with the tip of the screwdriver to create tension.

    A few of these seem like awfully bad ideas.

    – “Use an accented letter as your passcode” … if you only ever use it from one place. Good luck if you have to use that password on a keyboard that doesn’t support it, on an operating system where you don’t know how to activate the input method features…

    – “Drill holes in the bottom of our garbage can” … but not ALL the way at the bottom. Ever have gross wet garbage? Would you rather have that gross in the can, or all over your floor? :)

    – “Hiding your emergency money” (in a chapstick). How many chapsticks have you lost in your life? If you’re like me, probably all of them.

    – “Use a soda pop-tab to offset hangers” … That sounds horribly fiddly, I’d rather have easy access to put hangers up.

    – “Use a pencil case or sunglasses to store your cables” … come on, does it *look* like that case is gonna close?

    – “How I know which headphone is the left one, even without looking” … and why I always have to replace my damaged headphones. (I suggest scratching the left one with an emery board instead, to change the texture. Or use nail polish, which changes both texture and color.)

    And then there are some that are just plain OCD symptoms.

    – “Good sandwich guide” …
    – “Keep a square of cardboard in a ziplock bag” …
    … you need to see someone about your issues.

    1. I still don’t know how to make a proper sandwich. The meat always ends up flopping over the sides or unfurling. Sandwiches, how do they work?

  9. Take a picture of your home location, telephone number, etc., and lock the photo. If you lose your camera, there’s a good chance it will get returned when someone sees the picture. And if house-hunting, take pictures of the real-estate sign and nearby street signs.

  10. Here’s one.  Take a hi-res picture of your driver’s license, passport, AND international entry/exit Visas inside it, before traveling.  Leave the pics on your camera, email them to yourself and to your friends and relatives.  Also, keep a local copy of all of it on your phone in case you don’t have access to your email.  That way, if someone steals your passport or you lose it, you have something to present to immigration to prove who you are so you can minimize any delays getting home.  Some people make copies – but I always found those black-and white papers annoying, and those can get lost too.  This tip is a more distributed way to preserve that info in as close to original as possible.

  11. Why, in all of these internet memes that involve white block letters written over images, are cats an inevitable presence? Are there no internet dorks who like dogs?

    1. The lower maintenance cat allows the owner/human increased oportunity to catch said furball doing something derpy for the ‘net to lampoon. 

  12. Tip #100: Copy and paste the top tips from reddit.com/r/LifeProTips onto your blog for some quality blogspam.

  13. People whose surname is Toblerone should always take along an empty ‘Toblerone’ chocolate box when attending interviews for office jobs. This would save your potential employer the expense of having to make a name plaque for your desk, and therefore increase your chances of getting the job.

  14. was pleasantly surprised that I intuited about five of these on my own, and from a young age.

    here’s one:  instead of velcro-ing your remotes to the coffee table, zip-tie them to each-other into a tower (add foam rubber or some-such as filler to the center for configs of more than two.)  The remotes can A) now stand upright, making them easier to see B) are impossible to fall between the couch cushions and C) they’re always together, effectively one remote that you spin around to get the volumes from your TV thru your receiver done right etc.

    I call mine the Tri-clops.

  15. Don’t clean your sensitive electronics with a shop-vac! A ketchup bottle cap won’t stop the vacuum’s static charge from zapping your precious gadget.

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