by Lara Gladych –
Seaside Magazine wants to live up to our slogan of being “the voice of the Saanich Peninsula,”so, in every issue, we’ll be asking people to answer a question. We’re looking for responses from all ages and across the diverse neighbourhoods that form our community.
“If there’s an easier, more efficient way to do something, trust a lazy person to find it” (Marty Rubin). In this vein, to tie into our How To issue this month, I asked people in Saanichton: “Do you have any life hacks to share?” For those who need a bit of help with this one, a life hack (according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary) is: “a usually simple and clever tip or technique for accomplishing some familiar task more easily and efficiently.”
My top three time-saving, life-simplifying tricks are 1) Use a drop of Dawn Original dish soap (or likely any other brand) applied directly and rubbed into any greasy or oil-based clothing stain and see it lift right out when you add water; 2) Easily (in most cases) remove the shell from a hard-boiled egg by shaking it along with some water inside a mason jar (with a hand on top to keep the contents in. The shaking will cause the shell to crack and soften and slip off the egg;
3) My coolest trick, The Burrito Method, for getting a duvet cover on a duvet no matter the size. Google the words “duvet burrito method,” watch the video and thank me later. I tell my kids that their future spouses will think they are rock stars for this one.
Tricks for working with garlic came up twice. Linda, 67, told me that years ago in Vietnam she learned that to remove the papery outer layers from garlic, simply shake it around in a bowl and watch the skin fall away. Sebastian, 24, told me that his mom’s trick with garlic is to place the clove on a cutting board and press it with the flat side of a chef’s knife, cracking the skin so that it comes away more easily, and prepping the garlic for mincing.
Thomas is 37, and he had a composting hack: keep your kitchen compost in the freezer to avoid fruit flies (and rot). Brilliant!
Another kitchen hack came from Christina, 35, who said: “I wash dishes as I cook.” Wash dishes and utensils used while preparing food as you go along or during cooking time to avoid a pile-up later. “By the time I’m done cooking, all my dishes are done except for the plates.”
Related to cooking, Jennifer, 40, teaches her live-in exchange students to freeze any unused tomato sauce in ice cube trays for convenient single-serving use in the future with no waste. Jennifer was a wealth of knowledge with tricks for messy jobs, too. She says that dishwasher liquid or pods with bleach are ideal in a pinch to either soak off burnt-on food in cookware, or to toss in the toilet for a soak and minimal scrubbing later.
In the cleaning department I heard another tip from Denise, 61, who recommends using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to banish black from plastic outdoor bins and “make your bins look like brand new,” and from Robert, 71, who loves “vinegar for washing the windows.”
Laundry stains are a common problem for many of us, and Sandra, 71, said: “one of the things I was told is that baking soda [mixed with] vinegar will take stains off.”
Technology often plays a big part in simplifying our lives. “I do a lot of online stuff like banking online and shopping online. VarageSale is the best.” This was from Danielle, 32, whom I had to ask to explain VarageSale. It’s an online swap-type website where you arrange to leave your for-sale items outside your home and the arranged purchaser simply comes by to collect and leave their money. Danielle says it’s where she buys the majority of her infant daughter’s clothes.
Two lovely gentlemen, Robert, 75, and Harry, 87, agreed that whether it fits the bill or not, saying “Yes, dear,” is often the answer to any complication that comes their way.
The award for the wittiest answer this month goes to Kelly, 77. His best life hack to accomplish tasks with ease and efficiency is to “use the telephone to bring dinner [and a housekeeper] in.”
For all life hackers, remember: “Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.” (Robert Heinlein).