Are we a ‘hacker’? If not, we should be

March 13, 2015 - photo frame

They’re called life hacks.

They’re everywhere: small techniques to make life easier, improved orderly or some-more efficient.

The Internet is crowded of strategies to urge a household, customarily by repurposing a product to offer another purpose.

Fortunately, boosting classification and potency doesn’t have to cost a bundle. The Times editor Julie Stroebel Barichello tested 7 life hacks frequently featured on Internet prohibited spots like Pinterest and Buzz Feed, implementing them in her home with products purchased during Dollar Tree, Dollar General and Family Dollar stores in La Salle County.


Drivers who wish an inexpensive rabble enclosure for their vehicles substantially won’t find one in a automotive territory of a dollar store, though a resolution is only a few aisles away.   

Head over to a food storage territory and buy a cereal enclosure (or identical food storage container) instead.

Dollar Tree stores lift cosmetic food containers for $1. They underline an trustworthy lid that snaps open and shut, and a opening is far-reaching adequate to accommodate many rabble that would amass in a automobile (such as quick food bags, straw wrappers, extract boxes, etc.).

For combined ease, reuse cosmetic selling bags as rabble can liners. That will keep a interior of a enclosure purify and give selling bags an additional use before going in a trash.

A intensity waste is determining where to store a temporary rabble can. Trash can models done privately for vehicles embody straps or hardware to mountain a product. Users might have to settle with fixation a enclosure on a chair or floorboards.

Compare: Rubbermaid mobile rabble bin (plastic), $15.97 during Wal-Mart; Highland automobile rabble screw (canvas), $5.95 during Wal-Mart


An affordable resolution to shopping a white house is to emanate one with a $1 imitation support and a piece of paper. 

For reduction than $5, dollar store shoppers can collect adult a package of dry erase markers and a imitation frame. Buyers can outing a piece of paper into a support (or, for a additional thrifty, only spin around a batch imitation sole in a frame), afterwards write directly on a glass. 

A intensity reversal this process is a dry erase house will not be captivating — many dry erase play on a marketplace these days have that additional feature.

However, a imitation support dry erase house offers one perk a infancy of play don’t: It is simply customizable. Wrapping paper, construction paper or designs printed during home can be put in a support as a background, that leaves room for a progression of customizations for holidays and special occasions.

Compare: Dooley Boards captivating white house (8.5 by 11 inches), $16.99 during Wal-Mart; The Board Dudes captivating dry erase house (8.5 by 11 inches), $5.49 during Target


If a label box housing a rug of cards is descending apart, or if owners wish to strengthen decks from damage, a cosmetic soap box or break enclosure might be — atonement a joke — in a cards.

A outing to Dollar Tree can lead buyers to a two-pack of break containers that are a ideal distance for a customary label deck.

Want to keep dual decks together? A 75-cent shifting pencil box during Dollar General will reason dual decks of cards. However, a pencil box is flimsier than soap boxes and break containers, and a decks don’t fit as snugly in a container.


Over-the-door shoe organizers are done for — go figure — shoes.

But they’re also useful for an collection of products in mixed places.

Shoe organizers can be used in a automobile to reason transport essentials, including flashlights, sunblock, bug spray, packets of facial tissues, maps, electronic device chargers, etc.

They also can be employed in any closet. For a cleaning closet, a pouches can reason many bottles, either they are far-reaching mist bottles of Lysol, midsized bottles of Clorox or aerosol cans of Febreze. The pockets also are good for holding sponges, rubber gloves, scrubbing brushes and other cleaning essentials. 

Other online Pinterest users contend they have put shoe organizers to work in qualification supply closets and pantries. 

Family Dollar carries over-the-door shoe organizers for $6.50.

Compare: Whitmore 24-pocket over-the-door organizer, $10.06, or Honey-Can-Do 24-pocket over-door shoe rack, $10.89, both during Wal-Mart


For households that don’t have a cleaning supply closet and instead store reserve underneath a sink, there’s no need for a shoe organizer. 

Instead, that’s what screen rods and baskets are for.

A spring-tension screen rod can be commissioned in a cupboard next a sink, that allows mist bottles to be bending over a rod. It’s also a accessible place to furnish rags used for powdering or wiping adult messes.

Even better, spring-tension rods need no handyman skills — only extend a rod to a correct breadth and crowd it between a cupboard walls. 

For screen rods, Wal-Mart offers a improved cost option. A 28- to 48-inch Mainstays rod is $2.37 during Wal-Mart, since rods cost $3 or some-more during Dollar General and Family Dollar. An combined bonus: Mainstays is branded “Made in a USA.”

However, dollar stores still power autarchic for basket prices. Dollar Tree stores lift baskets in abundance, all for $1 each. To classify underneath a sink, batch adult on a few baskets to store bottles that can’t be bending over a rod as good as other reserve such as sponges and gloves.

Compare: Sterilite small-stack basket (set of six), $11.82 during Wal-Mart; Room Essentials cosmetic receptacle basket, $9.99 during Target


Gone are a days of draping scarves over closet wardrobe rods, folding them in drawers or clumping them on a hanger.

To solve a quandary of headband storage, collect adult a $1 package of showering screen rings, shave a rings on a hanger and loop any headband by a possess ring.

Voilà. No some-more tangled disaster of scarves. Pull one hanger from a closet and have all scarves (literally) during hand. The showering ring process creates them easy to perspective and store though a need to partial with a $10 bill. (And if we do partial with a $10 bill, during slightest you’re removing roughly $9 behind in change.)

Compare: Lynk headband organizer (set of two), $19.99 during Target; InterDesign pivot headband holder, $9.92 during Wal-Mart 


A elementary enclosure to keep hair styling products such as curling manacles or prosaic manacles off a lavatory opposite can be found in dollar stores — only not in a health and beauty department.

Head for a bureau reserve territory instead.

File holders can be mounted to lavatory walls or stored on shelves to keep hair stylers in easy strech though withdrawal them strewn around a bathroom. 

An additional tip: Most dollar stores sell cosmetic record holders. For users who don’t wish to wait for a hair styling inclination to cold before putting them away, a steel record hilt is a improved option.

Metal versions are some-more costly (the steel filigree chronicle graphic is about $11 during Wal-Mart), though they are a safer choice for holding comfortable styling devices.

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