They still work today: 13 tricks my grandma used around the household
All the useful tricks and hacks you see presented on Cleverly aren't just a phenomenon from the internet age. Back in the 50s you could buy magazines that solely dealt with ideas for making our lives easier. That's why we'd like to show you 13 of these tips from several generations ago that still work today.
1. Paintbrush and magnet
While doing some touch-up work, it can be hard to find somewhere to put the dripping paintbrush. You can't just put it back in the bucket as it'll get completely covered in paint. Resting it over the bucket also isn't an option because it's too small and will drip down the side anyway.
To keep the paintbrush clean and in a safe place, hang a U-shaped magnet over the edge of a Mason jar. The magnet will attract the ferrule — the metallic part that keeps the handle and bristles together — and will hold the paintbrush securely in place.
2. Keeping screws in place
These days you can buy magnetic screwdrivers that hold the screws in place. However, there's a way you can mimic this effect by simply sticking a small piece of tape to the end of the screwdriver. This tip is particularly useful for areas that can be hard to reach for the screwdriver.
3. Keeping nails in place
By using a bit of creativity, you can also hold nails in place without having to use your fingers. This trick also eliminates the risk of hitting your fingers while using the hammer.
Cut a slit into a matchbox or a similar piece of cardboard and clamp the nail in between. This will keep the nail upright until it has been hammered in far enough to stay in place on its own. All you then have to do is remove the cardboard and continue hammering the nail into the wall.
4. Keeping the door open
It can be really annoying when the door slams shut even though you want to keep it open. Instead of using a doorstop, you can take an elbow spring similar to the one in the image below and place it in the hinge.
To do this, remove the bar from the hinge and slide the spring over it with the two ends on the inside track. The force of the spring will keep the door open, but it'll still allow you to close it when needed.
5. Suction cups
Though useful, suction cups for things such as bathroom towel hooks tend to lose their stickiness and fall off over time. To prevent this from happening, try rubbing some hand soap on the suction side. The suction cup should now stick to the wall with a force stronger than before.
This is a simple but effective trick for removing hot dishes from the oven. If you don't have an oven mitts handy, use a dustpan to scoop under the pie pan or baking dish and avoid burning your hands. The dustpan obviously needs to be heat-resistant and ideally made of metal.
Dressmakers have their pincushion to keep their needles close at hand. When doing DIY around the house, you can do the same for your nails and screws using a raw potato. Simply cut a potato in half lengthwise. The flat side stops the potato from rolling around, so you can keep your nails and screws handy as shown in the image below.
8. Opening letters
This is a great trick if you've already sealed an envelope but need to open it again. You don't need to cut open the envelope either.
First place the letter on a towel with the back of the envelope facing down and fold it over. Now take an iron with the steam setting enabled and run it over the envelope. Thanks to the steam from the iron, the envelope should pop up with a little bit of prying and can be used again.
9. Flashlight and funnel
It can be difficult to use a flashlight during a power outage or in poor lighting when you really need to have both of your hands free.
To keep a flashlight directed at the right spot when you're working in dark places, attach it to the spout of a large funnel using a rubber band. You can adjust the direction of the beam and no longer need to worry about finding a way to hold the flashlight.
10. Steel wool and funnel
While we're on the subject of funnels, here's another clever tip. Some funnels have a groove or ribbing on the outside of the neck to allow air to escape from the container being filled. This prevents spilling and the liquid foaming up when the container is filled up.
You can create a similar effect by putting some steel wool in the funnel. The liquid flows more slowly into the container, giving the air more time and space to escape.
11. Steel wool in drain opening
As you'll see, steel wool has another great use. To prevent hair from blocking the drain while you're showering, place a piece of steel wool over the opening. When the water is running, any loose hairs remain in the steel wool and can't make their way into the drain. Just remember not to insert the steel wool too far into the opening.
12. Scuff-proof hammer
Removing nails with a hammer can sometimes lead to damaged wood or unsightly scratches on the surface.
To stop this from happening, simply stick a thick Band-Aid or adhesive wall mount onto the hammer. This cushions the part of the hammer that usually causes the damage, preventing any scuffs or scratches on the wood.
13. Moving heavy furniture
As well as being tough work, moving the couch or a cabinet can also leave black marks or scratches on the floor. Very irritating!
There's a simple way to avoid this though. Place cardboard or towels under the legs to prevent marks and move heavy furniture around more easily.
Watch the following video to see these tips explained in greater detail:
Moving furniture, hammering nails, keeping paintbrushes clean... many of these tips could prove to be extremely useful when you're next doing some renovation work around the house. It's also amazing to see that these tricks from 60 years ago work just as well today as they did back then.