I Tried A Bunch Of Quarantine Life Hacks (And Some Were Low-Key Brilliant)

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Hey, I’m Emily! And like basically everybody else, I’ve gotten really into TikTok since quarantine started.


Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

And between all the videos of v. cute puppies and gremlins who love cold brew, I’ve realized you can actually find some really useful life tips and everyday hacks.

Of course, there is a lot of garbage on TikTok, so it’s good to remain a little skeptical. But since I have [*checks calendar*] absolutely nothing going on, I thought I’d test a few that might help us all out right now.

Here are 6 TikTok life hacks you should know about:

THE IDEA: This was originally a hack to save suitcase space while traveling, but it totally works for closets too. To do it: Fold up a bulky item — like a big comforter — and place it in a large trash bag. Stick the vacuum arm into the bag and turn it on. Once the package stops shrinking, pull the vacuum out. Twist and knot the bag so that air can’t get in. No fancy vac sealer needed!

DID IT WORK: YUP.

This shrunk my comforter down to about half its size! 🙌


Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

THE RESULTS: After about a month of sleeping in my childhood bedroom, I finally accepted the fact that this massive comforter is way too hot for Florida. It was taking up a giant section of my closet, so I was excited when this worked like a charm. I’ll definitely be using it to shrink down coats and spare sheet sets when I finally get to return to my puny (but beloved) Brooklyn apartment.

FINAL RATING: 🧺🧺🧺🧺🧺/🧺🧺🧺🧺🧺

HACK #2: Turn a $1 cooling rack into a makeup organizer.

THE IDEA: Cut four of the bars on a metal cooling rack and gently push them down so that the whole thing floats about an inch off the bottom of a drawer. Then, organize your eyeshadows, lipsticks, and tubes of mascara in between the grates.

DID IT WORK: Yep!

I absolutely love this hack.


Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

THE RESULTS: Unlike the drawer organizers that my mom used to store her makeup for the past two decades, these racks allow her to actually see everything she owns. Once I got her to part with a few old palettes and lipsticks she never uses, I was able to clear out both drawers so that everything is neatly laid out. I love that each piece of makeup has its own slot — and stacking compacts on their sides clears up so much space.

But before you convert your cooling rack, know that there are a few drawbacks to this method.


Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

First, it’s not as easy as it looks. You have to bend the bars very precisely to keep the rack level and get it up to the right height. You also might have to troubleshoot the layout. (I had to use one uncut rack for the shorter bottles because they kept falling through the slots of the cut one.) It’s also kind of annoying that you can’t see which compact is which.

In spite of all that, I feel like my hard work totally paid off because I only spent a few bucks on this and it’ll probably be another couple of decades before my mom needs to reorganize.

FINAL RATING: 💄💄💄💄/💄💄💄💄💄

HACK #3: For the fastest way to peel a hardboiled egg, literally blow it out of its shell.

THE IDEA: Take a hardboiled egg, peel the ends off, and blow air through the top end — so that the egg pops out through the bottom.

DID IT WORK: Yeah, but…

This hack was gross and weird.


Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

THE RESULTS: It totally works, but more as a bizarre party trick than anything else. I timed myself, and it took me one minute to get the egg out with this method. Comparably, it only took me 25 seconds to peel the other egg while I ran it underwater. (A trick I learned from this Serious Eats recipe which will give you perfect hardboiled eggs every single time — *without* the gross factor.)

FINAL RATING: 🥚🥚/🥚🥚🥚🥚🥚

THE IDEA: Cut a paper towel roll so that it can fit inside of an airtight container. Pull the cardboard out of the center, and pour a bleach solution evenly over the paper towels.

DID IT WORK: Maybe??

This…. wasn’t the greatest.


Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

THE RESULTS: We all know you often can’t trust health-related tips on social media — unless they’re from verified experts or sources. Still, disinfectant wipes are pretty hard to find on shelves right now, so desperate times call for desperate measures. 🤷‍♀️

Three days after I made these wipes, they are still damp and sturdy, but I’m not sure they’re effective. The CDC says that bleach solutions are only viable for 24 hours, so these wipes probably aren’t disinfecting anything now. You can make wipes out of a 70 percent alcohol solution but — because alcohol evaporates rapidly — it may not stay on the surface long enough to get rid of the germs. All in all, we should probably think of DIY disinfectant wipes as a last-ditch solution.

FINAL RATING: 🧻🧻/🧻🧻🧻🧻🧻

(BTW, you should totally check out our guide to safely using bleach before you make these wipes!)

HACK #5: Self-seal a cereal box by doing a quick three-point fold.

THE IDEA: You know how the tops of cereal boxes can get mangled, especially if you have little kids (or an impatient S.O.) who are always tearing into the box, or forgetting to clip it closed? This hack solves that. To self-seal, pop three out of the four flaps into the cereal box, and fold the skinny sides so that they point inside. Tuck the last flap around the folds so that it is flush with the opposite flap.

DID IT WORK: Absolutely!

For me, this fold was way neater and more effective than the sad box tab.


Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

THE RESULTS: This was great! It sounds confusing at first, but once you start folding, it’s pretty simple. It’s a very easy and smart fix for those who like to store their cereal in the box — though you may still need to clip the inside bag to keep 100% of the air out.

FINAL RATING: 🥣🥣🥣🥣/🥣🥣🥣🥣🥣

HACK #6: If you have a dry plant where the soil won’t soak up anything, stick it in a bucket of water — and the soil will absorb it from the bottom up.

THE IDEA: If soil is too dry and compact for water to penetrate, pour an inch or two of water in a bucket and leave your potted plant in the water for an hour. The soil will wick up water through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot.

DID IT WORK: Yes! Very well.

Overall, I’m totally abandoning the watering can because this is a much gentler way to treat my delicate, green children.


Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

THE RESULTS: I used an Echeveria pulidonis, an Aloe vera, and ailing French marigolds to test out this trick. The poor Marigolds were so dry that the pot was floating when I first placed it in the water. But within a half-hour, the soil had sucked up enough water that the pot sunk to the bottom of the bucket. (But it took quite a few hours for it to get thoroughly damp.) Within two hours, the Aloe’s soil had taken on enough water. It took the Echeveria about three hours to suck up enough water. I’ll be doing this again!

FINAL RATING: 🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱/🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱






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