From hydration to hazards: 6 must-try home hacks

The internet is full of so many hacks and shortcuts. Clean your toilets with denture tablets! Make your sink sparkle with vinegar! We’ve rounded up some low effort tips that can make a big impact on your everyday living.

By Alex Brooks 

Think of the hacks in this article as favours to your future self. 

We’ve rounded up some high-reward upgrades that you can spend a little time and money on now in order to reap the benefits later.

Try 1, 2 or even all of these simple steps to make everyday living that little bit easier.

1. Make your home fall and trip-proof

Check that any rugs in your house have rubber matting underneath to prevent trips or falls.

Tripping is embarrassing when you do it in public, but downright dangerous in your own home.

Falls and trips are actually Australia’s leading cause of injury hospitalisation and often result in a fracture. Eep!

May you never suffer the indignity of face-planting in your own home. Or the indignity of having your home look like a disabled toilet.

There are new universal housing design guidelines that help create stylish living spaces that are fallproof and accessible for all people, no matter their age or disabilities.

Universal home design is all about:

  • Open plan living with wide hallways and doorways, 
  • Low maintenance flooring surfaces like polished concrete, tiles or timber to allow walkers, strollers and wheelchairs easy wheeling
  • Removing all steps and lips to allow seamless flow between rooms.

Rugs and mats are usually the culprit behind falls at home. Investing in a good rug pad not only helps prevent you and your guests from tripping; it also extends the life of your rug.

And throw out any mats that have curled up at the edges - they are bound to trip you up when you least expect it.

2. Light things up automatically  

New automated light bulbs from IKEA and the hardware store can simply automatically light up where you need them

Your future self doesn’t love feeling or stumbling towards your middle-of-the-night bathroom visits in the dark. 

So why not revamp your home lighting with new smart bulbs and home automation?

For high-traffic areas like a hallway, you can switch your regular lights to automated bulbs or even find stick-on, rechargeable, motion-sensor night lights - talk to a lighting store or the helpful person at the hardware store to find out what’s right for your house.

Speaking of lighting, if you’ve ever left a light on after leaving the house and felt anxious or worried because of it, you’d benefit from smart lighting.

There are a range of apps and you simply pair them with your device over your home internet to use your phone to check if you turned off the lights.

This is especially useful if you’re already in bed and don’t want to get up again.

3. Hone in on hydration

The Government’s Eat For Health website recommends people over 50 drink 2.1 litres of water a day - or around 8 glasses

If you haven’t read Citro’s article on the importance of staying hydrated, then get to it!

The stumbling block to drinking more water throughout the day is usually because people are bored by the taste of water and don’t nudge themselves into drinking more.

Think about what’s stopping you from sipping more H2O. Is the water too warm? Or maybe your bottle needs constant refills? You may find that you’re more likely to drink water when it’s cold and carbonated.  

Treat yourself to a water bottle that’s just right for you - do you prefer a straw or a pop cap? Do you always want to drink from a glass? If so, then have a jug in the fridge and keep pouring from it all day until you’ve drunk the required amount.

Keeping hydrated improves cognitive performance and helps you concentrate better.

4. Track the things you love (and hate to lose)

New bluetooth trackers are available to easily help you find the things you always lose (like keys!)

Whether it's your phone, your wallet, your keys or anything else you just can’t seem to go a day without losing, pop a bluetooth tracker on it.

Whether it’s an Apple AirTag or TileMate for Android, these trackers cost a bit to buy but can be used for YEARS to stop you getting frustrated when you need to pinpoint something you’ve lost.

These little devices will help your keys, or wallet, or phone emit a little sound so you can easily hunt it down and find it again.

5. Sort your mess, cleaning and housekeeping tools

There is a bizarre satisfaction in cleaning and preening a disorganised drawer - just ask Marie Kondo!

Pick whatever small, disorganised space bothers you the most - the third drawer down in the kitchen or your bedside drawers - and tackle it for good. 

Organise like items with other similar items, maybe in smaller boxes or trays to make it aesthetically pleasing to you. This kind of decluttering can bring strange amounts of joy.

There is no rule whatsoever that you need a sponge for your kitchen sink, especially when they get gross and stinky. Spend a few dollars on a sponge holder that’ll keep yours perched in a perfect air-drying position. 

Perhaps try using a ‘silicon’ sponge that cleans without absorbing manky fluids. Or pick up a wad of microfibre cleaning cloths to transform your dusting, wiping and sponging.

Cleaning is enough of a chore on its own, so keep duplicate cleaning supplies in rooms you have to clean more frequently (kitchens and bathrooms, we’re looking at you!). 

Give each room a bucket filled with duplicate tools and cleaners. You’ll have everything you need without needing to gather equipment from a different room each time you clean.

You’ll be more likely to tidy up between deep cleanings if you take stair-climbing out of your housework equation. The same goes for scrubbing your shower - keep a squeegee in the shower and you’ll be more likely to give your screen a clean while you shampoo and condition your hair.

6. Grow something to nurture

Save money while soothing your soul by growing your own

Growing your own vegetables and microgreens is not only good for the soul, but good for your bank balance.

Watch ABC-TV’s Gardening Australia to get some of the best hints, or just read Citro’s articles:

Call it a kind of aspirational shopping, a purposeful splurge, or just call these ideas life hacks. If you want to build a new routine into your day, spending a few bucks on the things you need to carry out that routine can increase the odds that you’ll actually do it. 

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