Life Hacks – Tips and Tricks for Making Life Easier

There are countless problems you encounter on a daily basis that can put a little speed bump in your day. Life hacks are those “a-ha!” moments where you find the simplest solution to your daily problems, often using items immediately at your disposal. Each month this column will take you through some creative hacks to use in all different areas of your life to make your day to day as simple as possible. For February we’ll explore hacks to get you through cold and flu season.

When a cold or flu hits, the last thing you want to do is pick up behind yourself because you’re too weak to go back and forth to the trash can. Grab a rubber band and a fresh box of tissues and an empty box of tissues and connect them together. Now you have a mini trashcan to keep your recovery space neat while you recover.

If you’re suffering from the stomach flu, you’ll find yourself weak so make sure you have a way to keep your sickness contained no matter where you are in your home. Line a small trashcan with several layers of plastic grocery bags and wrap a rubber band around the rim of the trashcan lid. As you need to use the receptacle you can easily take out the bag without any major cleanup.

Whether you’re sick or you’re caring for a sick loved one, it can be tricky staying on top of taking or giving medicine on schedule every day. Try drawing a diagram on the back or side of your meds that allows you to place an “x” or check mark in a box each time you are to give the medicine and keep a Sharpie next to the bottle or container. Now, after that drug induced slumber, you won’t have to worry about remembering whether you took your meds on time or not.

Unless you have issues with allergies or children in your home, you may not have a use for a humidifier until you find yourself ill. Instead of dragging yourself out to the store to pick one up and sharing your contagious misfortune with others, try pulling out your crock-pot instead. Fill your crockpot with warm tap water and turn the heat setting to high (without putting the lid on, of course). Keep it running in the room where you’re resting and enjoy the relieving steam it provides.

Shower bombs are a lifesaver when you’re painfully stuffy and need a little extra kick in a steamy shower. Before you find yourself sick, try making your own VapoRub shower bombs to have on hand when the dreaded stuffy head and cough hits you. You’ll need three tablespoons of VapoRub, one cup of cornstarch, food coloring (optional), two tablespoons of water, and wax paper. Add the VapoRub to the bowl and stir in the cornstarch until mixed well. Add the water and, once smooth, mix in food coloring if you wish. Scoop the mixture into your hand and knead into a ball or disc and set on wax paper and freeze for a few hours. Store in a sealed jar or Tupperware bowl and place one on the shower floor near the drain as needed.

The most important thing you can do after getting over a cold or the flu is to disinfect the house as quickly as possible to prevent your loved ones from picking up the bug or going through a second round yourself. Lysol spray and wipes should be your best friend now. Don’t forget to hit the most commonly used, but most overlooked, areas in your home such as light switches, door knobs, remote controls and electronics, stair banisters, toilet flushers, and faucets and handles, and be sure to spray down soft surfaces like couches and mattresses.