Human beings are extremely smart. We discovered electricity, figured out how to get people on the moon, cured or eradicated countless diseases and are constantly coming up with even more innovations. However, sometimes, our brains just don’t figure out the easiest ways to do things without getting a little extra help from someone else. Put some scientists in a lab, and you’ll get a vaccine for COVID-19 within a year. Put some regular people in their kitchen, on the other hand, and they might not discover the best way to clean a microwave or blender for decades.

Someone recently asked on Reddit, “What's something you did ‘the hard way’ for the longest time, because you didn't know there was a much easier way?” And thousands of readers responded with their best life hacks. We’ve gathered some of their most helpful answers down below, featuring tips that you might be embarrassed to admit you never knew, but don’t worry: your secret’s safe with us. From keyboard shortcuts to cleaning tips that will save you time and effort, we hope you learn something new from this list of tips.

Be sure to upvote the replies that you find most brilliant, and then let us know in the comments if you have any more life hacks that might spare your fellow pandas from doing things ‘the hard way’. Then if you’re interested in checking out another Bored Panda article featuring products that feel like life hacks in and of themselves, you can find that right here.

#1

Recently found out that if you deliberately spread your cheeks when you sit down on the toilet, everything goes a whole lot cleaner, and you save on toilet paper. As someone with IBS, kinda a game changer.

birdsafterdark Report

Lyone Fein
Community Member
1 week ago

Up vote

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#2

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long CTRL backspace to delete entire words instead of letter by letter

chrisdante05 , Stefen Tan Report

LuckyL
Community Member
1 week ago

ohh wow - I hope I still remember this, when I get to the end of this list.

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#3

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long I thought working hard (giving 120%) brought many benefits. Turns out, I still get the same benefits + my sanity by only working 80%.

SuspectNumber6 , Marten Bjork Report

loty moty
Community Member
1 week ago

Always give 120%. 20% on Monday, 30% on Tuesday, ...

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Everybody's brain works a little bit differently. Some of us are better at math and science, while others might be more artistic and find it easier to learn how to play an instrument than memorize math formulas. We all have our strengths. But because our brains are all unique, we might not all do things the same way. For example, the way that you clean your apartment might be quite different from how your best friend cleans theirs.

I came to this realization very quickly after moving in with my partner. We both assumed that many things were obvious or implied, but upon having a conversation about where to hang photos on the wall, how to wash the dishes, how to organize the kitchen and countless other things, we realized that our brains are quite different. And aside from the occasional annoyance or miscommunications that this causes, our differences are usually a huge advantage. Two heads are better than one, anyway. 

#4

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long We had a pool when I was a kid, swam at the public pool all winter. So lots of water time. Worst thing was having to get out and go pee, because as a girl you’d have to pull your bathing suit down and sit there cold and naked and then have to pull on a cold, wet suit and it was sticky and icy and awful. I’d hold it until I absolutely had to go.


Occurred to me as an adult you can just pull the crotch part to the side, and it stays put while you pee.


EDIT: Thanks y’all, I am so gratified to learn I was not the only one! If I can help even one person avoid the awkward dance of pulling up cold, wet, twisted suit straps then my work here is done.

A-D-T-P , Bruce Christianson Report

Hatchet
Community Member
1 week ago

Every other kid just peed in the pool

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#5

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long My dishwasher is across the kitchen from my utensil drawer. For years, while unloading the dishwasher I would stuff as many utensils as I could in my hands. I’d inevitably drop some, and there are a few knicks in my hardwood floor from dropping forks and spoons.

One day at work, a coworker unloaded the dishwasher and removed the utensil basket and carried it over to the utensil drawer. I never felt so dumb

regcrusher , Nathan Dumlao Report

Liam Walsh
Community Member
1 week ago

That's why I prefer the basket to the dishwashers that have cutlery drawers/trays.

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#6

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long Parchment paper. No more scrubbing off baked- on cheese and sauce. If it goes in the oven, I use parchment paper.

ethottly , Nadya Spetnitskaya Report

Thorsten Massow
Community Member
1 week ago (edited)

Silikon. baking mats are even better: easy to clean and reusable,

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The tips on this list are great because they might be opening up your mind to doing things in new ways that you would have never considered. If your parents never showed you that you could lock the trigger when filling your car with gas, you might not have ever realized. It’s amazing how smart we are when we really put our heads to a problem, but when we accept that “that’s just the way things are”, we can so easily turn our brains off and continue doing the same things forever. 

Whether we know it or not, we’re all in the business of working smarter not harder. Who wants to waste precious time and energy when they don’t have to? Not me! So when it comes to being more productive, we consulted Belle Cooper’s list on Zapier of tips for being more efficient. First, she recommends to resist the urge to multitask. Our brains are not meant to rapidly switch back and forth between tasks or information, so if we just do one thing at a time, it will give our brains a break and likely allow us to complete each task more accurately and efficiently.   

#7

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long Existed.

Turns out I had undiagnosed ADHD. Getting a diagnosis and medication, at the ripe old age of 27, was life-changing. It’s like your whole life you’re walking against a current, never knowing any different; then, suddenly, the current is gone.

(Disclaimers: everyone’s ADHD is different; medication isn’t a magic “cure”; medication isn’t the solution for everyone, and that’s okay.)

acover4422 , Nik Shuliahin Report

Charlotte Grace
Community Member
1 week ago

My friend has finally been diagnosed and started meds at 33! Life changing for them! Happy for them and op :)

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#8

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long Cleaning the damn microwave. I struggled to scrub all the dried up bits off then a friend told me to just put a small dish of water in it and turn it on for a couple of minutes. Everything wipes right out. I was such a dumb a*s.

patti2mj , Lissete Laverde Report

Mariatm
Community Member
1 week ago

add some lemon juice for an extra boost!

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#9

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long I've been opening pistachios with my thumbs for 30 years until I saw my wife use half a shell to wrench her next one open and then my mind exploded.

man-panda-pig , Karolina Kołodziejczak Report

Hawkmoon
Community Member
1 week ago

I stand with my thumbs. An easy pistachio is not a good pistachio.

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Belle also suggests taking more breaks, if you want to increase your productivity while working. While this might sound counterintuitive, there are various science-backed ways to take smarter and more helpful breaks. For example, the Pomodoro technique entails working for short sprints of 25 minutes at a time and then taking a short 5 minute break, plus a longer break after every 4 ‘sessions’. Another option that has proved effective is working for 52 minutes at a time, followed by a 17 minute long break. Of course, we can all choose the method that we most resonate with, but the point is that our brains and bodies are not meant to focus for too long without having a short break. We become fatigued, our attention span weakens, and our bodies need to get up and stretch or walk around every hour or so. In the end, you’ll be much more productive after allowing yourself some appropriate breaks.     

#10

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long Keep shaking the shaving gel and struggling to more than a quarter of the can out...till it dawned on me that they are pressurised and every shake causes it to lose pressure therefore makes dispatching it harder...I've now used many and actually got the bottom of every can by simply not shaking them...I'm 40 and also an engineer.

Had a complete and utter brain fart since I started shaving.

pob125 , Marco Verch Professional Photographer Report

Christos Arvanitis
Community Member
1 week ago

Another way to get more out of the can is to run it under hot water. Gel and propellant will expand and then more will come out. Works a charm.

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#11

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long Clean your blender by making a hot water and dish soap smoothie.

AlterEdward , PNW Production Report

Mohsie Supposie
Community Member
1 week ago

Make sure to only use ONE DROP of dish soap, otherwise you will have another mess to clean!

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#12

Dating - when I was a kid I thought you had to have some elaborate scheme or hook to get someone interested in you

Later I realized all you gotta do is be honest and up front.

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Alealary
Community Member
1 week ago

This!

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Another tip Belle recommends for productivity is front-loading your week. If you knock out your biggest or most daunting tasks first, the rest of the week will be smooth sailing, and you can slowly ease into the weekend. It is natural for many of us to put tasks off and procrastinate when we can, but it’s best to fight that impulse. You’ll be much more excited for the weekend if the bulk of your work is finished on Tuesday, rather than having a mountain of stress to get through on Friday and then being left with no energy to enjoy the evening. Plus, we tend to have the most energy at the beginning of the week, assuming we’re refreshed from taking it easy at the end of the previous week or on our days off. Might as well make use of all that energy!

#13

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long My BlackBerry had the worst predictive text system I'd ever seen. It kept suggesting accented characters, words that didn't exist, and was a total clusterfuck in every way.

After a year or so I was browsing the settings and found that predictive text had been set to "French".

LateMojito , Asterfolio Report

Vorknkx
Community Member
1 week ago

Mon Dieu, that's very sacré bleu!

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#14

A few things.

One, put an absorbent-fabric scrunchie on each wrist before washing your face. They stop the water from running up your arms when rinsing and getting the insides of your robe sleeves uncomfortably wet.

Two, before leaving on a trip I change my bed linens and towels, so when I get home exhausted my bed is fresh and crisp.

Three, if it will require ironing, don't waste my money. I will wear it exactly once.

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Sanni Salo
Community Member
1 week ago (edited)

Wearing something just once is stupid and wasteful. Or do they mean, they just don't buy things that need ironing?.. Btw, I never iron, I just spray clothes with water or leave them hanging in bathroom after shower and they'll be wrinkle free in no time.

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#15

I used to own more than one color and style of sock. F**k that s**t

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Dill
Community Member
1 week ago

I buy deliberate odd socks - United Oddsocks. Colourful and fun and no pairing required.

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On a similar note, it might be smart to start scheduling tasks based on your energy levels. Aside from trying to do as much as you can in the beginning of the week, it can also be helpful to let your personal habits inform when you get things done. If you’re an early bird, make use of that time in the morning when you’re feeling the most fresh and energized. If you’re a night owl, it might be best to take it slow in the morning and pound out as much work as you can during the evening. In fact, you can actually figure out your chronotype online right here to help you know when you are the most awake and inspired. We all fall into the category of larks, third-birds, or owls, and knowing that information about ourselves can make a huge difference when scheduling tasks.   

#16

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long Hanging pictures. I used to meticulously measure and line up so my nails so they’d match the hardware on the back of the frame. Now I just use a piece of painters tape, lay it on the back of the frame, mark hardware on the frame and then remove the tape and place it on the wall and that gives you the exact placement for your picture hanging hooks and nails.

Navyblazers2000 , Darshan Patel Report

Natalie Bohrteller
Community Member
1 week ago

So easy yet never thought about it. Will absolutely use this!

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#17

If you hold the space bar on your cellphone it's way easier to ~~select words in a text you want to copy~~ move the cursor where you want it to be (sorry, wrote this while tired). Did it the hard way, the way you get angry at your fat fingers for far too long.

To clarify:

Write some random word in a text message. Hold space bar for a second or two. Slide thumb back and forward on the space bar and the cursor will move. Makes it easy to just remove one letter in a long misspelled word.

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Lyone Fein
Community Member
1 week ago

Did not know this

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#18

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long When I was a kid I was bad at nail clippers. I knew to put my nail in the chompy bit at the end, but I didn’t realize that the handle/lever folded out. So I would just squeeze really hard until I broke my nail off in the blades. This went on for an embarrassingly long time before my mom saw me and taught me how to open the lever.

tomyownrhythm , Marco Verch Professional Photographer Report

Vorknkx
Community Member
1 week ago

Better late than never, right?

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Many of us keep running to-do lists throughout the week, month, or our entire lives, but have you ever considered creating one for each day? Blogger Leo Babauta recommends designating your Most Important Tasks (or MITs) each day to ensure that you accomplish at least those 3 things. Of course, it’s always great to do more than 3 items on your to-do list each day. But when you make sure that at least those 3 tasks get completed, you will feel like you’re on a roll of productivity and everything else gets to count as a bonus. You’ll likely be feeling the inertia, and you won’t want to stop most days, even after your MITs are accomplished. 

#19

For a while on Google Docs I would copy text from another source and quote it in an essay, but just using CTRL + V would use the same font from the website I’m quoting instead of the font that I want. If you use CTRL + LShift + V it pastes the text in the font that you want

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The Idaho Potato
Community Member
1 week ago

Ctrl+Shift+V, no L (just to ruin the fun by clarifying). Paste without formatting.

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#20

Asking women out.

Ignore everything you saw on tv/films/video games, read in books/websites, or heard from people with long list of tips/steps or ideas.

Just tell them you find them attractive or like them. From there ask for their number or set up a date and time.

We tend to make this way harder than it should be.

This also applies to women wanting to ask a guy out.

RexCrimson_ Report

LuckyL
Community Member
1 week ago

AND accept if the other person isn't interessted and don't take it personally. (This isn't so much about the creeps out there. I'm thinking about a friend at the moment who thinks he doesn't stand a chance with any woman whenever he's turned down.)

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#21

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long For dusting things like baseboards, windowsills, and picture frames, the best tool is a (clean) paintbrush. I always used to either use a cloth or something made specifically for dusting, but the paintbrush is much faster and easier. I keep a cheap 2-inch paintbrush exclusively for dusting now. Also works great on cobwebs.

leftthestrick , Toa Heftiba Report

Liam Walsh
Community Member
1 week ago

Vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment is my preference.

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Do you often feel a slump in your energy levels in the afternoon? You might wonder if it’s smarter to take a power nap or down a cup of coffee, but why not do both? That’s right, you can actually take a ‘coffee nap’ in the afternoon, which, according to Healthline, entails drinking a cup (or even two) of coffee then taking a quick 15-20 minute power nap while waiting for the effects of the caffeine to kick in. Power naps should not be longer than half an hour anyway, to prevent yourself from falling into too deep of a sleep, so the short coffee nap is just perfect. Now, I’m not recommending you go overboard and start drinking 5 cups of coffee a day, but don’t sleep (pun intended) on the suggestion to take an afternoon nap or have an extra cup of coffee. Your body, and likely your productivity levels, will thank you.

#22

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long I have mixed hair and would always brush from root to end because that's how everyone else did it and how I was taught. Wasn't until I was watching a movie in my late 20s and a character's maid brought up that the character with mixed hair needed to brush out the knots on the end before working up to the roots. I gave it a try and then got confirmation at work from other girls with similar hair that that's how it's supposed to be done when you have a certain type of tight curls...the years I spent crying while having chunks of hair ripped and torn out 😭

2baverage , KoolShooters Report

Isabelle Lamarque
Community Member
1 week ago

Everyone should comb from tip to root. It's much more healthy for your hair no matter the hairstyle 🤗 It's the only way you don't make the knots worse ☺️

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#23

Weightlifting

Rest days actually help you build muscle, not the other way around.

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BlackestDawn
Community Member
1 week ago

Not just weightlifting but any kind of training, even mental ones. The body needs to rest and recuperate between training sessions.

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#24

Putting a towel over the sink to catch your hair when you shave. For like 20 years I had to feel like i was trying to do counterforensics to not invite the ire of every woman I've been around. One drunk night with a buddy I was talking about making some kind of electrostatic hair catcher and he's like "Why don't you put a towel down?" Mind= blown!

Thanks for nothing, dad.

GoodolBen Report

Bella10
Community Member
1 week ago

I just use paper towel, scoop it up and throw it in the bin

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Another great way to increase your productivity might be to turn off all notifications. Switch that phone to airplane mode if you have to, and don’t worry about what else is going on in the world. I promise, you can text your friend back or respond to that email in an hour or two. Similarly to how we don’t want to be multitasking very often, our brains should not be occupied with work and whatever is happening on our cell phones at the same time. You will be more focused and more productive by eliminating distractions, like Instagram and Facebook notifications. 

#25

The snip tool on Microsoft. I used to click print screen and then crop down everything. Snip tool is a game changer.

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Jessica Tolar
Community Member
1 week ago

I use the snip tool every day at work. It's so useful to just snip what you're looking at then sending in a 2 monitor screenshot

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#26

Putting out candles without releasing a bunch of paraffin smoke.

Don't blow out the candle or snuff it. If you do that, the wick releases a bunch of smoke and stinks up the place. Use a toothpick or a dental pick or any comparable tool (or even buy a "wick dipper" tool from a candle shop) and dip the candle wick under the molten wax. The wax quenches the flame instantly without any smoke at all. Just be sure to lift the wick out of the molten wax so the wax doesn't solidify over the wick and leave it inaccessible.

The other benefit of this is that it leaves the wick coated in wax, ready for the next time you light it.

Berkamin Report

Sven Bokhorst
Community Member
1 week ago

As a child, I was taught by our school teacher to just wet your fingers and squeeze the wick XD

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#27

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long Windows Key + V opens a list of your last 10 copies.

I think the option is turned off by default also so pressing Windows Key + V enables it initially.

XabiAlon , Christin Hume Report

Trophy Husband
Community Member
1 week ago

Win+V can have things pinned. I keep a couple of replies that I use a lot pinned so I can get them quickly.

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Are some of the tips on this list blowing your mind? I hope you're not suddenly regretting all of the hours you wasted doing these things the hard way, but remember that it's never too late to change your ways. You can start implementing these tips today! Keep upvoting the life hacks that you find most useful, and then feel free to share any of your own in the comments down below. And if you're interested in finding out even more ways to make your life easier, be sure to check out this Bored Panda article next.

#28

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long After taking a shower, you can dry yourself off (after turning the water off, of course) while still in the shower stall to prevent the bathroom floor from being wet

three-sense , Hannah Xu Report

Hatchet
Community Member
1 week ago

Bath mat ?

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#29

When looking at something in the sky through binoculars, look at the object and then put the binoculars in front of your face.

Academic_Chemical476 Report

LinkTheHylian
Community Member
1 week ago

Isn't this the same for whatever you're looking at, assuming it's moving? Spot it, then get the close-up, or there's a chance you could miss it. Doesn't really matter if the object is stationary.

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#30

Cleaning things off of glass.

I used to spend a long time with unpleasant solvents and/or abrasive scrubby sponges to get soap scum and bird c**p and other such residues off of glass. Now, I use a razor scraper and shave the stuff off the glass. Often, I don't even need to use a cleaning solvent or water. Razor scrapers are amazing. And they're mis-named. You don't use them to scrape anything. You shave or plane the junk off of glass and other hard surfaces with the blade.

Even paint comes off of glass super easily with a razor scraper.

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Staysafewarmdry
Community Member
1 week ago (edited)

I use a car window ice scraper with a BRASS blade to clean the hard to remove remains in my glass baking dishes. Soaking them before scraping helps. The handle is easy to grip. The blade is less dangerous than using a razor for the coarser work.

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#31

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long Pumping gas. For years I held the handle the entire time. Life changing when I realized I could lock the trigger in place

likes_big_books , sippakorn yamkasikorn Report

ADHORTATOR
Community Member
1 week ago

It depends where you take gas...in Germany you can lock, but not in France :-)

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#32

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long As a kid, whenever my bicycle wheels got warped (I crashed into stuff a lot), I would fix them by smashing the rims with a hammer. It mostly worked.

Eventually I learned that you can just tighten and loosen the spokes to straighten warped wheels. So much easier, and much less destructive.

ClownfishSoup , Daniel Salcius Report

Telepathetic
Community Member
1 week ago

But beating something with a hammer relieves stress !

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#33

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long Putting the colander inside the pot on top of the food and using like a lid to drain.
Instead offpouring the food into the colander and then putting it back in the original pot

ClassicTower475 , Jonathan Pielmayer Report

Karl Baxter
Community Member
1 week ago

I use my collander as a steamer - no need for a separate appliance taking up space in the kitchen.

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#34

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long Not me but a friend of a friend hated having baths. She said it was uncomfortable lying back against the taps because they would dig into her back.
It never occurred to her to lie at the other end!

robertodurian , Roberto Nickson Report

Richard Campbell
Community Member
1 week ago

That’s really stupid

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#35

35 People Who Figured Out An Easier Way To Do Something They Were Doing The "Hard Way" For Far Too Long When you learn that *scissors* -
cut your pizza, it's *legit*!
Pizza cutter? Leave it, brother.
Piece of utter *s**t*…

truthorbrick , Benu Marinescu Report

Liam Walsh
Community Member
1 week ago

Sorry, I prefer my nice sharp pizza wheel. Cuts perfectly all the time and just seconds to whizz it across the pizza. But then I find using scissors more awkward due to arthritis.

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Note: this post originally had 83 images. It’s been shortened to the top 35 images based on user votes.