By John Poe
You think that you know the ins and outs of every household item. Brooms, computers, and the contents of your fridge have nothing on your ability to think critically as to how to most effectively use your belongings. But as it turns out, many everyday things have great tips and tricks to them that you would never have thought of. Some incredible people have designed common possessions, and so it makes sense that they would have some additional uses. Welcome to the wonderful world of life hacks via these tips and trips. Get ready to have your mind blown by extra holes, pockets, notches, and so much more!
The Fifth Pocket of Your Jeans
The fifth pocket of your jeans is something you’ve probably used a few times without really understanding what to do with it or why it is so small. You might have stuffed it with some laundry coins or lip balm, but that’s really about it.
But this tradition actually stems from the mid-1800s, when jeans were at the height of fashion for California gold miners. The mini-pocket was used to keep their expensive and delicate pocket watches tucked in safely. Today, people again hold their watches in their pockets, this time in the shape of an equally expensive and delicate smartphone.
The Ridges on the Edges of Coins
You’ve probably noticed that some coins, like dimes and quarters, have a rough and ridged edge while nickles and pennies are smooth as silk. Back when money was first in the form of coins, the currency was stamped from different types of metal at a weight that represented the real value of the coin.
It wasn’t long before merchants realized that their customers were shaving off pieces of the coins to sell and still spend them.
The Lines off of a Solo Cup
Did you ever notice the lines ornamenting the sides of a Solo cup? We hadn’t either until it was pointed out that they could be used to measure the amount of booze in your class.
To clarify, the first line measured the optimal amount of a spirit, the second was the ideal measure for wine, and the third was for, you guessed it, beer.
The Pen’s Cap Hole
Most generic pens have some type of hole in their cap, which you’d think had no purpose at all.It was all the rage to chew on the tops of pens in the middle of solving a particularly hairy math problem, but there were times when that pen cap slipped off and right into the mouths of the children.
This could easily cause the child to choke, except that the hole allowed for air to circulate, avoiding a tragic end to his life.
The Loops on the Grocery Cart
Any regular grocery shopper will have noticed that shopping carts have loops on the sides of them. What was initially thought to be a design curiosity actually has a valid purpose, which is not so unreasonable given the lack of artistry contained on a shopping cart.
The loops are there to hold plastic bags along the edges so that the more delicate items do not get crushed.
You would think that the margins on your notebook paper were just there to help you guide your writing into place or to ensure that they fit inside a binder. But there is, in fact, a much more valid reason for this: back when rats were a real problem in peoples’ lives, mechanisms needed to be put into place in order to protect their health and belongings.
One way that people managed to save their written documents was by having margins that the rats would chew around, protecting the bulk of their work.
Golf Balls With Dimples
When golf became a popular sport, the original balls were smooth and perfectly round. Dimples on a golf ball form a slender yet turbulent boundary layer of air that hold on to the ball’s surface.
This allows the flowing air to continue along the ball’s surface a bit farther around the backside of the ball, thereby shrinking the size of the wake.
The Arrow Next to the Gas Gauge
Have you ever pulled up to a gas station in a rental car only to sit there wondering which side of the car the gas tank was on? This conundrum need no longer be. You know that little arrow next to the gas gauge?
It just so happens to point to the correct side of the car to avoid you driving around in circles of the gas station looking rather foolish.
The Secret Message Hidden in the Exit Sign
This one seems rather obvious, at least to us seasoned drivers. But to the newbies out there, it’s very good to know that the alignment of the exit signs along the highway isn’t randomly placed.
Instead, they’re meant to tell you what side of the road the exit is on. So when the sign is resting to the left, the exit will be on the left, and vice-versa.
Free Fabric in New Clothes
If you’ve ever wondered what the scrap bit of fabric is in the pocket of your new clothes, you’re in luck because we’ve solved the mystery.
As it turns out, unless you’ve used the bit of fabric in order to patch your new jeans after you wore them on an impromptu hike, you should be using it to check how well your laundry detergent reacts to the piece of clothing.
The Tiny Hole in Elevator Doors
No, the small hole in elevator doors isn’t a peephole placed there for you to get a split second advantage by knowing who will be exiting the contraption. It would indeed be nice to have such a thing if you want to avoid your boss.
Instead, it is there for maintenance purposes, specifically to get people out of the elevator when it malfunctions.
How to Eat Tic Tacs
Fun fact: we’ve all been eating Tic Tacs wrong. Instead of properly opening the nifty little box with a million other uses, sliding one out, and popping it in our greedy mouths, most people simply tap furiously on the packaging so that several come out at once.
Tic Tac boxes were ergonomically designed so that just one mint comes out.
Panic at the Airplane Windows
Traveling enough means you’ll begin to notice the smallest details about airports, flight attendants, and especially airplanes.
But one thing you may not have seen is that all airplane windows are equipped with small holes to regularize the cabin pressure between the inside of the vehicle and the outside.
The Neck on Soda and Beer Bottles
If you enjoy drinking your beverages out of glass bottles, there’s a good chance you’re doing it wrong. Most people will hold their drinks around the body of the container because it feels more secure than anywhere else.
But the main problem with that is that you quickly transfer your body heat into the drink. So start holding the bottle by its neck.
Your Coat and Jacket’s Half-Belt
If you’ve ever owned military-inspired outerwear or even trenchcoats, you’ll know what we’re talking about. There is a half-belt located on the back of these coats as a Memoriam to soldiers who also used their coats to hold their blankets.
The belt was there to contain the extra material into place while the soldiers walked around.
The Hole at the End of the Tape Measure
Tape measures are full of confusing bits and pieces, especially the kind that has both imperial and metric units on them. But the most mindblowing of features has to be the hole on the end.
As it turns out, this contraption is designed for you to hammer in a nail to avoid making mistakes that will seriously delay your carpentry project.
A Toothpaste Tube’s Colored Squares
The toothpaste tube’s colored squares at the end aren’t just there as a design feature. Instead, they are simply there to mark where the assembly line machine where to cut and fold the packaging. If those squares weren’t there, the tubes would come out all in one tube, completely defeating the purpose.
Many people used to think that the squares showed how chemical the toothpaste was, as in black meant completely synthetic versus green being all-natural.
The Hole on a Lollipop Stick
Any lollipop affectionado will have noticed that the sticks always have a hole in them that’s fun to suck the air out of because it’s slightly sweet.
But the holes aren’t just there for your taste buds; instead, they maintain their place because when the candy is poured into the molds, some of it will seep into the hole and harden, making sure that the candy stays on the stick instead of falling off.
Plastic Lids for Cups
It goes without saying that plastic lids were invented to use with disposable cups so that you could avoid spillage while you were drinking in the car.
But once you’ve settled back home and still have half of your Big Gulp with you, that lid can be used as a perfectly sized coaster complete with ridges to avoid slippage.
Toothpaste is just full of mysteries these days! Anyone who has ever used brands such as Aquafresh will have noticed that it has several colors to it. Though they come out as one part of the toothpaste, they were labeled as having different purposes in dental hygiene.
The blue stripe was labeled as being responsible for refreshing and cleaning, while the red one is in charge of plaque control.
Winter Hat Pom-Poms
Most beanies and winter hats have stylish pom-poms on them, which give a fun and whimsical look to any outfit. But there is a good reason why they are there in the first place.
When Navy soldiers were working below deck, it was common for them to be too tall for the ceiling of the boat. Wearing a hat with pom-poms added some much-needed protection and cushioning!
Silica Gel Packets
Silica gel packets are designed to absorb around 50% of the moisture around them, which ultimately helps keep your shoes and memorabilia safe. But guess what? They can also be used to rescue your phone that you just dropped in the toilet.
So as an alternative to keeping your phone in a bag of rice for three days, consider putting it in a Ziploc back full of these neat little packets.
Bumps in the F and J
You may have been told this during typing class in grade school, but just in case-there are two little notches on the F and J keys. These were added so that a person typing could reorient themselves on their keyboard while looking at the monitor.
Remember that your left index finger should be on the F key, and your left on the J key and not the other way around!
Cedar Wood Coat Hangers
For those of us who take pride in our wardrobes, wooden coat hangers are the way to go instead of plastic or metal ones. But not just any wooden hangers.
Using cedar wood hangers is the best choice because not only do they smell amazing, but they also help repel all sorts of bugs, including moths.
A Soda Bottle Cap’s Plastic Liner
The clear plastic on the top of the soda bottle has a very distinct purpose that far surpasses aesthetics and design.
Instead, they keep the carbon dioxide from escaping, without which you would be stuck with a flat and unpleasant soda as soon as you opened the bottle.
You’re Drinking Your Coke Wrong
Life is just full of soda hacks. As it turns out, you shouldn’t be neglecting the second hole in your can of Coke. Instead of admiring it as a clever design feature or using it to blow bubbles, consider using it to hold your straw into place.
Coca-Cola really has thought of everything! Next up: using a Twizzler as a straw.
The Holes in Converse All-Stars
Everyone has at some point in their lives owned a pair of Converse All-Stars and has wondered what the devil those two holes on the sides were designed for.
Some people insist that they are there for ventilation, but in fact they are there to create a snugger fit. This seems quite odd as the shoes themselves fit quite well.
The Holes in Lego Heads
Much like pen caps, Lego toys are a major choking hazard, particularly the heads. So one way that Lego has gotten around this issue is by making sure that there is a hole in each and every part.
Even if the head is lodged deep in a child’s throat, he would still be able to breathe well enough until professional help was located.
Brass Door Knobs
Door knobs made of brass are not only quite spiffy looking, but they also serve another purpose.
As it turns out, brass has strong anti-microbial properties, something that is incredibly beneficial when you’ve got an item that is touched by hundreds of filthy hands per day. Unfortunately, this material is costly and has thus gone out of style.
Brown Beer Bottles
Much like dark-colored wine bottles, most artisanal beer on the market will be stored in brown bottles. This is not necessarily because it is the most aesthetically pleasing of materials.
Instead, the darker color keeps the sun away from the beer, avoiding UV rays coming in and altering the flavor. However, during World War II, the bottles became green because of the shortage of brown glass.
Chinese Takeout Boxes
Apparently, we’ve all been using Chinese takeout boxes wrong. Instead of trying to be fancy with your chow mein and putting it on a plate, simply undo the adhesives and voila! Plate.
Sure, it might not be as pretty as your grandmother’s china, but it will do the trick and save you a dish.
Light bulbs, though currently found in spiral shapes for ecological reasons, were originally shaped in their signature bubble form for a number of reasons.
First of all, because they used to be hand-blown, the only shape that had been mastered at the time had been the sphere. Also, this shape has no tensing area around the surface, making it the safest for its purpose.
Girls’ Bicycle Frames
Many men would dread being caught riding a women’s bike, but they don’t necessarily know why they are shaped differently in the first place.
Historically speaking, women tended to wear long dresses that would get caught in the high frames of the men’s bikes, so a new model was designed with a lower frame to avoid such happenings, thus making cycling much safer for women.
The idea for Post-its came to be in 1974 by Arthur Fry. He needed a way of holding bookmarks in his hymnal while practicing with his singing group.
Because he was aware of a sticky substance accidentally created in 1968 by colleague Spencer Silver, he knew that he would be satisfied with the results. Today, they are primarily used for pranks, to wild success.
Thermoses initially came to be when Scottish scientist James Dewar invented the vacuum flask because he realized that he needed to have chemicals at a stable temperature.
As a result, he placed a glass bottle inside of a larger one and evacuated the air between the two bottle walls. These days, there are complex machines for this and Thermoses get used for soup on the go.
When designs for paper clips were submitted, people came up with all sorts of crazy shapes, some being flowers and others complex geometric designs.
But the paper clip as we know it today was deemed to be the most effective because it does not at all damage the papers it is meant to bind and can easily be taken apart to use for other purposes.
Manhole covers are round for a very distinct reason. While other shapes have the potential to at least partially fall into the hole, the round shape of the current cover makes it literally impossible to topple inside.
This would be bad news for pedestrians trying to go about their business as they could be the ones to experience severe injury by tripping or falling around the hole.
Horizontal Button Holes
The top button on a button-down shirt is the most annoying part of getting dressed for a formal occasion, and yet it is not without its purpose. Having this top button serves as a grip for a tie that could otherwise slip around, causing a sloppy appearance.
So next time you complain when your wife does your shirt up to the last button, remember that it is ultimately for the greater good.
Extra Eyelets on Running Shoes
Though the extra eyelets on running shoes are a bit of an eyesore, they serve their purpose.
Instead of being left open, they are designed to create the perfect fit on the shoes so that they do not rub against the ankles when being used for sports, thus avoiding chafing. The funny thing is, most shoelaces aren’t really long enough to go through those holes and tie comfortably.
Hole on the Back of iPhone
Those people who live on the edge by not using a good quality case for their expensive iPhones might wonder what that hole is between the camera and the flashlight.
It turns out that that tiny little dot serves as a microphone for the back of the device. That’s why your voice notes are audible from all sides of the phone.
Most people pump gas on autopilot, so accidents are prone to happen. For example, a person in a hurry might leave the nozzle inside the gas tank and drive off.
But rather than take the entire gas pump with them, there is a specific place in the nozzle that is designed to break off in case this happens. Still, this is no reason to not pay attention as you’re pumping away.
Ever wonder what the holes on padlocks are used for? The basic idea is that having little holes on the sides of the keyhole means that there is an orifice in which to insert lubricant when the lock gets too rusted for use.
Also, they allow dirt and water to seep through the lock instead of being stuck inside the lock, again causing rust.
Though many people use the penny trick to find out whether or not they need to change their tires, there is a much simpler method and it doesn’t require digging through your change bucket.
Instead, take a good look at your tires: that little nubbin called the indicator is there to tell you when it is time to take a trip to the auto shop.
Game Cartridge Flavor
As brain-destroying as some people think video games are, the companies have thought their products through very well. To avoid children putting the game cartridges in their mouths, they are covered with a bitter coating to put them off of it.
Though this may seem cruel to some, it’s much safer than having a child biting through a pile of electrical engineering.
This is not true for all cars, but some models of vehicles come complete with a removable headrest. This is to accommodate a particularly tall person’s head but mostly serves as a safety feature.
If a person is stuck inside their car, they can remove the headrest and use the metal to break the window to create a useable exit route.
Cream Tube Caps
Many people have already figured this one out, but just in case-when you open up the next tube of cream or toothpaste, look at the cap: you’ll see a small cone-like shape.
Instead of ruining your manicure trying to tear the foil off, poke it with the sharp tip and enjoy your stress-free moisturizing. Though most such products come in tubs again after decades of living in tubes, this tip can come in quite handy.
Blue Bristles on Toothbrush
You would think that the blue bristles in the middle of a toothbrush would be there just for aesthetics, but no, quite the contrary. The blue dye wears off the bristles at about the same pace as the time in which you need to replace the toothbrush.
By that logic, once the bristles have turned white, or even before, you need to replace that aging brush.
The Hole Inside Your Pasta Spoon
Yes, the main purpose behind the hole in your pasta spoon is to drain out the water. But the nifty household item has one more use. You can measure approximately one serving of spaghetti in that hole, meaning you can avoid making too little or too much pasta for dinner.
On a side note, never, ever break your spaghetti before dropping it in the pot.
The Hole in Your Pot Handle
There’s a pretty good chance that you hang your pots by the hook in the handle, and why wouldn’t you? It looks cool, saves cupboard space, and makes for easy grabbing. But there’s another use for that nifty little hole.
Not only can it create DIY decorations in the kitchen, but it can also be used to hold the handle of your spoon so that you don’t make a mess of the countertop between stirs.
The McFlurry Spoon’s Square Hole
Sure, having a hollow spoon saves a significant amount of plastic, a plus given how large the spoons are to begin with. But another advantage has come to the public’s attention.
The spoon can be reinvented as a straw once the frozen treat has melted, ensuring that none of the tasty snack gets wasted.
Every Dot Has Meaning
If you’ve ever looked at your car windows intently, perhaps while a passenger on a very boring journey, you will have noticed that there are little black dots around your car windows. But isn’t it strange that car manufacturers waste their time on putting on this funky design?
Well, these dots actually have a purpose. They are called frits and they help protect the rim of the glass from extreme temperature changes that could shatter it. Thanks, dots!
Black Grating On Microwave Window
If you’ve ever wondered why there’s a black grate on the window of your microwave, you’re in luck because we have the answer.
This nifty little device, called a Faraday shield, is in charge of keeping the microwaves (get it?) in the device, thus turning it into a Faraday cage. Without it, your food won’t cook properly, so you’d know that the rays had escaped.
Screwdrivers That Work With Wrenches
There’s quite a nifty trick to getting more torque on your screwdriver. When you’re met with a particularly difficult screw to undo or reach a funny angle, slide the end of your wrench over your screwdriver.
That is the whole purpose behind a screwdriver head being shaped that way, so next time you’re stuck building an Ikea TV stand, try this innovative usage.
Extra Threading On a Medicine Bottle
Sure, opening up medicine bottles, particularly if your hands aren’t as strong as they used to be, can pose quite the challenge. This is why many bottles have male threading on the inside. Most bottle models have a cap that can be flipped upside-down.
Why you say? This turns this tricky little bottle into a perfectly ordinary one. Access to your medicine just got so much easier.
The Tiny Buttons On Your Jeans
As stylish as they are, one has to wonder why there are tiny buttons strategically placed on every pair of jeans you’ve ever owned. These shiny metal things are actually called rivets, and, like the fifth pocket of your jeans, come from the Gold Rush era.
The gold panners wore out their jeans quite quickly, so the rivets were placed at the weak points of the pants to avoid them tearing.
Diamond Shaped Backpack Square
This one is more specific to people who have this type of backpack, but you see that diamond with the slashes down the sides? That’s designed to carry rope and other such gear so that it doesn’t take up precious backpack room.
They are called Lash Tabs or Pig Snouts and have come in quite handy for campers and hikers alike.
Loop On The Back of Your Shirt
Most dress shirts are adorned with a loop on the back of them. This is not, as you might think, for running a clothesline too. Instead, they are designed as such so that they can hang on the hooks inside of your closet.
This keeps the shirts from getting wrinkled, thereby saving you time on ironing. Though it may look a little silly, the wearer will be pleased with the extra time spent napping instead of getting burned on a hot appliance.
Colored Ice Cream Scoopers
Ice cream is a wonderful summer treat, but it is best enjoyed in moderation. That’s why it’s optimal to have color-coded scoopers. Why is that?
Simply because instead of the scoopers being colored because it looks pretty, they are decorated as such because each color represents a different quantity and how many it takes to reach thirty-two ounces or one gallon.
Legs On An Apple Power Cable
Though this is not the case for the newer models of Apple computers, the old MacBook Pros came with a charger that had strange hooks on the end. These were not there to look cool and modern like the brand strives, but to wrap the charging cable around so that it would be fastened securely.
This is great because it not only protects the cable but it also avoids the difficult knots that can come with owning expensive electronics.
The Zig Zag On a Bobby Pin
Needing to fasten stray hairs using bobby pins is always a gamble: should you be sliding them in with the grooved or the straight side up?
Though technically speaking both will work, but inserting the pin with the grooved side towards the scalp ensures that it will not come flying out at inopportune moments, such as when plating someone’s dinner as a chef.
This is more applicable to fancy toothpick brands, i.e. not Safeway Select. However, if you are inclined to purchase better quality toothpicks, you might have noticed that there is a small ridge near the edge of one of the sides.
Snap that off and you’ve got yourself a disposable stand for that toothpick, thereby leading to a much more hygienic experience.
Aluminum Foil Tabs
Aluminum foil is a wonderful invention: a highly wasteful, single-use item that both steams food and avoids messes.
But the best part about foil is the box-not only does it come with a terrific device for tearing off as much of it as you need, but it has tabs that are designed to hold the roll in place while you cover your lasagna.
Tab On Rearview
Driving is a huge operation and responsibility, but enough safety features embellish the car that it’s a less terrifying experience. One of those features is the rearview mirror, which, along with being able to see behind you without hurting your neck, also contains a special tab.
This tab stops you from being blinded when the moronic driver behind you is blasting his high beams. It deflects the light while still allowing you to see.
Heinz Ketchup has been an institution since before the Women’s Rights movement. It still remains the country’s most loved condiment and has a place in refrigerator doors around the world.
But the problem with Heinz Ketchup, at least in a glass bottle, is that it is notoriously difficult to get out. That is not the case if you tap on the 57 label.
Lower Oven Drawer
No, that drawer underneath your oven isn’t just for storing those baking trays you last used ten years ago to make a dozen cookies. Instead, it (usually) serves as a broiler, which makes it perfect for heating up leftovers or even better, making cheese on toast, for those Brits out there.
Broilers are also great household appliances if you want to grill something when it is raining outside.
Rubber Strips on Hanger
Not only do the rubber strips on wooden hangers make the item look cool and sturdy, they also have a crucial purpose that is in fact more important than the hanger itself.
Without those rubber strips, your shirt would never stay on the hanger, instead slipping onto the closet like an escaped chinchilla in a zoo.
Paper Condiment Cups At Fast Food Restaurants
Going to a fast-food restaurant, particularly when there’s no time to cook, can be a guilt-ridden experience. But what really blows our minds is why the condiment cups are so small.
These cups can barely hold enough sauces to dip three fries or half a chicken nugget. But that need not be so! In fact, these cups unfurl completely to expose a saucer-shaped receptacle that can hold ample amounts of sauces if need be.
The Metal Plates On Staplers
The regular stapler user might have noticed a metal plate along the front end of the office essential. It’s not just there to reinforce the staple bending. In fact, it serves as an aid to create stapler settings.
The plate is called an anvil and can be spun around until it lines up with the random hole in the metal plate. This creates the possibility of a temporary staple, which guides the arms outwards instead of inwards.
The Triple Handle On A Jerry Can
Any family that enjoys off-roading or camping is familiar with the jerry can and its peculiar shape. These cans, designed to hold five gallons of fuel, have a triple-barred handle over the top.
This is not for nothing, in fact, this handle arrangement is there to ensure equal fuel distribution throughout the can whether it is handled by one or two people.
The Second Hole On A Gas Can
When filling a lawnmower, many people might have noticed that the jug of fuel has a second hole in it. You would think it was for pouring into a smaller receptacle, but that is not so.
In fact, it is designed to be opened to avoid the “glug” which ultimately makes for a less wasteful pour and prevents spillage onto flammable clothing.
The Shape Of A Toblerone Candy Bar
You would think that, as Swiss chocolate, the Toblerone’s triangle shape was a shout-out to the Alps. That is not so.
As this delectable treat is meant to be eaten square by square, snapping off the first piece and popping in the next groove easily snaps off the next one so that you can share with your loved ones. Or not. We won’t judge.
What Kind of Plunger?
There is literally nothing worse in the world than having a clog in your sink unless of course, it’s having one in the toilet. This is primarily because going fishing for the culprit in the toilet is significantly more revolting.
But wash your hands and listen up: you should own two kinds of plungers to tackle these problems head-on: the flange plunger for the toilet and the cup plunger for the sink. Your chances of being able to unclog without having to get your mitts dirty are significantly higher.
Keep It Clean
Keeping wooden cutting boards clean is a nightmare, though this nifty kitchen tools look great on a counter and are the best for keeping knives sharp. They are also breeding ground for bacteria, which is where our friend the kosher salt comes into play.
To get your boards spic and span, scrub them with kosher salt and half of a lemon. Rinse them well and set them upright to dry for a brand new look.
Dent on a Milk Jug
As most people might not have heard of this one, this is perhaps the most useful tip of them all. The dent on a milk jug has two purposes. The first is that it absorbs the shock if and when the jug gets dropped.
The other is to expand when there is excess gas in the jug, thus letting the consumer know when the milk has spoiled.