100-Year-Old Life Hacks That Are Surprisingly Useful Today


100-Year-Old Life Hacks That Are Surprisingly Useful Today

People don’t often look back on the early 1900’s for advice, but what if we could actually learn something from the Lost Generation? The New York Public Library has digitized 100 “how to do it” cards found in cigarette boxes over 100 years ago, and the tips they give are so practical that millennials reading this might want to take notes.

Back in the day, cigarette cards were popular collectibles included in every pack, and displayed photos of celebrities, advertisements, and more. Gallaher cigarettes, a UK-founded tobacco company that was once the largest in the world, decided to print a series of helpful how-to’s on their cards, which ranged from mundane tasks (boiling potatoes) to unlikely scenarios (stopping a runaway horse). Most of them are insanely clever, though, like how to make a fire extinguisher at home. Who even knew you could do that?

The entire set of life hacks is now part of the NYPL’s George Arents Collection. Check out some of the cleverest ones we could find below. You never know when you’ll have to clean real lace!


~ I love these and have used a couple! There is the example below and they have “how to’s” for testing butter – best way to slice thin bread – homemade water fountain for animals – clean an oil painting – three useful knots – increase lung power – and more! ~


Creative and Practical Ways To Use LEGO Around the House (Without Stepping On Any!)

~ warning these are not all House related, but they are all fun and creative! ~

7 Terrifying Things That Can Happen During Home Renovations

7 Terrifying Things That Can Happen During Home Renovations


A home renovation isn’t for the faint of heart. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a good contractor who can take care of the heavy lifting. But even that doesn’t mean you won’t be exposed to your fair share of disasters—including some that can be scary, some that can be traumatic, and some that can even be harmful to your health.

You can’t avoid every terrifying possibility, but you can do your very best to minimize the risk. And that starts with knowing what terrors could be lurking behind that ordinary-looking brick wall or innocuous, if hideous, popcorn ceiling. We’ve got your back, friends!

Here are seven frightening and dangerous things to watch out for when you’re renovating or remodeling.


1. Flooding and electrical issues

Smart DIYers call 811—the service line that informs you where underground utility lines can be found—a few days before they dig. The helpful operator on the other end of the line will notify utility companies to send you indications of any water, gas, or electrical lines.

But maybe you forgot. Or maybe you hit a smaller water pipe in your wall, which the water company won’t know about.

“Mistakenly hitting a water pipe can have consequences much more serious than just getting your shirt wet,” says Dan Barr, a property restoration expert with 1-800 Water Damage.

Say you pop out for a bite after drilling a hole in the wall between your laundry and living rooms, not realizing you just punctured a pipe. When you return, everything is flooded. Including a puddle around your drill—that’s still plugged in. Yikes!

If you hit a line and find electric tools or appliances submerged, Barr recommends locating your home’s main electrical panel and turning off the power before you start wading through the water.

“It could be charged and extremely dangerous,” he says.

2. Creepy creatures

True story: My fiancé was unscrewing a can light in the living room of our brand-new house—and a handful of wasps smacked him in the face. Fortunately, they were dead.

But what if they weren’t?

“You can have really dangerous creatures fall or crawl on you,” says Texas designer Pablo Solomon. Dead wasps are just the beginning. Depending on where you live, shuffling around your attic or inching through your crawl space might bring you into contact with brown recluse or black widow spiders, scorpions, centipedes, or snakes.

While there’s no sure-fire way to avoid creepy-crawlies, full-coverage clothing will protect your skin from bites. As for the years of nightmares—you’re on your own.

3. Mold invasion

Skipping steps during a renovation is sure to cause you major problems down the line. And one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of a home renovation is proper ventilation.

“Most bathrooms have so little ventilation that they unintentionally become labs to grow mold and mildew,” says David Schneider, an interior designer in Chesterfield, MO, who focuses on sustainable, green remodeling.

So any time you remodel a kitchen or bathroom, make sure you’re installing enough fans—strong ones—to suck out all the moisture-ridden air. Most experts recommend one 100 cfm (cubic feet per minute) fan per appliance.

Plus, a whirring fan can cover up any unpleasant sounds. This is known as “value added”!

4. Release of asbestos and lead

You’re probably already aware of your home’s lead or asbestos risk. Unless you had a particularly unscrupulous seller, you should’ve signed a lead paint disclosure when buying any home built before 1978. And the second you Googled “popcorn ceiling,” you probably spotted the word “asbestos.”

But still, maybe that’s not top of mind when you’re in a hurry to yank out your ugly old cabinetry or rip up that garish old tile to start fresh—and you end up unleashing unknown amounts of those toxic materials.

“Inhaling or swallowing even small amounts of lead or asbestos is extremely dangerous,” Barr says. “Any time you remove walls or ceilings or do major work on floors, you run the risk of encountering both.”

Wear a mask during small renovation projects to help protect you. For bigger jobs, such as taking down a wall, contact an indoor environmental expert who can take samples. If asbestos or lead are present, plan to hire a professional for demolition.

5. Foundation damage

Have you ever used a drill to mount a pot rack or a flat-screen TV and found that your hands are a bit … wobbly afterward? Your walls feel the same thing—and the jiggling can cause major problems.

Constant shaking and hammering from power tools can create new fissures and other problems inside your walls. You might spot water leaks or even cracked Sheetrock, Solomon says. If possible, peek inside your walls after you drill for any new problems and repair them immediately.

6. Damage to your hearing

Construction is loud. You might think it’s tolerable, since it’s temporary. But if you’re, say, remodeling an entire kitchen, your ears will be under siege day after day for what could be a protracted period—and that could incur long-term damage.

“The noise of saws, hammers, power tools, and other construction machinery can wreck your ears,” says Bryan Pollard, president of Hyperacusis Research, a Hearing Health partner. “Noise damage is cumulative and presents with a delayed reaction. And the longer someone is exposed, the higher the risk.”

So maybe your ears feel fine the next day. But will they be fine a week later? A year later?Or 10 years later? Pollard warns of tinnitus—that annoying ringing in your ears—or hyperacusis, sound sensitivity, and noise-induced pain. Maybe those bulky protective headsets don’t look so dumb after all.

7. Exposure to high-VOC materials

Wearing a face mask can help keep you from inhaling fumes when painting, but their damage lasts long after the color is applied. Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are chemical-emitting gases found in a number of renovation materials, including many paints, carpeting, or upholstering. You know that funny smell your carpet gave off for a few weeks after installation? That’s probably VOCs.

Many VOCs are known carcinogens, and they can cause headaches, allergic reactions, or asthma.

You can purchase low-VOC paint and carpeting to reduce your risk. Keep windows and doors open to ventilate your home and reduce the VOC danger.

Dad tells reporters he lives inside a gas station. Take a peek inside


Dad tells reporters he lives inside a gas station. Take a peek inside


Robert Guthrie saw a unique opportunity and seized it much to the shock of many friends, family, and even his own son.

When Robert noticed a run-down gas station that was nearly 100 years old for sale, he effectively found “treasure” in what most considered was trash. The gas station was a 2,000 square-foot space that was ready to be transformed and renovated into a suitable home. Many labeled Robert as crazy when he told them about his idea, but just wait until you see the end result. It’s stunning!

In the video below, Robert shows a tour of his home. It’s heavily influenced by the space’s previous life, Sinclair Gasoline, so you will notice various relics scattered throughout the home. Robert added a roof deck, installed a hydraulic-lift turned staircase, a jacuzzi, and a full-modern kitchen. While the exterior doesn’t seem like much, the interior is jaw-dropping. It’s a perfect example of how awesome creativity is!

32 Unexpected Places You Should Be Cleaning In Your Home

32 Unexpected Places You Should Be Cleaning In Your Home

1. Lampshades


They can collect dust like nobody’s business and dim your lamp’s light output. Make a few passes with a lint roller about once a week to de-fuzz them and brighten the room.

Get a five-pack of disposable lint rollers from Amazon for $15.53.

2. Kitchen utensil drawer organizers

Kitchen utensil drawer organizers

Take special care with ~adjustable~ organizers like this one because they’re prone to dirt falling into their nooks and crannies. Once a week, wipe them out with any all-purpose cleaner you use on the rest of your kitchen surfaces.

Get it from Amazon for $14.99.

3. Knife blocks

Knife blocks

Those slots that protect your prize knives are also a prime spot for dust. Once a month, remove the knives and use the crevice tool on your vacuum cleaner to suck out dust. Don’t have one? Blast it with your hairdryer on High or use a long pipe cleaner. Sanitize it by rinsing the block in hot soapy water, then soaking in a solution (1 tbsp. of bleach to 1 gallon of water) for 1 minute. Dry on a towel with slots-side down.

Get it from Amazon for $21.36.

4. The tops of ceiling fan blades

The tops of ceiling fan blades

Halt an allergy storm before you need a seasonal indoor breeze. Use an old pillowcase to sweep off — and contain — the dust. Read the full tutorial on WikiHow.

5. Dishwasher


It’s always important to clean the things that clean your things. Get the instructions on One Good Thing by Jillee.

6. Cookie sheets

Cookie sheets

Emily Shwake / Buzzfeed / Nifty

No, but like, really clean them. Check out our two-step trick here.

7. Wood cutting boards

Wood cutting boards

Goodful / BuzzFeed

Obliterate the aftermath of raw chicken breasts with vinegar and hydrogren peroxide. Check out more Clever Vinegar Tricks That’ll Make Cleaning So Easy.

Get the supplies from Amazon: 1 gallon of distilled vinegar for $11.95 and three 24 oz. spray bottles for $11.99.

8. Clothes iron

Clothes iron

Annihilate rust from your hard-working iron with vinegar and baking soda. Get the full how-to on Thrifty & Chic.

Get 13.5 lbs. of baking soda from Amazon for $17.73. (It can be used to clean lots of other stuff on this list, too.)

9. Hairbrushes


Loosen hair strands and mix up a batch of hot water and baking soda for a good soak. Get the deets on Passion for Savings.

10. Flat irons

Flat irons

Styling products and hair oils can build up into a gross residue. This works for curling irons, too! Read the full how-to on One Good Thing by Jillee.

11. Jewelry


Spiff up everything from your eyeglasses to your engagement ring (separately) with this little machine that uses sonic-wave technology to loosen grime and shine surfaces.

Get it from Amazon for $34.99.

12. Sunglasses


Sweat, makeup, and sunscreen can have them looking worse for wear. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. But everyone should invest in a microfiber cleaning cloth ($8.99 for a pack of six).

Get the sunglasses from Amazon for $12.99. / Available in 15 color combos.

13. The grooves of sliding-glass door tracks

The grooves of sliding-glass door tracks

Brush away debris that can clog up your track with this handy little brush.

Get it from Amazon for $6.99.

14. Pet bowls

Pet bowls

Wash bowls daily as you would human bowls. It’ll even help with the pet smell!

Get it from Amazon for $3.93+. / Available in four sizes, four colors.

15. Clothing drawer organizers

Clothing drawer organizers

Give them an occasional wipe down because even though your clothes in storage are clean, dirt can get in from rummaging around to find the right bra.

Get them from Amazon for $10.99.

16. In between blinds

In between blinds

Make the task simpler on the reg with this specially made tool. Get it from Amazon for $8.99.

If you’re dealing with a horror show of dust — and they’re not wood — remove the blinds from the window and dunk them in a bath of hot, soapy water.

17. Makeup organizers

Makeup organizers

It isn’t enough to clean your makeup containers and tools. Wipe down organizer surfaces with hot, soapy water or a cleaning wipe.

Get them from Amazon: Makeup organizer for $11.99 and 225 Clorox wipes for $11.97.

18. Around plumbing fixtures

Around plumbing fixtures

Sometimes you need some tiny tools to get into allllll the crevices.

Get it from Amazon for $5.99. (It’ll work on shower-door tracks, too.)

19. Dryer lint trap

Dryer lint trap

Built-up lint can infringe upon — and lengthen — your machine’s drying process. Plus, it’s a fire hazard!

Get them from Amazon: Vacuum attachment for $20.99 or a standalone brush for $10.38.

20. Basically everywhere in your car

Basically everywhere in your car

Keep this little hand-vac in your car, plug it into the cigarette lighter, and use the slim nozzle to get into every feasible spot. Get it from Amazon for $20.99.

And learn other ways to de-slime your ride with our 23 Genius Solutions To Issues Every Car Owner Faces.

21. Phone and computer screens

Phone and computer screens

Dust, oil from your skin, and every little piece of lint to ever float through the atmosphere ends up on your electronics’ screens. Make a pass with this little roller every day you use them to see a difference.

Get it from Amazon for $14.99.

22. Toothbrush holder

Toothbrush holder

All those bathroom germs have to go somewhere. Wipe it down at least weekly during your normal bathroom-cleaning seshes.

Get it from Amazon for $8.99.

23. Trash cans and recycling bins

Trash cans and recycling bins

Nope. That smell wasn’t your actual bag of trash. Empty, rinse out with a garden hose (or in your bathtub), and then douse in disinfectant.

Get this easy-to-remove-and-clean set from Amazon for $79.99.

24. Plastic shower curtain liners

Plastic shower curtain liners

Fight off in-shower mildew by tossing your liner in with some towels in the wash. Read the deets on Life at the Drafty Doublewide.

Get it from Amazon for $21.33.

25. Bath mat

Bath mat

Throw it in the wash once a week so you won’t instantly dirty your clean feet post-bath time.

Get it from Urban Outfitters for $29.

26. Bedskirts


Aka dust ruffles. Wash them weekly with the rest of your linens. Or this cat will judge you.

Get it from Amazon for $12.95+. / Available in four sizes, five colors.

27. Toaster (the inside and outside)

Toaster (the inside and outside)


Actually crisp toast — not crumbs and debris from toast of yore — by emptying the crumb tray once a week. (Even the cheapest of toasters, like this one, have it.) And give the exterior a good wipe down with a stainless-steel cleaner, too.

Get it from Amazon for $19.96.

28. Pet beds

Pet beds

All the snuggles and treat-gnawing can leave them smelling worse than your actual pet. Remove further traces of your beloved family member with our 23 Tips And Products That’ll Save You From Being Covered In Pet Hair.

Get this machine-washable bed from Amazon for $25.99+. Available in seven colors.

29. Makeup bags

Makeup bags

Take some brush cleaner or just good ole hot soapy water to the interior to pick up all matter of powders and liquids.

Get it from Forever21 for $6.90.

30. Throw pillows

Throw pillows

They get nearly as much contact as your bed pillows. Remember to clean your pillowcases and inserts as directed on the label so you won’t luxuriate among filth.

Get this pillow case from Amazon for $7.99. / Available in three sizes, eight colors.

31. The bottom of your shoes

The bottom of your shoes

A few passes on the welcome mat is NOT ENOUGH to really get in the treads of your footwear. A boot scraper stationed at the door of your mudroom will do wonders for your floors.

Get it from Amazon for $16.97.

32. And lightbulbs

And lightbulbs

Dust ‘em for an instantly brighter look!

Upgrade your furniture

17 Ways To Trick People Into Thinking Your Furniture Isn’t From Ikea

Oh, this old footstool? It’s a priceless souvenir from my last trip to Morocco…

Zoë Burnett / BuzzFeed

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales from the links on this page.

1. Use a faux fur rug to transform this plant stand into an ~expensive~ looking footstool.

*props up feet*

You’ll need: A plant stand (Ikea, $12.99), a faux fur rug (Ikea, $14.99), a hot glue gun (Amazon, $13.99), scissors (Amazon, $7.90 for a set of two), batting (Amazon, $8.27), and a marker.

Get the full instructions from A Joyful Riot here.

2. Add a pop of color to your daybed by making a DIY headboard and never sleep in your queen-sized bed again.

A day-to-night ensemble, if you will.

You’ll need: A daybed (Ikea, $329), a medium density fiberboard (Home Depot, $14.98), gold nail heads (Amazon, $12.11), foam, batting (Amazon, $6.56), and fabric.

Get the full instructions from Honeybear Lane here.

3. Use wood stain and gold nail polish to create a bedside table that you’d be proud to leave your remote control on.

You’ll need: A nightstand (Ikea, $14.99), wood stain (Amazon, $16.65), white adhesive vinyl (Amazon, $13.99), gold nail polish (Amazon, $10), cloth, a scalpel, and a cutting mat (Amazon, $10.22).

Get the full instructions from The Lovely Drawer here.

4. Create a chic TV console center by sprucing up your furniture with gold leaf.

You’ll need: A desk (Ikea, $199), gold spray paint (Home Depot, $22.56 for a pack of six), and a gold leaf kit (Amazon, $12.99).

Get the full instructions from The Every Girl here.

5. DIY a farmhouse style table and start loving dinner even more than you already do.

You’ll need: A table (Ikea, $69), a 1×3 pine board (Home Depot, $12.32), eight 1×2 pine boards (Home Depot, $5.92), eight 2×8 planks (Home Depot, $7.77), wood stain (Amazon, $10.91), Polyurethane (Home Depot, $12.37), screws, sandpaper, a paint brush, and rags.

Get the full instructions from East Coast Creative here.

6. Spray paint and brass corners will help you create a dresser and nightstand combo that has plenty of storage…

…and is also easy on the eyes.

You’ll need: A drawer chest (Ikea, $54.99), white spray paint (Amazon, $3.95), brass handles (Home Depot, $4.49), and brass corners (Amazon, $8.99).

Get the full instructions from Homey Oh My here.

7. Make a whimsical side table that will add a touch of fun to the boring corners of your living space.

You’ll need: A table (Ikea, $49.99), masking tape, fine grit sandpaper (Kmart, $19.99), wood stain (Amazon, $14.29), and gold spray paint ($28.95).

Get the full instructions from Dwell Beautiful here.

8. Take your run-of-the-mill baskets and transform them into works of art by way of thread.

You’ll need: Boxes with lids (Ikea, $9.99 for set of three), and embroidery thread (Amazon, $23.19 for a pack of 40).

Get the full instructions from Tell Love and Party here.

9. Use brass strips to make this sideboard look like it belongs in the Museum of Modern Art.

Win-MoMa forever.

You’ll need: A sideboard (Ikea, $449), tinner snips (Amazon, $10.72), Gorilla glue (Amazon, $4.97), a drill (Amazon, $89 for a complete kit), 12 screws, patterning tape (Amazon, $5.15), 10 brass strips (Amazon, $8.49 for a pack of five), four hairpin legs (DIY Furniture Store, $31), and a sharpie.

Get the full instructions from Kristi Murphy here.

10. Spruce up boring curtains by adding in black tassel fringe trim. The result? You’ll actually want to open them in the morning.

*ah yes, it is a good morning*

You’ll need: White curtains (Ikea, $29.99), black tassle fringe trim (JoAnn Fabric and Craft Store, $10.99 per yard), needle and thread (Amazon, $1.77), and ball head straight pins (Amazon, $4.99).

Get the full instructions from Love Maegan here.

11. Create your very own (tiny) bar using this shelf unit —there’s no better excuse to *not* go out.

“There’s this great new bar that just opened up! Yeah, it’s called my apartment.” —me to my friends.

You’ll need: A shelf unit (Ikea, $34.99), black and brass legs (Estelle 120, $84 for four legs), and alcohol. Duh.

Get the full instructions from The Every Girl here.

12. Host a dinner party with these make-it-yourself fancy schmancy dinner plates.

You’ll need: Glass plates (Ikea, $0.99), masking tape (Amazon, $5.84), and spray paint (Amazon, $10.84).

Get the full instructions from Well Made Heart here.

13. Transform a simple shelving unit into the bookcase of your dreams with spray paint. Swoon.

Yes, hi, Belle? Guess what? My bookshelf is better than your entire library.

You’ll need: A single shelf unit (Ikea, $49.99), a double shelf unit (Ikea, $79.99), and yellow spray paint (Amazon, $3.98).

Get the full instructions from Centsational Girl here.

14. Turn your home into ~paradise~ by using bookcases and a countertop to create this kitchen island.

Sigh. If only I could DIY an actual island…

You’ll need: Two 31” bookcases (Ikea, $49.99), one 15” bookcase (Ikea, $29.99), a countertop (Ikea, $189), molding, and a bead board (Home Depot, $19.97).

Get the full instructions from Golden Boys & Me here.

15. Tape and spray paint are the only tools you’ll need to transform your organizer from drab to fab.

Goodbye boring organizer-McGuire, hello fabulous!

You’ll need: An organizer (Ikea, $89), spray paint (Amazon, $5.57), and tape (Amazon, $6.70).

Get the full instructions from Hello Lidy here.

16. DIY a tray with marble contact paper that’ll make whatever meal or drink you’re serving look like a million bucks.

*serve a plate of pizza bagel bites* *lie and say it’s quiche*

You’ll need: A tray (Ikea, $7.99), marble contact paper (Amazon, $12.99), and scissors (Amazon, $7.90 for a set of two).

Get the full instructions from Kristi Murphy here.

17. Turn your dresser into a library catalog look-alike that you’ll want to stare at all day.

You’ll need: A dresser (Ikea, $34.99), white paint (Amazon, $3.63), drawer pulls (Amazon, $10.38), and wood filler (Amazon, $6.73).

Get the full instructions from Thrifty & Chic here.

These 6 systems will get rid of Wi-Fi dead spots in your house


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