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January 2016

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Travel can be a fun experience. However, if you do not prepare, it can be taxing and stressful. Exploring the unknown is more fun if you can just make the necessary preparations that will make your travel smoother and better. You will definitely benefit if you have prepared and ironed out everything, even before you board your plane.

There are a million things that could go wrong when you travel. Even seasoned travelers make mistakes too. Why endure making mistakes when you can prevent and avoid them in just a few easy steps?

Travel hackers are the people constantly chasing miles, rewards, points, and elite status. Do you think that you are a good travel hacker? Here are some tips that could help you.

Travel Hacks for Packing Your Things

Packing things can be such a chore. If you don’t pack your things well, you might end up with excess baggage or you might forget something essential for your trip. Here are a few things that could make packing more convenient for you.

Make a checklist. Don’t forget to pack everything that you need. If you are under any kind of medication, you must remember to pack enough medicines for your trip. You wouldn’t want to go running around pharmacies, especially in a foreign country. It can be difficult to explain what you need, and dosages of their tablets might be different. Also, try to pack basic medicines for headaches, fever, and colds.

When you pack your clothes, you need to maximize space so that you won’t have bulky luggage. Instead of folding your clothes, try rolling them, as this technique has proven to be very effective in saving space. Bring classic pieces and just mix and match when you are at your destination. Even if you are going to a tropical island for vacation, it is always a good idea to bring a nice dress or a smart casual outfit just in case something comes up.

A great tip is to take a photo of each suitcase while it’s open so that you have an image of what’s in each suitcase. That way, when you land you won’t be searching for which suitcase has diapers—this is a great tip for traveling with kids!

If you are going for a short trip, you can use straws as containers for creams and liquids. Just make sure to seal them well and to put them in a zip lock to avoid making a mess in your luggage.

Travel Hacks before You Leave for a trip

Hotels are often pricey. If you are looking for something more affordable, try looking for a house for rent (if you are traveling with family) or a room for rent (if you are travelling alone).

Ever go on a long trip and come back and can’t remember where the heck you parked your car? Take a quick photo with your smartphone BEFORE you leave the parking garage of which level and parking spot you used.

Make sure that you scan your passport, visa, and ticket, and e-mail them to yourself. You can also memorize your passport number and flight details if possible. This small step can save you from stress in case you lose these very important travel documents.

If you are going to a foreign-speaking country, search for apps that could help you to communicate with the locals. You don’t need to learn the entire language. Choose apps wisely, and you will not have trouble conversing with locals about your basic needs.

When you plan to bring your camera, do not forget to take a picture of yourself first. It will prove that the camera is yours in case you lose it.

Travel Hacks during your trip

Train passes usually come cheaper if you book in advance. If you want, you can book everything in advance. Imagine the money you will save if you efficiently plan your itinerary ahead. All you have to do is to check the website of the train companies in the country you’re visiting.

Take advantage of breakfast buffets. Fill up your tummy so that you won’t spend much on food. Some food establishments even allow tourists to bring food when they leave. Take advantage of their generosity. More often than not, locals are more than happy to help tourists enjoy their trip.

Always remember the address of where you are staying. It is wise to bring a card of the hotel with you in case you get lost. You can always just show the card to someone, and it will be easier for you to find your way home.

While some countries often give tax rebates or discounts to tourists, there are vendors and sellers who will take advantage of tourists who are not informed of the proper pricing. Ask around and don’t look like you will believe everything. As a traveler, you must always use caution to avoid scams and other sorts of trouble. Conversely, in Europe, be sure to look for a blue VAT FREE symbol in a shop—depending on the country and what you’re buying, you could save 19% off the purchase price!

When you travel around tourist spots, one of the easiest ways to save money is to bring bottled water. You are bound to get thirsty often if you are always walking. Just refill your bottle whenever you get a chance.

It is a wise idea to use the internet for your own safety. Make sure that you search for any possible scams. Do your research. Blogs are very useful because they will tell you about the experiences. Read up before you leave. You never know when random information would come in handy. One great tip is to use the app CityMaps2Go—it’s free and you can download a Google-based city map of most major cities. You don’t need a data plan to run the app and it works as a GPS too! Plus, you’ll have Wikipedia articles at your fingertips in the app so that you can do your own walking tour of the city.

Travelling can be very stressful if you are not prepared. However, if you efficiently plan out everything, you will likely minimize trouble.

Don’t forget to have fun when you travel! Make friends and a lot of memories.

As a frequent adventure seeker, I’m always looking for the best price, most memorable experiences and how to travel with the least amount of stress as possible.  Over the years, I have uncovered tips and tricks the travel industry doesn’t want you to know.

 I’ve condensed the best tips that will save you money and time, so you can focus on enjoying your adventure.

1. Get the Best Price on Airfare.

The best time to purchase airline tickets is between six to eight weeks from your departure date.  The only time you want to purchase tickets well in advance is if you will be traveling around or during major holidays.

 Airfare rates can change up to three times a day.  The best time to buy tickets is on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.  If you have some flexibility when you can travel, that will help keep the costs down.  Generally speaking, Sunday is the most expensive day to travel.  The least expensive days to fly are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

2. Find the Best Deal Possible by Becoming an Internet Ninja.

Always enable private browsing when you are researching flights and hotels.  Some websites will track your visit and raise the price slightly when they know you have visited before.

3. Roll Rather Than Fold.  

You can pack significantly more items in your suitcase by laying your clothes onto a flat surface and tightly rolling them up.  This technique will also prevent wrinkling. 

 Stack as many as four of a like item (shirts, sweaters or pants, jeans) and roll them up.  Stack heavier or harder items that have been rolled on the bottom part of your suitcase, towards the bottom part where the wheels are.  Add the lighter items on top. 

 Shoes and wrinkle resistant items should go along the edges of the suitcase, creating a border of the rolled items.  Cushion toiletries in a case or small bag on the top part of the suitcase with the softer rolls of clothes.  Throw in a dryer sheet to keep your clothes smelling fresh while in transit.

 4. Shoes Can Hold Items, Too.

 If you are pressed for space, pack your socks and undergarments into your shoes you will be carrying in your suitcase.  I’ve also packed wine I’ve purchased at vineyards while on vacation into boots and slippers on my return flight home.  They make for excellent cushioning!

 5. Be Creative with Packing Small Items.  

Every time I am traveling and want to bring jewelry, I get pretty creative with how I pack them.  Purchase a plastic weekly pill box and pack your earrings and rings in them for easy organization.  For transporting necklaces hassle free, loop each chain on the necklace through a straw and make sure the clasp is closed.  This will prevent tangling.  Use disposable plastic contact lens holders to pack creams, liquid makeup and chapstick.

 6. Create Instant Speakers in Your Hotel Room.

 You can easily turn up the volume of music, your alarm or a speakerphone by placing your phone into a ceramic mug (most hotel rooms have them available) in an upright position. 

 7. Know Your Options for Alternate Sources of Power.

More than once I have forgotten my wall plug for my cell phone charger while traveling.  And of course I didn’t have my laptop with me, either.  So I had to get clever.  As long as you have the USB cable, you can charge it by plugging it into the USB slot of the television in your hotel room.  This outlet will be located on the side of the screen or on the back.

 8. Eat on the Cheap.

If you are staying in a hotel that doesn’t offer a free breakfast and you want to save on expenses, you can utilize some hotel room equipment to make food.  Use the iron in your room to make paninis or grilled cheese.  Build your sandwich of choice, wrap in foil and iron your sandwich on high for a couple minutes on each side or until your sandwich is golden brown and delicious. 

You can also make instant oatmeal in your coffee pot.  Simply add the instant oatmeal to the pot and allow the hot water to drip into the pot.  Mix together well, add some nuts and berries and enjoy.

There are just so many things that you have to do during the day, it is easy to get behind and wonder how you will ever catch up. This is a dilemma that many Americans face as they try to fit a week’s worth of work into just a few hours. If you feel like you are always behind without a way to get caught up, follow some of the suggestions in this chapter to get back on track.

Be Organized

You will be amazed at how much time you have been wasting on finding things that are needed just to get started. You might have misplaced your notes or set the pen down in the wrong spot. Finding keys is difficult and your coat seems to have disappeared. These are all things that are cutting into your productivity and will waste a lot of time. Rather than spending so much of your life trying to find things, you need to learn how to be organized. Find a place for all of your things and then take care that you put them there every time you are done using them. This can help you get to work faster and saves a ton of time.

No Multitasking 

Most people feel that multitasking is the way to get more done, but this is a huge time waster. It has been shown that multitasking is going to reduce your productivity by about 40%. This is thought to be due to the fact that going from one task to another is going to make it difficult to get rid of distractions as well as this skipping around will cause blocks in your mental capacity. This combines to slow down the process that you need.

Have a Calendar

It is easy to forget about the things that you need to get done during the day and soon you might find that more than one thing is at the same time or you have more work than you can handle because you forgot about another task. To avoid this and to keep yourself on track, get a calendar and write everything down. Write down projects, due dates, appointments, meetings, nights out, vacations, and anything else that is important to your schedule. Make sure that you only have one calendar though. Some people will have multiple ones and this is bound to lead to trouble. Having all the information in one place makes it easier ot know what you need to do and to plan ahead.

Plan Trips and Chores

You can waste a lot of time going back and forth to the store or going around town to do chores. Before going out to run errands, take a few minutes to plan your route and to write a list. Pick the route that makes the most sense and know exactly how to get there without distractions. With the list, you are sure to grab everything that you need and you will not have to waste your time going back out and getting the stuff again.

Routines

Having a routine is the best way to save time. With a routine, you will know when something is going to happen and how much time you have to get it done. The routine might not make you work more productively, but it can help you to know what is coming, where things are, and how to get things done. Another benefit is that a routine is able to free up your brain to do other things, something that is important when you have projects and other work to get done.

Plan out meals

The time that you spend on meals can be enormous. If you are waiting until the last minute to figure out what is for supper, you are putting a lot of work on yourself. You might have to spend a lot of time trying to figure it out, going to the store to get the ingredients, and then still having to spend time getting it all done. Planning out the meals for a week can make things simpler. You can go out once and get all of the ingredients and then make it that night. It is even possible to make several meals at once to save even more time.

Learn personal time wasters

Everyone has something that they do that is going to waste time. This can include checking email, walking around the office, social media, or something else. Take a few minutes to determine what you do that waste time and then try as hard as possible to avoid doing it. Even avoiding it for an afternoon is going to save you a ton of time and you will be amazed at how much you can get done.

Everyone wants to save money. They want to have enough left over at the end of the month so that they are able to put a little away. You might want to do it for some security, for your retirement, to put some towards a trip, or for many other reasons. But it can get really easy to spend the money that you have on things that aren’t important or that you just do not need and soon all of your money is gone. Here are some great tips to follow when you are ready to start saving money today.

Spend Less.

The best way to make sure that you are saving money is to spend less of it. This means that you need to find ways to cut out your spending, whether this means shopping less, eating out less, or finding ways to cut down on your bills. To start with are the extra expenses; you do not need to go out and purchase expensive shoes all of the time or go out with your friends several times a week. Stay home, rent a few cheap movies, and make supper most nights and you will be amazed at how much you can save. In addition, look through your bills and see where you might be able to cut corners. Limit the amount of channels that you have (who needs 200?) and call your cable or your phone company and see if they will give you discounts for being a loyal customer. These things may be little but they will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Budget

One thing that most people fail to do is create a budget. They feel that they do not need it or do not want to put in the work that is required for it. But a budget is a great tool if you want to make sure that all of your money is going to the right place. After creating one, you might be surprised at the areas where you are spending a lot of money and can then cut back without feeling the pinch as much. Once you create a budget, make sure that you stick with it for the long term and try not to go for it.

Buy Used

You can save a ton of money if you just learn how to purchase used things instead of new. While buying used has a stigma around it because used means old, it is time to get over that because you can find many great things for a fraction of the cost. Instead of spending $100 on a pair of jeans, you could purchase a whole wardrobe, along with some shoes and matching jewelry for about that much. Check out garage sales, online sites, and your local thrift shops for the best deals.

Get Rid of Debt

The debt that you have is often going to cost you more than it is worth. This is due to the fact that you are going to have to pay interest on it and that can add up quickly. A few dollars on a credit card or a loan is quickly going to add up and cause you a headache. Pay down your debt as quickly as possible and find ways that you will be able to avoid debt in the future. Just losing the interest payments on the money you owe will put so much more back into your pockets.

Shop Smartly

To save money you have to learn how to be a smart shopper. You cannot be taken in by the big sale signs or tricked into purchasing things that are not a good deal. Learn where the best deals are, avoid shopping if it is your weakness, and learn how to not purchase things that you do not need, even if they are on sale.

Eat In

You would be amazed at the amount of money that you might spend on eating out. Even just doing it once or twice a week can quickly add up and cost you a lot. To really save money, cut out the amount of times that you eat out and instead choose to make meals at home. You can easily feed your family several meals or more on the amount you spend at restaurants and you can put this money in savings or to pay off your debts. Of course it is fine to eat out on occasion, just try to save these for when they are special occasions.

In this declining economy, nothing is more important than managing money. Whether you are doing well financially or barely making ends meet, it is important to keep the flow of money in control. The difficult times can knock anyone off their feet, but if you manage your money properly, you won’t have much to worry about.

Money Hacks

Following are another some life hacks for managing money:

1. Make a box to save your $1 bills. At the end of each day, throw in all the cents, pennies, and $1 bills in it. Even if you throw in $3 each day, by the end of the year you will have $1095 saved.

 2. When you get a discount, buy something for sale, get something from a clearance sale at 50% off, instead of wasting the saved money on something else, put it in your savings to actually save it.

 3. When you go shopping, try to buy items in bulk. You can save more by bulk buying than you can by purchasing each item individually.

 4. When booking tickets online, use ‘private browsing’ or ‘incognito’ mode. Many websites show higher rates to returning customers.

5. Use a money management app to manage and plan your finances, and to keep a record of your expenditures. Such apps are available for smart phones, windows, OS X, etc.

6. When getting change from a shop, go for $50 or $100 bills. Research suggests that we are less likely to break $50 and $100 bills.

 7. Buy gift cards at discounted prices during holiday seasons, and use them later for shopping to save money.

 8. The amenities you use often rack up high bills. Find how much each amenity costs you, and optimize your use to lower the bills.

 9. Sell your used electronics and gadgets on the secondary market when you no longer need them. The better condition they are in, the more you can sell them for.

 10. Save up on the bills by unplugging the electronics that you are not using. For instance, a microwave uses electricity when it flashes the time all the time, even when it is not being used.

 11. You can save a lot on your bills by adjusting the thermostat. Adjust the temperature of the central heating and water heating, so it does the job properly, but do not turn it to very high. Experiment with the temperatures to find the suitable one.

 12. Follow this simple rule: spend less than what you earn.

 13. Invest in renewable energy. Install a solar plant for generating electricity and save money on the electricity bills. If you generate more energy than you need, the power supplying company will buy it from you, and will either give you the money or subtract the extra from your bills.

 14. When buying books for a new college or university term, sell the old ones first, and then buy used copies of the books you need. You can save 25% to 50% of the original book cost by buying a used one instead.

Keeping you and your home cool in those hot clammy months.

• Try not to exercise just before going to bed. When you exercise it raises your body temperature and your body will retain heat. Instead exercise a couple of hours before.

• Take a tepid shower or bath. If you try taking a cold your body can react by trying to heat up which is the opposite of what you want.

• Heat rises so if you struggle to sleep at night, try putting your mattress on the floor or sleep on a lower level of the house.

• Before bed, try putting your sheets and pillows in the freezer they should stay cool enough for you to fall asleep nice and comfortable.

• When to hot sleep in cotton not nude. Cotton allows your body to breath and lets moisture evaporate between you and your sheets.

• Run cold water over your wrists for about 30 seconds. Your wrist is where blood flows closest to the surface of your body. This cools your blood and cools your whole body.

 I’m always searching to find new cooking hacks that will make cooking fun and easy.  I’ve compiled some of the most useful hacks I have found over the years below at will make you efficient in the kitchen and execute complex dishes flawlessly.

1. How often when you’re standing in the kitchen trying to cook a simple meal for the family, or reheating the leftovers do you have two bowls that both need heating up, yet only 1 ever fits in the microwave. You end up sitting there for 8 long minutes and then have to do the same again. You end up with a hot one and warm or cold one depending on time.

What can you do?

Get your two bowls as normal and place one in the microwave as you normally would. Get a mug and put inside the microwave next to the bowl and place the second bowl on top of the mug…. Problem solved.

 2. Think of all those times that you stood in the kitchen cracking your eggs into a bowl to make an omelette for lunch, only for that last horrible egg not to split right and you end up with little bits of shell in your lunch. You can either leave it and crunch on it later or spend half an hour trying to grab it with your fingers only to give up.

What can you do?

If you get one of the empty egg shells and use it to get the small piece of shell out you will find that for some unknown reason the shell is kind of attracted to the bigger shell and comes out right away…. Problem solved.

 3. When you wake up in the morning on a hot clammy summer day, but you need your morning coffee. You end up with the choice of having a normal hot coffee, which isn’t very refreshing on a hot day. Or end up diluting you’re your coffee with ice cubes.

What can you do?

Try smashing up Oreo and placing the bits in an ice cube tray. Fill it with cold coffee and freeze overnight. When you wake up drop a couple into your iced coffee. YUM… Problem solved.

 4. When the kids are out playing and come running in asking for an iced cream. You go in the freezer, take out that giant tub of three flavor iced cream and end up bending your spoons trying to get out a good size scoop for those cones. You either have to wait half an hour for it to soften or replace your spoons every time.

What can you do?

Try getting a large zip lock back and keep your tub of ice cream in it. Next time you take out of the freezer and remove it from the bag you will notice it is always slightly soft. No more bent spoons… Problem solved.

5. You’re standing in the kitchen cooking a nice romantic meal for your partner. You’re just about to add some nice herbs and you spot that your little bag of herbs has gone bad, and it’s a trip to the shop or use those horrid dry herbs you get in a jar.

What can you do?

When you first get your bag of herbs chop, then put them in an ice cube tray and cover with oil then freeze. The oil stops your herbs getting freezer burn and keeps them nice and fresh for when needed… Problem solved.

 6. You have a few friends around for a meal. It gets to desert time and you go in the cupboard and you suddenly realize that all you have is mixed up bowls that down match.

What can you do?

Try melting a big bar of chocolate and dipping blown up balloons in. When the chocolate hardens, pop the balloons and you’re left with beautiful bowls that go down a treat… Problem solved.

 7. When you go into your kitchen and do the washing up. You wipe down the sides and chopping boards. You get your cleaning spray out and clean away. But then the next time you go to make a sandwich it tastes funny because of the spray.

What can you do?

Try using salt and half a lemon. This kills the bacteria and lets you clean your chopping boards and you avoid the chemicals…Problem solved.

 8. If you’re anything like me, you will have a cupboard filled with random spice jars and nowhere else to keep them apart from dotted around your work tops

What can you do?

Try using an old CD rack. Most people have an old one lying around from the days before mp3 players. If not they are often a lot cheaper than actual spice racks and do the job perfectly… Problem solved.

 9. Picture it. It’s a hot summer day and you fancy a nice iced lolly. All you have in your freezer are those horrid little ice pops that taste like colored water. You can either go out, or spend load of money on 3 little lollies that are ok or you can suffer with the cheaper ice pops.

What can you do?

Best iced lollies I have ever tasted. Mix together and freeze and an iced lolly mold.

2 cups of whipped cream

1 cup of milk

6 tbsp. Nutella

You will never go back. Yum…Problem solved.

 10. I always get tooth ache and when I have a drink, I end up using a straw to help with the pain. It gets kind of embarrassing though when every 2 seconds the straw rises up from your can and pokes you in the face.

What can you do?

Try turning the little metal tab around and put your straw through the hole in the center of the tab. It stops you getting poked in the eye and you avoid the toothache… Problem solved.

 11. Let’s face it, on a roasting hot day when you’re out during the off day, the worst thing is carrying a lukewarm bottle of water around with you. We don’t always have the money to go into shops to keep buying nice cold ones.

What can you do?

Try filling a large bottle quarter of the way up and laying it down flat in your freezer. Next time your off out, fill it up and will stay cold on your trip out… Problem solved.

 12. So it’s breakfast time and there’s a decision to be made. Half the people you’re cooking for want bacon and the other half want pancakes.

What can you do?

Try cooking your bacon in the frying pan. When done pour over a little pancake mix and cook as normal. You’re now the proud maker of the bacon pancake. Pour over some syrup. Yum… Problem solved.

 13. How many times have you stood there in your kitchen holding that cookbook and the dreaded words separate the egg yolks appear. You end up getting horrible slimy fingers or end up not bothering and just going with the whole egg.

What can you do?

Try cracking your egg as normal into a bowl. Get a clean, empty bottle and place the top over the yolk and squeeze. The yolk will get sucked up into the end of the bottle ready to pop back where you need. No more slimy fingers… Problem solved.

 14. You wake up in the middle of the night with the sudden urge for a spot of cake. Or the kids have just had tea and want some desert but you have none in and no time to bake one.

What can you do?

A brownie in less than 2 minutes? Sounds like a plan.

Mix together in a cup until smooth, and then cook in the microwave for 1 minute 40 seconds. Yum.

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup flour

2 tbsp cocoa

Pinch salt

2 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp water

Problem solved.

 15. When you’re standing in the kitchen trying to look all manly while cooking some dinner. You get to the onions and stand there with tears streaming down your face like a baby.

What can you do?

Chew gum while chopping onions it stops you from crying… Problem solved.

 16. Whenever I use a block of cheese or have a large cake, I go digging through the draw routing around for a knife I can use to get nice neat slices. The trouble is, the only thing I can ever find is the standard blunt butter knife.

What can you do?

Try using an unscented dental floss. It works a treat and a pack lasts ages. You can use it to slice up pretty much anything that isn’t too hard… Problem solved.

 17. Do you miss being able to make a decent toasted sandwich because all you currently have is the standard two slice toaster. The only thing you can think of is to toast two slices of bread, stick on some kind of filler and slap them both together.

What can you do?

Try making a sandwich as normal squashing the bread together and put the whole sandwich into one toaster slot. The result is a nice toasted sandwich that is still soft in the middle. Yum… Problem solved.

 18. I find it so annoying when you go out to the supermarket and you spend an hour picking up everything you need. You get to the till pack up and go home. As soon as you finish putting all your stuff away you realize that you have forgotten a few important things. You can either go back or go without.

What can you do?

Try taking a photo of the inside of your fridge so while you’re out shopping you can see what you have and what you don’t… Problem solved.

 19. We all do it, don’t we? We go out and buy a load of fresh fruit and veg and but the time we get round to actually eat them, half have gone bad. Bananas seem to be the worst.

What can you do?

Try wrapping some plastic wrap around the stem of the bananas and you will notice that this keeps them fresher for longer… Problem solved.

 20. I love a nice takeaway. You order a giant pizza for the family; there are a few pieces left in the morning and naturally you stick it in the microwave and reheat it for breakfast. When you take it out the crust is either rock solid or really chewy.

What can you do?

Try placing a glass of water in the microwave next to the pizza. The steam helps it stay soft but stops it going all chewy… Problem solved.

 21. I find it so irritating when you reheat food in the microwave and it’s steamy and feels hot, yet when you sit down to eat it half of it in the middle is still cold. You end up carrying on and pay for it the next day or pay another trip to the kitchen for round two. This usually results in dry burn food that goes in the bin.

What can you do?

Dig a hole in the middle of the food so you can see the plate. Now when it goes in the microwave it will heat nice an evenly… Problem solved.

 22. My kids love spaghetti and hotdogs, but sometimes and can get a little boring for them.

What can you do?

Try this little tip. Get the kids to help too. Chop up your hotdogs into quarters and pierce a few pieces of dry spaghetti through the middle and boil as normal. Mix in a little ketchup when done and sprinkle with cheese. The kids will love it… Problem solved.

 23. I always take a packed lunch to work but I like something different now and then so I’ll take a bagel. The problem is the filling always falls out. You end up with a bald bagel and bag of sandwich filler.

What can you do?

We all have those old CD spindles lying around. Give a clean out and it makes a great bagel holder. Yum… Problem solved.

24. Many of us out there turn into a bit of a clean freak now and then. I myself have been getting dirty hands, but I love nothing more than milk and Oreos. Problem is I hate getting all the mess on my fingers.

What can you do?

Use a fork in the middle of the Oreo. You get your treat with none of the miss… Problem solved.

 25. Do you ever pick up a pizza on the way from work only to find that it’s gone cold by the time you arrive home?

What can you do?

Try using your seat warmer. Most people don’t think of it but it works a treat… Problem solved.

 26. Do you remember that time you had the girls round for a movie, chat and a bottle of wine only to find that the corkscrew has gone missing. You end up spending half an hour trying to get the cork out and come to the solution that the only thing to do is push it in instead.

What can you do?

Try using a hammer and nail. Gently hammer the nail into the cork and then use the claw to pull it and the cork back out… Problem solved.

27. I think we have all ruined a few cook books haven’t we. We get a nice one for a Christmas and give it a whirl. Next minute you notice you have a grease of food marks all over the pages or something has splashed on the side and got the pages all wet.

What can you do?

Find and pants hanger with the clip on each side. It works great to hold a book and hang where you can use it… Problem solved.

 28. I love tacos. The problem is when you cook the shell and can’t get it the right shape. It’s either a flat circle or you fold it and it falls on its self. No good.

What can you do?

Try using a muffin tin. Turn it upside down and put your taco shells in the spaces. Spray with oil and cook at 375F for 10 minutes. Perfect… Problem solved.

 29. You wake up in the morning, go in the kitchen and boil a couple of eggs. You fancy some sliced egg or egg mayo with lunch but it takes forever to peel the shell of the egg.

What can you do?

Add a teaspoon of baking soda into the water before you start boiling your eggs. Now when it comes to peeling the shells off it will just seconds… Problem solved.

 30. A random thought. How do you eat a cupcake? If it’s a large one with butter cream all over the top you end up with quite a sickly taste after a while.

What can you do?

This is the right way to eat a cupcake. Slice it through the middle and place the bottom half of the cake into the top, to make a kind of which sandwich. You will never eat a cupcake the same way again… Problem solved.

 31. The thing that bugs me when I make pasta or boil potatoes is when the water boils over and leaves you with a big messy clean up job.

What can you do?

If you place a wooden spoon on the top of the pan as the water boils it stops the water ever boiling over… Problem solved.

 32. My kids love pancakes but it can be a bit of a pain making up the mixture every day and getting splatters over your side. You can either put the horrid readymade stuff or persist and clean up each time.

What can you do?

Try pouring your pancake mix into an empty large ketchup bottle. It will keep in the fridge and save all the mess than if you used a bowl and ladle… Problem solved.

33. It’s summer time and you have the family round for a BBQ. Everyone wants a different sauce and it’s a real pain trying to find somewhere for all those dips and bottles.

What can you do?

Use a muffin tin. Pour some of each condiment into the tin and leave by the BBQ. Now everyone has what they want on hand… Problem solved.

 34. Have you ever tried to remove the stem from a strawberry when making a desert? You either end up using a knife and wasting half of the fruit, or leaving it in there as a crunchy woody surprise.

What can you do?

Use a straw place it over the top of the stem and push down. Stem removed… Problem solved.

 35. It’s horrible when you wake up late for work. You rush to get ready and make a coffee. Just before you leave your coffee is still roasting and you have the choice to leave it and miss your caffeine fix, or water it down with a little cold water. Either way, your morning is ruined.

What can you do?

Try keeping some frozen black coffee in some ice cube trays. This way, if you’re ever in this situation again, you can cool down your coffee without watering it down… Problem solved.

 36. You and your partner have just put the kids to bed for a nice warm day. You settle down to have a glass of white wine only to discover you forgot to put it in the fridge. You can either water it down with an ice cube or take it warm.

What can you do?

Keep a bag of grapes in the freezer. No need to water that wine down. The grapes do a great job of cooling it… Problem solved.

 Last little food hack.

When you’re down to the last bit of Nutella in the jar. Don’t sit scraping away stick a dollop of ice cream in. Lovely little treat.

37. Prep Potatoes for a Crowd Easily.  I’m well known for making potato dishes around the holidays or for special events that will feed a huge crowd.  Instead of standing over my kitchen sink scrubbing 10 pounds of potatoes, I rinse them off in my dishwasher.  Here’s how you do it. 

Place your potatoes on the top rack only and turn the setting to the rinse cycle.  Don’t add any detergent and be sure to set the drying setting to “air dry’.  This is a super effective way to get your potatoes clean quickly.  You can also rinse off other root vegetables this way.

38. Create Clean Cuts.  The best way to create clean cuts on soft or crumbly food is to use unflavored dental floss.  You can cut clean, precise slices of cakes and brownies.  You can slice a sheet of cake horizontally to create an extra layer in your cake.  I’ve used floss to cut through cookie dough to make uniform pieces, as well as soft cheeses.

You can create perfect, straight slices when using it to cut through a log-shaped cookies, as well as cinnamon rolls. If you don’t have butcher’s twine when cooking a roast, you can substitute it with dental floss in a pinch. 

39. Make and Preserve Guacamole.  If you don’t have a fancy mortar and pestle to smash avocados when making guacamole, you can still make an amazing guacamole. Carve out the flesh of the avocados and place them into a bowl.  To get perfect avocado chunks for your guacamole, simply mash the avocado flesh with a hand held potato masher. 

Once you have made your guacamole and you want to save it for the next day, add it to a bowl that only has an inch or two of space between the top of the guacamole and top of the bowl.  Slowly add some water to the top and cover with plastic wrap.  The water won’t seep into the guac, but will prevent it from browning.  When you are ready to eat it, simply dump out the water on top and enjoy.

40. Remove Fat From Stews, Soups and Casseroles.  Take a couple of ice cubes and drop it into your stew, soup or casserole dish.  Fat globules will start to solidify on the top from the colder temperature.  Scoop out the extra fat and save on fat and calories.

41. Take the Bread out of Bread Crumbs.  If you are trying to eat gluten free, you can still enjoy “breaded” chicken.  Take some gluten free pretzels or some brown rice cereal, and place them in a food processor.  Hit the pulse button until the pretzels or cereal has a breadcrumb-like consistency. Shake and bake as normal, or coat the chicken with milk and egg, then add the crumb mixture and bake.

42. Prevent Bacon Shrinkage.  Ah, bacon! Yummy, delicious bacon!  Whether you cook bacon in the oven, stove top or microwave, you always end up with some shrinkage.  You can reduce shrinkage by up to 50% by rinsing the bacon off with cold water before cooking it. 

43. Cook Crispy, Bright, Flavorful Vegetables in Your Oven.  Say goodbye to dull, mushy vegetables that have completely lost their flavor.  Take any soft veggie, like asparagus, green beans or pea pods and cook them inside a head of lettuce.  This method has actually been used for years to create crispier, more vibrant vegetables in the oven. 

Slice a head of iceberg lettuce down the center.  Scoop out the leaves inside, so the halves retain its shape, but have a little pod for the veggies.  Add the veggies, put the head of lettuce back together again with the veggies inside and roast on a cookie sheet on 300F for 20 – 45 minutes.

44. Avoid Clumps in Brown Sugar.  The best way to keep brown sugar in your pantry from becoming hard and clumpy is to store it in an airtight container once it has been opened.  Then add a couple of marshmallows to the container to prevent any hardening or clumps.

A muffin tin can be used to serve the condiments at barbecues and parties. In addition to looking good, it helps you cut down on washing. Think twice before discarding your muffin tins next time.

45. You can easily pull out the egg shells from the egg in a bowl if you wet your fingers.

46. You can remove the stem of an avocado to see how ripe it is. If it appears yellowish, it is ripe; if it appears dark brown, it is overripe.

47. To make bananas last about 5 days longer, wrap their tops tightly in a plastic wrap.

48. Pour milk in an ice cube tray and add crushed cookies (or Oreos) in it to make cookie ice cubes.

49. Unscented dental floss can be used to easily cut or slice cakes, pastries, and other soft solid goods into perfect shapes.

50. Give more shape and designs to your pancakes by using cookie cutters.

51. When storing salad into a sealed bag, blow some air into it to ensure that it stays fresh longer.

52. When going grocery shopping, open your fridge and take a picture. Look at it before you leave the shop to make sure that you have not forgotten anything.

53. You can freeze grapes and use them to chill white wine. Unlike ice, the grapes will not water it down.

54. To keep ice-cream soft, put it in an airtight bag before storing it in the freezer. It won’t be spoon-bendingly hard when you take it out.

55. To prevent the pizza crust from getting chewy when microwaving it, put a glass of water along with it in the microwave when reheating it.

56. To keep the potatoes from budding, place an apple among them when storing them.

57. When cutting an onion, if you chew a chewing gum, your eyes will not burn or water.

58. To make sure that your cake stays soft and moist, put a slice of bread over it.

59. When boiling something, put a wooden spoon or stick over it to keep it from spilling.

60. When storing meat in plastic bags, section it evenly. It makes it easier to remove even sized pieces later.

61. If you wrap lettuce, celery, or broccoli in a foil when storing it in the fridge, it will stay crisp longer than usual.

62. To test the freshness of an egg, put it in a glass filled with water. If it floats, it is not fresh, throw it away. If it sinks to the bottom, it is fresh.

63. Instead of letting a sauce go to waste, put it in an ice cube tray and freeze it. Remove a cube and heat it when needed.

64. To easily peel garlic, smash it apart by applying pressure from the top. Then put it all inside a box and shake it. When you remove it, the garlic will be peeled.

Before I discovered cleaning hacks, whenever I encountered a stain that was hard to remove, I just accepted it as damaged and unable to be cleaned.  A few years ago my two sons picked up permanent markers from a kitchen drawer and decided that our newly painted kitchen wall would be a great place to draw a mural.  I desperately tried to clean the marker off using multiple cleaning agents and wasn’t able to get the marks off.  

Then I started to do some digging because surely someone else had run into this problem and found a way to clean their wall.  By the time I was done researching, I knew how to get permanent marker off of virtually any surface!

 Let’s take a look at some clever, creative cleaning hacks that will make cleaning super easy.

1. Get Stains Out of Microfiber.

 Getting stains on microfiber can ruin the entire look of your sofa.  If you have a spill or stain on the fabric, fill a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and lightly mist the alcohol onto the stain.  Gently rub the moistened stain with a white soft sponge.  The stain will lift right onto the sponge.  Let the sofa air dry completely. Once dry, take a hard bristled brush to “fluff” up the microfibers and your sofa will look like new.

2. Remove Permanent Marker Stains.

 Permanent marker stains don’t have to be permanent!  Hand sanitizer will remove marker stains from clothing. If you get marker on any wood surface, you can easily remove it by applying rubbing alcohol to the affected area.  Applying toothpaste or hairspray to marks on walls will eliminate the stain. 

3. If you get marker on your carpet, dab the area with white vinegar and the stain will be removed.  If you spill marker onto furniture, take a cotton ball and dip it into milk.  Applying directly to the stain will remove the mark.

4. Prevent Dust Bunnies When Dusting Your Ceiling Fan.

 I used to dread cleaning my ceiling fans because getting dust all over the carpet or bed was inevitable.  Then I discovered a way to contain the dust bunnies.  Take an old, soft pillowcase and insert each fan blade into the pillowcase.  Wipe each blade of the inner part of the fan to the outer part.  All the dust will stay contained in the bottom of the pillowcase.

5. Easily Clean Your Electric Oven.

 Years ago, cleaning your oven was a hassle.  You either used harsh chemicals to get the gunk off or had to scrub the caked on layers of filth incessantly to get it clean.  I found a much easier way. You will want to make sure you start this process with a cold oven. 

6. Take a shallow dish and pour ½ cup of ammonia into it.  Place the dish in the middle of the top rack in your oven.  Close the door and let it sit in there overnight. The fumes from the ammonia will loosen the grit.  In the morning, take a clean cloth and wipe it all away.  Only use this method in an electric oven.

7. Clean You’re Charcoal Grill Naturally.

 As crazy as it sounds, the most effective way to clean your charcoal grill is to use an onion.  Yes, an onion.  This is a natural way where you don’t have to worry about any harsh chemical residue being left to creep into your grilled food. Here’s how it works. 

8. Heat your grill so the high heat burns off any remaining chunks of charred food.  Peel an onion and slice it in half.  Insert a fork into the bottom part of the onion, towards the round part.  Turn the heat down. Rub the onion flat side down onto the grill, moving it quickly back and forth.  This will clean and deglaze the grates, not to mention adding an amazing flavor to your next meal.

9. Eradicate Oil Stains from Your Garage Floor.

 This trick is super easy, effective and a bit disturbing.  Pour Coca-Cola directly onto the oil stain and rub with a hard bristled brush.  Rinse off thoroughly with clean water.  Watch as the stain lifts from the floor.

10. Get Rid of Lipstick Stains.  

It’s rare that you can get a noticeable lipstick stain out of clothing from just washing your clothes normally.  The next time you encounter a stain, spray some hairspray onto the mark and let it sit for 10 minutes.  Rub gently with a cloth and toss into the wash as normal.

11. Eliminate Kitchen Cabinet Gunk.

 Over time our kitchen cabinets get dirty, often times with tiny little particles of dust, debris and food from splashing when cooking.  And it piles on resulting in a solid substance that is near impossible to remove.  Here’s an easy way you can lift the stains so your cabinets look brand new. 

12. Create a thick paste by combing vegetable oil and baking soda so the consistency is like toothpaste.  Take an old toothbrush and scrub the nooks and crannies on your cabinets where the debris has piled up. Take a moist, clean cloth and remove the paste and debris.  

13. A muffin tin can be used to serve the condiments at barbecues and parties. In addition to looking good, it helps you cut down on washing. Think twice before discarding your muffin tins next time.

14. You can easily pull out the egg shells from the egg in a bowl if you wet your fingers.

15. You can remove the stem of an avocado to see how ripe it is. If it appears yellowish, it is ripe; if it appears dark brown, it is overripe.

16. To make bananas last about 5 days longer, wrap their tops tightly in a plastic wrap.

17. Pour milk in an ice cube tray and add crushed cookies (or Oreos) in it to make cookie ice cubes.

18. Unscented dental floss can be used to easily cut or slice cakes, pastries, and other soft solid goods into perfect shapes.

19. Give more shape and designs to your pancakes by using cookie cutters.

20. When storing salad in a sealed bag, blow some air into it to ensure that it stays fresh longer.

21. When going grocery shopping, open your fridge and take a picture. Look at it before you leave the shop to make sure that you have not forgotten anything.

22. You can freeze grapes and use them to chill white wine. Unlike ice, the grapes will not water it down.

23. To keep ice-cream soft, put it in an airtight bag before storing it in the freezer. It won’t be spoon-bendingly hard when you take it out.

24. To prevent the pizza crust from getting chewy when microwaving it, put a glass of water along with it in the microwave when reheating it.

25. To keep the potatoes from budding, place an apple among them when storing them.

26. When cutting an onion, if you chew a chewing gum, your eyes will not burn or water.

27. To make sure that your cake stays soft and moist, put a slice of bread over it.

28. When boiling something, put a wooden spoon or stick over it to keep it from spilling.

29. When storing meat in plastic bags, section it evenly. It makes it easier to remove even sized pieces later.

30. If you wrap lettuce, celery, or broccoli in a foil when storing it in the fridge, it will stay crisp longer than usual.

31. To test the freshness of an egg, put it in a glass filled with water. If it floats, it is not fresh, throw it away. If it sinks to the bottom, it is fresh.

32. Instead of letting a sauce go to waste, put it in an ice cube tray and freeze it. Remove a cube and heat it when needed.

33. To easily peel garlic, smash it apart by applying pressure from the top. Then put it all inside a box and shake it. When you remove it, the garlic will be peeled.

34. When reheating food, like pasta, spread it evenly on a plate and create an opening in the center, giving it a doughnut shape. It will allow the food to be reheated properly and from all sides.

35. To make the onions last very long, put them in a pantyhose and tie knots above each onion. This way, they can last for up to 8 months.

36. Green onions can also last very long if they are frozen. Just be sure that you have dried them completely before storing them.

37. To prevent the cutting board from sliding when cutting vegetables, place a damp towel under it.

38. You can use a pizza cutter to cut pancakes too.

39. To extract more juice from a lemon, roll it by applying a little pressure before cutting it.

40. The skin of a ginger can easily be removed with a spoon.

41. When using a measuring cup to measure a liquid, like honey, spray it with non-stick spray first. This way, the liquid will not stick in the cup and your measurements will be more accurate.

42. To restore old crystallized honey, put the jar of honey in warm water for 15 minutes or so.

43. Freezing herbs in olive oil keep them fresh and prevents them from turning brown or getting freezer burns.

44. If you boil filtered water to make ice, the resulting ice will be clear as a crystal.

45. Fish often falls apart or breaks when it is being grilled. Place halved lemon slices on a grill and cook fish over it to make sure that you get it in one piece.

46. Storing ginger in the freezer makes it last longer.

47. Always store mushrooms in a paper bag instead of a plastic bag. The paper bag will absorb all the moisture and keep them from getting mildew.

Do not make the mistake of ignoring your garage. The garage is full of hazards, so it is important to store your things efficiently in order to keep the area safe. You must also do what you can to ensure that your garage is safe. It contains quite a lot of expensive tools and it probably serves as storage space for your car as well. You have to make sure that you keep bad people away from your garage in order to ensure the safety of your family and your property.

The most basic practice that you can do to keep your garage clean is to avoid storing everything in there. Go ahead and throw the non-essentials.

Here are some other life hacks which can help you maximize space, and at the same time help keep your garage accident-free.

• Simple curtains can do wonders in making your garage look a bit homey. No matter how much you organize your tools into baskets or shelves, they will never look aesthetically pleasing. For aesthetic purposes, hang curtains in front of your storage area. Simply slide the curtains, and you will instantly be able to use the other half of your garage any way you want.

• To store your things in the garage, it is a good idea to build a vertical shelf where you can store your tools, sporting goods, and other materials. Shelves are pretty easy to build. Get your supplies in a hardware store, and start building your shelf now!

• One thing that you should watch out for is how you park your car in your garage. Use pool noodles to cushion the walls against accidental bumps in your car. Cut and drill pool noodles onto the walls of your garage to cushion those blows to your car doors. This will allow you to save a ton of money on paint jobs. In case your car already has scratches, use nail polish to cover up the scratch.

• Your garage contains a lot of valuable items which could attract burglars around your area. Make sure that you safeguard your garage because, aside from containing expensive tools and gadgets like your car, it is also the entrance to your home. Install a motion sensor light; a floodlight that detects motion is ideal. Install the light high enough that it’s not easy to smash or dismantle

Your front lawn is what people see when they look at your house. You must exert efforts to make your lawn look neat in order to leave the right impression with your guests and visitors. In addition to this, lawns are often spacious. You will easily be able to maximize your lawns if you know life hacks and tricks that can help you. 

The most simple life hack you can do is turning an old milk jug into a watering can, simply by puncturing holes in the cap. For an impromptu shade during the summertime, you can use an ordinary curtain to help protect your plants. Attach one end of your house and the other one on a pole or tree, and simply slide across as needed.  

Cleaning garden tools can be very difficult. For removing dust and soil from any of your garden tools, take pieces of crumpled aluminum foil and dip it in water. Use the aluminum to scrub away the things that you don’t want. In case your tools look old and rusty, you can use white vinegar to help break down the

Maintaining a clean and functional bathroom is important for your family’s hygiene. You don’ have to invest in expensive bathroom products just for bathroom maintenance.

Here are some of the things you can do to help improve your bathroom.

  • When in a bathroom, try to maximize space too. You can do this by being innovative in storing your things. You can use various household items for efficient storage.
  • You can use a spice rack for placing your bottled toiletries like hair products and lotions. For a shared bathroom, use coat hooks for storing towels in use. For extra towels, roll them up when you store them because they take up less space. It will also make your bathroom feel like a spa.
  • Use small storage solutions to easily find your stuff. Keep big containers under the sink and re-fill bottles as needed. Use a magnet strip to line up your Bobby pins or hair clips on your mirror.
  • Choose a large mirror for your bathroom. It is very useful because it will allow you to see your whole self when dressing up. Aside from this, you will also feel like your bathroom is bigger because a mirror creates the illusion of 

Your bedroom should be the most comfortable place in your home. It should allow you to relax and feel good about yourself after a long day’s work. It should be a place that you would be excited to stay in. It should be clean and organized so that it will be easier for you to rest and sleep. Just because visitors don’t usually get to see bedrooms, it does not mean that it should look like it’s been hit by a typhoon. 

Looking for ways to tidy up your bedroom? Here are some tips that could help you tidy up your bedroom in an efficient manner.

 A bedroom is a sanctuary and should be a private retreat for the individual, couple, or kids. Bedrooms are not only for sleeping though. Kids might use their bedrooms for studying or entertain visiting friends, you and your spouse might want to eat breakfast in the bedroom on a Sunday, or you might want to have a quiet spot in the house to read. Whatever the use, it should be a comfortable, stress-free space for every person.

Some quick hacks to optimize your bedroom:

1. There should be no clutter in this room at all. Never use a bedroom as a storage space and get rid of anything that does not belong here.

2. Lighter colors on the walls, furniture, curtains and linen will make the space look bigger.

3. If you want a bright or bold color, accent one wall and match your linen and décor to the wall color. A riot of color is distracting and does not lend itself to tranquility.

4. Use the walls, where ever possible, for storage. Wall-mount the dressing table. A floating dressing table clears some floor space. Use an ottoman with storage space instead of a chair at the dressing table.

5. Design your dressing table around your appliances and needs. Mount a power station (multi-plug) in a drawer to hide loose wires for the hairdryer, curling tongs, rechargeable shavers etc.

6. If storage is a problem, get rid of your side tables and build low or medium chests-of-drawers. These are perfect for jewelry, underwear, tank-tops, shorts and T-shirts. Roll or fold the clothes to be visible from the top. You will save a lot of time by finding your clothes a lot quicker. Stacked clothing in a cupboard inevitably falls over and you waste a lot of space between the top of the stacks and the next shelf.

7. Be creative if you want side tables next to the bed – use a stack of books (with a tray in top), chairs (either standing on the floor or hangings from the wall), baskets, roman columns, drinks trolleys, a bass drum (lying flat, and bonus points for converting the hi-hat into a lamp), trunks and even a slim bookcase can serve as a side table.

8. Use blinds instead of curtains for a modern look. Round off the window with crown molding in a box shape.

9. Light in the bedroom is critical. Make sure that you have ample light for the dressing table as well as a reading corner if you want one. Side lamps for the bed helps with reading as well as when you need to get up in the middle of the night. Make sure you choose the correct lamps for fit in with your décor as well as for their ultimate purpose.

10. Corners in a bedroom are a perfect place for a hanging lamp, hanging plants or just a thick dowel suspended on cables to hang your clothes for the next day. In winter, add a couple of dowels to hang your scarves and hats as an easy reach solution.

11. Make sure that you utilize the space under the bed for storing clothes or shoes that are out of season.

12. If you are in the market for a new bed, purchase one with storage space in the base of the bed.

13. To optimize the storage of clothes, place them in sturdy bags and use your vacuum cleaner to suck out the air. Seal the bag, and it will take up a fraction of the space and keep the clothes free from mold, insects and smells. Note: Zip-lock bags for this purpose are available in stores as well as online and they have handy vacuum seals built into the sides. Use them in your suitcase as well to pack double the volume of clothes when travelling.

14. Use pool noodles or hollow core cardboard tubes in your boots to keep them upright and neat.

15. In most bedrooms, space is often a problem. More often than not, we have too many things so everything just looks like a cluttered mess. There are bedrooms with too much furniture too. This could make it difficult for you to move around.

16. When you have to organize your room, you have to think of ways to maximize space. More often than not, rooms can be easily organized simply by re-arranging furniture and maximizing open space.

17. You will be surprised by how much you can maximize space. For example, the walls are never just for pictures and posters. You can simply hang hooks on walls and then use it to store your bags, purses, scarves, and other accessories.

18. Don’t ignore the space behind doors too. You can hang stuff behind your doors. It is ideal for storing things that you pick up just before leaving your home.

19. We know how difficult it is to have clothes for different seasons. As you rotate clothing, you must know how to maximize space to store the ones that are not in use. You can store unused clothes under the bed to maximize space. Just bring them out when it is time to use them again.

20. Use chair pockets to help you organize your things. This is ideal for storing stationary supplies and other things that you often use. You can hook your chair pocket to your wall for easy access.

21. You must learn how to maximize your closets too. You’ll be surprised to know that simply adding shelves in your closet will maximize space. You can easily DIY shelves if you purchase the correct materials. Ask your local hardware store about what can help you install shelves in cabinets and closets.

22. Your bedroom furniture makes a huge difference in the way your bedroom looks. From the moment you purchase your furniture, try to make sure that you have efficiency in mind. Go for dual-purpose furniture. For example, choose a mirror that doubles as storage space. Choose a chair that can also be used as a bed in case you have sudden guests who need to sleepover.

23. When you arrange your furniture, try to angle them at the corner of the room. For example, angling a couch on the corner will allow you to have some space behind which will allow you to store stuff like CDs or umbrellas.