The truth is, I don’t do a very good job keeping my house spick and span. Sure, I could try harder, but I’ve also got kids and a job and a Netflix queue, and sometimes I don’t want to think about any of it. But there are some annoying things that happen around the house that must be fixed. Like, stuff that just constantly goes wrong and makes me want to pull my hair out and cry. (I can be melodramatic sometimes.) It doesn’t matter if you live in a tiny Brooklyn apartment or a mansion in Palm Springs, there are certain pesky household problems that affect all of us. Whether it’s something that you can solve with a trip to the Container Store or a simple DIY, we’ve got the hacks that’ll fix some of your most aggravating household annoyances.
RELATED: 10 Best Cleaning Hacks for the Home
1. Bunched up duvet cover
The problem: The bane of my existence is when the comforter slides down in the duvet cover. The whole thing is bunched up at my feet, and I’m left with a heap of empty fabric to snuggle with at night.
The solution: My sister’s genius advice is to buy a duvet cover one size smaller than your comforter—that way it will fit more snuggly. Alternatively, try adhering Velcro, snaps, or strings to the corners of your comforter and securing them to similarly placed Velcro/snaps/strings on the inside corners of the duvet cover. Amazon has a few ready-made options.
2. Suctioned-in garbage bag
The problem: When it comes time to pull the trash bag out of the bin, sometimes it is completely stuck and takes major brute force (yet delicate finesse) to get it out.
The solution: Drill a small hole or two in the bin itself to prevent the suckage and allow air to flow.
3. Grimy shower curtain and grout
The problem: Without fail, the bottom of my shower curtain gets grimy and mildewy after a while, and don’t get me started on the wall and floor tiles.
The solution: According to my building manager, Dawn and white vinegar do the trick. Fill the bathtub with hot water, add equal parts Dawn and vinegar (a few squirts will do!), then let the shower curtain (just the bottom, or the whole thing) soak for an hour. Bonus: Dip an old toothbrush in the solution and clean all the grout in your bathroom while you’re at it! Additionally, Family Savvy and others suggest mixing equal parts in a spray bottle and cleaning with a more concentrated solution.
4. Tangled hangers
The problem: I hate it when the hangers get all tangled up on the pole in my closet and it is impossible to get out JUST ONE.
The solution: Remember in Mommie Dearest, when Joan Crawford’s character screamed, “No more wire hangers!”? Well, she was right. The general consensus is to ditch the wire hangers (recycle ‘em at the dry cleaner’s) and stick with plastic ones that don’t have a tendency to get jumbled. Oh, and try not to over-stuff your closet with clothes (which I may or may not be capable of doing).
5. Forgotten clothes (and/or food)
The problem: There is always something in the back of my fridge or dresser drawer that gets forgotten. It breaks my heart to throw away the shriveled artichokes I forgot were in there, or when I forget about that wool sweater until it’s too hot to wear it.
The solution: Try a Lazy Susan, if a round tray is space-appropriate. (Don’t you just love saying “Lazy Susan”?) Another easy option is adding a rack/shelf to create more space. There are some great options at The Container Store.
6. Missing socks
The problem: One sock. I don’t want just one sock, dammit! I want a pair. And I want it now.
The solution: Lock your socks together and make them prisoners of your washer and dryer for the duration of their sentence. There are some great options on Amazon.
7. Flat pillows
The problem: I hate flat pillows. I’ve been known to lose my sh*t when my husband tries to steal my fluffiest pillow. But even my wonderful fluffy pillow gets flat during the night.
The solution: Put your pillow in the dryer with one or two tennis balls every couple of months. Voila.
8. Slippery mattress topper
The problem: My super soft and amazing mattress topper always wriggles out of place after a few nights’ sleep. And don’t even get me started on trying to keep it in place when I change the sheets.
The solution: In order to keep your mattress pad cover in place, try keeping it snug with some awesome sheet straps. The pad won’t budge!
9. Jumbled containers and lids
The problem: I have a drawer brimming with plastic containers (all salvaged from Chinese takeout, hummus, cottage cheese, etc.), and when I open that drawer I can’t help but groan. I can almost NEVER find the matching lid to whichever container I grab.
The solution: “I use a plastic taco holder in the drawer to hold the lids of my food storage containers,” says Ritakmae. I tried this and it is, in fact, a brilliant solution.
I’m not saying all of my household problems have been solved. I mean, I still can’t figure out how to get one tissue out of the damn Kleenex box without pulling out five in a big ripped clump, and my shampoo and lotion bottles are forever clogged and impossible to squeeze…so if you have some good solutions (or a few more problems), please share, and we’ll work through this together.
Photo: Getty/ Eric Audras
More Cleaning & Organizing Hacks: