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‘Tis the season to be merry! While “being merry” for some may involve the enjoyment of festive adult beverages, or perhaps cozying up to someone with a warm mug of tea,  it’s also important to remember to keep properly hydrated at holiday time. In efforts to keep hydrated and also provide more drink options for your guests and their kids, why not give holiday infused water a try?

There are many varieties of flavored water on the market, but sometimes they get their natural flavor in not-so-natural ways. But it doesn’t have to be that way. All you need is a simple flavor infuser, water and a few fresh ingredients of your choice to make a delicious holiday drink that’s as crisp and refreshing as a new layer of snow on Christmas morning.

Check out these tried and true holiday-infused water recipes or get creative with festive flavor combinations of your own.

Apple Cinnamon Ginger Water

Nancy Creative was inspired to create infused water that’s as fitting for fall as it is winter. Fresh sliced apples are delicious, especially when combined with cinnamon sticks as the perfect combination. Looking to spice it up ever so slightly? Adding fresh ginger root will do the trick. Combine all ingredients into an infuser ball, refrigerate overnight and enjoy the next day! As Nancy mentions, if you squeeze fresh lemon juice on your apple slices before putting them in the infuser, they won’t turn brown, so your water creation will look fresh as can be!

Cranberry and Mint Water

This cranberry and mint water is courtesy Oh So Delicioso and it is just that…oh so delicious! The red of the cranberries and green of the fresh mint simply pull in the colors of Christmas into one festive, refreshing drink of water that’s made extra refreshing by the cooling mint. Combine fresh cranberries and mint and feel free to serve immediately!

If you’d prefer something with a bit more citrus flavor, combine the mint with grapefruit instead! According to The Chalkboard, a grapefruit is a great option for flavor as it helps to boost metabolism (ideal considering the holiday feast we’re all about to eat!), strengthens our immune system and has the power to reduce stress – even the stress from holiday gift shopping!

Sometimes it’s not easy to meet all of your water-drinking needs during the holiday season, but these creative holiday-infused water recipes make drinking water a bit more merry and bright.

Now that we’ve been in fall for a while, you’ve probably swapped your shorts and flip-flops for leggings and boots and chances are you are anxiously planning the next time you can take a beach vacation when you’re scraping frost off your car in the morning. Did you also retire your grill for the colder months? You don’t have to!  Just because the temperatures are dropping and the leaves are turning colors doesn’t mean that you have to part ways with your best friend of the last four or so months.

When it comes to fall grilling, you can add a bit more creativity to your endeavors. New produce is available and the flavor combinations are very robust. That being said, here are three ways to keep an open flame this fall.

  1. Roasted vegetables – Grilling your vegetables helps to eliminate any messes in the kitchen. Keep the roasting pans in the cupboard because all you’ll need is the grill and some foil. Squash, onions, carrots, and potatoes are all delicious vegetables that you can cook right on the grill. Prep with your favorite produce tools, toss them in some olive oil and the spices of your liking, then place them on heavy-duty foil to begin the roasting process on the grill.
  2. Get creative – There’s nothing wrong with classics like grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, but the fall lends itself to a bit more creativity when it comes to marinades! Dark, seasonal beers are not only good for drinking; they’re good for marinating as well. Find a recipe that tickles your fancy. Reserve a portion of the marinade on the side and use our Bottletop Baster to brush on a final coating before serving!
  3. Fruity ideas – Apples, bananas, figs, peaches, and pineapple are just a few fruits that are delicious on the grill.  After you initially grill them, can coat them in a mixture of butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and return them to the grill. The sugary mixture should crystallize. Once you see the beautiful amber coloring on your fruits, remove and serve over ice cream.

Have you ever watched the TV show Extreme Couponing? It’s absolutely insane in the most wonderful sense of the word. Families have a coupon clipping system in place that basically gives them hundreds of dollars of groceries for pennies on the dollar. Most people that are extreme couponers seem to treat it like a full-time job and spend their entire day gathering coupons (sometimes going through the garbage to add to their stockpile), clipping, printing online offers, and organizing their coupons in a way that truly lets their Type-A personalities shine. But it all pays off that moment they are at the checkout and the clerk tells them their $500 grocery trip is going to cost them a mere twelve cents.

Now, let’s be honest: there are a few issues with the show and the idea, because it seems like a lot of the things they buy aren’t necessarily things they need. One episode had a woman buying cat food, but she didn’t have a cat. Interviews with many extreme couponers discuss how they have to throw away a lot of their products because they expire. Often, you’ll see shoppers buying pretty unhealthy foods to feed their families.  Enough Hamburger Helper to feed a family of four every night for a year? Probably not the best dinner decision.

All of the couponers, however, do seem to share some common strategies when they go shopping that can help make the most out of your time at the grocery store.  Here are five tips for how to not only clip coupons effectively but also organize your shopping trip:

  1. Organize your coupons. Many people clip coupons and “put them away”–which usually means losing them or forgetting to use them before they expire. There are lots of ways to organize, and you have to find what’s best for you.  Some people organize their coupons based on category (baby food, spaghetti, soda, etc), others by the coupon’s expiration date. 

    The Jokari Coupon Holder

    Depending on how many coupons you clip, you may want to use a binder, a school supply box or even a coupon holder that you can fasten to your shopping cart when you go to the store.

  2. Get to know your grocery store. Organize your shopping trip based on the layout of your store. This way, you’re not running back and forth trying to find what you need. 
  3. Know the best times to shop. Don’t go to the grocery store on a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon and expect to be in and out. Wake up early up or go late on a weeknight. Grocery stores are ghost towns after 9 pm.
  4. Talk to people in the produce department or the meat department.  Be nice. Ask the butcher about his family or the cake decorator about her recent vacation.  It may not save you time, but being friendly and having people who smile when they see you always make a shopping trip better.
  5. Use grocery store apps for extra savings. Many grocery stores have a weekly free product for people who use their app.  It may not be something that interests you, but you never know unless you get it.

What tips help make you a grocery shopping and coupon clipping champ? Share in the comments section below! The Jokari Coupon Holder helps take the stress out of grocery shopping. Just another way we help you make life better.

 

Despite a somewhat warm transition into the season, September 22nd  was actually the first day of fall. As cooler weather settles in, scraping frost off of our car windows and zipping up jackets once again becomes part of our daily routines. Cool weather also means eating more comfort food to help keep us feeling warm and cozy. Here are three ways to maintain healthy eating habits this fall, even though pumpkin-spiced lattes and other calorie-laden foods are inevitably on the horizon.


Don’t let life throw you for a loop.

The kids are back in school and with that comes after-school activities, practices and more, which doesn’t leave you a lot of time to make or serve a healthy meal – or so you thought! Rather than becoming a regular at your favorite fast food chain, take the time to plan ahead and meal prep your weekly meals. Not only will this help you stay organized, but it will also help you stay healthy as you make a conscious effort to find recipes that are full of nutrients and won’t add on the extra pounds.


Fall into produce.

Watermelons, berries, peaches and the like are saying goodbye for another year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the delicious fall varieties of produce. Fall lends itself to healthy fruits and vegetables, like crisp apples, Vitamin A-packed pumpkin, Brussel sprouts and more! Fruits and vegetables with dark, rich colors are packed with essential vitamins and nutrients and can help you avoid piling on extra pounds. Kale is also an extremely nutritious and versatile vegetable to add to your repertoire. Here’s a simple Lemon-Garlic Kale Salad recipe from the New York Times to get you started!


Stay hydrated.

In the warm summer months, you are constantly aware of your thirst, so much that it may seem like you can never have enough water on hand. As the temperatures start to cool off, you might not be as cognizant of your daily water intake because you might not be feeling as parched. However, staying hydrated is very important in keeping your body running at an optimal level and keeping your immune system strong. Make sure you’re getting at least eight, eight-ounce glasses of water every day.

 

We are huge fans of repurposing things here at Jokari. Sure, you can get a lot of use out of everyday products the way they were intended. But it’s incredible how many OTHER ways you can use things, too. This week we went a little bananas. Literally.

There are several uses for bananas for that have nothing to do with eating them. Here are seven sensational uses for bananas:

Gardening. Plant a whole banana by the roots of your rosebush to help your roses grow.  You can also use the peel to help your tomato plant absorb nutrients, or use the peel in compost.

Shine your shoes.  Yup. You can shine dark leather shoes with the inside of a banana peel.

Remove splinters. Because banana peels can soften skin, you can use them to help get a deep splinter out of your skin. Cut a chunk of the peel off, tape it to the area with medical tape overnight. In the morning, remove the peel and you will see that the splinter has worked its way out and should be sticking to the pulp of the peel!

Relieve poison ivy itch. Rub the peel over poison ivy to reduce itchiness and encourage healing.

Whiten your teeth. Simply rub the inside of a banana peel on your teeth every night for two minutes, then brush your teeth as usual. Just make sure to use a new peel each night!

Use the skin for…better skin. While we’re on the subject of nightly beauty rituals…you can also rub the inside of a banana peel on your face every night.  Rinse your face in the morning when you wake up.

Polish silverware. Crazy, right? But you can rub a banana peel on your silverware and restore its shine. Just make sure to remove any stringy material from inside the peel before you start. Finish by buffing silverware with a paper towel or cloth.

Of course, eating bananas is also encouraged. Try our banana hook to keep your bananas fresher, prevent bruising, and lasting longer.

It’s Tuesday night and your kids are begging for something special for dessert. You don’t have time to make cookies, but you don’t want to spend the money to go out for ice cream. What do you do? Make some tasty mug desserts, of course!

MICROWAVE JELLY DONUT (Source: Bigger Bolder Baking)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (1oz/30g) Butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry jam
  • Cinnamon sugar to garnish

Directions

  1. Place butter into a microwavable mug and microwave until just melted. (roughly 20 seconds)
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients; mix well with a fork until just combined
  3. Once the batter is mixed place the spoonful of jam down into the batter
  4. Microwave for 45 seconds or until is firm on top (time may vary, depending on microwave power). Always keep a close eye on your mug while in the microwave so it doesn’t overflow or overcook.
  5. Sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on top and enjoy immediately.

S’MORES MUG CAKE (Source: Kirbie’s Cravings)

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp graham cracker flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp low-fat milk
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp graham cracker crumbles
  • 1 1/2 tbsp one-inch chocolate discs halved
  • 3 large torched marshmallows

Directions

  1. Combine flour, powdered graham crackers, baking powder, oil, milk, and sugar into a microwave-safe mug at least 8 oz in size.
  2.  Mix with a small whisk until no flour chunks remain. Stir in graham cracker crumbles and 1 tbsp of chocolate disc halves. Add remaining chocolate discs on top of the batter.
  3. Cook in the microwave for about 1 minute. Top of cake should look done and the surface of the cake should be dry rather than gooey.
  4. Torch marshmallows with a kitchen torch and add on top to the still-warm cake, pushing down slightly so that the marshmallows partially melt onto the cake surface. Serve immediately.

FUNFETTI MUG CAKE (Source: Five Heart Home)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon rainbow sprinkles

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and baking powder until thoroughly, completely combined, with no streaks of any ingredients remaining.
  2. Blend in milk, butter, vanilla, and almond extract until batter is smooth. Quickly stir in 1 tablespoon of sprinkles.
  3. Pour batter into a 14-ounce (or larger) microwave-safe mug with straight sides. Top with remaining 1 teaspoon sprinkles.
  4. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes (give or take 30 seconds depending on the strength of your microwave), or until cake is done to your liking. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.

SINGLE SERVING APPLE CRISP (Source: Well Floured)

Ingredients

  • 1 small gala apple, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, divided
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted

Directions

  1. In a small microwave-safe bowl combine the apples, granulated sugar, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
  2. Combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, and remaining 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
  3. Add the melted butter and stir to combine everything.
  4. Top apples with the oat mixture.
  5. Microwave on high 90 – 120 seconds. Careful- the bowl will be HOT!
  6. Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Remember: Each of these recipes makes one mug dessert. And make sure to use our Bowl Holder to avoid burns when removing from the microwave!

Diagnosis: Chronically Messy

Definition: A person who is unable to keep a house, apartment or room neat, clean, organized, or sanitary.

Symptoms: Clothes and dishes all over the place, unpleasant odor, tripping constantly, inability to locate important items, frustration, rationalization, and procrastination.

Cure: Unknown

Sadly, there may never be a complete cure for this affliction. There are, however, steps you can take to get your illness under control and vastly improve your lifestyle.

frustrated woman with mess

1. Surround Yourself with Pro-Organizers

We’re not suggesting that you’ll succumb to peer pressure, but you’ll see how much easier their lives are and that will motivate you to get more organized, too. Not only that, but pro-organizers can be a helpful resource for pro-tips. They’re the best sources for hacks from how to fold best to how to budget and keep a calendar. Who knows, they love it so much they may even offer to help you straighten up from time to time.

2. Do One Chore Per Day (not all at once)

Doing your cleaning all at once is a bad idea if you hate doing it. It may be nice to have every single thing clean (for once), but it’ll make you a lot less motivated to do it next time. You’ll think back to when you had to do it last and say to yourself, but that took so long… and it was so terrible… I’ll do it another day. That’s why it keeps getting pushed off in the first place. Breaking it up into smaller chunks is a lot less time consuming and it keeps the place from every digressing into total messy chaos.

3. Clean Smart

Remember: Cleaning everything at once is a bad idea. So, if you’re looking for a place to start, you need to clean smart. Start with the area in your room or house that is causing the most inconvenience in your life and work backwards from there, gradually getting to the least intrusive messes you’ve made. Seeing the immediate difference that cleaning one mess makes in the convenience of your life will motivate you to keep going.

having fun cleaning

4. Make it Fun (sort of)

If you hate cleaning, you probably won’t ever describe it as something ‘fun’, but there are ways to improve the experience. What would you be doing during your downtime if you were putting off cleaning? Probably listening to a podcast, watching Netflix, listening to music- something along those lines? Well, do that while you clean. This way you don’t feel like you have to take a break from your life to clean and focusing on something you enjoy will experience more fun (or at least less painful).

5. Identify Your Worst Habits: They’re Now Off-Limits

It could be hoarding dishes in your room, leaving dishes in the sink, leaving shoes laying around, leaving clothes all over the floor- whatever it may be, it has to stop. But, again, baby steps. Just identify the top two or three mess-creating actions you do. How you want to rank them is up to you: whether it’s by what creates the biggest messes or the most inconvenient messes. Force yourself stop those habits. You may never eliminate your messiness all together, but honing in on one or two behaviors is doable and will greatly improve your lifestyle.

woman vacuuming

6. A Place For Everything, Not a Place for Anything

If you’re a disorganized person by trade, you’ve probably once uttered the phrase, I hate cleaning because then I never know where my stuff is. It sounds crazy, but even though your room might be a mess, there’s often a method to your madness. So cleaning can sometimes have the opposite effect that it should, actually making it harder for you to locate your belongings.

We recommend finding a place for everything, but if you’re worried about messing up your messy system, organize things so simply even you won’t forget it. Use labels and invest in clothing or purse racks. When you’re organizing your closet, do it by color or season (or both). Even keeping a master list of where everything important is may help, just until you get used to the new system. If at any point you find yourself asking, Will I remember that I’m putting this here? -find another place for it. Let’s face it: if you have trouble finding your things, it’s not going to be long before they end up back where they were. Mainly on your floor.

With the summer season in full swing, everyone wants to feel good and healthy. Any summer diet would be incomplete without one ingredient: fresh veggies. They’re incredibly healthy for you, low calorie, and filling- perfect for keeping you feeling energetic in the summer heat. But finding fresh veggies isn’t an intuitive process, it takes some serious research. And you don’t want to be googling avocados all day- you want to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. Well, you won’t be-leaf how easy it is to find fresh veggies with these tips:

Artichokes: When choosing artichokes, look for ones that have tight leaves and feel heavy for their size. One neat trick is to rub the leaves together and listen. If they squeak- it’s good!

Asparagus: You’ll want ones that have smooth, firm, and brightly-colored stalks. Make sure to get ones that have stalks of equal thickness to ensure even cooking times on all sides. Avoid ones with limp stalks.
avocados

Avocados: Avocados are one of the trickier veggies when it comes to ripeness. Choose ones that feel slightly soft to the touch. Slightly avocados may be ripened at home (similar to bananas), but avoid rock-hard ones and ones with dents.

Broccoli: Choose broccoli with firm stalks, tight florets, and green leaves. Avoid those that have yellowed or flowering florets.

Brussels Sprouts: Avoid brussel sprouts with loose or wilted outer leaves. Instead, choose ones with firm and bright green heads.

carrots

Carrots: When choosing carrots, look for ones that are firm and smooth- without rootlets.

Celery: Look for unblemished and green stalks and leaves- avoid any with yellow coloring.

Corn: Corn should have bright green husks and slightly moist silk. Make sure you also peel back the husk and check that the kernels are plump.

Cucumbers: When choosing cucumbers, just make sure you’re picking ones that are uniformly green (again, no yellow).

Green Beans: Choose slender beans that aren’t bendable. Ideally, they should snap rather than bend.

Kale: When it comes to veggies, yellow is typically your worst enemy- with Kale it’s no different. Avoid yellow leaves and instead choose those that are crisp and deeply colored.

lettuce

Lettuce, Spinach, and Other Leafy Greens: Look for greens with fresh, crisp leaves- stay away from those that are wilted or slimy.

Peas: The pods should be crisp and green. Avoid dried, bulging, yellow (again, worst enemy), or white pods.

Peppers: These should be shiny peppers and should also feel heavy for their size.

Potatoes: Good potatoes shouldn’t have green spots, bruises, or sprouts. Look for ones that are both smooth and firm.

Radishes: Choose radishes with unblemished roots and green tops.

Tomatoes: This is one where you’ll get weird looks in the grocery store- but it’s worth it! Tomatoes should be fragrant with an earthy smell at the stem end. They should also feel heavy for their size and the skin should be smooth.

When you’re a busy parent, you find yourself wishing for even just a few extra minutes. This is especially true with summer vacation arriving. Whether you’re planning a trip out of town or indulging in a “staycation,” whatever you can do to save some time is extremely welcome. Here are a few ways to shave the seconds and beat the clock.

PREMADE MEALS
Making meals that can be grabbed and eaten on the go are great for when you need energy between drives. Likewise, dinners that just need to be popped in the oven- or even just pulled from the fridge- are fantastic for nights when you don’t have the time to cook.

THE GO BAG
Do you always forget something at home? Do you end up needing something left behind more than you thought you would? Try using a Go Bag. Simply take any bag- an old diaper bag is fantastic for this- and fill with stuff like laundry pens, medicine, sunscreen, and other necessities. Leave it in your car and you’ll never be without those vitals ever again!

mom carrying shopping bag

SHOP ONCE, SAVE BIG
If you go to the grocery store multiple times a week, try condensing it into one larger trip. While this visit may take longer than the usual quick shop, it’ll ultimately save you time the rest of the week. Find coupons and check offers before shopping as well, and make sure to prepare a list. If you know what you’re after, you’re less likely to waste time browsing (and waste money on unneeded food).

DEAL WITH THE MAIL

When you grab your mail, take care of it immediately. Don’t throw it onto the table to deal with later; you’re wasting time by revisiting it. Throw out the junk, separate the coupons from the bills, and read any letters or cards you received. If you’re on your way out the door or already late, wait to go through it until you can without being rushed.

sticky notes on car wheel

USE YOUR COMMUTE
If you’re a working parent, take advantage of rush hour by turning it into you-time. Practice singing or a foreign language. Record an audio journal or plan your tasks for the next week. Just be careful to stay aware of traffic. The last thing you want is to get too involved and forget to actually drive!

PLAN YOUR WARDROBE
If you find yourself spending too much time staring into your closet, try planning your outfits in advance. Hang a top and bottom on the same hanger with any accessories you want to include for that day, then you just need to get dressed and slip on your shoes. Our hanger pockets are great for holding jewelry and other accessories with each outfit.

child doing chores

THE CHORE CHART
The bane of kids everywhere but the savior of parents: the chore chart. Schedule everybody’s tasks for the week, making sure they don’t overlap or get done twice. Make sure you include yourself (and your spouse) on there to make things fair for the little ones. If you need added incentive, promise allowance or prizes like trips to the movies for chore completion. Just make sure you pay up!

PLANNING AHEAD
Hang a family calendar in a communal area, like the kitchen or hallway. Tell your kids that whenever they make plans, they’re to write when and where it is on the calendar. Keep pens and a step stool nearby for younger kids who might be unable to reach. Now, whenever you need a refresher on where you’re headed, just check the calendar and you’ll know! (For extra security, add the events to your phone so you’ll remember on the go.)

What are your tips for saving time, busy parents? Let us know in the comments!

When you travel somewhere, do you tie a ribbon to your luggage so it stands out from the rest? Have you ever used an ice cube to get gum out of someone’s hair? Maybe there’s a tennis ball hanging in your garage so you know exactly where to park your car without hitting the wall. All of these are examples of solutions people have found to everyday problems that help make life a little easier.

person on pinterest

If you do an internet search, you’ll be amazed at the number of blog posts, websites, videos and Pinterest boards are out there that are devoted to tips like these. There are easy ideas like putting your cell phone in an empty pint glass to form a makeshift speaker or using your knuckles to figure out which months have 31 days. If you’re a little more adventurous and crafty, you could save money by making your own liquid hand soap using a cheese grater and a less expensive bar of soap. There are an infinite number of ideas that can help bring out that little bit of MacGyver that’s in all of us.

Some people call them Lifehacks, and other people just call them tips or tricks. But no matter what you call them, these unique solutions have been around for a while…and they probably all can be traced back millions of years to fire.

campfire

It was 1.8 million years ago that our predecessors discovered the controlled use of fire. This is arguably the ultimate in life hacks, and without a doubt it revolutionized the world as we know it today. But, while controlled use of fire changed how we were able to survive and evolve, starting a fire is something that people today still struggle to perfect. If you do a google search of “how to build a fire,” you get over 12 million results, all claiming to be the best.

But we all know that there is no “one size fits all” approach to anything…even building a fire. We all live different lives with different obstacles and different preferences…we all even hold pens differently. That being said, there is no way one hack works for everyone.. Thanks to the internet, however, we have a chance to find the perfect solution for each of us.

Today, you can find a slew of products, tips, and blog posts with simple (and not-so-simple) solutions to everyday problems. People with arthritis have used (and broken) their teeth to open bottles until someone created a product to help open bottles with ease. Mathematicians have taken the guesswork out of when it makes the most sense to play the lottery. Have rotten bananas? Use a banana hook to keep them fresher longer. Want to clean your computer’s keyboard? Use a post-it note. Wrinkled shirt and no time to iron? Hang it in the bathroom while you shower. If you really want to make your own ice cream sandwiches, there are even videos that show how by using a knife to cut slices out of the pint and putting them between two cookies you can create a culinary treat that parallels something you’d find in a five-star restaurant.

While some of these solutions may seem trivial, if you added up the time you saved, not to mention the reduction of frustration and stress you feel, people are really changing their lives by incorporating a few products or simple tips into how they do things.

microwave

One of the biggest areas where people are looking for ways to make life easier is in the kitchen. In 1967, the first domestic microwave was introduced and that dramatically changed the way we did things in the kitchen. The microwave cut down on cooking time, reduced the need to use so many pots and pans (thus reducing cleanup time), and allowed us to reheat leftovers almost instantaneously. Today, approximately 97% of American homes have microwave ovens. But the microwave is just a starting point.

There are an infinite number of kitchen gadgets available on the market today. While people living in the Bronze age used kitchen utensils made of (obviously) bronze, the Iron age brought more sophisticated food tools and as we evolved, we added strainers and the mortar and pestle, which eventually paved the way for jello molds, indoor grills, salad spinners…the list goes on and on. Today, you can even buy a fork that will signal to you with a flashing light if you are eating too fast for your food to be properly digested.

According to Gourmet Insider, the kitchen tool and gadget industry took in $59.8 million in 2016, an increase of 6% from the year before. The number is expected to rise as people entertain from home more, return to canning their own foods, and focus on portion control. The innovations in the industry are never-ending. Whether you want a tech-fueled kitchen or a back-to-basics setup, there is a gadget or two that will help you save time.

wheel

We all know that making life easier doesn’t just stop in the kitchen. The amount of gadgets out there, whether fueled by cutting-edge technology or not, is astounding. The earliest example of a gadget would be the wheel. Can you imagine life without the wheel? It made a huge impact on our society, and nowadays, almost everything uses the wheel in some way or another. One of the most amazing facts about the wheel is that, while most inventions are inspired by nature, the wheel was completely thought of by man. According to the Smithsonian, there are no wheels that exist in nature. You never know where great ideas will come from, you just have to be open to them.

If you are struggling to find a way to simplify your life in one arena, you are probably not alone. Not only that, but given our technological advances and availability, when it comes to gadgets, if you can dream it, it probably exists (or you could make it!). From smartphones to aromatherapy socks you put in the microwave, the options are endless. When Bill Gates said, “Never before in history has innovation offered promise of so much to so many in so short a time,” maybe he wasn’t specifically talking about life hacks. But it applies, and it’s application should inspire us to find new ways to do everyday things.

The importance of gadgetry doesn’t go unnoticed. According to google analytics, people search for different types of gadgets over 100,000 times per month. And you can get even more specific by looking for tech gadgets, kitchen gadgets, and even gadgets to help improve your yoga practice are out there on the market. “There’s a way to do it better–find it,” urged Thomas Edison. Even if someone else’s lifehack idea is not quite what you are looking for, it may inspire you to create your own.

But it’s not just about the gadgets. A simple tip to doing things differently or a motivational quote to keep you inspired are also considered ways of making life easier.

recycled art

Of course, there are also people who will show you ways to repurpose items you already possess in new ways you never imagined. There are artists whose entire visions are based on repurposing everyday objects, even trash we would normally throw away, into art. You can get step-by-step instructions to learn how to make beads from plastic grocery bags or turn an old ladder into a bookcase. If you have a t-shirt drawer filled with shirts you don’t wear anymore, or clothes your kids have outgrown but that have too much sentimental value to give away, you can repurpose them into a quilt out of clothes you no longer wear.

Finding gadgets and tips to make our lives easier doesn’t make us lazy. It really has a lot more to do with prioritizing. If you can save time by doing your banking online with an app, or keep your jeans lasting longer by putting them in the freezer instead of washing them, why wouldn’t you? It also makes for great conversation to share things you are doing in life to make it easier. People love to hear a good tip and the more offbeat, the better.

lifehack cords

What does this all mean? It’s pretty simple, actually. As humans, we constantly realize we want to live our best lives ever. If there are products out there to help us achieve that, then most of us are willing to give them a try. If there is a tip that will save us time at work or in the kitchen or help us keep our finances in order, then we will use it. If our goal is to live a fulfilling life, then gadgets and life hacks are a big part of reaching that goal. The benefits of saving time doing the mundane so we can focus on what makes us happy are reason enough to keep searching for these tips and tricks as we go through each day.