20 Summer Life Hacks Everyone Needs

As the mercury rises, so does the cost and effort of staying cool and comfortable indoors and out. This summer, escape the heat—and the high energy bills—with these 20 hacks for a cooler home.

  1. Pop Goes the Mess

    1/21
    Prevent popsicle ice cream mess

    ziploc.com

    Summer wouldn’t be the same without ice pops—but where there are frozen treats, there are sticky fingers...until now. This ingenious solution for enjoying summer’s sweetest treat without all the mess requires only one thing: a cupcake liner. Positioned at the base of an ice pop, the liner catches falling juice so your hands and clothes don’t have to!


    Related: 9 DIY Ideas for a Summery Backyard

  2. An Even Cooler Cooler

    2/21
    Homemade air conditioner

    Youtube via HouseholdHacker

    Still blasting your air conditioner on high and paying the price? Here’s a more energy- and cost-efficient alternative: Fill a Styrofoam cooler with ice, then mount two dryer vents and a fan in slots cut into the top. Hot air pulled into the cooler will emerge from the vents cool, crisp, and ultra-comfortable.


    Related: 7 Tricks for Keeping Cool Without AC

  3. Number One Fan

    3/21
    Run ceiling fan counterclockwise in summer

    dreamstime.com

    Switching the direction of your ceiling fan's rotation in the summer can yield sky-high energy savings. Run fans counterclockwise in the sweltering season to optimize energy use. When Old Man Winter knocks, reverse the fans to circulate warm air and help keep the heating bills down.


    Related: 21 Money-Saving Tricks That Every Homeowner Needs to Know

  4. Fruity Idea

    4/21
    Diy watermelon drink dispenser

    brit.co

    
This homemade drink dispenser packs a one-two punch of fun and function in an unlikely vessel: a watermelon. Hollow out a watermelon, slice off the top, and pierce the side with a spigot. Then, fill the "keg" with your favorite punch and replace the lid to keep the drinks—and the conversation—flowing.


    Related: 18 Inspiring Ideas for Easy Outdoor Entertaining

  5. Cold Case

    5/21
    Chill drinks fast with wet paper towel

    cupcakesandcashmere.com

    Nothing kills a party faster than a shortage of ice-cold drinks. Luckily, it takes mere moments to serve drinks chilled to perfection. Wrap a wet paper towel around a lukewarm bottle of vino, beer, or water, and place the bottle in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the bottle, then just pop the cork or lid to serve up toast-worthy libations—and keep the party going!



    Related: 10 Unexpected Things to Put in Your Freezer—And Why

  6. Genius in a Bottle

    6/21
    Diy secret stash container for beach pool

    Instructables via The King of Random

    A nondescript shampoo or lotion bottle is the perfect disguise for a beachside carryall. When strategically hollowed out, it can shelter keys, cards, or cash in plain sight. Grab an empty bottle and some scissors, cut a hole at the top of the bottle wide enough for your valuables to fit through, fill it with your personal effects, and snap the lid back on to create a secret stash that thieves will never think to raid.


    Related: The Most Cunning Secret Hiding Spots We've Ever Seen

  7. The Seven-Week Itch

    7/21
    Stop bug bite itch with toothpaste

    dreamstime.com

    Itching to spend the summer outside? Many mosquito encounters later, you might wish you'd stayed indoors—unless you've soothed your scratching with this remedy for bug bites. Dab a dot of toothpaste onto a bug bite to reduce the itchiness and swelling, and get back to the great outdoors!


    Related: 9 Surprising Alternative Uses for Toothpaste

  8. All Fired Up

    8/21
    Diy campfire from log

    Youtube via La Fabrique DIY

    If you’re a few logs shy of a campfire this summer, fuel the flames with this single-log fire pit that doubles as a grill. Using the Swedish Torch method, cut four quadrants into the top of a log. Fill the grooves with kindling, and then light it up for an evening of outdoor fun.


    Related: 7 Camping Favorites Destined for Your Home

  9. Brush It Off

    9/21
    Clean grill with onion

    dreamstime.com

    Tossed onto a hot grill, fresh onions are great for more than a savory kebab. The pungent bulb can also help clean the grill itself. Simply rub onion halves over a hot grate to loosen and lift food residue—and save you from having to vigorously scrape the grate with a grill brush.


    Related: 17 New Essentials for Your Best Ever BBQ

  10. Sun Blocks

    10/21
    Make aloe vera ice cubes for sunburn

    hellowglow.co

    Even sun worshippers with a diligent sunscreen routine can get burned. Fortunately, you can have a natural fix waiting right in your fridge. Pour pure aloe vera juice (available at most drugstores) into an ice tray, and then freeze it for an always ready-to-apply salve for sunburns.


    Related: 5 Things to Do with… Ice Cubes

  11. Condiment Artist

    11/21
    Diy fridge organizer

    neatnestorganizing.com

    Don’t recycle that do-nothing cardboard six-pack container! Repurpose it into this easy-to-carry condiment caddy. To complete the transformation, adhere contact paper to the sides of a six-pack carrier. Then, fill the compartments with condiments, napkins, and other fixings for a scrumptious summer barbecue.


    Related: 21 Brilliant Hacks for an Organized Kitchen

  12. Naptime Nook

    12/21
    Homemade hammock

    Flickr via listenmissy

    Need to sneak away from the family for some "me time"? Look to this homemade hammock for a dose of serenity and solitude in your own backyard. Assembly is simple: Tie lengths of rope to the ends of a sheet to cocoon yourself in comfort.



    Related: 10 Doable Designs for DIY Outdoor Furniture

  13. All Bundled Up

    13/21
    Picnic blanket carrier hack

    ikea.com

    Picnic baskets are so passé compared with this modern-day bindle for summer gatherings. To copy, place silverware, snacks, and other dining necessities in the center of your favorite picnic blanket. Tie opposite corners of the fabric to pack up your portable feast and tote it to the beach or park. Then, just unpack it for an instant spread—picnic blanket included.



    Related: 10 Outdoor DIYs You Can Do for a Dollar

  14. On-the-Fly Fix

    14/21
    Diy fly repellent with lemons and cloves

    asubtlerevelry.com

    Even an impeccably planned alfresco dining experience can go awry when flies land on the main course. Give the pesky intruders the boot with a dynamic duo of fruits and spices. Half an hour before serving time, adorn the table with bowls of lemon halves topped with cloves to ensure a pest-proof party.


    Related: A Dozen 10-Minute DIYs for a Pest-Free Home

  15. Bag of Tricks

    15/21
    Diy sponge ice packs

    ziploc.com

    This summer, try packing a mess-free chiller in your child’s lunch box or picnic pack. Freeze a clean dish sponge in a ziplock bag. As the water melts, the sponge will absorb it, leaving sandwiches and snacks fresh and crisp. Best of all, this ice pack can be refrozen to use the next day, so you can keep food cool all season long.


    Related: 10 Things You Didn't Know a Sponge Can Do

  16. Drive-By DIY

    16/21
    Cool down your car in summer

    dreamstime.com

    Slapping a shade on the dashboard does little to deter the sun’s rays from raising the temperature inside your car to sauna-like levels. The real cure for a hot car? Open and close a door five to six times to expel the hot air and invite a cool, comfortable breeze to join you on your summer road trip.


    Related: 12 Ideas to Steal from the Most Organized Garages

  17. Fiery Flavors

    17/21
    Easy diy firestarter

    Flickr via lexnger

    When the matchbox is empty and you need a rapid-fire technique to start a fire, look no further for kindling than a bag of Doritos or other chips. Good for more than satisfying a snack craving, the triangular treats can feed a fledgling fire, thanks to their high fat content.


    Related: 11 Fire Bowls to Heat Up Your Outdoor Living Area

  18. Nursery Nanny

    18/21
    Water plants with wine bottle

    Instructables via kriste3582

    Call on this wine bottle nanny before you leave for vacation—not to tend to your kids, but your nursery! Once you've drilled a hole through the cap or cork, fill the bottle with water and place it upside down in a potted plant. The makeshift caretaker will offer a steady supply of water to a plant's thirsty roots.


    Related: Your Easiest-Ever Garden: 7 Planters That Do All the Work

  19. Old Softy

    19/21
    Stop freezer burn

    ziploc.com

    Just like other foodstuffs that spend too long hibernating in the fridge, ice cream can fall victim to freezer burn. Fortunately for frugal ice cream lovers, a little care can keep your frozen delight safe from this scourge. Simply store your ice cream cartons in ziplock bags to keep them as soft and easy to scoop as they were the day you bought them.


    Related: 11 Seriously Surprising Uses for a Ziplock Bag

  20. Cold, Hard Truth

    20/21
    Ice cold water with half frozen bottle

    Instructables via The King of Random

    The only thing that can make a boiling-hot day worse is trying to quench your thirst with lukewarm water. To keep this from happening to you, fill some water bottles halfway, then lay them on their side in the freezer. When it's time for a cool drink, grab a bottle, fill it up with your beverage of choice, and let the wall of ice in the bottle keep your drink perfectly chilled—and refreshing—for hours.


    Related: 8 Budget Buys to Bring Indoor Comfort to Outdoor Living

  21. Relief from the Heat

    21/21
    20 summer life hacks everyone needs

    bobvila.com

    With these great hacks, you'll stay cool even when the temperature soars.

  22. See the House of the Week

    Hotw600x450

    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!