| Irena Guettel |
Hamburg (dpa) – Dave Hax holds half a kiwifruit over a glass. He pulls the fruit over the curved lip and, just like that, the skin is gone. He then repeats the process, using the edge of a tumbler to peel a mango and an avocado.
In another video, he takes some room-temperature lemonade and puts it in a bowl with ice cubes and salt. Voila. In two minutes, it’s refreshingly cool. He takes a T-shirt and folds it in less than two seconds, just by using the thumbs and forefingers of both hands. Society has come a long way since the days when people would turn to their grandmother for advice on how to deal with a myriad of household problems.
Now there’s life hacking – figuring out how to creatively deal with everyday questions and problems by searching for answers amid blogs and video posts online. As a bonus, it’s probably more exciting than anything grandmother would have ever recommended.
Thousands have watched Hax, a Briton, share his tips. And he’s in good company.
Countless others have taken to the Internet to share their tips for making life a little easier, combining a touch of humour and videos or pictures to upend the world of advice guides. Some ideas seem to be taken from your grandmother’s bag of tricks.
Others just seem insane.
But they all know how cool it can be to help others, especially if your tips are ingenious.
How do you remove scratches from a nice wooden chair? Or how do you render oversalted soup edible?
People with more life experience might not have to stop to come up with the answer because they learned it from their elders. But it’s no longer a given that such information is handed down from generation to generation.
“In 80 per cent of households, this transfer of knowledge from generation to generation isn’t happening,” says trend researcher Karin Frick. Which is why more and more people are turning to the Internet for information they would have once gotten from a grandparent.
Life hacking is a relatively new phenomenon. Many of its practitioners don’t take it, or themselves, too seriously. Tips range from the helpful to the banal. Leif Kramp, a Bremen-based cultural researcher, says he thinks it is a pop phenomenon that wouldn’t be possible without social media.
“The contributions are shared and commented upon quickly and efficiently with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.”
The trend originated in the United States.
“There are some practitioners who practically do it professionally,” says Kramp.
Several seem to be into it just so they can outdo other hackers with their creative solutions.
And a lot of the tips are so simple, viewers find themselves asking how they couldn’t have come up with that solution on their own. Others see tricks they’ve used before, without knowing that their approach could be considered a life hack.
Website 9gag.com lists the 20 best tips for students. Use a toilet paper roll as a pencil holder; use an old pizza box as a dustpan; or just use a pen to hold a book open to a desired page.
Other tips are more ambitious. When on a picnic, consider creating a barbecue grill out of jam jars and aluminium foil. Or create a sound system for your smartphone with two plastic cups and a toilet paper roll.
Other tips are questionable. Are people really going to start washing their potatoes in a dishwasher or cooking spaghetti in a filter-coffee machine? Then again, life hacks aren’t just about advice. Always remember they have a humorous element.