Instagram | @laura_calder

7+ Genius Items That Were Hiding In Plain Sight All Along

Emily McWilliams 21 Nov 2018

You've probably used the items on this list thousands of times and never gave them a second thought.

Well, you better hold on tight, because this article will change the way you look at common household objects forever.

While these simple objects were there all along, hiding in plain sight were the hidden features that make them even more useful. I just wish someone had told me about these hacks sooner.

Ketchup bottles

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Glass ketchup bottles are still a fixture at diners and restaurants across the country.

You might even be one of those people who goes out of their way to buy a glass bottle over the squeeze bottles.

For anyone who has ever used a glass ketchup bottle from Heinz, you've probably noticed the raised "57" etched on the glass.

While it would appear that the 57 is simply there for decoration, it's actually to show you where to hit the bottle to get the ketchup out. No more struggling!

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Pot handles

Reddit | mountfig

Everyone has that moment when they're cooking where they have no idea where to rest their spoon after stirring the pot.

I'm pretty sure even Gordon Ramsey has this problem.

Apparently, that little hole in the handle of your pot is for you to stick your spoon in. Well, now I just feel foolish.

Since learning about this hack, I've actually used it and it has changed my life.

Okay, well maybe it didn't change my life, but I do know where to put my spoon now.

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Gas gauges

Instagram | @theradicalgadget

This is a handy tip to keep in your back pocket, especially if you're driving a rental car.

You've probably noticed that little arrow next to the gas icon on your dashboard and thought nothing of it. It just looks like part of the design, right?

That arrow actually indicates what side your gas cap is on.

That way, you don't have to guess which side you should pump on at the station and risk getting it wrong.

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Ketchup cups

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The next time you're grabbing a quick bite from your favorite fast food joint, resist the urge to fill 10 of those little ketchup cups.

Even if you're a ketchup fiend, one of these cups should be enough if you know how to use them correctly.

Pull along the edge of the cup and it'll start to expand. You can now use the cup to hold twice as much ketchup as before, and you'll be able to easily reach the ketchup at the bottom on the cup.

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Tape Measures

Instagram | @boredinthebasement

Maybe this one was obvious to anyone who uses a tape measure regularly, but since I am not one of those people it was news to me.

You know that little metal tab on the end of a tape measure? I always thought it was there to make the tape measure easy to pull out.

Its actual purpose is so that you can hook it on the end of nails or the edges of a board.

Ohhhhhhh, that makes a lot more sense.

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Ointment tubes

Instagram | @momsstoreac

If there is one thing I dread, it's trying to remove that small, foil seal from the end of ointments. It is impossible.

I always chalked up their difficulty to child safety seals, but it turns out I was just opening them wrong this whole time. Whoops.

If you look at the cap, you'll notice it's hollow with a piece of plastic in the middle.

You're supposed to turn the cap around and use that piece of plastic to pierce the foil. How did I go so long without knowing about this?

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Pudding lids

Reddit | SmashleyRUFU

I'm not sure who the brave person who discovered this trick is, but thank you, mystery lifehacker, for ensuring we never go hungry if we forget a spoon.

This hack is pretty self-explanatory, but here's the rundown: if you don't have a spoon, you can fold a pudding lid to make a DIY spoon.

This hack also works for applesauce and yogurt.

Basically, if your snack comes with a foil lid, you can make yourself a snack scoop. Brilliant!

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Drink lids

Reddit | drewbles86

I'm fairly certain that this was not the intended purpose for drink lids, but it is genius nonetheless.

If you've ever eaten fast food in the car, you know that there is no easy solution when it comes to dipping your fries in ketchup.

Squeezing those to-go packages on a paper bag is messy and makes your fries taste like cardboard.

From now on, ask for a second drink lid and turn it upside down for a DIY ketchup cup. So smart!

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Tic Tac containers

Imgur

There is a chance that even after learning about the true intention behind a Tic Tac container, I'll still proceed to pour out a pile and eat them all at once.

If you have self-restraint, keep reading.

There is a Tic Tac-shaped notch in the lid of the package. If you turn the container upside-down, one will land in the notch.

That's how you're supposed to dispense them.

This also cuts down on people touching the Tic Tac when you're giving one to a friend.

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Backpack lash tabs

Instagram | @herschelsanandres

If you have never heard of a lash tab on your backpack, it's that diamond shape that resembles an electrical outlet.

I don't think I'm alone in saying that I always assumed it was just there for aesthetic purposes. It does look really cool.

Well, as it turns out, there is a practical use for this diamond. You can hang things from those little slots.

Way back when, explorers would use them to hang ice axes.

I wouldn't recommend hanging an axe and going out in public. Maybe stick to something likle a water bottle instead.

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Jacket shoulder buttons

Twitter | @Francheskahor6

Here's another item that I thought was purely for looks and had no functional value. Boy, was I wrong.

If you have a military-style jacket, you've probably noticed these straps and buttons on the shoulders before.

Again, I thought they were part of the fashion statement, but it turns out you can use these to secure your bag so it won't slip off.

Soldiers used to have these as a part of their uniform. It all makes sense now. The more you know.

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Shopping carts

Reddit | Kanhai05

Oh, how I underestimated the humble shopping cart.

Sure, a few of them have a squeaky wheel now and then, but I never appreciated their engineering until now.

I recently discovered that those wire loops near the cart's handle are for you to hang your bags on. I know. My mind is blown, too.

There are also a number of these loops inside the cart for you to hang up your bags and make extra space.

I will never underestimate a shopping cart again.

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Gatorade bottles

Reddit | abrelwall3

Sometimes, you need one hand free while you're quenching your thirst.

Maybe it's when you're snapping a selfie at the gym while you hydrate. Or, as you wipe down the machine after your set.

With this hack, you'll be able to multitask without juggling the lid from your Gatorade.

That indent on the bottom of the bottle is meant to hold the cap. Amazing, right?

Never set your Gatorade cap down on a gross gym surface again. I'll drink to that!

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Can openers

Reddit | monthofwednesdays

If you've been holding a can opener with the cutters stacked vertically this entire time, set down the opener and walk away from that can of soup.

We're going to delve into a little Can Opening 101.

The proper way to use a can opener is to have the cutters on either side of the can's rim, like in this photo.

If you do it right, the opener will hold onto the lid when you're done and you can directly deposit it into the trash without touching it.

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Fast food boxes

Reddit | thatoneguy092

Am I the only one who thought those little holes in take-out containers were for your fingers to grip. Or, maybe for folding purposes...?

Okay, I actually had no idea what they were for, but this seems as good as a solution as any.

Instead of trying to juggle your drink and food, slide your drink's straw through the hole.

Now you can balance everything with one hand.

This hack is a real game-changer. Gonna go to the drive-thru right now and try it.

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Nail files

Instagram | @loveleahofficial

The next time you are getting your nails ready for a mani, take note of this hack.

Emery boards are layered so you can peel them and reveal a fresh board when it starts to get dull.

So today is the day I learned that I've been throwing away perfectly good emery boards for years now.

Learn from my mistakes and get the most out of your emery board.

If I can save even one person from shelling out money when their board is still functional, I'll know my job is done.

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Air fresheners

Instagram | @504_star

Does anyone else avoid buying these because they don't want to deal with that weird, dried-out blob that forms when you use them?

I guess that blob is the result of me not using them correctly.

Instead of lifting the canister from the bottom, which exposes the whole air freshener and dries it out, you're supposed to pull from the top.

I must say, that makes a lot more sense than what I've been doing these last few years.

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Staplers

Instagram | @amandavoller_bigdreamer

If you ever got your hands on a stapler as a kid, I bet you pulled the rubber cover off the bottom.

Not for any particular reason, just because it came off and that's what kids do.

Well, now as adults we can all find out together that there was a reason it came off.

You can use the grooves in the rubber to hold extra staples.

I know, I know. This is groundbreaking information. Go stash some extra staples in there ASAP.

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Juice boxes

Instagram | @i.was.today_years.old

As the mom of a one-year-old, I will admit that we haven't even ventured into juice box territory yet.

I can only imagine the mess that would come from that. In a few years when I'm ready, I'll try to remember the proper way to use a juice box.

Those little flaps fold out for your child to hold on to. That way, you don't run the risk of squeezing the juice out everywhere.

I know they say don't cry over spilled milk but I would definitely cry over the mess caused by spilled juice.

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Take-out containers

Instagram | @they_callmewood

The next time you order cashew chicken from your fave take-out place, try this to get the most of your take-out containers.

Instead of digging your fork or chopsticks into those boxes, you can unfold them to make a plate.

There are a few advantages to this. One is that three-quarters of your fork won't be submerged in your food as you try to reach the bottom.

The second is that you'll be able to mix up the ingredients more evenly. Gonna start doing this now.

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iPhone clock

Instagram | @todayyearsold

Unless you are one of the few people who uses a real watch, most of us check the time on our phones.

If you look closely at the iPhone's clock icon, you might be surprised to see that it actually keeps time and displays the current time. The hands move and everything!

Go on, reach into your pocket and pull out your phone. See? I told you!

Doesn't it feel weird knowing that every time you looked at this icon, it was showing you a different time? I really need to start paying more attention.

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Gas cap

Twitter | @halloweenslay

The next time you're at the pump (filling up on the correct side thanks to a handy entry in this article), check to see if there's a holder for your gas cap.

That's right. Instead of letting that gas cap dangle, holding it, or balancing it on the trunk of your car, you can rest it in the holder inside the door.

My tank is full and I still want to drive to the gas station and try this.

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Pasta spoons

Imgur | PolarChi

At some point or another, most of us will live alone and learn about the eternal struggle that is attempting to cook dinner for one.

I threw in the towel about two weeks in and resigned myself to a diet of frozen dinners and scrambled eggs. They were dark, hungry times.

Little did I know that the hole in a pasta spoon can be used to measure one serving of spaghetti. You never have to worry about making too much again!

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Pen lids

Instagram | @laura_calder

If you've used a common ballpoint pen before, chances are you noticed the hole in the top of the lid. Or, maybe you didn't. It's not that interesting. It is just a hole, after all.

I'm one of the ones who did notice and attributed it to a weird design quirk. "Maybe it's to save plastic," I thought. "Perhaps it increases airflow," I pondered.

The real reason is literally lifesaving. The hole is there in case a child swallows the lid so it won't obstruct their breathing. Wow. That is not what I expected at all.

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