It’s a new year and we’re all trying to figure out how we can get it together a little better than we did in 2016.
Check out these 15 expert hacks that will help get you on the right track in the kitchen and beyond.
IN THE KITCHEN...
Hack 1: Use Dental Floss to Perfectly Slice Cake into Layers
Chris Kimball demonstrates a super easy way to make two layers from one cake using only toothpicks and dental floss -- just insert the toothpicks at four points of the cake where you want the layer to go, then wrap the floss around the cake and pull -- voila, perfectly sliced layers.
Hack 2: Break Out the Bundt Pan for Prettier Party Punch Ice
Want to keep your punch cold while infusing it with fruits and mint? Just freeze your choice of fruit and herbs (like mint) in water in a bundt pan, then slide the frozen ring into your punch bowl.
Hack 3: Turn Stale Bread Into Cute Croutons
Don’t throw away that stale bread! It can have another life as a crouton. Use small cookie cutters to make fun shapes, then toast with a little olive oil.
Hack 4: Cook Your Pancakes in a Muffin Tin
The trouble with pancakes is that you have to cook them individually, so it’s hard to make sure they’re all hot at the same time. Christopher Kimball shows you how to cook them in a muffin tin so they’ll all be ready at once -- and they are portable!
Hack 5: Use Your Slow Cooker to... Heat Fondue to the Perfect Temp + Consistency
Our viewer Emma from Connecticut demonstrates how to heat three types of fondue simultaneously in the slow cooker! Just pour your ingredients into mugs and set in a hot water bath in the slow cooker and heat on high for 30 minutes.
Hack 6: ... and Make a Cheap, All-Natural Air Freshener
If you’re having a party, or just want your home to smell great, check out this tip from Melissa in Arkansas. Heat a combo of oranges, cinnamon sticks, cloves and water in your slow cooker -- it will waft throughout your entire house.
Hack 7: ... and Cook Two Dips at Once
This hack from Stacy in Arkansas is a great time-saver, and requires practically no clean-up! Heat two dips in your slow cooker at the same time by creating a foil divider, then lining each side with crockpot liners.
CLEANING AROUND THE HOUSE...
Hack 8: Supercharge Your Ironing Board
Could the secret to faster ironing be… tinfoil? That’s what our favorite organizing pro Peter Walsh says! He advises putting tinfoil under your ironing board cover so that the heat is reflected back up toward your clothing to apply heat on both sites of the garment.
Hack 9: Clean Dirty Old Sneakers with Toothpaste
Have a favorite pair of running shoes that are just completely old and beat? Give them a second life by cleaning them with a toothbrush and toothpaste!
Hack 10: Refresh an Old Painting with ... Bread?!
We sure never would have thought of this one on our own! Peter Walsh shows you how to use a piece of bread or bagel to gently wipe away grime on older paintings without damaging the artwork.
Hack 11: Remove Spilled Nail Polish with Sugar
We’ve all been there -- we’re painting our nails and accidentally knock over the jar of nail polish. If you can get to it while it’s still wet, you can remove it simply by pouring sugar over it and letting it sit for a minute. Then, just wipe away!
Hack 12: Neatly Dust a Ceiling Fan with a Pillowcase
The worst part about cleaning a ceiling fan is all the dust that rains down on you. Avoid this by wrapping the fan blade with a pillowcase, and pulling all the dust right into it.
Hack 13: Brighten a Windowless Room with a Faux Window
If you want to add more “windows” to a room of your home, use a mirror to create the illusion of a window. Peter Souhleris and Dave Seymour from the FYI Network show “Flipping Boston” show you how to apply trim to a mirror to make it look just like a window.
Hack 14: Create a “Brick” Wall in Your Home
Want to add some character to a wall of your home? Pete and Dave show you how to easily apply adhesive faux brick paneling to add character.
Hack 15: Turn a Wooden Pallet into a Coffee Table
Upcyle a discarded wooden pallet into a coffee table by simply staining it the hue of your choice, adding plywood to the bottom to stabilize, and screwing on rolling casters.