With staying home being the new norm in these pandemic times, being household savvy while we run through the motions of our family\u2019s daily schedules can often save us time, money and a whole lot of energy from having to clean, scrub or do a task twice just to get it right. For instance, did you know that when cleaning out your blender, the most effortless way to get rid of all the tiny food particles stuck in between and under the blades is to throw water and dishwashing liquid into the jar and switching on to give it a quick swirl? You just pour out the soapy water after that, rinse it out under the tap and you would have a thoroughly clean blender without having to waste any effort scrubbing. Iron the inside of the shirt to iron over the buttons. Or, when you are ironing a shirt with buttons such as your children\u2019s kindergarten or school shirts and blouses, instead of struggling to manoeuvre the tip of the iron around those little buttons, turn the shirt inside out to iron the underside instead. This will allow you to quickly iron over the buttons on the underside and help you finish your pile of ironing in a jiffy. A mother\u2019s job is the hardest, as they say, and any help in making it easier is often appreciated. Sometimes, all that is needed is a little tweak to the way we do things. That\u2019s why we\u2019ve compiled a list of really smart hacks that could lighten your workload and make running a household a whole lot easier for you. 13 Household Hacks to Save you Time & Energy Household Tip No: 1 Using the Microwave Efficiently A. How to Correctly Heat Food microwave is an almost indispensable appliance in the kitchen. It is one of the quickest and most convenient way of reheating food. But don\u2019t you hate it when you have to waste time heating and reheating the same food in the microwave because some parts won\u2019t heat up while other parts get so hot they dry up? This is because you haven\u2019t placed the food correctly to allow for the even distribution of heat. Let\u2019s understand the microwave to see why this happens. Microwaves make water molecules in the food vibrate, thereby causing heat which is why the food on the plate heats up while the plate itself will remain cool. Microwaves also tend to heat the outside edges of the plate of food first, rather than the centre. That's why the placement of the food makes all the difference. B. Make a Hole in the Centre To reheat food evenly in the Microwave, space out a hole or a circle in the centre like this (Image Credit: startsat60.com & Helena Hon) o make sure you heat your food evenly, make a \u201chole\u201d in the centre of the plate by lining your food around the edges. This way, your food will heat evenly and quickly and you will not have to worry about having to put the food back in the microwave over and over again. C. Think Thin icrowaves tend to penetrate food fast when it is less than an inch thick. To make food heat or cook faster, spread the food thin to the edge of the plate or cut the food into pieces that are an inch thick or less. D. Keep Thick on the Outside f you have to heat \u201cthick\u201d food like whole chicken breast or drumsticks, make sure to place them on the outside edge of the plate and the thinner items towards the centre. E. Save Time by Heating Two Dishes at One Go Heat two at the same time like this. ecause the appliance is relatively small, you often can only fit one plate or bowl at a time. This makes waiting for each bowl to heat up a waste of time. If you\u2019re short on time, why not microwave two bowls at the same time? Here\u2019s how to do it effectively. Prop one of the bowls up with a cup so that two bowls can fit in nicely and Viola! You heat two bowls at once and save on time! F. Keep the Moisture in the Food Alternatively, you can buy a microwave cover to place over the food you are heating to prevent moisture loss. For good measure, place in that saucer or soy sauce bowl of water with the food you are microwaving. microwave is notorious for drying up food. That\u2019s why food that you cook inside a microwave tends to go rubbery or hard. It can also dry out bread or the Chinese \u201cpau\u201d or French loaves such as Baguette, Fougasse or Brioche you may be trying to refluff. Tip: Did you know that you can refreshen stale bread and make them fluffy again simply by tossing the bread into the microwave and zapping it for a minute or two? To prevent moisture loss, put the bread into a ceramic bowl alongside a small soy sauce bowl or cup filled with water, then cover the top of the large bowl with a ceramic plate before microwaving it. Alternatively, you can buy a microwave cover to cover the food and water bowl to achieve the same effect. You can also steam food in the same manner. Household Tip No: 2 Use Ice Cubes to 'Iron' your Clothes in the Dryer Ice cubes can remove wrinkles on clothes in a dryer (Image Credit: Enrique Zafra on Pexels.com) ure you can spray water on your shirts when ironing or use a handheld steamer but why do such laborious work when you can \u201csteam-iron\u201d your clothes in the dryer as they are being tumble dried? Nowadays, with apartment living becoming the norm, a lot of small apartment homes may come without a yard to dry out clothes naturally. So if your home has been fitted with a clothes dryer and you don\u2019t fancy doing the ironing, simply toss in two or three ice cubes along with a few pieces of clothing (such as shirts, school uniforms), switch to the hottest setting for 10 minutes and the dryer will do the job of \u201cironing\u201d your clothes for you. Household Tip No: 3 Use Vinegar to Clean Everywhere hite vinegar is an effective household cleaner because it is an acid that can dissolve grime, stains and grease. No need to invest in expensive household cleaners. Simply dip an old rag into vinegar and use it to clean out stains around the house, smudgy drinking glasses, stainless steel faucets and shower heads, your oil-splattered gas cooker and oven, the blinds on your windows and your greasy ceiling fan blades. For blinds, instead of taking down the entire set of blinds to wash, pour some vinegar into a bowl, put your hand into an old sock, dip your fingers into the vinegar and wipe the blinds down with the sock. It will do a cleaner job than washing can achieve. For fan blades, especially those caked with grease and grime, fill a spray bottle with vinegar, spray the blades with it, let the acid sit for about 10 minutes to dissolve the grease, then wipe off. Household Tip No: 4 Use Bread to Pick Up Glass and Porcelain Shards Broke something? Don\u2019t worry. Use bread to safely mop up shards. (Image Credit: Chuttersnap on Unsplash.com) his accident is common enough in any household. You drop a glass or mug or bowl or plate and it shatters into a million pieces across the floor. What are you going to do now? You know it\u2019s especially dangerous when you\u2019ve got children running around the house and in Malaysia, we walk around our homes barefoot. Don\u2019t panic. Just get a piece of bread, wet it a little to dampen it and press it to the floor to pick up all those tiny fragments that the eye cannot see. Of course, do pick up the large pieces first \u2500 be careful! \u2500 then only use the bread for those tiny, dangerous shards that are invisible to the eye. The sharp bits will embed in the bread for easy removal before they can embed in your feet! Household Tip No: 5 Use a Cupcake Liner to catch Ice-Cream drips Who wants to mop the floor when kids eat ice cream? Here\u2019s a hack to catch those spills. (Image Credit: popsugar.com) h you know how it is. Kids love ice cream but when they run around licking the popsicle as it melts, the drips are bound to run over their fingers or make a mess all over the floor, carpet and sofa. Who likes cleaning up afterwards? To prevent this mess from happening, use a cupcake liner to catch those troublesome drips. Make a small slit at the bottom of the cupcake liner and slip the ice cream stick through the slit before giving it to your child. The cupcake liner will stop the ice cream from dripping all over the place. If one cupcake liner is not sturdy enough, use two or several. Alternatively, you can also use a disposable lid to do the job. Household Tip No: 6 How to Rid Sambal Belacan Odours from your Kitchen Boil lemons and orange to clear the air of cooking odours (Image Credit: Tengyart on Unsplash) he thing about cooking in Malaysian households is that we really cook big time using strong flavours all the time. That\u2019s how we wind up permeating our homes with the smells from our last dinner, whether it\u2019s sambal belacan or fried salted fish or mutton curry. The consequence? Everybody gets to know what we ate last week because these odours seep into the walls and curtains and furniture and remain there for days on end. Yikes! Here\u2019s a way to get rid of those smells. Simmer a pot filled half with water and half with vinegar and leave it on until the steam clears the air. Another method is to boil a pot of water with orange and lemon peels immediately after you cook. One more method is simply to leave a dish of vinegar or a bowl of baking soda on the counter top overnight. The result will be a fresh smelling kitchen the next morning. Household Tip No: 7 Clean Plastic Containers with a piece of Tissue and Sudsy Water How to clean an oily plastic container household hack: https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vcu8oaz5y_Fw he plastic container features quite prominently in the Malaysian food scene because we use it a lot to ta pau our lunch or have it delivered to our homes by Grab. After eating out of these containers, we want to reuse them because they make really useful storage containers for a whole lot of things. Unfortunately, they also get really greasy after we eat out of them and getting them washed and cleaned can be a nightmare. Plastics tend to retain grease too, so getting them squeaky clean can be a chore requiring hot water and a scrubber. But don\u2019t worry. There\u2019s a surprisingly easy hack that you can use to do the job. Just watch the video above and you\u2019ll see how easily you can clean out an oily, stained container using no effort at all. Best of all, you won't even get your fingers dirty \u2013 promise! For more smart moves and household hacks, keep watching this space at Motherhood Story.