Lifehacker readers show us how to refresh our plants with some ice cubes and organise our packing.
Keep Your Succulents Alive with Ice Cubes
Cynthia made us smile with her method of keeping plants refreshed:
When I was in medical school and residency, my houseplants experienced Darwinian evolution due to neglect. By the time I entered practice, I was left with only the hardy plants, mostly succulents and cacti, which was fine by me since I love their sculptural style. While they don't require much care, they do still need an occasional watering. Instead of puttering around with a watering can, I grab a bucket of ice cubes and drop them onto my plants. They dissolve slowly and it's hard to overwater them with ice cubes. I'm sure gardening aficionados would cringe at this approach, but it's worked for me. It's also easier for house sitters instead of trying to assess just how much water to give each plant. I have 1, 2, and 3 cube plants.
And if they need more care than that, Darwin takes care of them for me.
Pack Efficiently for the School Break Visits
Photo by Betsssssy
Rupert has a ton of packing tips which apply to more than just students:
I find that one of the more annoying things about being a student is the amount of packing you have to do. Going back home for the Christmas, Easter and Summer holidays means that you have to pack up your stuff 6 times a year. Here are some tips to make the trial of packing a bit easier:
- Get plastic boxes that are slightly smaller than the drawers in your dorm room and then put one in each drawer. Make sure the boxes have removable lids. Then when it comes to going home, just take out the box (with all your stuff in it), put the lid on and you are good to go. As a bonus, if you have a drawer with an annoyingly low back, stuff won't fall down the back anymore.
- Have two wash baskets: 1 for dirty clothes and 1 for clothes that are just off the line. If you are too lazy to put the clean stuff away immediately (and who isn't??) then the dirty basket makes sure dirty clothes don't pile up on the floor. When it comes to going home, you'll find your floor far cleaner than usual. Plus if you time your washing right, you might end up with most of your clothes in one of either of these baskets allowing you to just pick them up and put them in the car.
- Keep empty plastic boxes for packing but don't just stuff things in there randomly. Designate each box for either an area of your room or a type of stuff. For example, you might want a box for everything on a particular shelf or surface. Alternatively, you might want a box for just your notes and another for just your toiletries.
- Have a single "random" box for those things that just won't be put anywhere useful. Don't allow yourself any more than this and make sure you just use it to clear up any leftover stuff in the final 5 minutes of packing. Try not to use it.
- Make sure you keep your empty boxes somewhere in your room, but out of the way, such as under the bed or at the bottom of your wardrobe. Don't keep them in the attic or you won't be bothered to get them.
- Whilst having beautifully packed wires is great for permanent setups, they are the bane of frequent movers. Get 4-way or 6-way adapters plugged into the wall sockets so that all of your appliances can be unplugged without having to go behind your bed or desk etc. Don't feed wires around the back of desks but instead feed them to the side or front. It will look messy but you won't have to spend ages taking out wires this way.
- Don't leave stuff in shared areas. This will probably make your flat mates happier but it will also mean you don't run around the house looking for things that you can't find. For example, keep your shoes in your room, not in the hallway.
- Use the landing pad method where you have a completely bare surface that takes only the objects you keep in your pockets on a day to day basis. This also means you are less likely to forget your keys when you go out!
- Finally, if you are tight for space in your car, ensure you take out the largest objects first to make your packing more efficient.
Avoid Confusion With Creative Drive Mapping
Paul figured out how to deal with a network annoyance:
Something that had been bothering me for a while is that I had a folder on my desktop (E:Projects) that I had synchronized with my laptop as Y:. I always was getting myself confused about typing in Y:Web Projects or E:ProjectsWeb Projects, and just found a solution. I can map a network drive (Y:) on my desktop as \localhoste$Projects, saving me from having to remember which machine I'm on. I'd also suggest it to people who want to have what I might call "Virtual Partitions" for music and games, whatever, without having to reformat the drive and partition it
Massacre Ads Without Murder Charges
Hunter found a way to improve on one of our tricks:
A week or two ago, you all did a post on getting rid of Gmail ads by including a sentence at the bottom of your email. I have been using this method, but I didn't like putting a sentence that didn't quite make sense at the bottom of all my mail for everyone to see and possible be confused by. A more aesthetic, but equally effective way of doing it is including it your signature in white text. Since Gmail doesn't allow HTML in signatures, I use the Blank Canvas Gmail Signature Firefox extension. This way, no one ever knows that the sentence is there, and whenever anyone gets an email from me, they don't have any ads.
Label Your Messages to Yourself and Outgoing Messages in Gmail
Nicholas' tip is fantastic, especially for those of us prone to sending quick "notes to self":
How many of you email yourself in Gmail? And has it ever bothered you that you can't add labels to outgoing messages? You have to label them once they drop into your inbox, which is tedious.
Well, I got tired of this, and realised I could get around it using Gmail's "plus-addressing." This has been mentioned on Lifehacker before - you can append your email address, after your username, with "[email protected]". So [email protected] will receive email from "[email protected]" in his regular inbox. You can also filter your mail by the "to" line, which becomes very handy.
Next, create filters for plus-addresses corresponding to each of the labels you want to be able to add to outgoing messages. For example, I have a filter that adds the "Home" label to any emails sent to [email protected]; adds "Work" to any emails sent to [email protected], etc.
Finally, I create contacts corresponding to each label: A contact named "Home" with the email address [email protected], etc., for all the emails I just created filters for.
Now, when I send a message to myself, if I want it labelled with "Home", I just type "Home" in the To field of the email. I'm emailing it to myself, but to the particular plus-address that will get filtered into my Home label.
What's better, is that you can add multiple labels by sending it to multiple plus-addresses of yours, without getting multiple emails in your inbox. If you send it to "Home", "Taxes", and "Urgent" (3 plus-addresses you've created for yourself), only one email will come into your inbox, with the three labels attached (or with whatever actions your filters perform).
One more cool use I've found: Suppose you email someone, and you want their response to come back with a particular label (or you want a particular action performed). For example, I email my girlfriend about a movie we're seeing later tonight, and I want to make sure her email comes back labelled "Urgent". I can't just create a filter for all emails coming from her, because despite being my girlfriend, she sends me a lot of stuff that, frankly, isn't urgent. But this one email is. So I email her my question, and also copy myself in, to my "Urgent" plus-address. So the To line looks like this: "Jo Blow" , "Urgent"
Now I'll get a message from myself, labelled Urgent. (I can archive this, or whatever.) When she replies, her message will be included in the same conversation as the email I sent myself, and both are labelled "Urgent". Voila!