Non-obvious solutions


How to polish a shoe with a banana.

I haven’t tried this one, having (1) real shoe polish and (2) no taste for bananas. But feel free to give it a shot.

Of course, you’ll need to open the banana first.




If you’ve ever examined a tin of Kiwi saddle soap or wax shoe polish, you’ve probably seen the cleat-looking thing shown in the photo. You might also have noticed that the lid is damned hard to get off with your hands alone.

What might not have been obvious to you (hence its inclusion on this site) is that that cleat is actually the opener for the lid. It turns, and turning it far enough will pry the lid off of the tin. The photo demonstrates.



How to eat a chicken wing.

Take the bones out first, then eat what’s left, which is all meat.

Submitted by Ben.




How to fold a fitted sheet.

Via Craig Hockenberry.




How to draw a perfect circle, without using a compass.

The uploader calls this the “chopstick technique”. It’s basically using two pens and your hand as a compass.




How to coil a cable.

This is the over-under method, popular among recording engineers and roadies (the demonstrator in the video calls it a “roadie wrap”) because, they say, it does not damage the cable like some other methods can, and because you can simply throw the coil to uncoil it, and it will come out straight.

As I found while looking for the best video to embed here, some of them have much disdain for those who don’t coil their cables properly.

You will need some method of keeping the cable coiled afterward. Velcro strips or plastic cable ties are two commonly-available ways of doing this.




How to take off your T-shirt.

Step-by-step:

  1. With your right hand, seize the hem of the outer edge of your left sleeve.
  2. As shown in the video, turn it forward so that it is inside your arm. However, in my testing, this step proved to not be necessary.
  3. Start bringing your left arm up and pull the sleeve over your elbow at the same time.
  4. Continue that motion of your right arm to pull the shirt off your left arm and over your head. Your shirt should now only be on your right arm and in your hand.
  5. Let the shirt fall off your right arm. Catch it in your right hand and shake it to keep the sleeves outside-out. (The guy in the video simply throws his shirt to the floor. You could do that instead, depending on the circumstances.)

The video, and several others uploaded by the same YouTube user the YouTube user I previously embedded this video from, appear to have been from a now-defunct website run by Sprint (the wireless carrier) called “Waitless”, which, if the videos and the name are any indication, had much the same purpose as this website. Waitless now simply redirects to Sprint.

Update: I found out that the original videos are still available on YouTube under the account “sprintcuts”, which appears to have been Sprint’s official account for them. The account’s channel is no longer accessible, but the videos are still available and you can find them by searching for “sprintcuts”. I’ve updated the embed to use the official video. Here’s the one I embedded previously.

See also: How to fold your shirt.




How to get a napkin from a typical restaurant napkin dispenser:

  1. Use your thumb and index finger to take hold of the exposed edge of the front portion of the napkin. (If no edge is exposed, push the stack of napkins in and down to expose the edge.)
  2. Pull the front portion straight up.
  3. Pull the rest of the napkin straight forward.

On some dispensers, you may be able to skip step 3 and simply pull the entire napkin straight up. On other dispensers, particularly when they are full or over-full, this will tear the napkin.


How to clean a coffee/spice grinder

To clean a spice grinder, don’t bother trying to pull out the grinding mechanism and wiping it down with a Q-Tip. Instead, grind about a teaspoon of uncooked rice through it. Most of the coffee/spices will stick to the rice as it’s grinded through.

—submitted by mbishop



How to fold a T-shirt.

I recommend using a player that will let you seek the video and slow it down as much as you want. QuickTime+ClickToFlash will work if you’re on a Mac and a native-WebKit-based browser; otherwise, download the video (either from YouTube or from the original site) and watch it in a player application such as QuickTime Player, QTAmateur (Mac only), or VLC.

Step-by-step:

  1. Lay the shirt flat on a table.
  2. With one hand, pinch the shirt a few centimeters in from one edge.
  3. With the other hand, pinch the shirt at the same horizontal position, on the shoulder.
  4. Bring the shoulder down to the bottom of the shirt.
  5. Pinch the two parts of the shirt together with your second hand. Your first hand should still be in the middle of the shirt, at what is now the inside of the crease.
  6. Yank the middle of the shirt out with your first hand.
  7. Use the table to fold the other side of the shirt back behind the now-folded portion.
  8. Lay the folded shirt flat.


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