It would be almost impossible (not to mention time-consuming) to figure out everything in life for yourself. That's why our parents spend years instructing us on how to do everything from tying shoelaces to cooking, from bank account balancing to asking that crush out — and if you're in your 40s and still calling your dad for advice on how to bake bread or change a tire, you're not alone.

Of course, we learn the practical stuff of life from our friends, teachers, siblings and coworkers too, but we are all fallible, which means that you may have learned a less-effective or wasteful way to do whatever it is you need to do. And sometimes, you never did learn how to do something — I still feel like I was missing on the day applying eye shadow was covered; I'm an adult and the stuff is still a mystery to me. 

In light of us all needing a little assistance in life, forthwith, some of my favorite life hacks for modern living. I spent some time going through the plethora of life hack videos on YouTube to find what I think of as the gems of usefulness. Let the hacking begin!

Life hacks for summer

With BBQ and beach season coming right up, this clever video covers 10 smart and simple hacks. 

DIY litter box

There's only one hack here, but it's a big one: How to create a large cat litter box for just $10. If you have cats, you know how ridiculously expensive litter boxes can be, and every time you travel or move it means paying way too much all over again. Check out this video for how to stop the madness. 

Baby your plants

With gardening season upon us, this hack for watering less (whether your plants are indoors or out) is totally genius. 

Mascara refresher

Makeup can be expensive; here's a fast, easy way to refresh your dried-out mascara and make it last a bit longer. 

Scramble an egg in its shell

There are many ways to scramble an egg inside its shell; the video above takes the cake for over-the-top and ridiculous. But it sure is creative! 

No corkscrew, no problem

OK, this life hack is incredibly specific — you have to be outside (like at the beach or in the woods) and have a bottle of wine that needs opening and no opener, as well as access to a large, overturned log. But if you have all that, you can definitely open your wine

Life-changing life hacks for the iPhone

If you have an iPhone, these 10 hacks will make your phone more useful and improve battery life

How to pack a suitcase

If you travel, packing can be a chore; instituting systems and utilizing smart techniques can save you time and money. (My personal favorite packing hack is putting socks and underwear inside shoes so no extra space is wasted.) 

Quick cleaning hacks

If you haven't done your spring cleaning yet, consider this video motivation. 

How to hack vodka like a Russian

Vodka is my favorite spirit to drink, but it turns out that if you have some inexpensive vodka lying around, there are all sorts of uses for it (other than giving you a headache). Plus, a hacker video collection wouldn't be complete without the Crazy Russian Hacker, who has a number of videos on YouTube. 

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Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

41 of our favorite life hacks
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