Silica gel packs
These things are as ubiquitous as sneaky politicians. You get them inside a box of shoes, you see them in electronic shipping containers, and you find them in clothing. I’m talking about silica gel packs, not politicians—stay with me here—and there’s a reason for it. Silica gel desiccant is a substance with a micro-porous structure that absorbs moisture, especially humidity. Because of this, you find it almost anywhere that moisture would be a problem (like shoes in an enclosed box). But you can also use it to keep moisture out of electronics that are stored for long periods of time. I use silica gel packs in the boxes in which I store old hard drives. It’s an added level of security that I find comforting, like when a politician goes to jail. Try using it to keep moisture from precious items like photographs, camera equipment, and even old tools.
Bread ties for cords
I saw this once and thought: dumb. Number one, who saves these little squares from their bread loaves? Number two, how do you get the different colored ones? Answer: stop whining and check them out. Want them in different colors to coordinate with certain cords? Color them with a marker. Don’t have enough? You can find these ties on loaves of bread, vegetable sacks, and even some wrapped electronics. Label them and attach them to your cords and you’ll soon discover what I have—that I eat way too much bread. And also, that labeling cords is a lifesaver, especially when moving computer peripherals (like my router) around without forgetting which cord went where.
Post-Its® and erasers to clean keyboards
Want to hear something crazy? There are some who believe that putting your keyboard in the dishwasher takes all the grit, grime, and bacteria from your keys. Those same people are waiting for the mother ship to pick them up. Putting any electronic in a dishwasher has disaster written all over it. It might work, but if you have an expensive keyboard, why would you mix water and electricity? Have you learned nothing from old Tom and Jerry cartoons? Here’s a safer bet. You can use compressed air to blow out a keyboard (CAUTION: read warning below) or even a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (for light-colored keyboards), and even that runs the risk of removing the letters from your keys. Two hacks that I love: use the sticky edge of a Post-It® to get in between keys and pick up annoying detritus like loose hair, sesame seeds from your morning bagel, or light powder spills (in my case, instant coffee). For really stubborn grime, try using the eraser on the end of a pencil to rub out the dirt, but be prepared to clean the shavings out with the Post-It® when you’re done.