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In which John Green shares life hacks that actually work courtesy of Sarah...



...including the fact that almost everyone ties their shoes poorly. The double loop is the future, my friends.

Sopheap Pich's Art Assignment where I learned how to make prints: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eszUEdj-Hs

The "Young Farmers" photo is by August Sander and was taken in the spring of 1914. Here's my video about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AVNhTi9pzM

Nina Katchadourian's amazing "Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style," a series that began in 2010. http://www.ninakatchadourian.com/photography/sa-flemish.php


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Good morning, Hank. It's Tuesday. As you may be aware, the internet is bursting with life hacks that either do not work or do not improve your life, but today I'm going to share with you 7 life hacks, all of which I learned from my wife, all of which work, and all of which have dramatically improved my life. 

Okay so first this is our bed, and it is amazing. Not because like the mattress is fancy or whatever, but because the sheets are clean. For much of my 20s I was profoundly unhappy, and in retrospect, a legitimately large part of the problem was that I was not changing my bed sheets often enough. Listen, the world contains many sensorial wonders, but none is as pure getting into a bed with clean sheets. I don't want to overstate this or anything, but if you change your sheets once a week, every week of your life will feature at least a few moments of absolute splendor.

Also, semi-related, when I was in my teens and twenties, I believed it was unnecessary to launder bath towels because since they were cleaning off my newly bathed body they were getting "cleaner with each use." That world view is incorrect.

Okay second, the double loop. If you tie your shoes like this, with a double loop, you don't have the annoyance of double knots, but also your shoes will never come untied. It's a game changer, and it takes like, two extra seconds.

Third: soap. When you're down to a little bit of soap and it's slidin' through your hands and splittin' into pieces and et cetera, combine that little bit of soap with a new bar of soap so that no soap is lost or wasted.

Fourth: kitchen sponges. Oh god Hank, kitchen sponges. So the average well used kitchen sponge contains around 82 billion bacteria per cubic inch. Which, according to the author of one study is the "same density of bacteria you can find in human stool samples." Sponges are usually warm and wet and full of air pockets, which makes them great breeding grounds for bacteria, and so I used to put them in the dishwasher to try to sterilize them, but it turns out that this might make the problem worse. So now we use rags for cleaning and when we do use sponges we dispose of them when they start to stink, as recommended by researchers.

Speaking of things you shouldn't put in the dishwasher: wooden cutting boards, which until I met Sarah I thought just fell apart in the natural order of things, but it turns out, only fall apart when you put them in the dishwasher. Before we move on, let's pause to give thanks to Josephine Cochrane, inventor of the automatic dishwasher, a tool that has saved literally millions of human work hours at only the small cost of destroying our wooden cutting boards and failing to sterilize our sponges.

Right, okay, next - put stuff on your walls. For many years I lived in apartments with bare walls because I thought decoration was an unnecessary expense, but in fact decoration can be very cheap. You can put up album art you like, for instance, or follow along with this Art Assignment video to make your own prints or go to student art shows at local arts organizations. And also if like me, you spend a lot of time inside, it really enriches your life. Like I've been looking at this photograph of Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance for a long time, and it never gets old. Nor do these pictures of the artist Nina Katchadourian recreating Renaissance portraiture in an airplane bathroom, using nothing but materials from the plane. 

Lastly, after Sarah and I got married, we went on a honeymoon in the Carribean. And look, the real life hacks are not about how to maximize soap usage or whatever. They're about how to connect more deeply with the world and the people who inhabit it. But that's not the life hack I learned on my honeymoon. What happened was that I brought a couple beers down to the beach but forgot a bottle opener, so Sarah proceeded to use her two day old wedding ring to open the bottles. True love. 

Hank, I'll see you on Friday.