No corkscrew? No worries!

Publish Date
Friday, 31 October 2014, 9:00AM

A TIN OPENER FOR PLASTIC

PROBLEM: Moulded plastic ‘clam-shell’ packaging completely sealed around each edge.
SOLUTION: Grab an ordinary manual tin opener, clamp it on to an outside edge and open as if it were a can. But bear in mind the can opener won’t go around sharp corners, so in this scenario you’ll have to slice the packet open in straight lines along each side.

UNJAM THOSE JARS

PROBLEM: The traditional way of opening a stubborn jar is to bash the edge of the lid on a kitchen worktop — but that can lead to some expensive repairs. Or, if the seal on the lid breaks suddenly while the jar is being held at an angle, brine or beetroot juice all over your floor.
SOLUTION: There are all sorts of fancy gadgets on the market to solve this niggling problem. But save your pennies and try an elastic band instead.
Wrap it around the lid, several times if necessary, then twist. The thicker bands work best as they give maximum grip — but if you only have thin ones, you can use two or three for the same effect. It works because it stops your hand slipping around the edge of the jar and gives you the extra grip and traction you need to twist the lid off easily.

BANG OPEN A BOTTLE

PROBLEM: We’ve all done it — mislaid the corkscrew when we need to open a bottle of wine, or simply forgotten to take one on a fancy picnic.
SOLUTION: Stop fretting and grab a shoe. Remove the metallic wrapping that covers the cork and place the bottle into your footwear so that its bottom sits on the insole, at the heel, and the side is snug against the back (don’t use a shoe with any kind of heel or one without some cushioning). Place the bottom of the shoe against a brick wall or tree to create a 90-degree angle then, while carefully holding the bottle in place, start banging gently. After a few knocks, the cork should have risen up enough for you to twist it out with your hands. This is because the banging motion repeatedly forces the wine against the cork at high pressure, forcing the cork to slowly work its way out of the bottle.

THE COIN SLICER

PROBLEM: You’re desperate for a snack but, try as you might, the plastic packet full of crisps, nuts or sweets just won’t open, no matter how much you try to pull the sealed top edges apart.
SOLUTION: If you don’t have scissors to hand, grab two coins, place them on the opposite sides at the top of the bag (close together) and push them against each other. The coins will work as makeshift scissors and neatly slice the top open.

CHEERS TO THE PAPER

PROBLEM: You don’t have a bottle opener to hand but the thought of expensive dentist bills puts you off using your teeth.
SOLUTION: Pick up a newspaper. Take about four folded sheets and fold in half from top to bottom, repeat — and repeat again. Finally fold it from left to right just once, and place one of the corners underneath the bottle cap. Lever the cap off the bottle and enjoy your well-earned refreshment.
This works because the repeated folding creates a highly dense makeshift tool that can handle the pressure of shifting a bottle cap without buckling.

GRIND YOUR WAY INTO TINS

PROBLEM: It’s easily done — you go camping with enough tinned food to feed a small army, only to discover you’ve left the tin opener at home.
SOLUTION: Never fear — here’s an amazing trick that will allow you to get at your food without the need for any tool whatsoever. Just turn the tin upside down and start rubbing it against a concrete surface (any will do). The motion will wear away the ‘lip’ of the tin that seals it shut. After a few seconds, turn it back the right way around and give the sides a squeeze. If you’ve used enough elbow grease, the lid should pop open.

CONQUER YOUR KEYRING

PROBLEM: Getting keys on or off a keyring should be quick and simple but the length of time it takes most of us to achieve this basic feat — and the number of nails we break while trying to do so — makes us wonder if keyrings were actually designed to confound criminal masterminds.
SOLUTION: Save your manicure and employ a staple remover instead. Pinch the teeth of the remover into the middle of the keyring, and the two pieces of metal will part like magic, leaving the perfect amount of space for you to slide a new key in. If you don’t have a staple remover, try inserting a butter knife — which has a thicker blade than a usual table knife — between the rings instead, twisting it gently so they open.