Have a small problem that’s getting in the way of your beach bunny dreams? Concerned that a lack of funds will get you down? No worries! If there’s a problem, there’s a hack. Find a solution to your summer woes with 15 of our favorite hacks for the beach and pool.

1. Fashion a Cheap Beach Locker

diaper DIY

Forget about buying a beach locker or paying a mermaid half your life savings to watch your valuables at the beach. (Don’t pay a mermaid to do this; they’re very untrustworthy, not to mention fictional. You’ll get ripped off every time.) Instead, DIY your own protection with common and/or cheap household items.

Finally finish off that jumbo sunscreen bottle from Costco? Clean it out and rig it into storage for your keys, cell phone and money clip. Unless they’re extremely fair skinned, thieves aren’t likely to try and steal sunscreen. For things thieves definitely won’t touch, try wrapping your valuables in a disposable diaper or putting them in a tampon box (guaranteed to make male thieves abandon your bag post haste!).

2. Create Your Own Waterproof Bag

beach bag DIY

Unless you have an untreatable thirst for brand names, there’s no reason to pay top dollar for a waterproofed bag when an afternoon spent playing with melted wax will yield the same results.

To make a DIY waxed bag, all you need is a double boiler (probably don’t want to use that shiny new one in your kitchen), wax, a paint brush, an old (but not sentimentally important) pillowcase (so, not the one you cried into the first time you watched Marley and Me), a dryer and the bag in question. Melt the wax in the double boiler, brush it over the entire bag, tie the bag up in a pillowcase and toss it in the dryer (on high) for 30 minutes. Voila!

3. Speed Up Sand Removal

sandy feet-kath haboc lee

Baby powder isn’t just for baby’s bums, no matter what the packaging tells you. True, it can help kill some of the funky foot smell from your favorite shoes, but it’s also a beach bag essential. Ready to head inside but feel like your hands are covered in sand-gloves? Shake out a little baby powder and use it to brush off sand. Not only will you be sand-free but you’ll also be baby-scented!

4. Re-sealable Phone Protection

phone at beach

For those that aren’t still rocking the near-indestructible, we-laugh-in-the-face-of-danger flip phone, try putting your phone in a sealable plastic bag. You won’t have to worry as much about sand or water, plus you can still use the touch screen through the bag.

5. Weigh Down Your Beach Towel

sand-beach

You don’t want to spend prime sun-bathing time trying to make yourself into the perfect starfish so your towel doesn’t flip up. Instead of keeping your hands and feet glued to the corners, try sewing pockets onto each corner. Tuck shoes, books, water bottles, sunscreen, etc. into the corners to weigh them down and keep your towel from flipping up and flicking you with sand. Now you can lay like a starfish because you want to, not because you have to.

6. Cool the Burn

sunburn boy

Aloe gels are perfect and soothing sun burn relief. To improve upon perfection, pop your bottle of aloe into the fridge before you go to the pool or beach. The cool temperature increases the relief.

Whatever you do, make sure you’re using aloe gel, not some moisturizing lotion with aloe. Lotion will only trap the heat from a burn, prolonging your pain instead of relieving it.

7. Iced Tea to the Rescue

iced tea for burns

Use your favorite beverage—well, if black tea or earl grey is your favorite beverage—to relieve sunburn. Just steep a few bags in water, soak a rag or shirt in the tea, and apply the rag to your poor, lobster-red skin.

8. Pee Is Not for Pain Relief

Jellyfish

That “Friends” episode was hilarious, but it shouldn’t be taken as a medical absolute. You’re actually NOT supposed to urinate on a jellyfish sting. (Hilarious as your friends’ reactions might be.) Instead, scrap off the tentacle (if it clings) with sand and sea water (not fresh water!), then use vinegar or a baking soda/sea water paste to deactivate stingers (depending on type of jellyfish).

9. Hack a Tattoo

sunburn by nollij

Want a temporary tattoo that doesn’t require you to hold a wet piece of paper to your arm? Try using a sticker for a suntan tattoo. Pick up a store-bought sticker in a fun shape, or make your own with bandage tape. Then catch some rays and watch the skin around the sticker get a golden tan, while the skin underneath keeps its winter color.

10. Broken Flip Flop Remedy

flip flop

It’s a bummer when your flip flop strap pulls free from the sole. Luckily, there’s a quick fix to get you through the rest of the day (or to the nearest flip flop emporium): bread clips. Those colorful little clips can find purpose beyond keeping your bread fresh. Just clip them above the wide end of the thong; since it’s bigger than the hole, it’ll keep your flip flopping.

11. Make Your Own Giant Tote

DIY beach bag

Need an extra-large tote for your pool games, beach toys, inflatables or boogie boards? Don’t bother shopping for a big (expensive) bag to fit your needs. Instead, repurpose an old patio furniture cover. Furniture covers are strong, durable, water proof and easy to clean: perfect for an oversized beach bag. Just add a strap or handles to a cushion cover and you’re set to go.

12. Highlight with Citrus

lemon by tim hoggarth

Classics are classic for a reason. Lemon juice as a natural highlighter has been a summer staple for years because it works. Just comb some lemon juice through your hair and let the sun do the rest. (However, the acid can make your hair more susceptible to damage, so you may want to combine it with a little hair sunscreen.)

13. Edible Lip Stain? Oh Yeah!

lip stain

Before you mix up that batch of Kool-Aid, use a little of the powder as a lip stain. Kool-Aid is the perfect summer lip stain: tasty and long lasting! It’s simple too, just lick your finger, dab it in your powder of choice, rub over lips, then go over your lips with damp cotton swab to even out the stain and get rid of clumps. A variety of flavors means a variety of colors.

14. Blow Away Ear Clogs

how to make your ears pop

Ears clogged from swimming? Inflate a balloon. No, really, it’s that simple. Keep a balloon handy and inflate it a few times after each dip. If you ears still feel like they need to pop, try plugging your nose while you blow up the balloon.

15. Summer Steering Wheel Trick

steering wheel

Tired of playing hot potato with your steering wheel? Turn your steering wheel “upside down” when you park at the beach or pool. The sun will beat down and super heat the bottom of the wheel, but the top will be protected from the brunt of its rays. Now when you go to leave all you have to do is straighten the wheel for a cooler grip.

Featured photo credit: Pierre-Olivier Bourgeois via 24.media.tumblr.com

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