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The Best Ways to Use Every Room In Your House, According to Science

The best places in your home for creativity, exercise, and online productivity are not where you'd expect.

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iStock/Piotr Adamowicz

The best place to keep a wireless router:

On a bookshelf. Situate it on a desk or a tall shelf in a central location in your house. A router works best when elevated, since it sends signals in all directions. The worst place to have a router: in the kitchen. Metal appliances can disrupt its signal.

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The best place to solve a problem:

In the shower. Monotonous tasks, like lathering up, may allow the mind to wander and boost creative thinking. In a Psychological Science study, participants who completed a simple task between solving creative problems performed better on the problems than those who completed difficult tasks or no task at all. Here are 7 reasons you could probably get away with showering less often.

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The best place to add a houseplant:

In the bathroom. Plants are a staple of your living space, but you probably haven’t thought to stow one next to, say, your shower. Plants can filter indoor air, helpful for small spaces like bathrooms. Ferns are a low-maintenance choice: For a shady bathroom, try a Boston fern. In sunnier bathrooms, place a Kimberly Queen fern. A classic NASA study that identified air-purifying plants found both types of ferns filter air of chemicals like formaldehyde (found in tile grout and paper towels; can cause nose and throat irritation) and xylene (found in household cleaners and perfumes; can cause dizziness and headache). Lack a green thumb? Try these tips anyone can use to grow healthy house plants.

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The best place to stash emergency cash:

In the kids’ room. Scope out a subtle place in a young child’s room, where burglars are less likely to look for valuable items. Tuck emergency cash in an envelope inside a stuffed animal that’s no longer played with—say, a teddy bear on a high shelf. Here are 13 secrets burglars won’t tell you.

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The best place to do a morning workout:

In the yard. If you can, get outside to break an a.m. sweat. A study in the journal PLOS One found that exposure to morning sunlight is linked to a lower body mass index (BMI). Researchers say just 20 to 30 minutes of morning brightness is enough to affect BMI; they hypothesize that sun exposure helps regulate metabolism. Bonus of taking your workout outdoors: Your burpees won’t knock over a lamp.

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The best place to hide during an earthquake:

Under a desk or a kitchen table. If your area is prone to earthquakes, don’t count on the door frame. Though standing underneath one is age-old advice, in many modern homes, the door frame is no stronger than any other part of the house and probably won’t protect you from the most likely cause of injury: flying items.


Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest