10 Everyday Things You're Probably Doing the Hard Way

Tie Your Shoes
By simply reversing the direction of one lace-tying step, you'll create a more stable knot. ©iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Most of us learned to tie our shoes using what's called a granny knot, but all these years it turns out we're doing it wrong, or at least we're doing it inefficiently. The granny knot, as it turns out, is an unbalanced knot, meaning it's a type of knot that may lend our shoelaces to easily twisting, coming loose or coming completely undone. The knot we should be using is one called the reef knot -- a binding knot used in sailing, in surgery, and in efficient shoelace tying.

Tying a reef knot with shoelaces begins the same as a granny knot, but here's the key difference: Once you've made a loop with the right lace you'll wrap the left lace behind the loop (around the front would make this a granny knot). Pull it tightly through the loop you create at the base of your knot when you wrap it around the right hand loop, and you've got yourself a balanced shoelace knot.

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