Everything I Learned on TikTok This Year

All the life hacks, money-saving DIY projects, niche hobbies and unique lifestyles I've discovered in 2020

December 23, 2020 5:30 am
Thanks TikTok!
Thanks TikTok!

2020 was TikTok’s year.

Exacerbated by a global pandemic that kept people stuck at home and mindlessly glued to their phones, the video-sharing app had more than 315 million downloads just in Q1 of 2020 — the most downloads in a quarter for any app ever according to Sensor Tower. In the U.S. alone, TikTok has an estimated 100 million active users and is expected to pull in $500 million in revenue by the end of the year.

2020 also paved the way for a bunch of new, funny and even political content on the app. Next to viral dance and soy-sauce ball-dipping challenges, this year we watched kids stuck at home play jokes on their dads, bartenders serve up virtual cocktails while COVID-19 kept them away from their bars, and we also witnessed the cops of TikTok being ultra cringy (and problematic.) The app also encouraged men to sport shorter shorts and served as a pivotal asset in sabotaging a Trump rally. Additionally, TikTok has emerged as one of the top meme-generating platforms, birthing arguably the biggest meme of the year, and giving us tons of jokes that helped us through a long and stressful Election Week.

On top of all of this, the app has become a major resource for useful life hacks, tips and money-saving DIY projects. It has given platforms to niche hobbies and interests that I now know so much about. TikTok has also made it easy for those living in more isolated areas — like the North Pole, for instance! — to showcase their daily routines, offering insight about ways of life many of us have never known.

It may seem silly, but I have learned a surprising amount from TikTok over the year. So in the spirit of giving, I’m now going to share with you all the useful, interesting and “how didn’t I know about this before?!” tips, tricks and information TikTok has given me in 2020.

Vintage 1950s aluminum Christmas trees can be lethal.

A DIY trend that took over the video-sharing app in late November explained how to get overpriced bendy candles for only a couple bucks.

I learned that possums are the only mammal in the U.S. with 50 teeth … and they are terrifying.

This aluminum foil trick will save your tunneled candles.

TikTok user kebi057 showed us how to craft an ice box from scratch, just in case you can’t afford that YETI.

Has my phone been listening to me complain about my back pain caused by my terrible WHF posture? Yes, and for once I am grateful.

Leave it to the dermatologists on TikTok to tell us we’re all wasting money on our skincare routines.

Like user @unsofisticated, I too am asking who the hell knew about this??

Bookmarking for post-COVID outings.

Not only did I get a glimpse into the world of miniatures (extremely tiny pieces of collectible furniture) from D. Thomas Minis, but I discovered the community has some serious beef over “the value of a fine miniature.”

TikTokker Cecilia Blomdahl documents her day-to-day life living on Svalbard, a Norwegian island that sits between Norway and the North Pole, where it’s freezing and pitch black 24/7 in the winter. In one of her most popular videos, Blomdahl explains how dog walking quickly turns into a dangerous expedition. On top of the many layers Blomdahl piles on, she also carries a rifle in case she encounters a polar bear.


Responder a @gtrish72 🌲🎄

♬ Holly Jolly Christmas – Michael Bublé

I guess everything about Christmas is a lie.

Skip the box kit and make a cute lil ornament for your equally cute lil furry friend by utilizing baking ingredients you most-likely already have on hand.

One of my now-favorite TikTok accounts, @sinkreviews, goes around to various parks, restaurants and shops in New York and rates their sinks. These detailed reviews address the design, water flow and essential being of the sink as well as the overall hand-washing experience. All reviews are out of five sinks.

Another DIY trend that took over the app had lots of people turning into carpenters. Here you can learn how to make your very own on-trend tile table for under $120.

This do-it-yourself pendant light video has me buying up these convenient wireless LED lights in bulk.


Reply to @iam_buckslady Decorate your Dinner table with Christmas tree napkins! #christmasdecor #christmas2020 #christmasideas

♬ Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms

Impress your Christmas guests (next year) with an intricate Xmas tree napkin on their dinner plate.

It was terracotta mania on TikTok this year, with many users explaining how to turn old or thrifted glassware into Anthropologie-level home goods.


whichever one of you 🌱s brought these into my home…I will find you ☠️ #planttips #fungusgnats #houseplants

♬ Blue Blood – Heinz Kiessling & Various Artists

A quick remedy to rid your plant-infested home of fungus gnats.


secret photo tip: how to look slim thicc on camera ✨

♬ Cash Shit (feat. DaBaby) – Megan Thee Stallion

Because sometimes you’re just tryna look slim thicc on Instagram without having to open up Facetune.

Up to 80% of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 have reported a loss of smell and taste. This viral TikTok shows how to get your taste buds back with this Jamaican remedy that utilizes a burnt orange and lots of brown sugar. While I’m unsure of its efficiency, if you’re dealing with the frustrating symptom, it doesn’t hurt to try.

Who knew the MTA could make something so … beautiful? What appears to be a normal brownstone in Brooklyn Heights is actually a subway ventilator for NYC’s 4 and 5 trains. The MTA calls it “the world’s only Greek Revival subway ventilator.”

The American Red Cross’ TikTok account is full of literal life-saving tips in the event you find yourself in an emergency.


#duet with @breathwrk you’ll be seeing me doing my 🚁 ponytail for every 10mins, TQ for the tip! #imquiteshushy#noseblocked#itworkedtho#HowBizarre

♬ original sound – Breathwrk

Unclog your stuffy nose with this handy trick this winter.


Pharmacy cost of banana bag for alcohol overdose for ER visit

♬ Blow Your Mind (Mwahchallenge) – Dua Lipa

This TikTok offers some mind-blowing (and extremely mind-numbing) insight into the scam that is the American healthcare system.

How to make a mouth-watering quesabirria taco.

If you’re a fan of the TV show New Girl, you’ll know the gang often plays a made-up drinking game called True American, and you’ve probably always wanted to play yourself. This TikTok attempts to explain the nonsensical game’s rules.

I seriously could watch this man make pasta in his sunlit kitchen for hours.


For when you’re bored in the house – How to get to your text message archives🤳🏼 #fyp #imessage #texts #archive #onlineclass #PlayByPlay #fun

♬ BORED IN THE HOUSE – Curtis Roach

If for some reason you wanted to relive every text you’ve ever sent, you can with this step-by-step tutorial.


How to reduce bloating 101. Warning ⚠️: it’s very strong but I swear it’s worth it. #fyp #foryoupage #greenjuice #healthyrecipe #detox

♬ Roses – Imanbek Remix – SAINt JHN

I will drink any gross-looking concoction if it will reduce the bloat. This one includes spinach, cucumber, green apples, ginger and half a lemon.

Assuming Big Tissue Paper doesn’t want you to know about this gifting hack.

Swiffer probably doesn’t want you to know about this one either.


buckle up, we’re not hating on cauliflower anymore 👁👅👁✌🏻 #FoodTikTok #food #cauliflower #roastedvegetables #easyrecipe

♬ Spongebob – Dante9k

Time to get over your aversion to cauliflower by spicing that shit up!


Not sure why nobody talks about this. Like and follow for more. #bodybuilding #spotify #fyp #foryoupage #hack

♬ original sound – jamesandgianna

Go full beast-mode during your workouts with this little-known Spotify feature that lets you add a bit of DJ crossfade to your gym playlist.


CHEESE PLATE BASICS! The only video you’ll ever need to make your first creation 🧀 Reply to @tluang_cc #cheeseplate #charcuterie #cheeseboard

♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) – 山口夕依

How to execute the most chic cheese board with items from Trader Joe’s.


#stitch with @420loveontour If I’m talking weird it’s cause I had a root canal #travel #travelhacks #hacks #deals

♬ original sound – zacharyburrabel

A money-saving travel hack you may want to bookmark for when you start to plan your post-COVID getaway.


can i talk any faster? never waste green onions, leafy greens, zucchini or squash again! #sustainability #foodwaste #ecotok #foryou

♬ 34+35 – Ariana Grande

Best practices for making sure your greens never go to waste again.


How YOU can draw an Easy Realistic Lake or Any body of water @babyneji.com #Artmas #landscapeartist #illustrationart #artlessons #howtoart

♬ Opp Stoppa – YBN Nahmir

Even you, a person with zero artistic ability, can easily draw a realistic lake landscape if that’s the kind of thing you’re inclined to do.

One of the strangest but admittedly coolest (and planet-friendly) trends on TikTok this year showed us how to recycle our old, used and shredded paper.

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