People seemed to like my last post on this topic so here are a few more things making my life easier these days.
Emailing myself. I imagine a lot of people reading this do at least semi-regular processing of a primary inbox. If that is the case, then emailing yourself a note means you have a high chance of seeing it later at a time when you are making decisions/putting things on a calendar/batch processing. So, for instance, last night I remembered that I needed to contact a handful of people. But it would have been rude to text them at that time. So I emailed myself a reminder to do it and then did at a reasonable time in the morning — when I sat down and looked at my email.
Or writing it on my hand. I sometimes do this to remind myself of things while out and about. Very sophisticated I know. But my kids have done it too (willingly!) if there’s a change in pick-up procedures that they need to remember. If it says SPU (student pick up) on your hand in marker maybe you won’t get on the bus…
Putting a little water in it. It is very satisfying to use things up. Perhaps this tendency gets me into trouble with things like make-up, but there is often a lot of usable shampoo or soap in a bottle even after it stops reliably squeezing out. Add a little water to thin things and you can get several more days out of it. This is particularly helpful if you are, say, in the bathroom and need to wash your hands and no one else seems to have replaced the used up soap (hmmm….). Last night I put water in the tomato sauce jar to get all of it out!
Storing extra toilet paper in each bathroom. Not in a central place. People still won’t replace the rolls (why????) but at least they are closer.
Puzzle + computer. So, at the end of the day, especially if the 3-year-old has had a long nap and will not be going down early, he watches an episode or two of Catie’s Classroom or Animal Mechanicals on the YouTube Kids. Our home computer is in the dining room which…I now consider my puzzle room (we eat at the kitchen table usually). It’s gotten a little crazy — there are two 1000-piece puzzles usually on the table at any point. I’m currently doing a 750-piece one and it is seeming a lot easier. I think the difficulty level is geometric with piece number, or some version of that whereby a 750-piece puzzle only takes half as long as a 1000-piece one. Anyway…I get 45 minutes of puzzle time while supervising the toddler. Multi-tasking!
Shelf-stable yogurt. One of my picky eaters likes yogurt, but it’s not the world’s most portable snack…until now. GoGo Squeeze makes shelf-stable pouch yogurt, which I have to imagine tastes better cold, but I’m not the one eating it, so whatever. It can be brought on a car trip or stashed in a purse just fine.
My tote bag/purse. I’ve figured out that it works best for me to carry a leather tote as my purse. Maybe for you too? It’s a gray number from Longchamp, bought on clearance…of course…which is why it is gray, but I have come to think the color is smart — it goes with everything. The bag can fit my laptop, and can function as my carry-on personal item while traveling. It can also fit diapers and wipes (it’s a banner day when I need to carry the laptop AND diapers and wipes). I bought it in late 2018 after my old tote fell apart. I realized that the size was exactly right, so I bought a near replica.
The accessory notebook. About two years ago, Sarah suggested I use the Whitney English weekly planner (academic year version). She bought me one that I used for a year, and then I bought the next year’s version. I likely will re-up for a third year. BUT! I often need to take notes on stuff or brainstorm ideas and there is limited space in a weekly planner. Enter the accessory notebook. I always have another random notebook going on my desk to write down anything that occurs to me that isn’t to-do specific. I didn’t always separate these things (my old planners have lots of notes from stuff like voice mail messages) but doing so makes a smaller planner possible.
Charix shoes. Another Instagram purchase…but they are really comfortable. Will I be able to walk 10 miles in them with no blisters as advertised? Unclear but they’ve been good for regular walking around so far.
Succulents. Like a little greenery but don’t want much upkeep? They’re good. I have a few in my office. Honestly, fake plants could work in many cases too.
Not folding (some) clothes. Many clothes don’t need to be folded. I know this might be a controversial take, but things like workout clothes and pajamas can just be tossed in a drawer.
Storing clean towels on top of the dryer. Hear me out. We have a linen closet in the laundry room, which would be a good place to store towels. However, when my older children decide they need a clean towel before a shower, they are not always careful as they pull them out, and suddenly, the stack of neatly folded towels is a mess, with collateral damage to other things in the closet. Store a handful of clean towels on top of the dryer and they simply grab a towel and go.
Keeping a screwdriver in the kitchen junk drawer. And batteries nearby. I am amazed how often this need comes up. If I had to go retrieve the screwdriver from a toolbox there are a lot of toys that would just sit there, not fixed.
Keeping a travel size pack of floss in my purse. (As in, the tote bag described above.) I seem to get stuff stuck in my teeth a lot. Quick trip to the ladies room and the problem is solved.
Introducing teens to tea. I’m not sure it’s great to start a coffee habit as young as I did. Too many frappuccino type beverages aren’t that wise either. But tea is something kids can sip while studying or order while out with friends and it seems more sophisticated than juice. We now go through a lot of green tea around here!
The “recording” sign. I put this on the office door when I can’t be disturbed. Usually it’s because I’m recording. (Rule of thumb: Anyone not old enough to read and respect that sign should have childcare coverage even if you are working at home).