Life Hacks: Odds and Ends.


Wrapping up the January life hacks series…. in February. Because maybe one of my life hacks when life gets really busy is “push blog writing down in the list of priorities.” But here we are, ending up this pseudo-regular series of random tips that might have had you thinking, “Um…duh. These are not original.” But hopefully some little gem stuck and made your life a tad easier. Or you are just relieved they are over and we can get back to our previously scheduled programming of too many pictures of brunch.

This last set of random hacks defies any sort of organization. I think a lot of our making-life-easier habits are like that, just little things that we find ourselves doing on repeat to get through the day with less stress. Here are just a couple little quirks that make my day feel way more accomplished than it really is, because if you haven’t already picked up on it, that is the true life hack.

  • Open your mail over the trash. Because let’s be honest – most of it should go in there anyways. I just carry it in and stand there to open it, not even putting space between the trashcan and those random adds that pile up. Space means possibilities for them to sit around and collect, driving me slowly crazy. Anything that survives the trash gets set into a 2 slot box on my desk (stuff for me, stuff for James), and we go through it every weekend, filing, paying, and responding as necessary.
  • Make a meal planning strategy. For everyone this is different. I like to plan meals Sunday night and plan 5 dinners. We usually end up not needing 7 a week, as there usually ends up being some dinner out or with friends or of leftovers. 5 gives me enough to work with without being wasteful. I keep a long and skinny magnetic pad of paper on the fridge and on Sundays I list meals at the top, then list all the ingredients I need below. That part gets cut off and taken to the store with me while the top part hangs out on the fridge to remind me what on earth I planned on making.
  • Lysol wipes. Keep them ever stocked. In theory, I should probably deep clean my whole home more than I do. We usually do a big clean on Saturday morning, dividing and conquering. But during the week, I keep Lysol wipes under the sink and do a quick counter wipe, bathroom sink wipe, toilet seat wipe, whatever wipe frequently, keeping up a semblance of cleanliness and order that keeps me sane. I also got fancy recently and added a Norwex cloth to my routine and it is pretty amazing at leaving my counters and stove clean with one swipe.
  • Make your bed. Just do it, as a reflex on rising, every day. Nothing will make you instantly feel as productive as a made bed.
  • Treat yo self. I like to have Tom Haverford’s mantra as a daily life hack. Goals motivate me, propel me forward, so I try to make my days full of tiny things that I love to motivate me towards doing the things I hate. Having a type of tea that I love motivates me to start reading for my dissertation because I’m excited about getting to brew a cup. Having a TV show I love to watch and only get to do so while folding laundry makes sure that happens. Having an audiobook I’m pumped to continue motivates me to work out. Working treats all throughout my day and then indulging in them to make less-enjoyable tasks fun makes the day delightful and productive. And of course, the ones I selected above are all nominally healthy… though I will also not disclose how many times I get through my morning Barre3 class because I know I can get a fresh-baked Union Kitchen cookie afterwards. (Too many. And not enough. All at once.)

And in case you are just dying to stroll down life-hack memory lane, here are links to conquering things in 5 minutes, organizing your life in notecards, looking awesome, and working out. I encourage you to read through the comments where some of you shared your own hacks for each domain and I loved reading them! I especially loved hoping over to read where some of you blogged your own life hacks.

Now then. Go forth and be awesome.

Image from here.

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7 Responses to Life Hacks: Odds and Ends.

  1. E.H says:

    I must say, your notecard life hack has changed my life and my ability to get things done in an orderly fashion. I am using them daily and LOVING them beyond words. I have such peace of mind knowing it’s on the card and it will get done one the right day. Thank you! This is a hack that I believe will stick with me for the rest of my life. ❤

  2. I am 100% with you on the mail piece, and the meal planning thing. Both of things things are essential in my world!

    I’ve really loved this series!


  3. Anna Kate says:

    Ugh, I totally rocked the 5 minute hack, but I’m seriously struggling with the notecard system. I know it’s perfect for me, because I’m yuuuugge into lists (had to) and have always loved notecards (they’re so tidy!), but two Sundays have rolled around and I just can’t seem to write all my commitments and to do’s down! It feels like such a commitment to put all that stuff on paper! Haha. Granted, I need to give myself grace because I’ve been in employment/general life limbo for a few months, and only just landed a job this week. Perhaps once I have a more predictable schedule I’ll be more successful at this hack. 🙂

  4. KathrynL-B says:

    I love the way you share life and light and colors. And now Life Hacks! Thanks.

    Also, have you read Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before book, about habits? Ahh, if you’re as in love with personality/productivity stuff as I am, you’d really appreciate it! I came away with sorts of insights about myself as well as helpful tips. (And your list of motivations fits perfectly under her heading of “temptation bundling”.)

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