I’d like to preface this post by saying I’m not quite sure how I feel about the term ‘lifehack.’
In my somewhat curmudgeonly opinion, wearing a hair tie on your wrist so it’s easily accessible is not a ‘lifehack.’ Understanding how to use Google Calendar is not a ‘lifehack.’ Knowing how to cope when people disappoint you isn’t – say it with me now! – a ‘lifehack.’
Also? We can’t lifehack our way to happiness. Making a big pot of soup so you can bring lunch to work every day will help you save money. Organizing your closet might make your morning easier. These are not the same as, say, going to therapy or working through deep seated, lifelong issues.
With all that said, sometimes tiny, logistical changes CAN make daily life easier, less stressful, and more pleasant. Sometimes oddly obvious tweaks to our day-to-day habits can add up to big changes.
What follows is a random assortment of little ‘lifehacks’ that make my life easier and more awesome. Many of these may strike you as wildly obvious. If so, you are smarter than me! Awesome! Here is a blog post about animals in buckets for you.
15 lifehacks that are making my life easier + more awesome
Keeping floss picks in my car and using them at stoplights
YES I KNOW I’M DISGUSTING but am I also a genius? My friend Leah taught me this trick and – hand to god – it’s revolutionizing my dental hygiene. Previously, I’d floss once a week. Now, I’m flossing 4-5 times a week! Also, I cover my mouth with my non-flossing hand so it’s slightly less uncouth than you’re probably imagining.
Chopping up and freezing any produce that’s about to go bad
As you may remember, I’m weird about food waste. When I notice that something in our crisper is wilting, I chop off the soft bits and freeze it on a sheet pan. Then I tuck those frozen bits into a Ziploc bag and use them in smoothies or blended soups. Easy peasy!
Buying giant bags of raw cashews and freezing them
Yes, I’m someone who makes cashew milk for my smoothies and cashew cheese for dips and cashew-based cream sauces for my ‘zoodles.’ Unfriend as you see fit.
But here’s the thing: you don’t need a nut milk bag to make cashew milk because cashews don’t have skin. You don’t have to soak them before you make anything out of them. And they’ll keep forevvvvver when they’re frozen.
Milk and cream go bad and you’ll have to spend 20 minutes running to the store to get ingredients to make that white sauce. If you have a giant bag of cashews in your freezer, you’re set. You just pour some boiling water over a cup of cashews and after they cool, rinse ‘em and use this easy recipe. Even if you love dairy (like I do), it’s really helpful to keep these on hand! A five-pound bag usually lasts us at least three months.
Storing things near where I use them
Are you rolling your eyes and groaning “Durrrrrrr” at your computer right now? Maybe everyone else in the world has realized that if your cat usually hangs out in your bedroom, you should keep his brush and nail clippers, yes, in your bedroom. And if you watch movies on your laptop in the living room, you should also store your portable speaker in the living room.
It took me five years to figure this out. So if you didn’t know either – now you do!
Having an end-of-workday drink
My friend Katie turned me onto the joys of the Home Happy Hour. I use it as a little ritual to tell my freelancing, Type-A brain that “We’re done with work for today, dude!” I’m not a huge drinker so my post-work “cocktail” is often a La Croix with some frozen berries and whatever herbs we have in the fridge or a cup of tea. Whatever shape it takes, it a great way to turn off my Work Self and turn on my Home Self.
Making healthy food easy to access and unhealthy food less easy to access
When I put produce in the crisper, I forget about it till it rots (see item #2). When the bow tie noodles are sitting at eye-level in my cupboard, I end up eating pasta for lunch every day. Weird!
But when I put the stuff I want to be eating in clear containers, in the front of the fridge, I eat more of it. And when I tuck the salt and vinegar chips behind the cereal, I’m (somewhat) more likely to forget about them.
Dog-cleaning wipes and Bathroom-cleaning wipes
In a perfect world, our dog would love to be bathed and I’d turn old t-shirts into rags and use water and vinegar to clean the bathroom. In the real world, Loretta fear pees when she realizes a bath is coming and I hate the smell of vinegar. Soooo, I wipe down the dog with these dog wipes and I wipe down the sink with these hippie bathroom wipes. Life is a lot cleaner and better smelling.
The post-lunch walk + Roomba session
My love for my Roomba is well-documented. The health benefits of walking are well-documented. To get myself out of the house after lunch, I’ve programmed my Roomba to run every day at 1:00 pm. It’s totally annoying to be in the house while a robot vacuum is bumping into your feet and it’s a great reminder to get outside.
So every day when the Roomba clicks to life, I leash up the dog and head out. I return home with more energy, a settled stomach, a happier dog, and my floors are cleaner!
Using emojis in the subject lines of my email newsletters
If you’re not a business owner, this won’t matter to you. But if you are you should know: I’m 90% sure emoji subject line use increases open rates! My newsletter open rates are consistently 15-20% higher than “industry average” and I suspect it’s because of my black belt emoji use. (You can sign up for my newsletters here and see for yourself!) I get all my emojis here.
Checking out magazines from the library rather than having a subscription
I looooove me some lady magazines. But I get weird about what to do with them after I’ve read them and feeling strangely ‘pressured’ to read them before the next month’s issue arrives. (Yes, I’m ridiculous.) When I check magazines out from the library, I don’t have to deal with any of this. If I find something really awesome, I can just make a duplicate on the library copy machine.
Keeping granola bars in my glove compartment
Like everyone else in the world, I’m not my best self when I’m hangry. I’m more likely to spend money in a regrettable way, cut people off in traffic, or buy $7 salads. I avoid all of this by keeping a box of these in my glove compartment.
Having a ‘to be taken care of’ pile in a frequently-used space
I haaaate clutter and I’ll do almost anything to get rid of a pile. So if I pile the gift cards we need to mail, the paperwork we need to fill out, and the hardware we need to install on the banquet in our dining room THAT ISH WILL GET FINISHED. I’m too house proud to look at pile for more than a few days. If I tucked those same things into a drawer? They would never, ever get done.
Stocking up on ‘emergency meals’
When we’re on top of our game, Kenny and I love to cook long, involved recipes together. But we’re also busy humans with full schedules and limited amounts of time and energy. So rather than ordering takeout or eating carrots and hummus for every meal, we stock up on ‘emergency meals.’
For us this is:
* tubes of pre-cooked polenta and marinara sauce
* boxes of fancy soup and loaves of sourdough (which you can freeze!)
* packets of Indian food and vacuum-packed cooked rice
* pretty much anything from Trader Joe’s frozen section
I work from home, for myself, so there are many days when the only people I see are the cat, the dog, and my husband who sweetly believes I’m cute no matter what.
But when I take the extra twenty minutes to put on a Real Outfit, style my hair, and slick on a bit of lipstick, I am suddenly unstoppable. I’m more productive, more focused, and more convincing when I call Comcast to complain about my bill.
Doing leg lifts while I brush my teeth
I use a Sonicare toothbrush (highly recommended) and it’s programmed to run for two full minutes. That’s a long time to stare into the mirror and contemplate my mortality. Instead, I do ‘arabesque taps’ which is a fancy way of saying ‘leg lifts.’ It’s good for my butt, thighs, abs, and balance. Multi-tasking at its best!
But I want to hear from you! What tiny things do you do every day that make life easier and more awesome? Let’s make this comment section a wealth of knowledge – nothing is too small or seemingly obvious!