Quick Cleaning, Organizing, and General Life Hacks and Tips for a Saner Life
Let’s Call Them What They Are: Help-Me-Be-a-Functional-Human-Being Crutches
Once or twice every month, I’ll be sharing quick cleaning, organizing, and general tips, tricks, hacks, and hints.
If your brain never glitches, or you don’t get easily distracted, some of these may seem kind of duh. But all of these tips, hacks, and tricks and mini-habits weren’t automatic for me, so maybe they’re new to you, too.
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If you clicked on an email link to get here, or you stumbled upon my blog and want to read more about how these tip roundups came to be, read this. If you found this post through that page, you may also enjoy my blog. It’s meatier (not that kind of meat – don’t worry, no animals were harmed in the writing – except for my cat who fell off the keyboard trying to get me to notice him) and includes detailed systems and programs I use to stay on track. Despite my brain’s best efforts to derail me.
To rein in my perfectionist and, therefore, procrastinatistic (Joni word alert) tendencies, the above intro paragraph will appear in every tips post. I could easily spend two weeks on each and every collection of quick tips, trying to be delightfully (or annoyingly – depending upon whom you ask) original. Meaning you will probably never get the actual tips. Trust me when I say that this copying and pasting method will bother me more than it bothers you.
Now, on to the tips…
Eliminate Nasty Dishrags / No More Wet Towels On the Bathroom Floor / Professional Pill-Popping / Making Yourself Clean the Floor Before Something Down There Takes a Bite Out of Your Pinkie Toe
Put some hooks or a bar inside your kitchen sink cabinet doors to dry dishrags, and then toss the dry rags into a small bucket under the sink. Some people keep the bucket full of vinegar water but I use a dry dish tub. No more monstrous, wart-covered dish rags sitting in dishwater, and no buildup of stinky rags sitting on top of the washer. Or worse, sitting on hubby’s dress pants in the hamper (sorry, honey – see, I can learn from my mistakes…)
Bonus tip: Rinse your dishcloth in hot water for a few seconds each time you use it. Boil those smelly germs to death (insert evil laugh…or mournful sigh if you love all creatures).
Whoda thunk it was that easy to eliminate the dish rag smell that drove me bonkers for years?
Speaking of wet towels – buy a different color set of towels for each of your messy, messy kids. This cuts back on excuses (and a whole lot of lying). It’s instantly obvious who left wet towels crumpled across the bathroom tile. When I did this, that totally stopped happening (I know, I was surprised too!).
Unfortunately, I never figured out the wet-towels-thrown-on-their-beds problem. Apparently, hanging a towel on its hook takes superhuman adult effort.
General Life Hack:
Now for something I didn’t figure out until my son went on daily medication. This would have been helpful for the vitamins I took years ago, and for the Claritin I take every spring.
Drum roll please…
Pillboxes – they’re not just for senior citizens. Or supplement zealots (cough*cough my mother – who also happens to be a senior citizen – and a very lively one at that. Hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t mock the supplements).
If you or your kids take daily meds or vitamins, dispense them via pillboxes.
Do I need to remind you to keep them out of reach of Flintstones-vitamin-hungry younger kids (potentially dangerous combinations of chemicals + cartoon characters + candy taste = I think Mr. Yuck was on vacation that week), since pillboxes are not child-proof? I do? Okay, consider yourself reminded.
Put a note in your weekly routine or set an alarm for yourself to keep them filled each week, and you will never again wonder if you took today’s pill or not.
And you can tell by glancing at Junior’s still full Wednesday compartment that you have to make yet another trip to the school nurse’s office, medication in tow.
Oh wait, it’s Tuesday. Never mind…
Anyway, this might be a no-brainer for some of you, but I had bottles of pills here and there for years. These compartmentalized containers are not just for people who munch pills by the handful each day.
And if you go on antibiotics or some other temporary pill (like Claritin during allergy season), they piggyback onto your daily meds quite nicely. Just throw the antibiotic in with your other pills. Even if you have to dose up a few times each day, you’ll know by how many are left what you already took today (and what you, once again, have to cart up to the school).
If it’s a liquid antibiotic in the fridge you struggle to remember (man, those used to be so hard to remember before my kids started swallowing pills like good little druggies), just put a tiny piece of paper in the pill compartment. Move it to the next day once they’ve taken today’s dose.
And if you lay all your medication out a week at a time – bing bing! You get a savior warning bell if you accidentally let them run low. A couple days’ grace period to get over to the pharmacy.
Bonus tip: Use another habit you’ve already mastered as a trigger, and you’ll remember to take your pills. The remembering part is not a given, even with pillboxes. Just because the pills are in the box doesn’t mean you’ll take it to the next level of actually ingesting them.
For instance, brushing your teeth can be a trigger. Or checking for black chin hairs.
Or if you have to take a pill with food, put the pillbox in the kitchen and put a post-it note on your everyday breakfast food, the coffeemaker, or on the fridge. Then you’ll start to associate eating with remembering your meds.
Or with putting post-it notes on things.
I’m sorry, my help can only go so far.
In addition to life hacks and cleaning/organizing tips, I’m sharing a suggestion in each roundup for a mini habit that makes a mega difference. These habits weren’t in my default apps when I was born – I had to download them one at a time.
This week’s habit: Start sweeping your kitchen and dining room every night or every morning or every afternoon. Pick a trigger event you already do each day (like getting up, going to bed, getting home from school or work, sobbing quietly in a closet) so you’ll remember to do it.
I’m not talking every nook and cranny, you overachiever. Just do an adequate, quick sweep through the main areas. If you’re new to this, you don’t even have to pull out the chairs. Shh, don’t tell your mother I said that.
Unless she’s like us. Then invite her in – I’d love to meet her. I promise I’ll behave.
Anyway, it’s crazy how three minutes can make such a difference.
This is something naturally organized people do automatically. But the rest of us wait to sweep until we notice the floor is obviously dirty. Usually very dirty. And if you happen to have slob vision (coined by one of my favorite bloggers, Dana White), that could be never.
Floors are one of the first things a guest notices when they’re in your house. Not to mention it’s demoralizing to crunch in barefoot across an acre of crumbs. And your floors don’t enjoy it either.
Plus when there are less twistie ties, cheese wrappers, and bottle caps on the floor, other people may follow suit and think before they drop the next piece of trash.
It could happen.
If you’re feeling ambitious while you’re sweeping, wipe up any obvious spills or sticky spots.
This is my first tip roundup, hopefully of many. Does this format work for you?
Let me know below if you try any of these hints and if you’re working on your own mini-habits. And if you have your own tips, share away.
And tell your mother to call me. I’ll be waiting.
P.S. I’ve collected all my tip roundup posts in one convenient place. If you’d like to see more like this, check out the Quick LIfe Hacks, Cleaning Tips, and Organizing Tricks page.