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Little things with big value

Friday, February 21, 2014

Okay Friends, I’m looking for some input. Let's hear about little things with big value.

For example: Several years ago, I used to spend a lot of time and energy looking for my keys. It stressed me out and drove me nuts and a couple of days later I’d be looking for my keys again. I was told repeatedly that the solution was: make a “staging area” near the front door, but for various reasons that didn’t work for me. Finally, I picked up a carabiner keychain at a 99cents store. Problem solved. If my keys aren’t in my car ignition, they’re clipped to my purse strap or my belt loop. I saved my sanity for less than a dollar.

Last month I bought a new computer mouse to use with my laptop at home. I already had a mouse that worked part time. For more than I year, I frustrated myself with that stupid mouse. I had in my mind it was wasteful to throw it away when it worked (sort of). I took it apart and tried to fix it several times (a huge waste of time). I finally admitted I was just being stingy with myself. I had an Amazon gift card. I bought a mouse. Problem solved.

This month I bought a 6-outlet power strip to replace the 3-outlet extension cord that I was trying to make do for 4 devices (unplugging my phone to plug in my laptop, swapping the lamp for the space heater, etc.).

March is coming and I’d like to continue this trend. I’d like to have a year where I’ve implemented a dozen solutions to the nagging little things that bug me or waste my time. I’m not looking to throw money away. I’m just looking for little things with big value for me. Your solutions might not fit my problems, but I’d still like to hear about them. What little things have provided a big value in your life? Stuff that costs less than $20 is good – free is better – but if it works, it’s priceless, right? Let’s hear about stuff that’s simplified your routine, kept clutter under control, made you feel smarter or look better, or improved your life in any way. I’ve got an android smartphone (but not a tablet), so app suggestions are good, too.

Thanks in advance for any input!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    This was posted awhile ago but has some great ideas.
    It drives me crazy when my sister can never find her keys or phone or whatever. If you always put them in the same place, you will always know where they are. I'm not the most organized person but that works well for me.

    I like the idea of looking at everything with fresh eyes and making the necessary changes so we can stop being annoyed over and over.
    1967 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/1/2015 10:25:09 PM
    Great ideas!
    I use baskets baskets baskets all over the house...toys, books, magazines, toiletries, remotes....no less stuff around the house but it looks neater most of the time.
    2272 days ago
    I KNOW you are busy, but would love to see a new BLOG! You have so many wonderful things to share with all of us!

    2314 days ago
  • BOPPY_
    I have a similar solution with my keys, and wallet.

    Here's one that's unique to me, I think. I've had about 20 personal computers. (I'm an old dude who's been using computers since 1969.) Through the first 7, or so, the shift lock key was always a problem for me. I'd hit it and then not notice (I'm a hunt and pecker) the results. Cure?

    Remove the caps lock key from my desktop keyboards.

    More recently, I use a driver modifier for laptops, that converts shift lock to shift.

    Sanity saved!!!!!

    Like your Escher tessellated background,

    2317 days ago
    Lots of great ideas! My favorite is the original one - pick a new habit every month to make your life easier!! emoticon
    2337 days ago
    GREAT ideas!!!!
    2446 days ago
  • no profile photo CD1285917
    Great ideas....I took a colorful plastic tissue box cover and turned it upside down and it holds all the remotes for the tv, vcr, dvd player, roku, etc all together..no more hunting. For my cpap machine that kept "spitting out" the filters I put a rubber band around the machine and no more dusty nights for me!
    2447 days ago
    I've waited to chime in so I could see what other suggest.

    There are a lot of really great ideas! I love the toilet paper roll idea for the cords. I might use that to organize my rubber bands too (wrap them around so they don't float free cluttering my drawers)

    Here are a some of the things I love:

    I love my weighted vest. I just invested in a new one that goes to 40 lbs. I have it at 26 lbs now and can adjust up or down. I think it makes my walks more "weighty"


    I love my Apple Products because the integrate seamlessly and if ever have any problems the Apple Geniuses are really that! (God bless them!) I have NO patience for learning or maintaining hardware.

    I use the photo feature on my phone to take pictures of cool ideas in magazines (instead of tearing them out!)

    I use the photo feature to take a picture of where I'm parked (when I'm in big or un familiar places)

    I'm learning to use "Evernote" an App that is supposed to help me organize all those bits and bytes of information! Can't really give it a glowing review yet because I have not spent enough time with it, however others swear by it.

    I use the "Voice record" feature on my phone to record ideas for writing projects (new or ongoing)

    I use the "locate my iPhone" feature to find my phone all the time.

    In other words - my phone is my second (and probably better) brain! I'm sure Droids have similar features.

    The other thing that I love and serves to keep me centered and feeling really good about my world is my "prayer/gratitude" journal.

    On the left page I write a little about my day. On the right hand page, I write a "Dear God" note. (You can pick the word that feels right for you. Personally, I like the name "Elohim" which is the Hebrew word for God.)

    You can not imagine now many problems I put out there and how many inspired solutions magically show up to help me out with those issues....

    It's really quite satisfying and whether it's because God really answering my prayers or whether I'm simply more focused and open to seeing the solutions that are already out there does not matter.

    It is a great help and comfort!

    XOXO Aurlie!!

    ¸¸.•´¸.•*¨) ♥¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ .♥ (¸.•´ .♥ (¸.•*´¨`* ♥☆¸.•*´¨`*♥☆
    `*♥☆ Spread the Spark!!!

    2490 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/27/2014 11:58:20 AM
    WOW! Awesome topic. I can use all the help I can get, so will have to check back in for additional suggestions.
    2501 days ago
    OH my goodness yes! Some of my frustrations are about food. Solutions? Smart shortcuts. I used to think it was too expensive to buy the already cut veggies but after being in a rush one day I realized that buying squash and root vegetables that were already peeled and cut made the meal preparation for soup or Morrocan roasted vegetables so easy... and then I realized that I could freeze them and they would work just as well so now I watch out for when the packages go on sale. I don't like clutter so the rule now is for every one thing in, one thing has to go. I run a B&B so now I always lay one garbage bag in the bottom of each garbage can so that when I pull out a full bag there is one sitting there ready to use. It is worth using bin liners for me for the green bins. I have also started using parchment paper to line baking pans to ease cleanup. I now have a "bin" for receipts beside the computer that I can go through monthly. I got frustrated with the disposible cuttlery so bought a set of drawers... now the whole set of drawers goes on the table and people choose what they need from the drawers... and my every day cuttlery I keep in baskets that also can be taken from the drawers and put on the table when I do buffets. I keep potatoes in a basket with a lid.... so they don't rot. I put a "shoe rack", the large kind that go on the back of the door for mitts and scarves in the winter so they are easy to match up and dry quickly. It is worth spending a bit of time problem solving and amazing when you are thinking of a problem how you will recognize a solution!
    2508 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4667289
    Great ideas. Pen and paper are my friends. I make to do lists because I love to cross off things I get done. I also keep a list of what I have in the freezers. (I pre-make a lot of meals and freeze them) When we use something out of the freezer I cross it off.

    Nothing too exciting but it works for me.

    P.S. My hubby is notorious for misplacing his wallet. Every time he gets ready to leave the house he is pulling his hair out trying to find it. I've tried to get him to put it in the same place every time he comes home. Does he listen to me? NO!! So now I leave the room when he starts looking for it.
    2518 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6254520
    Scotch Tape

    2519 days ago
    I have an amazing memory for stuff that doesn't count (what someone said to me 50 years ago) but can't for the life of me remember something I need at the store if I don't write it down. I keep lists of everything the second they come into my mind. I have paper and pen in several places around the house and in my pocketbook, and jot things down then transfer them to the real list. I used to think that if I walked past the tuna in the store I'd remember I needed it. Alas, not true. It's easier on paper for me because I developed the habit long before smartphones were invented, and just couldn't see the advantage of making a switch.
    2522 days ago
  • KITT52
    wow great ideas....
    2523 days ago
    This is a simple one but it has helped me.
    I was always losing bills that needed to be paid in the clutter of the junk mail pile I always seem to have. I got a letter holder that mounts on the wall and any bill I have to pay goes there immediately. If I look over at it and see ANYTHING I know there is something I need to pay attention to. It has helped a lot, and once in a while it is even empty!(though not often...)
    Good topic, interesting ideas!
    2523 days ago
    Great topic.
    One of the best splurges my husband and I made several years ago was our iPhones and Mac computers. All our boys and their girlfriends/wives have iPhones and Apple/Mac computers so we are all compatible and they can help us when we have difficulties. We use so many of the tools and apps. now that we can't imagine life without them. We sync our calendars so there is never a mix up in dates or planning..........etc.

    When our old treadmill bit the dust recently, my husband was really on a roll with his exercise and nutrition program. I ventured into the world of Craig's List to find a used one. In 5 minutes I found a lady who was moving and had over estimated her treadmill enthusiasm. She sold us her nearly new one, exactly like our old one, for $200.oo. It has been in use every day and my hubby didn't interrupt his health streak.

    I also have learned to buy better quality, healthier foods that I love. Sometimes they cost more and sometimes they don't, but I've decided at my age, it is worth it. The health benefits in the long run will save me grief and money.

    Thanks Aurlie, for helping us share our ideas. I've loved reading everyone's responses.
    2523 days ago
    I have an IPhone app called FridgeBuddy - it tracks the leftovers that I have in the fridge. Each night before I go to bed, I enter in the leftovers that I put in the fridge that evening with a three day due date. On day two - the line item will turn yellow and on day three the line item turns to red. This way I either eat the food before I have to throw it out or I move it to the freezer both in real life and on the app - that way I know what food I have in the freezer to eat and when it will expire. This has saved me so much money from lost food.

    I am also trying to purge my closet of clothes that either don't fit or I just don't wear anymore. I have a terrible issue with getting rid of these things as "you never know when you may wear it/need it again". I have started keep a cardboard box in my closet - when I pull something out and turn my nose up at it - I put it in the box. I am still slow at doing this , but the box gets me one step closer. We get calls about once a week from charities asking if we have donations - I always say yes and put my box out for them to take and give to someone who can use it. Win-win!
    2523 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13961612
    From time to time I use cartons with rice milk and soy milk. The rice milk needs to be used up within 7 days, the soy milk within 5 days after opening. I was forgetting when I'd opened them all the time.
    Now I find a pen and write the date on the carton when I open it.

    I got one of those small sweepers, those things with a roller in it that sweeps up crumbs and flakes, a while ago and often use it now instead of the vacuum cleaner. I don't have to drag out the vacuum cleaner this way.

    Having a guest dog for a while, I needed to find a way to have my hands free when walking two dogs. I bought, in the pet shop, a small but strong cord with a ring in the middle and snap-hooks on both ends. This way I can connect the two dogs to one another so I will need to hold only one leash.
    It was handy for that purpose, but the cord is VERY handy also for many other purposes. I found that out as I carried it in my coat pocket for a while. For example I can use it as a key chain, or to tie any two things that have a ring or a tab on it, to each other.

    2524 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/22/2014 5:40:00 AM
    I had the hardest time getting organized.Now i rely on Fly Lady to structure me. It is free and makes this task less daunting.
    Also,I replaced an old lamp shade with a fresh one recently; never thought that the old one was bothering me so much.
    Now i pay more attention to how i feel and if chaos bothers me, i pick it up, because it bothers me, and not because i think i "should". Might sound obvious to most of you, but for mewho gets easily overwhelmed, it is a huge progress.
    2524 days ago
    There is an app for the iPhone (and hopefully for the Droid) called Our Groceries. Everyone in my family has it. That way, when they run out of something that only they use or they use the last of something, they can add it to the grocery list. And I can add to it no matter where I am. Fewer trips to the store.

    Love this idea that you have!

    (BTW, I use a blanket for my windshield).
    2524 days ago
    I have a bucket with my cleaning supplies in it. I can easily carry it from room to room as I clean and everything I need it right there.

    Great topic!
    2524 days ago
    This is probably a common one, but you never know..... I have a drawer in my bathroom that holds all kinds of stuff including a hair dryer, curling iron, flat iron etc. I was forever rewinding up the cords for all of them every time I had to open the drawer. One day, I was emptying the waste basket in there and it occurred to me: emoticon

    Why don't I put these used toilet paper rolls to good use and now have one snuggly over each chord. They eventually get wrecked taking them on and off - but there's always a refill! emoticon

    This is a very cool topic! Interesting what other people come up with!
    2524 days ago
    I made a bulletin board myself with cork tiles to hang over my desk. Actually it's cork tiles over styrofoam. I have bills that are only due every 3 months so they get thumbtacked there, plus a calendar, plus my Dad's funeral card and a few other things that are precious to me. :)

    2524 days ago
  • SCOOTER4263
    I labelled a bunch of things - the various cords and chargers that all look exactly alike but fit in different gadgets, which switch goes to which light, what's in that package in the freeer, what's in the different canisters and jars.

    The most useful small thing I've instituted is getting one of those magnetic baskets- kids use them for their lockers -and stuck it to the side of the refrigerator. It holds a pencil, a pair of scissors and a marker.

    I use the marker to write on top of jars and cartons the date I opened the thing. The "use by"date is only good for unopened - a lot of times you have to use it in three days or whatever, and i never could remember. Now I don't have to.

    I LOVE this topic! It's the small things that make you crazy.
    2524 days ago
  • MAC4902
    Am a carabiner girl myself. If I think of anything I'll add it.
    2524 days ago
    Skip bathing. Nobody will ever bother you!

    Well, you might get fired, and then you'd have a whole new set of problems.

    For real though, I always lost my keys too. So, then I started just throwing them in the junk drawer in the kitchen when I come in. That problem solved.

    What I (really) wish, is that TV rmotes would have a 'locate' feature just like portable phones. WHY can't they do that!? I spend more time looking for my remote than anything.
    2524 days ago
    Good idea!
    I really got tired of scraping ice off my windshield so I used one of my bed sheets to cover the windshield at night. Next morning took the sheet off and had clean windshield.
    2524 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/21/2014 1:38:22 PM
  • no profile photo CD5198989
    I hope you find solutions.
    2524 days ago
  • JUNETTA2002
    Here is something to help you out - Sleep in your workout gear then all you have to do is get up and you are ready to go. When your feet hit the floor you can go.
    2524 days ago
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