House and Home

15 Ideas to Make Your Life More Sane


Don't knock it 'til you try it, the saying goes, and in this case it applies. While some of the things I'm suggesting might sound a little (okay, a lot) OCD, they're tricks that work, and hey, isn't that really the bottom line?

  • Keep a marker in the freezer: If you're the type of person who cooks a lot and freezes the leftovers, or someone who likes to buy in bulk, keeping a marker in the freezer might mean the difference between "What is this?" and "Here's the pasta sauce I made last summer when the tomatoes were at their peak!" Use it to label and date whatever you're freezing. 
  • Collect pint-sized versions of your favorite toiletries and store them in your suitcase: This is one of those silly ideas that I used to scoff at until the TSA changed the guidelines and mini became the rule. Whether it's a flight across the country, around the world, or just a quick overnighter, keeping smaller versions of your toiletries in your suitcase means you're always ready to go. Since all the things I like and need don't always come in small sizes, I pick them up whenever I see them. 
  • Pack up your beach or ski stuff: As for traveling, so for sports. In my beach bag, I store sunscreen, a towel, a blanket and bathing suits. My ski boots share space with my ski clothes, hand warmers and another stick of sunscreen. 
  • Hang your keys on the back of your front door, or install a lock that can only be secured from the inside: When I moved into my home, it was already equipped with one of these locks. Not only do I always know where my keys are, but I don't have to worry about accidentally locking myself out (something my neighbors have done). 
  • Put a pen and pad by the phone charger: I used to keep them by my landline, but now I keep them by the charger. Same purpose (taking notes), different area. 
  • Arranging the medicine chest by how things are used: Yeah, this one got me called crazy, but since I no longer rub toothpaste into my palms thinking it's hand cream, the last laugh may be mine. If you're as blind as I am without my glasses, this little bit of organization brings a lot of order to your morning. 
  • Having a place for everything in the refrigerator: If you bake a lot or live with someone else, having a place for everything brings a little more sanity to your cooking times. You'll be able to see, at a glance, if you actually have enough eggs or milk or butter — whether it's for that cake you were thinking about making or for breakfast.Bonus: No more overbuying. 
  • Keep your daily meds in the refrigerator: Be they vitamins or prescriptions, I keep them in the fridge next to the milk. I know I'll be reaching for the milk for my morning coffee and when I do, it'll remind me to pop my pills.Bonus: Less chance of forgetting whether you already took them today. 
  • Have a box for your first aid supplies and medications: If you have kids, keeping meds in the refrigerator might not be a great idea. But then again, neither is keeping them in the medicine chest. Sure, you might want to make a place for your cough medicine if you're battling something nasty, but most of us have stuff around that we only grab on occasion. Stick it all in a pretty box (or a lock-box if you have wee ones in the house). You may want to date stuff (even medicine has a shelf life); in which case, do as with the freezer and keep a marker in your box. 
  • Keep a set of cleaning supplies in the bathroom and in the kitchen: Avoid a marathon cleaning session by wiping down the sink (and, if you shed as much hair as I do, the floor) each morning with a rag and spritz of cleanser, or try those packages of pop-up wipes. Supplies in each wet room means you're more likely to have them at hand, keeping these rooms clean. 
  • Empty your pocket change into a jar by the door each night: This is one of those silly things a friend told me they did once when I asked them where they'd found the money for something (we were both equally broke at the time). It may seem super old school (and it is), but it's also a painless way of saving and avoids the rattling handbag or ripped pocket syndrome. 
  • Clean while you're on the phone: Whether it's doing the dishes, swishing the toilet, Swiffering the floor or feather dusting the counter tops, cleaning while on the phone is a simple way to multitask. 
  • The next time you line your trash can with a new bag, stick an old dryer sheet in the bottom and line the bin with all the trash bags at once: Then all you have to do is pull out the old bag; the new one's already in place. 
  • Keep your laundry supplies at the bottom of your hamper: Are you sensing a theme here? Guilty. Also guilty of not having a lot of storage space. Also in my laundry bag: a roll of quarters and stain stick (it's right where I need it so I can treat a stain before it goes in the hamper). 
  • Store your bed linens under your mattress: I don't know about you, but I don't have loads of extra space to use for storing sheets and pillowcases. Instead, I fold up everything and stick it underneath the mattress or between the mattress and the box-spring, next to my life savings (just kidding).
  • Got any crazy tricks of your own? Share them in the comments!