House and Home

15 Ideas to Make Your Life More Sane

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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!