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It’s been a while since I did one of these posts. And this one has been sitting in my Drafts for a while. None of these individual time-saving tips seemed like they warranted their own post by themselves, so I lumped them together because they fell under a single common thread: stuff I wish I’d done sooner.
While no one tip has drastically changed my life (except, perhaps, the last one on the list), here’s a little secret: the real time-savers are the simple things. The stuff that you don’t notice are wasting the day. When you think about it, things that only “take a minute” to do each day add up to more than six hours of a single year. Which is like, half of an OITNB marathon. By eliminating these things and making small changes, they’ll start turning into lots of time saved.
Buying the Right-Sized Stuff for My Spaces
I snagged this quick picture during part of the pantry work, and it’s something that’s made my life a TON easier since purchasing. And yet, it’s so simple. It’s my dog’s rolling food bin that neatly tucks under the bottom shelf in the pantry.
Prior to plunking down the $13 bucks (or about that amount, I can’t remember anymore, but it was priced somewhere between “too cheap not to snatch up” and “seriously? for a plastic bin?” which for me is right around the $12.99 mark), I had been using a smaller plastic bucket that held about half of the amount that comes in one of those comically large dog food bags (seeing me carrying one on my shoulders through the pet store is probably very entertaining for passers-by). The problem, obviously, is that if it was a new bag, that would mean half of it would still have to sit in the original bag, bundled up until Charlie ate the first half, and then I’d get to empty the bag. Forget about re-filling the bin more often than that, because that’s just crazy talk.
Then I came upon this little guy, which I’d been avoiding buying for the longest time because hey, I had a food bin for Charlie already, and it wasn’t broken, chewed on, or missing its lid. So I had a hard time justifying replacing it. And yet, on some random day (I must have thought “to heck with it, I’ll splurge”), I spotted the wheels and the flip lid and convinced myself it was time to upgrade. And I’M SO GLAD I did. This thing holds a full, buy-in-bulk bag, which means I can dump it in here, throw away the empty bag, and not have to find an extra space to store the leftovers/worry about it attracting bugs. Perfection. Lid flips up, Charlie gets her food bowl filled, and I move on with my day and stop making things harder just to do the simple things. That’s why this is going on my list today. Because even though it’s still such a small thing, it impacts my life every day. I try to use this little lesson as a reminder any time I’m contemplating buying the cheapest thing (that usually doesn’t fit) and spending just a few extra dollars on the thing that is better suited for its use.
Eliminating Junk Mail (both online and snail mail)
Why, oh why, didn’t I start unsubscribing to things sooner? I wasted oodles of time deleting spammy posts from stores in my inbox every week instead of just hitting the Unsubscribe link at the bottom. Especially now that Gmail has divided my inbox into Primary, Social, and Promotion tabs – I get spam in all three groupings, which only adds on a little time. Sure, it seems like the easiest thing is just to select a group of emails once or twice and delete, but if you do that daily, like I do, it’s a lot of time. In the long run, not deleting 20 emails every week is faster (and by the way, stores that make me log in or verify my email to unsubscribe? Way to make me never shop you again – such a hassle!).
I also found an app for my phone that helps to eliminate junk mail through the actual mailbox. It’s called PaperKarma. All I have to do is take a picture of the address label (don’t worry, the app walks you through it), and it sends off my info to request that I be taken off of the distribution list (however they managed to find it – which isn’t always clear of course). It doesn’t work 100% (especially with local mailers that don’t have your actual name on it but instead say “To Neighbor” or whatever), but it has drastically lightened the load of my mail. And since my mail carrier likes to fold important checks in the middle of my junk mail, the frustration factor has gone down a bit.
Shampoo Bottle Pumps
This falls right in line with the dog food bin thing. I have a lot of hair on my head. A lot. I’m not sure why I’ve waited so long just to go ahead and buy the big salon-style pump bottles of shampoo and conditioner instead of the smaller squeeze bottles, but once I did this, it was a no-brainer to never go back. And a pump never accidentally slides off of the edge of the tub because you were inverting the bottle to get the last vestiges of shampoo out of the bottom. Seems to simple to mention, but I swear, it’s little things like this that eat up the day.
Laser Hair Removal
When I was finishing up my last few rounds of treatment, I shared a snapshot on Instagram about the glasses I was required to wear, and people got a little curious. Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on the results, I’ve written a post about it, which will be appearing on Friday. Yes, it’s a total departure from DIY, but I promised I’d write something about it someday, and almost began writing it here until I couldn’t stop remembering more details to share. So head’s up that this Friday, you’re going to see a post that has no business being on a DIY blog. But laser hair removal is another thing I’m very happy I spent some time (and yes, money) on.
There you have it: a random collection of time-savers. If you’ve found some of your own “little” changes that saved you heaps of time, I’d love to hear it. I’ll try them out myself :)