Brilliant little ideas

I know we’ve had threads like this before, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out how to search for them. Maybe if someone can lay hands on them, you could link them here too.

In the meantime, what simple but perhaps non-obvious tricks do you use to make life easier?


When playing games with multiple children, I make the rule that the winner cleans up the game and puts it away. This helps a lot when my volatile five-year-old loses - she consoles herself with the schadenfreude that her big sister has to clean up.

When you’re sending an e-mail with an attachment, put the attachment on FIRST THING, or at least when you type the words, “I’m attaching,” stop, and attach the flipping thing right then. Can’t tell you how many follow-up e-mails I’ve sent with a sheepish “Oh, and here’s the actual attachment.”

Similarly, when I tell someone I’m going to do something, think of something that needs doing, or when I receive an invitation or alert for some obligation, I IMMEDIATELY put it on my calendar. Since I use Google and have access on all my devices, it’s easy to do, and I can always push stuff back or rearrange times if I need to. But if someone says, “Can you follow up about those reference letters?” and I just say “Yes,” it’s almost guaranteed to slip my mind. Or alternatively, I feel tons of stress trying to remember all the things that I need to do. Even something as simple as my kid saying she wants to visit Yellowstone - I put a note on my calendar for next month: “Research Yellowstone vacation.” It might get pushed back 300 days, and the vacation might not happen for 3 years, but that’s one less thing whizzing around my head making me anxious.

To keep track of needed shopping items, I put notes on a whiteboard on the fridge (where I usually am when I realize we’re running out of something), and I snap a picture of the board before running out the door.

And what prompted me to post this - a brilliant solution to the short child at the public restroom sink, without squishing your kid’s stomach against the counter!

If I’m sleeping in a strange place, I put my glasses inside my shoe.
Can’t lose them, can’t go out without them, protected from casual accidents.

I hated trimming my dogs nails so I invented something that would keep his nails trimmed. It also gives his nails a nice natural shape instead of the blunt jagged end left by the trimmers.

As a dog owner, I wish to know more! Please?

Thunderbird detects phrases implying that there will be an attachment and pops up a toolbar with a nag in it - for me, this was when I started always attaching the file before writing, because i hated having the machine prompt me (so I guess the prompt worked).

Don’t you worry about, you know, crushing them when you put on your shoe?

I needed to seed a classroom discussion board about a novel, and instead of spending a couple hours trying to come up with interesting but varied claims about the book, I spent five minutes cutting and pasting insightful comments from positive and negative Amazon reviews. The final product is much better than my own limited perspective could have produced, and was easy as pie.

I will, of course, acknowledge where the comments are from: it’s even better that way, because the kids don’t feel like they are arguing with me.

Side sleepers: I’ve got a homemade contraption that I put around my knees before I go to sleep. If you’re sleeping on your side, what it does, is puts a space between your legs so your backbone stays aligned. Most people do this unwittingly by putting a pillow between their legs. With my contraption, you don’t have to bother with the pillow. Which is nice when it’s the middle of the night and you want to switch sides. All I have to do is roll over and not have to think about readjusting a pillow between my legs.

Oh, is that what putting a pillow between my legs does? No wonder it feels more comfortable!

When I got my first vehicle a co-worker told me to put a spare key inside my purse. The reason being that if I lock myself out of my vehicle I will most likely have my purse on me.

why would I put on shoes if I’m not wearing glasses?

When I’m at a friend’s house and need to remember to take something home with me (like pans or keys or whatever - sometimes I don’t have either pockets or a purse), I’ll put them on/near/in my shoes. Can’t leave without the shoes, and there’s my other stuff too! Works for stuff I have to remember to take somewhere too, although that location varies - sometimes it’s on my shoes, sometimes it’s on the key box where I keep my car keys, etc.

For some reason this does not work for me. I’ve done it all. Put something I need to take on top of my phone. Put it on top of my shoes. Put it in front of the door out of the house so I literally cannot open the door without picking it up.

So many times I pick them up and either just move it to the side and leave it behind, or I pick them up and after remembering or doing something else that requires both hands, put it down and leave it behind.

I was dinged on (or failed!) a lot of “go-home-and-construct-something” school assignments that way, back in the day.

I have a lot of these, but I can never remember most of them when called to do so.
One thing I do is, if I have a cat or a dog that doesn’t always come when I call them, I attach a certain phrase to their feedings. With my current cat, it’s “you want some?” Now, if I want him home and he is being stubborn and ignoring me calling his name, I just say the phrase, and he comes running. Like a shot. There is a bit of a downside- if for some reason he doesn’t come, and I have to go searching the neighborhood for him (rarely), I probably do look a little strange walking around asking “you want some?” Oh well.

I have a chihuahua that hides from me and won’t come. I always say “wheres the querla? ( squirrel)” he comes running. The cat can hear the lid pop on a cat can from 3 doors down I think. If I want her I just pop open a can of cat food and she appears like magic.

When I want to remember to take something with me, I put it so it’s blocking the front door.

When my kid insists on leaving dishes and wrappers and stuff around, I put them on her bed.

Exactly what I was thinking . . . which leads to something I do: Always turn your shoes over and shake them out, before putting them on. I started doing this when one of my former cats left a little “gift” in my shoe, a not-quite-dead mouse.:eek: That’s a lesson I don’t need to learn twice.

I used to always tape a spare key to the inside of the driver’s side front hubcap.

When I run out of shampoo or whatever in the shower, I throw the empty bottle into the sink. That way I have a reminder to replace it after I’m done with the shower.

Need some help from a government office or customer service or from a doctor’s office or whatever, and know that the response might not be all that good/fast/what you need?

ALWAYS call on a Friday, late afternoon - and be the most cheerful person you can be on the phone. The person answering the phone is most likely in a good mood (weekend just about to start!) and they are more inclined to be friendly, especially if you sound like a fun, nice person! Plus they will push your paperwork to Monday anyway, so they are not actually going to have to do anything with it yet anyway! Works 90% of the time - even at the DMV (if they are open on Fridays…).

Goes without saying, NEVER call on a Monday morning…