15 Lifehacks That Are Making My Life Easier + More Awesome

Are you looking for lifehacks? Do you want to be more productive? Click through for 14 little tweaks and products that are making my life easier and more awesome.

I’d like to preface this post by saying I’m not quite sure how I feel about the term ‘lifehack.’

In my somewhat curmudgeonly opinion, wearing a hair tie on your wrist so it’s easily accessible is not a ‘lifehack.’ Understanding how to use Google Calendar is not a ‘lifehack.’ Knowing how to cope when people disappoint you isn’t – say it with me now! – a ‘lifehack.’

Also? We can’t lifehack our way to happiness. Making a big pot of soup so you can bring lunch to work every day will help you save money. Organizing your closet might make your morning easier. These are not the same as, say, going to therapy or working through deep seated, lifelong issues.

With all that said, sometimes tiny, logistical changes CAN make daily life easier, less stressful, and more pleasant. Sometimes oddly obvious tweaks to our day-to-day habits can add up to big changes.

What follows is a random assortment of little ‘lifehacks’ that make my life easier and more awesome. Many of these may strike you as wildly obvious. If so, you are smarter than me! Awesome! Here is a blog post about animals in buckets for you. 

15 lifehacks that are making my life easier + more awesome

  1. Keeping floss picks in my car and using them at stoplights

    YES I KNOW I’M DISGUSTING but am I also a genius? My friend Leah taught me this trick and – hand to god – it’s revolutionizing my dental hygiene. Previously, I’d floss once a week. Now, I’m flossing 4-5 times a week! Also, I cover my mouth with my non-flossing hand so it’s slightly less uncouth than you’re probably imagining.

  2. Chopping up and freezing any produce that’s about to go bad

    As you may remember, I’m weird about food waste. When I notice that something in our crisper is wilting, I chop off the soft bits and freeze it on a sheet pan. Then I tuck those frozen bits into a Ziploc bag and use them in smoothies or blended soups. Easy peasy!

  3. Buying giant bags of raw cashews and freezing them

    Yes, I’m someone who makes cashew milk for my smoothies and cashew cheese for dips and cashew-based cream sauces for my ‘zoodles.’ Unfriend as you see fit.

    But here’s the thing: you don’t need a nut milk bag to make cashew milk because cashews don’t have skin. You don’t have to soak them before you make anything out of them. And they’ll keep forevvvvver when they’re frozen.

    Milk and cream go bad and you’ll have to spend 20 minutes running to the store to get ingredients to make that white sauce. If you have a giant bag of cashews in your freezer, you’re set. You just pour some boiling water over a cup of cashews and after they cool, rinse ‘em and use this easy recipe. Even if you love dairy (like I do), it’s really helpful to keep these on hand! A five-pound bag usually lasts us at least three months.

  4. Storing things near where I use them

    Are you rolling your eyes and groaning “Durrrrrrr” at your computer right now? Maybe everyone else in the world has realized that if your cat usually hangs out in your bedroom, you should keep his brush and nail clippers, yes, in your bedroom. And if you watch movies on your laptop in the living room, you should also store your portable speaker in the living room.

    It took me five years to figure this out. So if you didn’t know either – now you do!

    Are you looking for lifehacks? Do you want to be more productive? Click through for 14 little tweaks and products that are making my life easier and more awesome.

  5. Having an end-of-workday drink

    My friend Katie turned me onto the joys of the Home Happy Hour. I use it as a little ritual to tell my freelancing, Type-A brain that “We’re done with work for today, dude!” I’m not a huge drinker so my post-work “cocktail” is often a La Croix with some frozen berries and whatever herbs we have in the fridge or a cup of tea. Whatever shape it takes, it a great way to turn off my Work Self and turn on my Home Self. 

  6. Making healthy food easy to access and unhealthy food less easy to access

    When I put produce in the crisper, I forget about it till it rots (see item #2). When the bow tie noodles are sitting at eye-level in my cupboard, I end up eating pasta for lunch every day. Weird!

    But when I put the stuff I want to be eating in clear containers, in the front of the fridge, I eat more of it. And when I tuck the salt and vinegar chips behind the cereal, I’m (somewhat) more likely to forget about them.

  7. Dog-cleaning wipes and Bathroom-cleaning wipes

    In a perfect world, our dog would love to be bathed and I’d turn old t-shirts into rags and use water and vinegar to clean the bathroom. In the real world, Loretta fear pees when she realizes a bath is coming and I hate the smell of vinegar. Soooo, I wipe down the dog with these dog wipes and I wipe down the sink with these hippie bathroom wipes. Life is a lot cleaner and better smelling.

  8. The post-lunch walk + Roomba session

    My love for my Roomba is well-documented. The health benefits of walking are well-documented. To get myself out of the house after lunch, I’ve programmed my Roomba to run every day at 1:00 pm. It’s totally annoying to be in the house while a robot vacuum is bumping into your feet and it’s a great reminder to get outside.

    So every day when the Roomba clicks to life, I leash up the dog and head out. I return home with more energy, a settled stomach, a happier dog, and my floors are cleaner!

  9. Using emojis in the subject lines of my email newsletters

    If you’re not a business owner, this won’t matter to you. But if you are you should know: I’m 90% sure emoji subject line use increases open rates! My newsletter open rates are consistently 15-20% higher than “industry average” and I suspect it’s because of my black belt emoji use. (You can sign up for my newsletters here and see for yourself!) I get all my emojis here.

    Are you looking for lifehacks? Do you want to be more productive? Click through for 14 little tweaks and products that are making my life easier and more awesome.

  10. Checking out magazines from the library rather than having a subscription

    I looooove me some lady magazines. But I get weird about what to do with them after I’ve read them and feeling strangely ‘pressured’ to read them before the next month’s issue arrives. (Yes, I’m ridiculous.) When I check magazines out from the library, I don’t have to deal with any of this. If I find something really awesome, I can just make a duplicate on the library copy machine.

  11. Keeping granola bars in my glove compartment

    Like everyone else in the world, I’m not my best self when I’m hangry. I’m more likely to spend money in a regrettable way, cut people off in traffic, or buy $7 salads. I avoid all of this by keeping a box of these in my glove compartment.

  12. Having a ‘to be taken care of’ pile in a frequently-used space

    I haaaate clutter and I’ll do almost anything to get rid of a pile. So if I pile the gift cards we need to mail, the paperwork we need to fill out, and the hardware we need to install on the banquet in our dining room THAT ISH WILL GET FINISHED. I’m too house proud to look at pile for more than a few days. If I tucked those same things into a drawer? They would never, ever get done.

  13. Stocking up on ‘emergency meals’

    When we’re on top of our game, Kenny and I love to cook long, involved recipes together. But we’re also busy humans with full schedules and limited amounts of time and energy. So rather than ordering takeout or eating carrots and hummus for every meal, we stock up on ‘emergency meals.’

    For us this is:
    * tubes of pre-cooked polenta and marinara sauce
    * boxes of fancy soup and loaves of sourdough (which you can freeze!)
    * packets of Indian food and vacuum-packed cooked rice
    * pretty much anything from Trader Joe’s frozen section

  14. Getting cute even when I won’t see anyone all day

    I work from home, for myself, so there are many days when the only people I see are the cat, the dog, and my husband who sweetly believes I’m cute no matter what. 

    But when I take the extra twenty minutes to put on a Real Outfit, style my hair, and slick on a bit of lipstick, I am suddenly unstoppable. I’m more productive, more focused, and more convincing when I call Comcast to complain about my bill.

  15. Doing leg lifts while I brush my teeth

    I use a Sonicare toothbrush (highly recommended) and it’s programmed to run for two full minutes. That’s a long time to stare into the mirror and contemplate my mortality. Instead, I do ‘arabesque taps’ which is a fancy way of saying ‘leg lifts.’ It’s good for my butt, thighs, abs, and balance. Multi-tasking at its best!

But I want to hear from you! What tiny things do you do every day that make life easier and more awesome? Let’s make this comment section a wealth of knowledge – nothing is too small or seemingly obvious!

P.S. How to make fewer decisions + make your life a lot easier.

photos by: Brooke Lark, Tomas Jasovsky, Annie Spratt, Tyler Nix on Unsplash

35 Comments

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

Haha you’re right, a lot of these are “durrr” but can’t deny that they really do help, and they do always seem to be forgotten in the moment! The “HAVING A ‘TO BE TAKEN CARE OF’ PILE IN A FREQUENTLY-SEEN SPACE” tip really works for me too, as a clutter hater. I HAVE to clean things up if they’re in my way!

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
http://charmainenyw.com

Reply
Lizzie

I hate waking up early and yet have to do it for my job (#adulthood), so a few years ago I switched from eating breakfast at home to waiting until I get to work. Pros: sleeping in an extra 30 minutes; not burning or spilling ingredients in my morning stupor. Cons: subjecting colleagues to my smelly hard-boiled eggs; crumbs in my keyboard. Totally worth it.

Reply
Noelle

I did that for the longest time so I could get into work as early as I could (meaning I’d get to go home earlier :))! After awhile, I decided to try doing the opposite – get in a little later, but make myself a hot breakfast at home first. Since breakfast food is my favorite food, I literally go to bed many evenings already excited to wake up and have a cup of coffee and make my morning egg sandwich.

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Ellie

I keep a half gallon of milk and my protein powder at work, and that’s my breakfast every day when I get in.

My morning lifehack… make coffee in bed! Here’s what I do:

-Fill up my electric kettle the night before
-Nightstand contains clean mug, french press, ground coffee, and kettle
-When my alarm goes off in the morning, I switch on my kettle and slowly wake up listening to the kettle start to simmer
-I use a match to light a candle, which is necessary since I wake up before sunrise… it’s an insanely peaceful way to get my senses up and in action
-Go pee, then hop back in bed, cross legged and snuggled up, and portion out my coffee grounds
-Kettle is done, pour over and let french press sit
-Meditate, think, stretch softly in bed, rub my feet, read a poem by candlelight… coffee is done, enjoy a few sips while the sun starts to rise

By now, I feel alert and peaceful. It’s a super quiet, slow start to my morning and I’m so in love with it. I can only do it every now and then when I’m at my place and my boyfriend isn’t sleeping over, but I’m going to try and figure out a morning routine that doesn’t bug him (since doesn’t rise as early as I do).

I get up 30 minutes early just to enjoy this little routine. 🙂

Reply
Jenny

I absolutely love the sound of this routine! I’m going to try it out tomorrow morning. Thanks so much for sharing. 🙂

Reply
Barb

Lovely tips, but my one caution would be – a common place to get rear-ended in a car is at a stoplight. If you have one of those picks in your mouth, at the wrong angle, you could get a nasty injury. Plus, every time you use a plastic pick you are essentially adding more needless plastic to the landfill… one tiny bit at a time, but if everyone did it, that’s a lot of plastic. Be kind to the environment. If you floss, just use string.

Reply
Laura

This is one bad environmental habit i just can’t let go of. I eat vegan, ride a bike instead of owning a car, reuse bags, support local blah blah blah but i will just never floss if i have to stick my damn fingers in my mouth

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Sarah Von Bargen

Ooooh! (When I saw that description I thought “OH GOD AM I ABOUT TO CLICK ON PORN??)

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Jules

Ok, so this is veeeeery trivial as life hacks go…but long ago a friend showed me the best ever “hack” do eating a cupcake. Rip off the bottom half of the cake part, then put it back on top of the frosting so you’ve got a “cupcake sandwich”. Makes for even distribution of frosting in each bite. 🙂

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Sarah Von Bargen

Yes! I do that, too! The only way to eat a cupcake as far as I’m concerned!

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Leah

When I was a college student, I had a purse and a school bag, both fully stocked with everything I needed (lip balm, hand sanitizer, earbuds, etc). That way the only things I needed to change out were my phone and my wallet. More expensive to maintain 2 sets of things but well worth it to not have to worry about forgetting anything.

Reply
Tis

Still do it! Such a great idea. I also have a $20 bill and a tampon in the inside pocket of all three bags I ever use, and in my car.

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Tracey

I totally started keeping floss in the car, and floss at stoplights! I try to be discrete, but it’s definitely upped my oral hygiene game! I have a job where I travel a lot for work, and I have learned you can freeze most things that might go bad, not just veggies, but also breads.

The very best life hack I have is making a pot of soup each weekend, portioning it out into wide mouth mason jars and freezing it. After a few weeks, you have a nice variety of soup in the freezer that you can grab and go for lunch. Especially with the traveling, it’s so nice on my first day back from a trip to reach in the freezer for a homemade lunch and not have to scramble to pull something together or buy yet another meal out.

Reply
Michelle

Every night the last thing I do before I get into bed (after teethbrushing and facewashing) is pick out my outfit for the next day. I choose everything but shoes and jewelry because unless it’s a fancy thing there are only so many shoes I’ll wear to the office or meetings.

Just before that, I set out my workout clothes so I can put on my stuff and head out to the gym like a crazy person at 5:15 AM monday through friday.

Just before that….I use the neutrogena facewash wipes. It saves me time and keeps me from wearing make-up to sleep because they’re easy and nice on my skin. There are off-brands that are probably cheaper, but in the summer I also use them to wipe down my legs and feet after washing my face and before I get into bed since we are flip flop people (and you just don’t need that mess in your clean sheets).

Reply
Kamina

Oh, this is a weird one, but somebody once told me she carries her tampons in her bra during monthly lady times and it has revolutionised my life. RIGHT? So many awkward moments saved.

Reply
Sheila the Wonderbink

Once in a while, even in this modern digital era, it is necessary to write a check and mail it. I find the process is made more efficient by storing a book of stamps in the same place I keep my checkbook.

Reply
Kamina

OHMYGOSH ALSO. Keep an extra toothbrush in the shower. This is amazing for me because I’m always like “I don’t WANNA brush my teeth” (like a five year old), but who doesn’t want an excuse to stand under the shower for longer? Also, you can brush your teeth while your conditioner is working or whatever. EFFICIENT.

Reply
Tracey

These are absolutely fantastic. I love the cupcake one and have decided to try that one.
Dents hygiene is one of mine too, I make sure I floss at least one tooth before I brush. Most times I end up flossing all. However, if I only floss one I still feel successful with my dental hygiene.

Reply
Anna

Pre-toddler life, we kept our floss out in the living room to use while watching TV.

I started sorting laundry into “hang to dry” and “dryer to dry” rather than by colors. None of our stuff requires much special treatment, but the synthetics do better if hung to dry.

Reply
Rachael

I get a lot of subscriptions to magazines (for free via taking online hacks) and 97% of the issues get donated to the hospital I volunteer at. Unsure if you live near a local hospital, but they can always use magazine donations in their waiting rooms. Something to think about if you ever find yourself getting back into subscriptions!

Reply
Ffion

Doing foot exercises in the shower has helped me cure my right foot that was starting to get very sore when walking or running. Adding a salad to my scrambled egg breakfast and eating a fancy Thuna salad in the evening instead of bread has really helped my digestion. Keeping the nail polisher easily accessible has really helped curb my nailbiting habit. Making a meal plan on Monday and then shopping for the week, and then cooking twice a week for two days each time has saved me TONS of time and so much stressing about what I’m going to eat. It’s also saved me a LOT of money, as I only shop once and have to lug a lot of stuff, so I’m less likely to buy things I don’t really need on a whim as It’ll add extra weight. Getting a soda stream for our flat (as we like fizzy water) was the BEST decision we made for our flat.

Love this post, so many good ideas!

Reply
sherry Richert Belul

I loved all of these tips, but especially appreciated the “emoji subject line use,” which I am going to try on my next email to my community. Wheeee!

My niece taught me this “duh-but-I-wasn’t-doing-it” life hack. I love fresh ginger, chia seeds, cucumber, spinach, and kale in my smoothies, along with frozen banana and pineapple. When I am peeling ginger and have all the other fresh ingredients out, I divvy ’em up into four plastic baggies so I have my smoothie ingredients all ready to go except for the frozen stuff. I “display” them in the fridge so I see them right away and remember to make my green smoothie every day. It’s changed my life! I used to dread the hassle with the ginger. 🙂

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sherry Richert Belul

I can’t resist leaving another one because I just used it today. I have one of those “evergreen” datebooks, which isn’t dated for any specific year, it just has October 1, October 2, etc. I write people’d birthdays + anniversaries on the dates in the book. I keep stamps and a selection of greeting cards in that little book, too. On the first of the month, I see what occasions are coming up and can easily get cards ready to mail. Sure, you can do this all electronically, but people LOVE snail mail. It’s so quaint!

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Sarah Von Bargen

Oh, I love that! I keep postcard stamps in my wallet so when I’m traveling and I see a fun postcard I can write on it and mail it off straight away!

Reply
CraftyHope

You shared so many fab ideas and the ones in the comments are great as well! One of my favorites is to keep my facewash in the shower and go ahead and wash my face while my conditioner sits.

Reply
Julia

Making your bed first thing in the morning is one of those things experts TELL you to do as a lifehack (so you’re setting the tone of your day), but for some reason, it’s still difficult for me to do it.

To “hack the hack,” I make the bed while I’m still in it – just pull the sheets and blankets straight and then slide out carefully. It’s not perfect, but it still feels better going to bed at night with a neat looking bed, rather than a pile of blankets and sheets all twisted up.

Reply
Ally

I added an emoji in the subject line of my last newsletter and it was one of the highest opened messaged and had the most replies back to me. Thank you Sarah for this tip!!

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Erin

I keep a bottle of hippie homemade bathroom cleaner in the shower, so every so often I just clean the shower when I’m having a shower, wiping down everything with one of those IKEA face cloths when I’m finished with it. Saves my back leaning over the tub.

Reply

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