Hack your way to better living

I wonder if the title of this post will get me in trouble?

I’m not talking about breaking in to the computers of some corporate giant, I’m talking about modifying your life for better productivity and quality of living. Simple changes that make a big difference.

Have you seen the Lifehacker site? I love it. Thousands of little ideas and ways to improve your quality of life. Instructables is another site chock full of tips and tricks and DIY stuff. Even Pinterest (latest addiction) has links to all sorts of cool ideas. Like this one…

Using a binder clip to keep my printer cable from falling into the crack between my desk and bookcase whenever I unplug my laptop. Duh. Why didn’t I think of that?

Last year we bought two things that improved our quality of life, well, MY quality of life, dramatically. These weren’t high-dollar purchases, just little things that never seemed to fit into our budget as a legitimate need.

An electric blanket and a doggy door.
Not exciting, not flashy, and certainly not luxury items, but WOW!
On a side note, the number of Flickr and Photobucket pictures of humans – adults and children – crawling through dog doors is somewhat disturbing.

We got rid of my husband’s heated waterbed after my first pregnancy because third trimester + waterbed = beached whale woman. That was in 1991. For two decades we slipped between shivery sheets every night, muttering about the miseries of a cold bed. After a nasty cold spell last winter, DH went to the store and came home with an electric blanket. It has dual thermostats, auto shut-off, and so forth. We turn it on before bed, and slide into a cocoon of warmth. Ahhhh.

And then we bought a doggy door. Our dogs have free reign in our fenced backyard, and they like to run in and out all day long. We’d hesitated to install a doggy door, out of concern that some other furry critters would decide to come in for a snack. We’ve had skunks, raccoons, and a baby porcupine come through our fence into the yard over the years (and that’s just the critters we caught). But my frustration increased exponentially every time I had to get up to let the dogs out, and then get up to let them back in, which occurred, oh, hundreds of times a day. Install doggy door and voila! I got two hours of time per day back for that $100 purchase. Seriously. Two hours a DAY. (Of course, I’ve wasted most of those hours on Facebook, but that’s for another post.)

Archie headed outside after I spent 20 minutes scraping gunk off the doggy door so it wouldn’t look gross in the picture.

Why am I sharing all this useless information? Because there are things you’ve thought about buying, but you keep putting it off and putting it off, even when you have the money, because it doesn’t seem like a fun purchase, or there’s something else that is more pressing. (There’s ALWAYS something more fun or more pressing…)

It might be something as simple as a set of plastic tubs to organize out-of-season clothes and shoes, instead of wrestling with them in an overflowing closet or shoving them under the bed in plastic bags. It might be a pair of really comfortable ear buds for your iPod, so you can listen to something soothing while the shrill sounds of alien battles blasts from the other room. 

I’m going to start paying more attention to those little things that are a regular source of frustration and seek out potential solutions, instead of just continuing to live with the problem year in and year out. I may not be able to resolve all of the frustrations and annoyances and time-thieves, like boys who leave their dirty socks on the floor and a husband who harbors a serious aversion to home repair projects, but what CAN I do? What can YOU do?

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