That’s A Hack, Jack!

Every time I go to dry my hands in our bathroom, I am overcome by a sense of self-satisfaction. You see, I’ve come up with a solution for hanging my hand towel that eliminates the need for one of those towel rings, which I deplore. No offense if you’re fond of them; I’m just more of a linear kind of gal.

Anyway, just so I can stop feeling so damn proud of myself – truly an ugly characteristic – I thought I’d share with the world my towel-hanging hack, along with a couple other tricks of which I am quite proud. I’m hoping this will serve as an exorcism of my self-aggrandizing thoughts. I’m imagining a few “big duh” comments will do the trick.

So, here goes.

Hand towel rack: Given all the hype, this may be a letdown, but I have taken to using the toilet paper holders for hand towel racks. Crazy, huh? Low profile is best, and they are much more efficient in terms of wall space consumption.

Dog tags noise abatement: I don’t know about yours, but our dog shakes at the most inopportune times, like when we’re sleeping. And that freaking collar is like a tsunami warning siren. How can two little tags make so much noise? Well, I threw a key ring thingymagiggy on her license and bam! Nothing but muted jingling now! Take that, biatch!

Nasal strips at the ready: I snore. So, sue me. To complement my most favorite and effective log-sawing abatement device, Smart Nora, I wear a Breathe Right strip to bed every night. In addition to the side benefit of removing black heads like a Biore strip, I am certain I’ve killed every hair follicle on my nose with years of morning removals. No scary hairy old lady for me! Anyhooo… rather than have my bedside table cluttered with unsightly cardboard packaging, I’ve found an aesthetically pleasing and convenient solution: a sugar packet holder. I especially recommend the ones used not in the US, where those packets are more like tubes, so the receptacles are taller. They allow for organized use while at the same time affording you the level of privacy you prefer when managing an embarrassing habit, like snoring (cuz droves of people might start rummaging around my bedside table, of course). (Bonus hack: Japanese know design, and they have a five-finger discount at most of their hotels.)

Cosmetic bags with a purpose: Recycling these bags isn’t news for anyone who’s bought Clinique for the free gift, but I’ve taken the act to a new level. I subscribe to Ipsy, which doesn’t just mean that five new cosmetic pieces arrive at my door each month in a beautiful hot pink bubble pack. Nosirree. I also get a new small zippered carrying case with each delivery. Since I don’t really wear make up (yes… I still subscribe… so what… a girl never stops liking new makeup), Ellie gets the goods, and I get an endless supply of pouches to use. So, rather than hoard them, I’ve taken to sorting the ridiculous range of items in my purse – lipsticks, writing implements, cables, assorted hygiene, gum and mints, and so on – and using the bags to control them. Here’s the real hack; I choose the pouch for its texture – not color. Since my purse truly is an abyss, I’m mostly rummaging around one-handed while driving, blindly looking for what I need. Thanks to the black lumpy case, I now find my chapstick in no time! And my sense of touch is heightening! (Bonus hack: arrive early for a meeting and use the time to clean your purse.)

Candle containers: Nothing is more valuable about a candle than the container it comes in. Am I right? If you’re like me, the appeal of a particular fragrance is gone long before the wax wanes. Don’t give up! It’s worth the wait and the nauseating stench to make even the most mundane items – like Q-Tips and cough drops – feel pretty. So choose – and gift – your candles carefully. (Bonus hack: Put the whole candle in the freezer when you’re ready to welcome your beautiful receptacle. Use a knife to pop out the remnant wax bits.)

Table-side TV: I am obsessed with managing how best to mount and power my devices. Magnets have ratcheted up the game for sure, which means I have acquired countless window and dash mounts and innumerable tablet and phone cases during my pilgrimage toward digital equipment Mecca. Because I prefer to watch TV as I fall sleep (no judgment, please) while lying on my side (always the right one), I’ve struggled to find a set up for my iPad that doesn’t position the screen so that it lights up the whole room or forces my neck into a position that makes my hands or arms numb. It occurred to me that one of my dash mounts would be perfect on my bedside table. By adding a magnet on the back of the iPad (I’m well over preserving the visibility of that little apple), my TV is perfectly positioned and my limbs are happy, happy, happy. I also use one on my tiny house tiny bedside table, since there is literally no room for resting the sucker along with my hand cream, fan, phone, and – you got it – chapstick.

Now, I have no delusions that I’m the first person to come up with any of these little nuggets, but like I said, I need to do something to calm down my raging ego. That said, if just one of them enables someone to enjoy new found convenience or even some similar moments of self-appreciation, well, then I think we both win!l. Whew. I feel so much better already!

Be sure to share your brilliant hacks in the blog, facebook, or instagram comments!


To read more about our Tiny House #1, view a gallery of that completed project’s progress photos, and join me in my musings, take a wander around my website


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