Sanity savers: TP rolls

Don’t you love finding a use for something you would otherwise recycle or toss?  Me too.   Here’s an awesome illustration:

Cords formerly tangled up in a drawer or box are now easily identified and accessible in toilet paper rolls held together with a rubber band.  Hats off to my niece Charissa for this simple and smart example.

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Out of the closet: part 1

We had an old Japanese wedding kimono wrapped up and sitting on a closet shelf for years.  Last year I hung it on a bamboo pole in the stairwell where we enjoy seeing it every day.

Got things tucked away in a closet that you aren’t using, enjoying, or sharing?  Maybe now’s the time to pull a few of them out to use or enjoy, or give them to others who will.

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Sanity savers: toner cartridges

After finding a couple of old toner cartridges in the trunk of my car, I learned that Staples, Office Depot and Office Max, and Best Buy are among stores offering incentives to recycle used toner cartridges. Hats off to them for helping us remember to be a little more environmentally friendly.


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Gift wrapping ideas

My niece Charissa is as full of good ideas as she is of grace and kindness and joy.  Her blog ( showcases some of these ideas in a way that will spark your own creativity and help you see the extraordinary possibilities in the ‘ordinary’ things around us.

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“Truck in your neighborhood”

When a charitable organization calls to tell us they’ll have a truck in our neighborhood, we use it as a deadline to tackle a room or a closet or a storage area.  Here’s what went out this morning:

Folding bar stool, Samsonite suitcase, four board games, Christmas tree stand, kids’ rock tumbler set, electronic typewriter, shoes, shirts, toys, picture frames, purses, tablecloth, costume jewelry, floor lamp, 50 CDs – and lots more!

  • Didn’t even know we had several of these items until we took a second look at some storage.
  • No cost to have stuff hauled away.
  • Plenty of value to thrift store shoppers who will use and enjoy what we no longer use.
  • Less clutter, and more available space in our home and in our heads!
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Sanity savers: computer cables, cords, connectors…

Audio, video, VGA, HDMI, DVI, networking, USB, and splitter patch cables.  Adapters and extenders.  Power cords.  Do you know what you need and where to find it?  Here’s an idea:

Birds of a feather…


Each one is clearly labeled with the name of the device that uses it.


And they all live attractively out of sight right next to a computer.


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Sanity savers: little boxes

See why I love small boxes?  Five inexpensive little trays make it easy to keep track of stuff in this bathroom drawer:  1) mostly dental floss; 2) pens, formerly in a coffee mug on the counter; 3) ointments and band-aids; 4) clippers, tweezers, and tie tacks; 5) safety pins, emergency sewing kit, and a few remnants from the days when this was merely another junk drawer.

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Sanity savers: hair dryer

We really love this one:  the hair dryer stays plugged in inside the drawer.  I mounted a plug strip to the inside of our bathroom vanity and notched one side of the drawer to eliminate wear on the plug strip cord.  My beautiful wife uses the hair dryer almost every day.  She likes never hassling with the cord, and I like having the hair dryer stay in a drawer, not on the counter.  That’s a win-win, friends!

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Sanity savers: What about receipts?

My rule with receipts is, “I don’t need one unless it’s…”

  • .. for business, reimbursement, or tax purposes;
  • .. an item a) with a warranty, or b) I might return;
  • .. keeping track of a budget.

Otherwise, keeping track of them is a hassle.  Without a quick and easy system to manage them, they get stuffed in our wallets or desk drawers, or thrown in a box to sort later.  (If you’ve had to go through such a box – as I did recently – you’ll appreciate this simple way to file receipts when you first get them.)

Our best idea yet is a box on the shelf above our mail center.  Each month we label a recycled letter-size envelope to collect purchase receipts; every other month we do the same for bank records.  It’s almost as easy to put the current receipts in the back of the current envelope as it is to leave them on top of the dresser.  Circle the date on receipts before putting them in the envelope.  It only takes a second and can save you time and frustration later.

Here’s some good news:  Unless you need them for business, tax, or warranty reasons (I’m compiling guidelines on keeping records, and will share it soon),  many or most credit and debit card receipts (gas, groceries, incidentals) can be tossed once the charges appear on your statement.

With receipts in chronological order, it’s easy to match them up with either online or paper statements.

Pat yourself on the back.  You’ve just eliminated paper you don’t need, reconciled statements, and made it easier to keep track of records you do need. That’s nice work.


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Sanity savers: Got keys?

Ever misplace your keys?  Five minutes a day looking for stuff adds up to more than 30 hours a year, the better part of one week’s work.  Ugh.

Three of the five ‘cubbies’ in the middle of our front hall closet are shown here.  A row of cup hooks provides a convenient, eye-level place to hang keys as soon as we enter the house.  Other grab-and-go items include cameras, binoculars, sunglasses, hats, bus schedules, umbrellas, and backpacks.  I also drilled small holes in household library cards and hung them on a finishing nail so any of us can pick up reserved items at the local branch.
* * * * * * * * * *
You could buy a gizmo for about $30 with a beeper on your keyring.  But what happens when you can’t find that gizmo?

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