Super-simple steps to make your life a little less annoying

They say it’s the little things that get on our nerves the most, and I have to say I can understand why. Some of my biggest pet peeves are stupid little things that happen over and over again.

What’s silly is, most of these things are totally avoidable, if I just took a few extra minutes to prevent them from happening.

So, to make my house a happier place and keep me from getting peeved over the dumbest things, I’ve decided to start taking some steps to prevent these annoying things from happening in the first place:

Always have backups of the really important things. Like toilet paper. No one wants to run out for TP at midnight because we’ve just used the last roll and we’re not due to make a Target run for another day or two. (Not to mention the fact that buying things last-minute is always more expensive, especially at midnight when your only option is the 24-hour convenience store.)

Things I consider essential to have backups of: toilet paper, deodorant, soap, Chapstick (I am a Chapstick addict, and would run out at midnight for it if I suddenly ran out), Tylenol, and stain remover. (We have two dogs, and I am a klutz. Stain remover is an essential.)

Do a nightly pick up to keep things in order. If you follow my Twitter feed (which you should!), you may have heard I’m a huge fan of Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. (And just got her latest book, Happier At Home, this week!)

One of the things Gretchen talks about in The Happiness Project is having a nightly clutter pick up. For 10-15 minutes at the end of the day, I go through our house and pick up stray plates, socks, and other things The Hubby tends to leave behind in his wake. (I do sometimes make messes too, but it’s mainly him, I swear.)  🙂

I wipe down the counters in the kitchen, straighten up things have gone skewy, and put all the dog toys back in the dog toy basket. (They will just take them out again in the morning, but they obviously have a ton of fun making the mess, so I humor them.)

It’s a nice feeling to wake up in the morning to a house that’s in order, and it keeps me from having to do one huge clean up because I’ve let everything build up.

Make a list of food that’s about to expire. I hate wasting food. It feels like all my careful grocery list making and coupon clipping goes right down the drain. So we’ve started keeping a list on the fridge of things like produce and leftovers that are going to expire soon. That way, if we’re trying to decide what to make for dinner or looking for a quick snack, we know to use these items first.

Always plan to leave 15 minutes before you think you need to. I hate running late and having to rush around, but somehow I am always doing it! Or at least, I was…until I met The Hubby, who is as punctual as a drill sergeant.

The truth is, something always winds up coming up when we’re trying to leave. Big Dog or Little Dog (or both, if they feel like conspiring) refuse to come in from outside. My hair is doing something weird and I have to fix it. I almost forget to bring the present for the birthday party we’re going to. By planning on leaving 15 minutes ahead of time, we actually wind up leaving right when we’re supposed to.

(You’d think that knowing our time to leave is “fake” would stop it from working, but somehow, it doesn’t.)

What are your biggest pet peeves, and how can you take steps to prevent them?




photo credit:  BrittneyBush


  • I SO agree, to all of this! I find it extremely annoying to run out of something vital like dish soap or toilet paper, so I do what I call “supply bombing” where I make sure to have enough supplies to last for…months (not hoarding-level, I promise). 😉 It gives me a certain peace of mind and eliminates emergency shopping trips (if you ever need an extra tube of toothpaste, or three, I’m your gal!).

    I hate wasting food – hate it. I know this sounds melodramatic but it makes me feel like I have failed.

    After finding myself running late many, many times, I have started building in much more time to get ready/leave the house than I think I’ll need. I would MUCH rather have extra time than be frantic.

    I really enjoyed The Happiness Project – would love to hear what you have to say about her new book!

    • In terms of other things I do, I try to automate bills whenever possible, but pay any other bills as soon as they come in so I don’t have to remember to do that before the deadlines.

      I am also not a naturally organized person (especially paper-wise) but I have found if I set up a system initially, it makes it much easier to stay on top of things than if I am trying to organize a big mess. So if I am starting a new job at work or switching car companies, I make folders to keep everything together from the beginning.

      • Ok, I am really not trying to take over your comments section, but I love topics like this. I forgot to mention another pet peeve: returning from the store and realizing I forgot to get something. So, I have a running list in the Notes section of my iPhone. I add to it immediately when I think of something I need. That way, I am not racking my brain at the store trying to remember what I was supposed to get.

        • No worries! I love your enthusiasm! It makes me feel loved. 🙂

          Plus you’ve got some really great tips. I hope other readers are checking out the comments to learn a thing or two from you.

          Speaking of Happier at Home…I am halfway through it already! You can expect to see a book review very soon!

  • I definitely agree with your last tip about giving yourself an extra 15 minutes. I like to tell myself (and my family) that I’m leaving the house at a certain time. I’m almost invariably late, but since I tell myself to leave early – I end up being on time. I guess I’m only tricking myself, like you said it’s just fake, but hey it works! 🙂

  • Hi Em!
    You’ve touched on my life’s work – making my day easier by anticipating. Go to the dollar store and buy the little pad of paper with a magnet on the back. This goes on the fridge with a pencil (easier than a pen) and write what you need. Running low on dog kibble? Milk jug almost half empty?

    Also, putting gas in my car. When my tank hits half full I start thinking about when, over the next few days, will I be driving by my fave inexpensive station? When won’t I feel rushed? By the time the tank hits the 1/4 mark I’m putting gas in it so I’m never desperately in need of gas. (Unlike hubby who seems to think it’s a weird contest how close to empty he can go. Yuck – why is that fun?)

    • I’m the same way with my gas tank! My commute half the time involves some sort of traffic jam, and I’m always paranoid: what if I leave the house on empty, thinking I can fill up on the way in to work, and I run out while I’m idling in a traffic jam? Same thing for the winter–it takes so long to get anywhere in the snow, I NEVER let my tank get below 1/4 in the winter. I’d be SO nervous if my hubby played that game with the gas tank. I think I’d refuse to get in the car with him. 🙂

      I like your “running empty” list. Most people just write down items on their shopping lists once they’ve run out. By marking them down when you’re getting empty, you can stock up again before you run out and have to make an emergency run for something. Great tip!

  • Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted
    to say that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

Leave a Comment