Ben’s top tips

Paddy’s created a meme and since it is basically “give advice” I decided to take him up on it. Rude not to. His actual wording is:

Three things which make my life easier that everybody else should also do but they just won’t no matter how much I bang on about it.

1 – Hang things on pin-boards

I’ve only just started hanging my beads and necklaces on a pin-board, and it is worrying how much difference it’s made. I knew years ago that this was the way but ignored my own good advice. No more tangles, I can find them when I want them, and I know immediately if something’s missing.

Sorted and Lean

Sorted and Lean

Likewise: if a hitch-hiker always knows where their towel is, a householder should always know where their torch is. Mine hangs from the handle of the door nearest the fuse box.  (Sorry about the poor quality photo – dark room, dull day).

2 – Buy fresh flowers

There’s an ancient Chinese fable about a poor man who found two pennies in the mud. With one he bought rice and with the other he bought a lily. When his wife remonstrated with him, he said that the rice would feed their bodies, but the lily fed their souls.

Soul food

Soul food

If you find a good florist then spend a fiver each week on three perfect blooms. But the sunflowers and pretty blue things in these photos were two or three quid from Tescos. Flowers are cheap, but they uplift the spirit.

3 – Use the camera on your phone to take notes

Timetables in a railway station, small ads in supermarkets, shopping lists, workshop notes.  You’ve a camera in your phone.  Use it.  It’s quick and easy and you keep it with you.  It always amazes me how few people do this.

Use the camera on your phone to take notes

Use the camera on your phone to take notes

So, how about you?  What do you do that makes your life easier that everybody else should also do but they just won’t no matter how much you bang on about it?

21 responses to “Ben’s top tips

  1. Have a place where you always put your keys when you come in the door. Also your passport, though you use it less frequently than keys.

    • Check and check – though I’m not very good at putting my keys in the right place. Thtey’ve been known to end up in the bath if I dash in needing the loo!


  2. I see myself as more of a consumer than a contributor here! I’m more of an ‘eat toilet roll: it’ll save time in the morning’ type. Although, I do keep a roll of pedal bin liners in the bottom of the pedal bin, facilitating the replacement process.

  3. Unfortunately all my attempts at an ordered/ control freakish life are thwarted by the rest of the family. I am going to get a pinboard for the daughter’s jewels though which will stop the tangling of real beads with endless pasta necklaces.

  4. Cheers Betty – and welcome to my blog.

    I’m only organised in a terrified attempt to ward off my own chaos and entropy. 🙂

    When I put up the pinboard I discovered it needed a couple of nails banged in underneath it, as well as a couple to hang from.

    All those beads turn out to hang heavy.



  5. thanks for sharing.. good posting and i like this posting

  6. sonofrojblake

    Have too much of anything dense and non-perishable that you use a lot. E.g. AA batteries. At any given time my house probably contains at least thirty AA batteries which have not yet been used. Even if I have loads in stock, I still buy more. This is because there are LOADS of things in my house which run on the things (GPS units, paragliding instrumentation, radios, torches, TV remotes, videogame console controllers). Thing is, I NEVER run out. It’s better to have too many than too few, and general sense means I never have so many it gets stupid – but I make NO attempt whatever to know how many I’ve got in. I just keep buying them. Same goes for AAA batteries, breakfast cereals, UHT milk, and single malt scotch.

    Two more when I think of them

    • I know from thwarted experience though that you have to then keep them where you can find them, preferably in the same place. But you’re right SoRB, though with regards the last item, I do that with red wine, which is almost worse to run out of than batteries.

  7. Good points! I must do the flower thing, since I already use my mobile phone to remember things (plus I send “reminder” text messages to myself all the time), and I don’t wear many beads.

    • But presumably you need somewhere to store the scalps?


      I’ve not mastered the art of timed text messages yet. I long for the end of my contract and the dubious pleasures of an iPhone.

      Enjoy the flower thing. It’s a constant and low level pleasure verging on a vice that I’ve go going there.

  8. There is no such thing as too much loo roll. And keep a spare roll within arms reach.

  9. Oooh, ooh, just remembered one!

    When you’re shopping, never buy the item right at the front of the shelf. That’ll be the one that countless people have taken off the shelf, squeezed, checked the list of ingredients, sprayed, smelled, dropped and picked up, put in their trolley and then found something cheaper so they’ve re shelved it….

    Take an item 2 or 3 rows back.

  10. Amen to that, Linda – and always check the dates so you get the one with the longest shelf life.

    **So, how about you? What do you do that makes your life easier that everybody else should also do but they just won’t no matter how much you bang on about it?**

    Not so relevant now that I’ve retired, but I used to spend my working day nagging people to use dental floss once a day. From my point of view, a well maintained mouth was much easier to work on. For them, a mouth with no mature plaque is always going to be healthier.
    Now that we know plaque bacteria are implicated in coronary heart disease, they could also be saving themselves the both bother of a heart attack.

    * blushes, and climbs off soapbox

  11. sonofrojblake

    Here’s something I started doing far too late:

    If you try to use something relatively disposable (e.g. biro, stapler, inkjet printer, girlfriend) and it doesn’t do what you want, immediately and perfectly – THROW IT AWAY. Do *not* put it back in the drawer where you got it from. Do not waste precious, irreplaceable seconds of your life trying to repair it or make it work. Skim it, NOW, and get another. Life is too short to waste it on sub-standard crap.

    This is of course dependent on following my first piece of advice and having more than you need of any such things. (Biros is really what I’m talking about here).

    I have a visceral reaction to this because when I was a kid we didn’t have much money, and I remember us having about three biros in the house over about a 14 YEAR period. (This, mark you, at a time when my mother worked in an office and could easily have “liberated” enough biros to start her own biro-selling business. Too honest, my mum.) Each of those pens was jealously guarded far, far past the point that they were any use for making marks on paper. They’d be shaken vigourously, warmed over the gas hob, blown into, anything to get that last inch of ink out of them. Then they’d be put back in the drawer so that next time something needed writing down, we could all get frustrated and mad again.

    The realisation, when it came, that I didn’t need to do that – that I could simply bin a biro if it didn’t write PERFECTLY as soon as I wanted it to – was a true epiphany, on a par with realising when I arrived at university that I could now, if I wanted, buy and eat three creme eggs at once and NOBODY COULD STOP ME!

  12. If you’re going to be clothes shopping somewhere without a dressing room/don’t have time to try things on/don’t want to try things on/whatever, take an article of clothing that fits well and measure it where it seems necessary (for instance, jeans–measure width of waist, the rise, and the inseam). Write down the measurements and head to the shop with your measuring tape in your pocket/purse. I did that for the first time yesterday, and the jeans I got fit perfectly, despite having no size tags (charity shop).

    Always wash clothes before you wear them the first time. Even if you bought them new. You don’t know who else has tried them on, or how long they were in the back before being brought to the floor with vermin being able to run on them. Even if there is no vermin, and no one disgusting has tried them on, stuff falls to the floor and gets stepped on constantly–almost anything not wet can be brushed into invisibility. Packaged underwear can be reinserted into packages neatly. How do I know all this? I worked in the clothing section of a retail store for almost a year…

  13. If you like chilled filtered water, keep two jugs in the fridge. That way when you empty one you can refill it and wait for it to chill while enjoying the contents of the other one.

  14. If you have limited space in your home, getting a clothes’ pegs holder that you can hang over the top of a door might be very useful:

    Or you can hang bags, scarves etc on the pegs. Most doors have a little space left behind them even when wide open allowing the items to be out of sight.

  15. Linda – a good plan, especially for fresh fruit and veg.

    Teuchter – it’s an important soap box you’ve got there.

    SoRB – I am good at being ruthless with things that don’t function as they should, but I still feel waves of guilt at getting rid of presents.

    Amy – that’s genius, and an Awful Warning. I confess I’ve always assumeed new was new.

    Chris – I actually find it easier to down water when it’s tepid so I mix it 50/50 hot from the kettle and cold from the tap. But I know I’m in the minority there and others prefer it chilled.

    Titania – I even have one in my kitchen for the tea-towels. Very useful those things are too!

    Thanks all for reading and commenting.


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