I'm not weird, I'm practicing my dynamic flamingo therapy.
December 29, 2011 11:59 PM   Subscribe

Instead of New Year Resolutions, I'd like to ask: what are your favorite efficiency tricks in daily life, which I can adopt for 2012?

Here's an example - sorry for the length, but when something seems crackpot at first glance, I like to document thoroughly.

When brushing teeth, it's a neat trick to stand on one leg, like right leg in the morning, left in the evening, alternating at lunch etc. - I use an electric brush, so all in all, it's about 3 minutes per session. This may seem absurd, but there are pronounced benefits. The benefits are: (a) prevention of femoral neck osteoporosis and fractures, i.e. bone density benefits (b) a balance exercise which has been shown to help prevent hip fractures (c) helpful in leg muscle development and control. The benefits of just 3 minutes per day, are equivalent to 53 minutes of walking with regard to these markers. Here's the medical literature, from Japan:

(a) [Dynamic flamingo therapy].

Sakamoto K.
Showa University School of Medicine, Department of Orthopedic Surgery.
A long follow up study of one minute unipedal standing therapy 3 times in a day to prevent femoral neck osteoporosis that have started from 1993 was reported. The registration from July 1993 to March 2004 were 86 cases which measured the femoral neck bone mineral density (BMD) according to dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) (Hologic QDR 1000 and 2000) in a follow-up period. Average age at starting exercise was 67.9 years old. All cases were female who were registered in our university hospital. The result of unipedal exercise evaluated by the femoral neck BMD was described as follows : The increased cases of BMD were 15/24 (62.5%) post exercise 3 months, 15/37 (40.5%) post 6 months, and 12/21 (57.1%) post one year, 8/25 (32%) post 3 years, 7/13 (53.8%) post 5 years and 1/3 (33.3%) post 10 years. We have no fracture cases in which continued exercise in follow-up period. According to a randomized controlled study of unipedal standing balance therapy to clinically defined high-risk elderly individuals a therapy group reduced fall times by a significant difference than non-therapy group. We conclude that unipedal standing therapy is efficacious against femoral neck osteoporosis and fractures.
PMID: 18974448 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

(b) Clin Calcium. 2006 Dec;16(12):2027-32.
[Effects of unipedal standing balance exercise on the prevention of falls and hip fracture].

Sakamoto K.
Showa University School of Medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.
To prevent hip fracture there are three methods: 1) falls prevention, 2) treatment of osteoporosis and 3) hip protectors. The improvement of the osteoporosis of the proximal hip demands nutrition involved medication as bisphosphonate and mechanical stress. Unipedal standing captures the 2.75 times weight load to the femoral head. Unipedal standing for one minute is equivalent to the amount of integral load gained through walking for approximately 53 minutes. Unipedal standing balance exercise in one minute 3 times per one day is useful to create the proximal femoral bone density and to prevent falls but is not statistically definition to prevent hip fracture. We believe daily unipedal standing balance exercise should contribute toward overcoming prevention of hip fractures.
PMID: 17142934 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Effects of unipedal standing balance exercise on the prevention of falls and hip fracture among clinically defined high-risk elderly individuals: a randomized controlled trial.

Sakamoto K, Nakamura T, Hagino H, Endo N, Mori S, Muto Y, Harada A, Nakano T, Itoi E, Yoshimura M, Norimatsu H, Yamamoto H, Ochi T; Committee on Osteoporosis of The Japanese Orthopaedic Association.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Showa University School of Medicine, 1-5-8 Hatanodai, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, 142-8666, Japan.
The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of the unipedal standing balance exercise for 1 min to prevent falls and hip fractures in high-risk elderly individuals with a randomized controlled trial. This control study was designed as a 6-month intervention trial.
Subjects included 553 clinically defined high-risk adults who were living in residences or in the community. They were randomized to an exercise group and a control group.
Randomization to the subjects was performed by a table of random numbers. A unipedal standing balance exercise with open eyes was performed by standing on each leg for 1 min three times per day. As a rule, subjects of the exercise group stood on one leg without holding onto any support, but unstable subjects were permitted to hold onto a bar during the exercise time. Falls and hip fractures were reported by nurses, physical therapists, or facility staff with a survey sheet every month. This survey sheet was required every month for both groups.
Registered subjects were 553 persons ranging in age from 37 to 102 years (average, 81.6 years of age). Twenty-six subjects dropped out. The number of falls and hip fractures for the 6-month period after the trial for 527 of the 553 subjects for whom related data were available were assessed. The exercise group comprised 315 subjects and the control group included 212 subjects. The cumulative number of falls of the exercise group, with 1 multiple faller omitted, was 118, and the control group recorded 121 falls. A significant intergroup difference was observed. However, the cumulative number of hip fractures was only 1 case in both groups. This difference was not statistically significant.
The unipedal standing balance exercise is effective to prevent falls but was not shown to be statistically significant in the prevention of hip fracture in this study.
PMID: 17013734 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Now, if you bend your knee slightly, and hold that position for the entire 3-4 minute session of teeth-brushing, I promise you, you'll feel the muscle burn! Here's what I like about this trick. It costs absolutely nothing in money or in time and needs no equipment - you have to brush your teeth anyway, so it's a freebie, but the benefits are astounding compared to the practically non-existent cost: superior balance, less chance of hip and femoral fracture, osteoporosis benefits, muscle benefits - in just a few minutes - and it would take you 53 minutes of walking to duplicate.

What are your mad tricks?
posted by VikingSword to Grab Bag (43 answers total) 204 users marked this as a favorite
Pour your cream or milk into the coffee cup first, then pour the coffee. No stirring necessary and no dirty spoon to wash later.
posted by kamikazegopher at 12:14 AM on December 30, 2011 [4 favorites]

Pee in the sink.

Start running the water when you feel like you are almost done. Uses less water than flushing the toilet, and less chance of dribble on the floor.
posted by Anoplura at 12:17 AM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Brush your teeth (and floss, etc) shortly after dinner, instead of immediately before going to bed. The benefits are:
1) you do a better job of cleaning, because you aren't tired and in a hurry to get to bed.
2) it stops you snacking late at night, because you would have to brush/floss all over again
3) when you're tired you can just go to bed without having to spend 5 minutes half-heartedly brushing and flossing!
posted by Joh at 12:39 AM on December 30, 2011 [14 favorites]

When parking in a parking lot, find a space that lets you pull through and park with the front of the car facing out of the parking space. If you have an automatic transmission and this is the kind of parking you do most of the time you'll incur half as much wear from gear shifting. (That's my theory at least, I haven't talked to a mechanic or engineer to confirm it.)
posted by XMLicious at 12:55 AM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

I keep a supply of small binliners at the bottom of the bins (under the binline full of rubbish) in the bedrooms, bathroom and living room. I found I'm much more willing to empty the bin when I know I haven't got to walk to the kitchen to get a replacement binliner.
posted by ellieBOA at 1:27 AM on December 30, 2011 [7 favorites]

I keep weights on either side of my pillow so that I have no excuse not to do some exercise when I wake up. In the middle of the night, if I wake up and can't get to sleep, I do a little weightlifting until my arms hurt and I drift off to sleep again (hopefully after putting the dumbbells back ;-)
posted by juifenasie at 1:38 AM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

1. When it is time to buy new socks why not replace all your socks with 10 identical pairs of socks. They are cheaper to buy in bulk and you never have to spend time to pair them correctly and any two picked randomly will do the job.

2. Put a screwdriver in the box where you put batteries because invariably you need them to change batteries.

3. Put a roll of cello tape in your kitchen so you can easily reseal packets of pasta and like once opened.

4. Keep a flashlight in your bedroom drawer where you keep medicines so you can dont wake up your partner when you need something in the middle of the night.
posted by london302 at 2:18 AM on December 30, 2011 [6 favorites]

"replace all your socks with 10 identical pairs of socks" is good, but more is better: I have 20+ pairs of socks, so I never have to mix them with other clothes. I keep dirty socks in a bin with a lid to stop the odor from spreading. Every couple of weeks, I dump them in a washing machine (with color-safe bleach or sodium bicarbonate to kill excessive odors) and dry them separately.

"Keep a flashlight in your bedroom drawer" is OK, but I keep mine on the night table in case there is an earthquake/fire at night so that I can easily make my way out of the building in case all of the lights are out. Paranoid, yes, but if something ever happens, I would be in a better position to help others. What's wrong with that?
posted by juifenasie at 3:46 AM on December 30, 2011

Move your washing machine (and dryer, if you have one) upstairs. There is no reason to haul all your washing downstairs and then back up again.

Put a bin by your front door and use it for junk mail and envelopes of non junk mail.

Have a separate bank account for house expenses, fund it by automatic bank transfer every month and auto pay all your bills from it.

Store your cups and your tea and coffee making supplies in a cupboard right above your kettle.

Store your glasses right next to your booze stash.
posted by emilyw at 3:57 AM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

With LED flashlights being so cheap these days and lasting for years on the batteries they come with, just keep them everywhere! I bought ten of the little keychain ones at three bucks apiece at Wal-Mart over the course of a year and I've got them in drawers, pinned inside the cuff of every jacket I own, (have to watch out doing laundry, of course), hanging on hooks inside my more poorly-lit cabinets, etc. I use these Rayovac ones because they can be disassembled with an eyeglasses screwdriver for repair/battery replacement and then the parts are interchangeable. See this post from the blue for other ideas along those lines.

Another search term that might be handy is "life hacks".
posted by XMLicious at 4:08 AM on December 30, 2011

When parking in a parking lot, don't agonize over combating others for the closest spaces to the destination. Park a little distance away, where there is no one else. You could use the exercise.
posted by yclipse at 4:40 AM on December 30, 2011 [14 favorites]

Brush your teeth in the shower where it's nice and warm while you're waiting for your leave-in conditioner to do its thing.

Buy a bunch of wooden clothes pegs and use them to seal bags of stuff in the kitchen (lentils, rice, etc). I like pegs better than tape because they're reusable and seal better.
posted by hazyjane at 5:56 AM on December 30, 2011

Can't believe I'm admitting what an utter dork I am, but before bed I always pick out a nice outfit for the next day, so I don't spend 10 minutes standing in front of my closet in the morning, swaying back and forth slowly and touching everything.
posted by kinetic at 6:06 AM on December 30, 2011 [22 favorites]

The only way I can live well is via life hacks. Here are mine:

I do 60 squats whilst brushing my teeth. I don't get to finish one without finishing the other.
I gargle my listerine whilst putting on my face moisturizer.
I set a tv show (usually 22 minutes) and zip around doing th day's cleaning. It's how I simultaneously get through tv series' AND keep my house looking nice. In fact now I look forward to cleaning!
In the vein of the socks hack above, I have over 20 tea towels so I can switch them out super frequently.
At red lights when driving I practice holding my core and squeezing my glutes.
I can't believe I'm going to say this in public but when I'm in the toilet I use the opportunity to clean up/wipe down whatever is within reach.
Every few days, I spray the whole shower with Eco friendly, non killer fume shower spray. Then ten min later I take my shower and rinse it all down when I'm in there. Keeps scrubbing at bay for months.
I keep certain essentials in every bag I own, so I never am out of change, Chapstick, tampons, or a pen. These things never get removed when I switch bags.
Hate cleaning the sink? Fill it up with hot water and pour in a cup of bleach. Leave for an hour or however long you want whilst you do other stuff. Drain sink. SHINY!
If I'm in an elevator alone I practice calf raises or spider rolls.

As you can tell, most of my exercise and cleaning has become incidental. :)
posted by shazzam! at 6:31 AM on December 30, 2011 [26 favorites]

I keep a toothbrush and dental floss by my computer--which, as a work-at-home freelancer, is where I spend a lot of time every day. I try to brush my teeth properly with toothpaste and the whole shebang in the morning and evening, but in between having a toothbrush and floss handy makes it easy to do a little oral hygiene after lunch or if I've been snacking on anything. I also keep my multivitamin there, which makes it easier to remember to take one sometime during the day.

And I keep small recycling receptacles most of the places where recyclables are often produced (one by my home office, one in the den where my husband watches TV/drinks soda/sorts his mail, one in the laundry room/pantry, etc.) so that one is rarely faced with the dilemma of tossing paper in the nearby trash vs. hauling all the way across the house to a single recycling station.

And while it's a good idea to train yourself to always put your keys in the same place, after decades of losing 5-10 minutes a few times a month trying to leave the house when I can't find my keys, I broke down and made a couple spare sets with one house key and one car key, so I can leave on time even if I can't find my main set.
posted by drlith at 7:18 AM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

A pair of scissors in every room. Or more generally, if there is something relatively cheap that you frequently need to have at hand, get more than one and keep them wherever you might need them.

A large wallet with lots of compartments that holds all my essentials, including keys and phone. I can toss it into any bag without worrying that I'm forgetting something. (Requires a little discipline to always put things back into the correct compartment immediately after using.)

Eye stretches whenever I have a free minute or two (and nobody is watching), like when stopped at a red light.
posted by chickenmagazine at 8:05 AM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

If I need to take something out with me, I put it in acarrier (grocery) bag and hang it on the door knob so I can't open the door without taking hold of it.

If I'm at work and remember something I need to do at home, I email my home email address, and vice versa for things I need to do in the office. This saves me from having to log into my office network/Outlook calendar. Because the first thing I generally do at home or work is check my email, I see the reminder and make sure I do the task at once.
posted by essexjan at 8:25 AM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

So recycling and trash is kept under control, I use grocery bags which are hung on those hooks that fit over kitchen cupboard doors - one for paper/plastic/metal recycling and one for general garbage. Food scraps, coffee grounds, etc. go into a small lidded caddy lined with a biodegradable liner. When each is filled, it's tied at the neck and put into the correct receptacle outside. So there's no build-up of trash, nor any need to sort it separately for recycling.

Junk mail, menus and envelopes are put straight into the recycling bag.
posted by essexjan at 9:26 AM on December 30, 2011

When parking in a parking lot, find a space that lets you pull through and park with the front of the car facing out of the parking space.

An additional benefit to pulling through:

I recently read a story on how "parking backwards" is also safer, even if you must reverse into the spot—theory being that it is upon arrival when you have the most visibility to safely position the vehicle. Compare to when you are departing, and have to back out with multiple additional blind spots due to adjacent vehicles, and limited vision because you are reversing. Made sense to me. I look for opportunities to pull through, or will back in whenever I can (of course I guess this depends on one's driving skill and the odds of backing out into an unseen pedestrian vs. the odds of backing into an adjacently parked car when entering the parking space.)

When it's raining and the supermarket or Target puts out their stand with free plastic umbrella covers, I take a couple extra and stash them in my handbag or glove compartment.
posted by pineapple at 9:50 AM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

To find my car in a big parking lot, I have a brightly-coloured grocery bag (yes, another grocery bag answer from me) in the glove box, and I tie it by its handles to the radio aerial (which I extend to its highest point). With the circulating air/breze the bag inflates like a balloon and I can easily spot the car across the car park.
posted by essexjan at 9:56 AM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Love these! Here's a few:

Make a simple map of your grocery store and keep it in the car. When you're in a rush, go only to the things you need. (My tendency is to stroll the store and have my mind jogged by seeing things. Which is fine -- except in a rush.) You can even use your map to make a grocery list and speed your ordinary shopping.

Buy smaller jars of some things. This is counterintuitive, because they cost more per oz, etc. But a ginormous jug of salsa eventually spoils in my fridge, eliminating my imaginary 'savings.'

Also keep coupons in the car and use them when convenient.

At a store, don't waste time trying on clothes. Pants, for example: Buy 5 (or 10 or 20 if that's you) and take them home. Try them on at your leisure, and take back the rejects -- at YOUR convenience, when you're near the store. Of course this only works if the store has a reasonable return policy.
Home Depot is the world leader with a) no time limit on returns and b) no requirement for a receipt if you bought with a credit card (not a store card, just a standard Visa/MC). So I never just buy a widget, only to go home and find it's the wrong size (or thread or volts or whatever), and then have to repeat the trip. I buy a widget selection to begin with and return my rejects next trip, or 6 months later. (OK, I'm carrying a little inventory, but not much)

Start a trigger file for periodic tasks, e.g., test the smoke detector, replace the furnace filters. Organize it by month.
posted by LonnieK at 10:37 AM on December 30, 2011

Floss while you watch television. You do a much better job, and it pays off when you go to your next cleaning.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 11:02 AM on December 30, 2011 [3 favorites]

Phone related hacks:

1. Take pictures of timetables or notice boards using your smart phone and put them in a folder called INFO. Bonus if it syncs with your home PC (using say dropbox) so when you need to check the next train you dont have to go online its in your picture folder. Or just set it as your wallpaper if it is something you use regularly.

2. When you are on your way to an event/show put keywords related to it in your twitter search so you can get up to the minute updates on delays etc.

3. Cut out all your store loyalty card barcodes and stick them to the back of your phone or take pictures of them too as some places you can scan your phone.

4. A full set of your identity documents eg passport etc can be attached to your email and left in draft folder for the time when you lose your passport when in middle of nowhere....
posted by london302 at 12:05 PM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

You can orient yourself in most cities by looking at satellite dishes -these point roughly south east - about 5 o clock where 12 is due north.
posted by rongorongo at 12:07 PM on December 30, 2011 [15 favorites]

@rongorongo - I think that depends on which city you live in and which satellite your dish is pointing to:

posted by grateful at 12:49 PM on December 30, 2011 [3 favorites]

When you park your car at the airport take a photo of its location (there'll be signs nearby saying which zone and floor). For me this is usually the second photo on the camera and so is easy to find.

The first photo on the camera is a photo of a notification saying "this camera belongs to essexjan. If found please phone me on ... or email me at ..."
posted by essexjan at 12:59 PM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

Using your microwave to cook food makes life a little easier. Fresh cooked spinach was always a hassle. Not anymore.
posted by boby at 1:47 PM on December 30, 2011

Do you send cards? Or wish you did?
---- Start entering birthdays into your calendar (g-cal or whatever you use). Have them repeat annually. Have them send you a reminder email about 2 weeks ahead of time, so that you have time to order a gift or send a card, if you'd like.
---- The next time you're buying a greeting card for someone, pick out a dozen others. Then you won't have to schedule a trip for the sole purpose of buying a birthday card. Keep a shoebox handy, filled with extra postcards, stamps, cellophane tape, and a few pens. If you accumulate more than 10 cards at once, separate into ziplock bags labeled with "Christmas" "Birthday" "Get Well Soon" etc.

Do you travel often? Even once a month? The next time you pack toiletries for a trip, purchase a dozen travel-sized duplicates of your normal products, or better yet, GooTubes so that you can decant your own products into them. Either purchase a clear TSA-friendly toiletries bag, or buy a stack of quart-sized ziplocks to keep in your bathroom. Keep your toothbrush, small toothpaste, deodorant and extra razors all ready to go in the bag, and pick from your stash of travel-sized items or refill your containers when you're leaving on a trip. No mad rush to figure it out each time.

Keep a container of pre-moistened cloths in your bathrooms, kitchen, and get the ones for your car. Now you can wipe things down on an ongoing basis. Wipe down your dashboard at a stoplight or when waiting for take-out. Wipe down the bathroom each night instead of waiting for a massive clean-up.

If something has to go elsewhere in your house (towels from the kitchen to the washing machine, lightbulbs up to the 2nd floor bathroom, etc.) then put them LITERALLY in your walking path. Not in a bag hung on the banister. Not in a basket in the kitchen. Put the library books to be returned in front of the door, even angled against the door so you cannot walk past them.The ugly solution (stuff on the floor in front of the stairs) will seriously only make you think *ONCE* about that task. Walking upstairs requires you to pick up those items, instead of saying that you'll remember later, then not remembering, then seeing that freaking grocery bag full of lightbulbs that you haven't gotten around to carrying upstairs yet, then feeling guilty about it.

When you come across a recipe that you'd like to try, bookmark it with as many keywords as you can think, including ingredients, type of cuisine, and whether it's fast or for a special meal. My bookmark for vegetarian lasagna might be "vegetarian pasta lasagna squash ricotta bake package group." Then if I want to make something on a weekend so that I can pre-package my meals, I can look up "package". If I'm feeding a large group, same thing. When I pick up a butternut squash, I don't have to remember every dish that has it, I can just search for main ingredients and see what comes up.

Similarly, whenever I come across something on the web that would make a perfect present for someone, I bookmark it with "gift" and their name. Or just 'gift' if it's a more universal item. I also have a list on my computer of gift ideas - if I hear someone talk about how much they hate the cold, I might write 'electric blanket' or even just 'hates the cold' to jog my brain; if they lament that their ex took the blender, I'd mark that down. Then I'm not trying to wrack my brain with good ideas at Christmas or their birthday - the work is already done.
posted by barnone at 4:12 PM on December 30, 2011 [8 favorites]

Another one to add that signing up for Health Month has prompted me to restart. I often just cook for myself or me plus flatmate, which means that vegetables can go off before we've used them. Tonight I chopped all the freezable veg I bought (onions, peppers, courgette/zucchini and leeks) and have frozen them in plastic containers. Now when I cook I can just add a handful straight from the freezer, without any wastage.
posted by ellieBOA at 4:31 PM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Forgot to add, if I've bought meat in a pack of 6 (chicken breasts for example), I freeze each piece of chicken individually so that I'm not forced to cook all 6 once defrosted. I put them in a food bag and flatten them out so they will defrost quicker. I've just revealed to the internet the lamest Friday night ever!
posted by ellieBOA at 4:35 PM on December 30, 2011

Thank you, fellow Mefites, for all of the great suggestions! My new years promises to be much more efficient.

Here are two more hacks I have worked out.

Keys: After locking myself out twice (and being forced to wait outside in the cold for campus security to come and unlock the door to my room), I finally put a hook next to my door knob. Whenever I come home, I take my keys out and hang them on the hook. Whenever I leave the room, even for a minute, I reach for the keys, plop them in my pocket, then turn the door knob.

Powdered Milk: I buy milk in largish cans which take a long time to consume. Each time I open the big can, moisture and stray bacteria/molds get into the can. I open big cans once per month or so, and pour the contents into a small can. By getting my daily milk portions from the small can, I extend the shelf life of the big can (and continue to save money by buying bigger cans).
posted by juifenasie at 5:50 PM on December 30, 2011

Oops! "The new year will be much more efficient."
posted by juifenasie at 5:53 PM on December 30, 2011

To build on barnone's excellent tips, with the event card thing: get a folder with brads and modular pocketed inserts, put a generic calender/monthly dates-listed thing and for each pocketed sheet, put the month's list of dates in front of it with all card/phone call-worthy events listed on the appropriate dates and appropriate cards for said events in the accompanying folder pocket (I stole this idea from a spendy binder thing that does exactly this from uncommongoods IIRC).

And I have a similar MO with traveling. I don't know why but I HATE getting all the toiletries etc. together so finally I'd had enough and now I have this cube-like see-through container (honestly, I think it might've been one of those plastic cube packages bedsheets come in even) full of properly stocked regular items in the travel-friendly spill-proof containers you can get at Target and other places. It is totally worth just having duplicate sets of everything, tweezers and clippers and shampoo and EVERYTHING, already always packed just-so, just to not have to do the run-down double-check every time I pack. And I travel just the right frequency to make it so I pack my current toothbrush ahead of time and replace it with a new one--no last-minute "pack the toothbrush the morning of" stuff.

And I can't agree more about thinking smartly about what should go where in your abode, car, etc. It's worth having 5 pairs of scissors or spray bottles of cleaner or garbage cans or wipe cloths or pens and paper pads in the house to me if it means I actually clip coupons or do whatever I ought to be doing because I don't have the lazy excuse "but what I need is in the other roooom". I got pretty good at getting discreet containers or other hiding tactics for stowing stuff like wipe cloths and whatnot in every relevent room, and since I've done that sort of thing my house is waaay cleaner and I'm more productive in general. Related, I also totally agree about being smart about the path things travel in the first place--make the laundry set up (dirty clothes/towels to hamper to hook ups to wherever you'll be folding and stowing clothes), major entryway (door to key/wallet stowing to mail pile to garbage for junk mail), cleaning storage (mop and any accessories and cleaners near where you first begin cleaning, ie, not in the attic or garage) etc. paths as conveniently strategized as possible without being downright weird. Wherever in your day to day pathways shit tends to get lost or go astray, put the right container in place to avoid that (mail tray, box or hook for keys, area under a bench for dirty boots, closet or coat hook for coat, basket for remote controls, etc.).
posted by ifjuly at 8:41 PM on December 30, 2011

After leaving the keys in my ignition and locking the door twice in one week (once with the lights on), I keep the keys on length of parachute cord clipped to my belt loop. Yes, even on suits. It generally hides pretty well, and I never lose my keys.
posted by notsnot at 11:43 PM on December 30, 2011

Just thought of another few today (because I did them!)

- on weekend breakfasts, I tend to read newspapers and magazines. If I see something I like, from an article to something on sale or something I want to check out more later, i take a photo with my phone. Saves me holding on to magazines and newspapers.
- I hate housework, so I shelled out for an industrial swiffer, the large kind they use at shopping malls. It's swiffer head is about 3 feet wide. Now I zip around my hardwood floors in 5 minutes flat.
- Once a month I make a huge roast (pork, lamb, whatever) - and then chop/shred it all up into ziploc bags and freeze them. Everytime I want a sandwich/noodles/some meat, I just slam the ziploc bag on the counter and break off how much I want, and zap. Instant hot meat sandwiches FTW!
- I use EVERNOTE to catalogue my life the way barnone describes her bookmarks
posted by shazzam! at 12:01 AM on December 31, 2011 [3 favorites]

When you put your bed linen away after it has been washed, fold up all the sheets and put them inside one of the pillowcases from the bed--that way, when it's time to change your sheets, you can grab one neat package and it has everything in it.

I sort my clothes into separate laundry bags for lights/darks as I take them off at the end of the day, so when I want to do laundry I just grab a bag and dump it into the machine.
posted by Lycaste at 11:06 AM on December 31, 2011 [5 favorites]

I replace my toothbrush and scrubby-bath-sponge thing every three months, on the equinoxes and solstices (I never used to have any idea how long I had been using them). Smoke alarms get checked at the equinoxes and smoke alarm batteries replaced at the solstices (I've also heard of doing this when you change the clocks to/from Daylight Savings but that's not really 6 months apart and I like having a 3-month marker in my system too).
posted by mskyle at 4:50 PM on January 1, 2012 [5 favorites]

I also put out my clothes the night before. I totally thought this was normal and un-dorky! It saves so much time and stress for me, though.

I just started listening to MPR/NPR in the shower. We have a little bug-shaped radio that suctions to the window and will turn off automatically after 20 minutes or so. I find it a great way to get some news into my brain while washing my hair and shaving.

This may be obvious, but putting dishes into the dishwasher right away after using them really makes my kitchen look so much cleaner.

I love questions like this one!
posted by sucre at 1:54 PM on January 2, 2012

VikingSword: While contemplating you standing on one leg to brush your teeth I feel moved to suggest that you help your brain health and willpower by using your non dominant hand to hold your tooth brush. The two minute slot is also a good time to catch up on news headlines or Metafilter FPPs.
posted by rongorongo at 2:58 PM on January 2, 2012

The book Speed Cleaning has transformed the way I approach cleaning: it's given me great techniques and tools to do things quickly and well, while also making me more enthusiastic about cleaning in general.
posted by queensb at 3:26 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't know if you use facebook, but this little trick gets me to spend less time on it: when you open facebook, immediately switch browser tabs to something else. You can see in the title of the tab [ie Facebook (2)] if you have any notifications. If you don't, then just close the tab. If I open facebook, watch it load, then see if I have notifications, I might start looking at my News Feed, clicking on photo albums, and so on. If I check notifications with just the text, see none, and close it, then I'm a lot less likely to spend time there.
posted by Buckt at 5:58 PM on January 2, 2012

Not to be a pooh-pooher but the papers cited by the OP provide no evidence of the benefits of flamingo exercise, because a) BMD is very variable, so some increase is expected for a portion of the cohort and b) massively uneven loss to follow up in the RCT of falls.
posted by roofus at 3:48 AM on January 3, 2012

Response by poster: I am not going to "mark as best answer", because it's not relevant - some answers work best for some people, and I can't be the judge of that utility, since my own situation is relevant to me only. Which is another way of saying that every answer here has value, and I thank all of you for your answers. It also means that I'm leaving this question open rather than marking it as "resolved", because the answers are open-ended, and people can keep making contributions until whatever time limit AskMefi has for open threads (30 days?).

roofus: I'd modify your statement to say "the evidence is in the studies cited", rather than "no evidence", the question becomes of the quality of the evidence in support of the thesis, and I'm going to let everyone make up their own minds about that; one unfortunate aspect is that the full texts are in Japanese, a language I don't speak. In general, caution is advised when discussing abstracts; for one, it's hard to evaluate study design details without the full paper (and sadly, often even with the full paper), and therefore harder to evaluate the validity of the conclusion cited in the abstract. However, from what I understand, Sakamoto's intervention has been used pretty extensively in Japan, and I assume that they wouldn't do that if it wasn't EBM (though I don't know that for a fact).
posted by VikingSword at 4:48 PM on January 3, 2012

« Older Order my zombie.   |   Will Silly Archaic Art Form Turn Beloved Daughter... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.