Simple things that have made your life better or easier

We have a lot of bright people on this forum, and Ive noticed that when you start to think like a engineer you tend to find ways to improve all aspects of your life.

Thought I’d start a thread to allow people to share simple things people have come up with, discovered, or invented that makes your life better or easier.

For example, a couple years ago while getting dressed in the morning, I realized that half my shirts were polo-style, with 2 or three buttons at the top, and the rest are dress shirts. It dawned on me, how much time do I spend unbuttoning and buttoning the dress shirts every day, when all I need to do is unbutton the top two buttons, and pull it over my head like a polo shirt? Even if it only takes 30 seconds a day, thats 3 hours a year you spend goofing around with those extra 5 (un-necessary) buttons on your shirts!

Ok, a better example. My dentist recommended I use Listerine mouthwash twice a day. At first I was shaking up the bottle, pouring it into a little cup, drinking from the cup, rinsing it out… one day I had the brainstorm to put the Listerine into a squeeze bottle, like a bicycle water bottle, that you can squirt right in your mouth. Ive noticed that since I started using Listerine (over a year ago) I have not had the flu or a cold. Thats a definite improvement, I really hate being sick.

One more simple thing: a year ago I got contact lenses, and now I wonder why I didnt get them 20 years ago. Your peripheral vision is so much better, you never have to clean your glasses, or remember where you put them, and its so much easier to use cameras, microscopes, and binoculars.

keyless entry

Living in a residence hall leads to plenty of creativity.

For example, I only really have one nice set of clothes. Everything else is just T-shirts, shorts, socks, and underwear. Since I don’t hang them up or anything, I just take them out of the dryer, fold as appropriate (tip: pair up your socks when you take them out of the dryer–you’ll thank me when it’s ten minutes before class and you can just grab a pair as opposed to hunting), and put them in the hamper. I then haul the hamper back to my room, and fish the clothes out of there. Works fine for me, and it solves the problem of limited drawer space by ignoring the drawers completely. :slight_smile:

i agree with the contacts…here in Florida and any place warm…no more fogging up…

paper clips and post its…boy do those both come in handy…

in my dorm room i find it easy to every Sunday…put 7 trash bags or layered x amount up…so i don’t have to spend a few minutes every time opening a new trash bag every day to replace it… just a few minutes one day… well it makes my life easier…
and instead of using the shoe rack that hangs down in my closet…(well i don’t have that many shoes…I’m not a girl that loves to keep buying shoes)… i manage to put more odds and ends in there… like my safely glasses, blow dryer…and other random odds and ends…

Billfred is right…when you are stuck in a dorm room…you find ways to make more space for more important things… (i have to though thankful I’m lucky…I’m in a decent size dorm)

Socks! that reminds me of another one:

Every six months or so buy a dozen pairs of socks, and get all the same kind, and the same color, and throw your old ones out

that way you never spend any time sorting them or matching up pairs, any two of the 24 socks you grab from your drawer are always a pair :^)

still havent gotten a high end car that has those lol. well who wants the extra weight anyways… :rolleyes:

I’ve toyed with this exact scheme in the past. However, it seems like a waste to throw out perfectly good socks. (Not that I’m a packrat or anything–once they’re worn through, they hit the round file.)

ABS, cruise control, keyless entry.

Expose on my Mac. Trust me, it’s priceless for those who switch applications a lot. I set it up to be my top left and right corners of my screen.

Not to sound rude, but Ken sounds like he’s looking for creative little ideas that you have had, not great inventions other people have made. Not to pick on anyone, just thought I’d point it out. Again, dont mean to sound rude.

Great topic Ken!

Here’s my story. When you get to college, save cardboard, it comes in handy. Why? It’s somewhat sturdy, bendable, easy to cut, and you probably wont have much money anyways being a college student. Last year I made drawer dividers out of cut up cardboard from a Lucky Charms box. In 3 ring binders they have those plastic things in the back, to keep the paper from getting crumpled under the rings, well, those new 12-can fridge packs that soda cans come in are great for making more of those is your binder didnt come with one. Cereal boxes also work as dividers in your binders and can make great printer trays if your’s breaks or isnt big enough.

I dont mean to limit this thread to things people on CD have personally invented - Im looking more for creative insight and un-expected discoverys

for example, I didnt invent contact lenses, and I never really thought about getting them till I started working at my present job, designing electronics for video eyewear. I got them because its easier to wear head-mounted displays without glasses. But I was really suprized how much better life is without glasses (all the time). I wasnt expected that.

I eliminated that step and don’t wear shoes.

I hibernate my laptop so it pops up in ~30 seconds and use that in class for notes. I can type faster than I can write and I don’t have to try and decipher my handwriting. Going back over and spell checking makes an easy and effective study tool. I use wordpad because Word has too much bloat and takes too long to load.


A curling iron is just right for putting a crease in pants legs.

I have a couple of extra alarm clocks that I set to remind myself to do certain things, such as taking pills and vitamins.

And one simple thing that has made my life so much better is the heated mattress pad on the bed. One side of the bed can be turned on but not the other, which is perfect when one person is always cold and the other is always hot. And an extra bonus is that it divides the bed perfectly in half, which ends all of the battles of who’s on whose side. Best invention ever!


Um…the wheel…

i found an abrasive impregnated brush that fits into my cordless drill/driver at the local hardware store. i believe that it is intended to remove old paint, but with the proper cleaning solution, it’ll do a number on anything from dishes to bathrooms (obviously, i use a separate one for these two applications). not only does it cut my cleaning time in half, but i’ve found that housework is more fun with power tools.

Break away key chain. Ok on my key ring i have this little keychain that breaks apart when the ends are pushed together but only when they are pushed together so it won’t break on accident. I have my keyless entry pad on that break away so I can leave my vehicle running and lock the doors while i am say waiting for the vehicle to warm up. That has been a great help.