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The Simple Hacks That Make Our Lives Run Smoother

Because losing your parking garage card is the worst.
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In truth, life's little annoyances are hardly memorable for longer than a minute, but they add up—a morning when you can't find your mascara, lose your car keys, and have to skip breakfast can be enough to throw off the rest of your week. In the office, we often find ourselves venting about the little annoyances that peppered our day and, in turn, offering each other solutions. They aren't groundbreaking, but put together they make a difference. Here are some of the extraordinarily simple things that make our lives run just a little easier:

1. Wash Your Face When You Get Home From Work, Before You’re Too Tired. "I wash my face as early as possible to make sure I do it, because if I don't, I basically Zombie-walk into the bedroom and pass out. After I put Sloan down around 7 PM, I don’t go out and see G right away—instead, I immediately wash my face and then get in comfy clothes even though I may not be going to bed for hours. It's a nice separation between being a mom and being with my husband, relaxing for the night, and I basically do it as a way to outsmart my laziness.” - Emily 

2. Take Photos of Outfits You Love "Whenever you have one of those days where you are digging your outfit, snap a quick iPhone photo of it. There are so many times when I am feeling genuinely stuck in a rut/stalled by how to style an outfit, and I reference past ones on my phone and either copy the exact look, or get inspired to use the same formula, remixed with a new piece." - Alina

3. Keep Snacks in Your Car. "Maybe this is just an L.A. thing, but I’ve had several experiences when I’m stuck in traffic and so hungry I can barely see straight (not a great combo when you’re driving…). To combat this, I keep individually-wrapped portions of trail mix in my glove compartment (nothing with chocolate since that can melt and get messy), so that when I'm beyond hungry and stuck in the middle of the 405, I can pull out a snack, which goes a long way in taking the anxiety out of the drive (that and every episode of This American Life)." - Leslie

4. Have an Electronics Hub in Your House, and Leave Your Phone There as Soon as You Get Home. "Emily and I have a lucite tray on our kitchen counter where we keep our cameras and their chargers. Lately, I've been in the habit of putting my phone there as well as soon as I get home. That way, I can check my phone if I need to (it's not always feasible to turn it completely off), but I'm less likely to waste my evening scrolling through Instagram than if I had it on my person until bedtime." - Geoffrey

5. Steam/Iron Things Before Hanging Them. "This sounds obvious, but it’s such a drag to reach for something you want to wear and realize it was hung up clean but wrinkled. I've made it a habit to only hang things that are fully ready to be worn so I'm never slowed down in the morning by an unpressed shirt.” - Emily

6. Have a Designated Spot for Parking Garage Cards. “I always put my parking lot or valet ticket in the interior pocket of whatever purse I’m carrying. That's just where it goes, no matter what, because there's nothing worse than frantically searching for it while other cars behind you wait and honk. It also removes the potential of having to pay the maximum fine for a lost card, which can be upwards of $20.”- Alina 

7. Keep a Basket of Things to Take Out of the House by the Door. "My boyfriend and I live in a 600 square-foot apartment, which is by no means tiny, but it's cozy, so it can feel tight when things start to stack up. One of the most helpful tips for keeping things tidy is one I learned from Erin Boyle, author of the blog, Reading My Tea Leaves who lives in a 500 square-foot apartment with her husband and toddler. Following her advice, I keep a small wicker basket by the door for anything I need to take out (see the above photo)—old magazines and newspapers to recycle, flowers to be composted, dry cleaning that needs to be put in the car—so that it's all corralled to one place and creates a visual cue to take it out of the house." - Leslie

8. Buy Clothes Two Sizes Up for Babies. "When we first had Sloan and discovered the world of adorable baby clothes, we bought things to fit her so we could get the satisfaction of dressing her in them the next day, but by the next month, she’d already be grown out of them. Now when I see cute clothes, I buy them a few sizes up (I even bought her a dress in Paris for when she's three!)so that she can grow into them. It’s always a nice surprise when something I’ve been excited for her to wear finally fits her, and it neutralizes the anxiety that I won't have anything around that fits her." - Emily 

9. Reserve a Part of Your Closet for Your Favorite Clothes. "I keep the things I love the very most in my wardrobe in a consolidated area, where I can see them clearly. It's a fun little section where I know my standout pieces are, so I can always find a beloved article of clothing when nothing is working. It also helps to remind me that I don't need new clothes, when I can see all of my favorite pieces in one place." - Alina 

10. Curate an Extra Set of Makeup for Your Gym Bag or Purse. "On mornings when I go to a workout class, I usually shower and get ready at the gym. This used to mean transitioning my daily makeup from my bathroom counter into a bag, but it got old to take all my makeup out and then put it back at the end of the day. I recently made the leap and invested in products exclusively for my makeup bag, so I can just keep it in my bag and don't even have to think about it. It cuts the time it takes me to get out of the door, which is a huge difference when I'm heading to a 6 AM class. Added bonus: It works just as well for weekend trips." - Leslie

11. Always Keep Napkins and Tissues in Your Car’s Glove Compartment. "I was pretty lax about this rule until I had Sloan, when I realized the value of it—you never realize how important a stack of napkins can be until you turn around to find the lid of a sippy cup popped off and orange juice all over your 18-month-old daughter. The same goes for sneezes and tissues. Just keep a box and a stack around so you’re better safe than sorry." - Emily 

12. Buy Things You Love and Use Frequently in Bulk. "When I find a product I love—whether a shampoo or even a snack (Emily and I have finally owned up to our Hi-Chew addiction)—I buy it in bulk. The initial splurge is always worth it down the line when I realize I’m down to the last drop, but have more in the closet. It’s just one less thing to think about." - Geoffrey

13. Plan Your Meals at the Beginning of the Week. "At the start of every week, I've made a ritual of combing through the internet for interesting-looking recipes. I'll make a rough meal plan (one that ideally uses the leftovers from one meal to complement the next night's meal) complete with a master grocery list of what I’ll need. I then email it to myself and my boyfriend so that if either of us makes it to the grocery store first, we know exactly what we need. Since doing it, we’ve completely eliminated the 7:00 PM question of, 'Wait... What should we eat?' "- Leslie

14. Purchase More Socks & Underwear Than You Think You Need. "This is so tiny, but I swear it goes a long way—when you find socks and underwear that you like, buy multiple pairs of them so that you always have enough for when laundry day doesn’t quite come as soon as you’d hoped, and so that there’s never a reason to resort to a 'less-favorite' pair of underwear. It’s probably the most affordable thing you wear, so there’s no reason to compromise in that department!" - Alina 

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