Four Life Hacks from an Unlikely Life-hacker


Plastic produce containers are perfect for organizing your drawers!

Marie Kondo would be proud! After watching some of Ms. Kondo’s Netflix episodes, we trekked off to the Dollar Store and bought all shapes and sizes of containers for organizing the stuff in our lives. This was great but I went at the organizing task with so much enthusiasm that soon I’d run out of the little plastic boxes we’d purchased.


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1. Use recycled containers to help you organize your life.

It was then I remembered all the plastic boxes that had once held grocery store produce and that were now neatly washed and stacked downstairs in the cold room. This is an old teacher habit, washing and keeping plastic containers in case they become handy in the classroom. Usually they do. I still teach enough that I’m reluctant yet to let go of this particular recycling habit.

My makeup in a recycled plastic bin – neat and tidy!


These recycled produce bins come in different sizes, lengths, and depths. They are very adaptable! My favourite change I made was chucking out my ancient makeup bag. Every day I’d lug it out of its drawer and onto the bathroom vanity’s countertop. Then I’d dig around in it, peering into the old makeup bag’s dark and mysterious interior until, like an archeologist, I’d exhume my treasure. When I found a shallow square box that used to hold strawberries, I unceremoniously dumped the contents of the makeup bag, placed only what I use in the plastic container, and happily threw away the old bag I bought at least twenty years ago.

Such a small thing made such a big improvement! In the re-used container, my makeup is easily accessed, tidier, and just cleaner.

2. Swiffer your walls.

I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: Swiffer your walls. It’s fast and easy, and it effectively removes cobwebs and dust you didn’t even know was there. I was reminded of how great this works when I Swiffered the basement walls yesterday. Yuck. That could have been done sooner.

My father’s scheduled visit at the end of this week has inspired some of this frantic basement cleaning. There’s nothing like company to get us cleaning. A friend of mine once surmised, “I wonder why we do that? Scramble around and clean before guests arrive?” She then went on to answer her own question. “I suppose we want people to believe we live better than we do.” Next she laughed out loud. I love that friend.

3. Use a mop to clean your large tub.

Nice and clean with the help of a mop.

I also love our huge Jacuzzi bathtub but I used to hate cleaning it. Now gather around nice and close, dear readers. I’m going to tell you a secret: I’m not that tall. This fact makes it especially awkward to clean that big tub. I simply don’t have the reach.

I remember, back in the day, taking off my shoes and socks, rolling up my pant legs, and getting into the tub with my sponge and wearing my rubber gloves. It was tedious and not that elegant. I don’t know what made me think of it but recently while I cleaned the bathroom, an idea popped into my head, “Hey, why don’t I use the mop with its super-long handle to clean this sucker?”

And that’s what I did. If you’re not tall (like me) and have a big bathtub, this is a very good way to clean it.

4. Make more time for living by being less clicky.

I used to post a lot of crap on Facebook.

Since I left Facebook, I spend way less time scrolling through social media feeds. I don’t miss clicking and liking (although I do quite a lot of this on Twitter still @lori_knutson) and my mind, like my newly-organized kitchen drawers, feels less cluttered. I do miss casual contact with a lot of people and again I urge those people to come find me. I’m virtually all over the place – just not on Facebook.

What has replaced the time spent being so clicky online? I’ve been lucky to be in more email contact with folks, writing longer letters, and receiving them, too. Yes. They take a while to read and some effort to respond to, and this makes them meaningful. I’m not writing then to win popularity but instead to forge relationships.

About a month ago, I finally acquired a cell phone that I can easily text from. I really like it! I’m new to texting, though, and sometimes clumsy. As a result, I accidentally phoned a childhood friend the other day instead of sending a text message. It was delightful! There are times when I’m so glad I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. This, as it turns out, is quite a lot of the time.

Thanks for spending this time with me today. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch or to follow me here on WordPress. If you want to post this blog to your own social media feed, I would appreciate it! It can be lonely outside of Facebook’s warm and invasive embrace.

Take care and happy May Day!

~ Lori

Here’s what the weather’s like today in my neck of the woods:


Renewed Perspectives

Here’s a spring picture I took a few years ago.

For the first time in about three years, I got a new pair of glasses. I was astounded at how the world looked when the clerk polished the lenses and sat that plastic frame on the bridge of my nose. Everything was suddenly so bright and so crisp! I didn’t realize how outdated my old vision prescription was. My prescription hadn’t changed that dramatically, but apparently a small change can make a big difference.


Small changes making a big difference have been the theme of my life over the last few weeks since I finished up a short teaching contract and started focusing on other things. This morning I went for the first warm walk I’ve taken this spring. Under the bright blue prairie sky I marveled at the clear view of the landscape I got through my new glasses. And they’re cute, too! Having new eyewear isn’t as good as not having to wear glasses, but it’s pretty close.

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These trees are gone now.

As I walked up the hill and my view expanded, I felt a sharp pang of sadness. I get these a lot lately, more often and more acutely than before. The sadness was the result of seeing what had been a little stand of trees that surrounded a quiet pond that was now transformed into a tidy brush pile waiting to be burned. Brushing is a common practice on agricultural land, and small stands of trees are routinely removed from arable land. Family members who used to live here and come back to visit, comment on the starkness of the farmland bare of trees. It’s different than they remember.


Ever Swiffered your walls?

 Spring has encouraged me to do some organizing and cleaning around this little house of ours. The other day, I was working at my office desk. I glanced up and noticed a cobweb wafting gently back and forth. Truth is that I’d noticed several cobwebs here and there in the high corners of the office and the master bedroom. I just ignored them and I was satisfied to do this for quite a long time.

But this spring seems to be my spring for extra cleaning. I’m not very tall and so the best tool to use to reach those corners is my Swiffer floor duster. It removed those cobwebs like a dream so I kept right on going and Swiffered the walls. It was fascinating! There was a surprisingly thick layer of dust there that I hadn’t detected. Got ten free minutes? Try it. You’ll see.

Finally the weather’s warm enough for me to safely daydream about canoeing.

Facebook wasn’t the problem.

For a while I was pretty disgusted with Facebook. I wanted that social media platform to be something else, I suppose. I wanted a kinder place in which I could really connect with people. My relationship with Facebook reminded of relationships I’d had with men when I was (much) younger. I pictured how things would be great if I could change this and that small thing about the way my partner and I interacted. This dissatisfaction would inevitably lead us to break up and, when we did, the disappointment disappeared.

It was the same when I ended it with Facebook. I spent too long wanting it to be something it just couldn’t be, something it never wanted to be. Facebook wasn’t the problem. My expectations of it were the problem. When my dissatisfaction caused us to break up, my disappointment in the platform disappeared. Sometimes late at night when I’m all alone and have an item to sell, I still think about its reach and advertising potential, but most of the time, I don’t miss Facebook that much.

Speaking of Facebook, if you like what you read here, please feel free to share it to your Facebook feed or any of your other social media networks. That would be great. And if you’re not following me here on WordPress, please consider making that small change in your life.

You can cut and paste this link to my blog into Facebook:

Thanks for dropping by and spending some time with me! Get in touch anytime and please let me know if you Swiffer your walls. Strangely, I’d love to hear about it!

~ Lori

“I wanna get lost in your rock’n’roll and drift away.” ~ Dobie Gray







Room to Grow

TNH Letting Go Quote

There was barely room for me in the car! I had garbage bags stuffed with bottles and cans in the trunk and rattling away on the passenger side floor and seat. Behind the driver’s seat tilted an old amplifier. A huge comforter, bed skirt, and bags of clothes, shoes, and purses filled up the rest of the backseat.

As I drove down the highway to the thrift shop and bottle depot, my blonde head peered over the steering wheel of a lime green hatchback and I was surrounded by heaps of stuff that I needed to get rid of. It was a lot, and it was just the beginning. My life desperately needs a thorough spring cleaning.

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Letting go can be difficult, but then one day we’re ready to cut ourselves loose from all the junk that’s been dragging us down. We realize, “Hey! These things aren’t helping me anymore. They’re hindering, and I want them gone.” It’s freeing, all this letting go. Releasing useless stuff brings peace of mind and lightness of heart.

That’s where I am this spring. I’m ready to let go of photographs and drums. I’m ready to set free shirts and pants and sandals that I haven’t worn for years. I can’t wait to discard unused appliances, and dishes and cutlery, and VHS tapes. The space in my house is limited and as I prepare to trim down my possessions, I remember that the space in my mind is also limited.

LTomlin Forgiveness quote

As I start to let go of all these material items, of all this concrete clutter, I can’t help but notice all the mental refuse I carry around. My head is full of a lot junk that I could do without.

I carry around negative thoughts and disturbing memories. Looking at these thoughts and memories doesn’t do me any good. Maybe once they had a lesson for me, but that lesson’s long since been learned. It’s spring now, a fresh new season, and it’s time to leave these unneeded items behind.

It’s easy – and tempting – to carry the negative stuff of the past into my today. It’s so easy to fill my pockets with a million bitter rocks and then trudge along listlessly through life. Pretty soon I’m so heavy with anger, resentment, and sorrow that I can’t move anymore. I get stuck.

I don’t want to be stuck. I don’t want to be weighed down. I want to empty my mental pockets and run in the spring sunshine. Like it was time to recycle all those bottles and cans, now it’s time to exchange pain and regret for a free mind and a lighter heart.


It’s not easy to do. Like cleaning up any big mess it takes time to declutter the heart and mind. It takes time, patience, and work to forgive myself and others. It takes effort to focus on the positive and to remember the happy times. Bit by bit and memory by memory, I’ll sort it out. I’ll keep the good stuff and display it where I can enjoy it, and I’ll work to dispose of what’s been weighing me down and holding me back. This kind of spring cleaning really makes a difference. This kind of spring cleaning gives happiness room to grow.