Tips for leading a happy life

Everybody is always trying to tell you what you should do in order to be happy. Most involve elegant statements about love, life, ambition, etc...
I'm not going to tell you how you should live your life. But there are some things in my life that, on any given day, can make it brighter. Little things that I thought I would share:

Use wooden-handle Q-tips
While almost all stores now stock the lolipop-stick style rolled paper handle Q-tips, they are weak and bend easily. You get a lot better control with a wooden handle. Switch and you'll never go back.
Wear new socks often
New socks are not only clean and bright, but they provide a great deal most cushining than socks that are even a month old. If you can afford them, new socks make your feet feel great.
Use big bars of soap
I hate those mini bars of soap that they give you in hotels. The bigger the bar of soap, the more lather it builds up and the less annoying little soaplet bars you get left over. Do yourself a favor, buy some family-sized Ivory.
Use large, thick, smooth towels
Big towels will keep you warm, absorb water more quickly, leave with less of that fully-staurated towel feeling, and just mean your post-shower experience will be more enjoayble.
Also, make sure you bring really big towels to the beach.
They don't roll up as easily, don't blow away as easily, dry you off when you lay on them, and give you room to roll a little without getting sand all over you. They are also better for sharing.
Buy plastic toilet seats
Most bathrooms have their windows next to their toilets. Result? Either a cold toilet seat to sit on, or a smelly bathroom. Solution? Buy plastic seats that don't conduct heat as well.
Buy shorts with (large) pockets
Pockets, especially in shorts, make it far more convenient to carry wallets, keys, or whatever else you want. They don't cost much more and keep you from carrying stuff in your hands or bringing a bag.
Get yourself a pair of nice leather, lined gloves
I got some truly smooth, very flexible gloves for about $25. They are warm, very comfortable, and let me manipulate things easily. Ski gloves are great for snow, but when you are just going out into cold, these are much better.
Sleep a lot and get a nice bed/pillow
Twelve hours of sleep a night would be ideal for me, though it is often difficult. Sleeping helps prevent disease and avoid headaches. It is also rejuvenating, and I for one consider it enjoyable. A nice, soft, malleable pillow and down comforters are what do it for me.
Buy things with remote control
Biggest mistake I've made in a while is to buy a portable stereo without a remote control. It seemed like a stupid thing to have at the time, but you are far more likely to listen to music if you don't have to get up. A universal remote, is also a very useful thing.
Dimmable lights
Ever wake up in the middle of the night, turn on some lights and feel like someone hit you in the face? Buy lights with dimmers, they save money and are useful more often than you might think.
Keep a good selection of beverages at home
Sometimes you feel like soda, sometimes you don't. If all you have at home is one or two of your favorite drinks, you'll only drink them. It is often enjoyable to have a good juice (may I recommend Nantucket Nectar's Kiwi Berry?) sometimes. You're not gonna drink more, so chances are all your giving up is some room in the fridge; it's worth it.
Keep some easy-to-make foods around
Canned soup is ready in three minutes. Microwave pizza about the same. Sometimes you want something more than chips but don't want to cook. These are great things to have around.
24-hour banking.
I know some people that don't have ATM cards. I don't know how they can live. In my area, I'm also lucky enough to have phone-banking and PC-banking. These are great. If you can pay your bills without writing mail, all the better. Also, try to find branches in malls, as they tend to have much better hours (my bank closes at 9:30 every night).
If you must own an umbrella, buy a BIG umbrella
Those half-sized umbrellas that pop open when pushing a button and fit in a purse are great things to carry around when you think it _might_ rain. But _in_ the rain, especially when its windy, they do little to keep more than your face dry. Go out and get yourself one of the old-style long-handle "golf" umbrellas and stay dry longer.
Of course, I don't think you need to have an umbrella at all. Getting wet is just no big deal, really. Umbrellas tend to be more of a pain than a help.
Ultra soft toilet paper
Ahhh. Charmin Ultra is worth every penny.
_Allways_ keep the following in your car:
You have no idea how often I've been very happy to have these, especially the change of clothes. If you get wet or dirty somehow, even if they are only shorts, shirt, underwear and socks, you'll be _really_ glad you had them.
Have something useful on your keychain
Pictures and ornaments might be nice, but I've often been very happy to have a mini-flashlight, knife, or screwdriver on my keychain. They are cheap and, when needed, usually very needed.
Things you should always have extras of:
Use rechargable batteries, and always have a spare set
Gadgets are becoming very prevalent in society. The extra money you invest now will pay off greatly in the future.
Buy a nice set of headphones
Sure, you get a free set when you buy a walkman. But those suck. Invest $20 in a nicer pair which is both more comfortable and better sounding.
Strong plastic or wooden coat hangers
You can make do with the hangers they give you at the cleaners, but those bend, break and sometimes fall off. Buy stronger plastic or wood hangers and your closet will be in better order. Of course, buy more than you need.
Anti-lock brakes
Airbags shmairbags. If you want safety, its much better to _avoid_ an accident. Pass up luxury items and pay the extra $800-$1000 for these. I won't buy a car without them.
Extra input jacks on your stereo system
Right now you don't think you're gonna be attaching something else. But even if you don't attach your computer and old reel-to-reel player to your new stereo, you never know when they're gonna create the next version of the CD.
Large, heavy forks and serrated knives.
I hate forks that don't fit in my hands. Use meal knives for salads and dessert. Butter knives are for butter only. Nice knives are sure to cut butter as well as steaks.
High capacity, big handle, well-insulated mugs.
Have a "favorite" mug for all of the different kinds of beverages you have often (eg. coffee, milk, tea, soda, beer). You want something that comfortable fits ice and 12-ounces of drink. A handle you can grip with more than two fingers helps keep the heat/cold away from your hand.
Salt shakers that you don't have to shake to get salt out of.
Ever sit there for seemingly 5 minutes to get 3 grains of salt out of a shaker? Salt shakers are cheap, but a good one.

Have any more tips? Send them along to me. If I get enough, I'll put a page up for them.

© Copyright 2018 Alan Wood.
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