From The Tips Box: Backpack Rummaging, Long Showers

Readers offer their best tips for getting discounts on your monthly bills, searching for small items in your backpack, and avoiding wasting time in the shower.

About the Tips Box: Every day we receive boatloads of great reader tips in our inbox, but for various reasons — maybe they’re a bit too niche, maybe we couldn’t find a good way to present it, or maybe we just couldn’t fit it in — the tip didn’t make the front page. From the Tips Box is where we round up some of our favourites for your buffet-style consumption. Email it to tips at

Mark Backpack Pockets with Buttons for Easy Access

Photo by Jinx!.

PrairieMoon shows us an easy way to void rummaging through backpacks:

This is a low tech / no tech idea. I mentioned it as a tip sometime last year. I’m sometimes in a walking-around situation where I need my camera and a pen to be in a certain place in my laptop bag.

One side of the bag has a compartment with a button sewn on. So I can reach down without looking, and know where the camera and pen are, by touch.

You don’t need a button for it though. Some other unique marking will do as well. Maybe an empty key ring on one side of the laptop bag, but not the other, something like that, attached to the zipper.

Cool Down Your Shower for a Speedier Morning Routine

Photo by brionv.

Benjamin lets us know one way to motivate yourself to move faster in the morning:

I like my showers pretty hot, which is problematic because it gets so comfortable that I end up not wanting to get out back into the cold, real world. My solution was pretty simple: I just realised that if I cool down my shower a bit (not to the point where it’s cold, but to the point where it’s just comfortable) then I’m much more likely to do what I need to do and get out of there. Less of my morning is wasted, and I can spend more time eating breakfast, reading the news, etc. before I head off to work. Of course if you have self control this isn’t a problem, but…sometimes I need to trick myself to stay motivated.

Use Plastic Toothpicks to Clean Keyboard Gunk

Kristwy shares a tip for cleaning those hard-to-get places in your keyboard:

Clean under your keyboard keys with plastic toothpicks.

Simple and effective.

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