So…I Moved Our CO Detector To A New Outlet (But Why Do Little Hacks Take So Long To Identify?)

Update: I am currently hanging my head in shame (not really; this is very metaphorical). In both the header picture and throughout this post, I referred to carbon monoxide as CO2.

I went to university for six years to study Biology. I have taken enough Chemistry classes that there is no feasible excuse for me to very confidently discuss our carbon dioxide detector. Now both gasses are dangerous, but considering I exhale carbon dioxide about 25,000 times/day, I’m very grateful we don’t have a CO2 detector furiously beeping to warn me of my own breath.

I fixed the blog post text, but am too lazy to fix the header photo. And to be clear – we have carbon MONoxide detectors. And I hope you all do as well.

A few months ago I wrote a post about moving my deodorant out of our ensuite bathroom and into the top drawer of my bedroom dresser. I remain committed to Team Bedroom (though a friend told me she keeps deodorant in both her room and the bathroom, which seems even wiser).

I can’t believe it took me YEARS to move a stick of armpit neutralizer 5 feet. But it did. I also can’t believe how much easier my morning routine is since making this shift.

But want to know what’s worse? It took me even longer to move our CO detector.

When we moved into our home, we dutifully bought carbon monoxide detectors for each level. And, on both floors, we elected to install them in the hallway.

This was great for a while, but the one on the main level was constantly getting bumped.

Over the last year, we’ve started playing hallway soccer. Hours and hours of hallway soccer every single week. That is a lot of action for a hallway and, sadly, for the CO detector, a lot of opportunities to get bumped out of the socket.

It was also just a very annoying placement.

The detector would get loose and then eventually fall down with a jarring bang – managing to scare me every time. Then the soccer game would get prematurely halted (not always a bad thing as I do reliably lose, and I am always trying to win – I can’t think of a single game, soccer or otherwise, where I have not actively tried to beat my children in years. Levi is 7 and needs to learn to lose gracefully, but he’s not learning that skill by playing me – despite my best efforts).

It would also sometimes come loose (which I couldn’t see) and revert to the battery backup which would eventually result in a warning alarm beeping pattern…which always started in the middle of the night. Twice I couldn’t get it to shut off and ended up taking the detector outside and throwing it in the trunk of the car until morning – once in the middle of a horrific rainstorm when I happened to be solo-parenting and was in sock feet…which got soaked.

(Thankfully no one has ever been out walking their dog at 3 am and called the police about a mysterious beeping sound emanating from our vehicle.)

All this to say it has been a major, near-daily, nuisance.

And guess what I did.

Moved it to an outlet in the living room – the room with a gas fireplace (the most likely source of a CO issue upstairs anyway) – completely away from all soccer and general life action. The problem and solution took me 5 years to identify, and less than 30 seconds to execute.

John noticed the switch one day and was like: Oh. Yeah. That makes sense!

So why did it take me/us so long to identify the solution?

I’ve written before about our 1970’s kitchen (the one with the apartment-sized fridge). It’s functional, albeit dated, and I like it. But our dishwasher opens up in front of the kitchen sink.

We have a double sink, but if I use the left-hand sink (my natural preference), I can’t access the dishwasher OR the under-the-counter garbage bin – both of which are quite annoying to have off-limits while handling dishes. I would regularly move out of the way, open the dishwasher, put something in, close it, and go back to washing dishes that need to be hand-washed until I needed to access the garbage bin, which would also require me to move out of the way. Repeat ad nauseam.

A few weeks ago I had a thought: there are two sinks. If I stand in front of the right-hand sink to wash and reach over to the left-hand sink to rinse…I can wash dishes AND leave the dishwasher open OR access the cupboard with the garbage bag AND be closer to the dish drainer. Win, win, win.

But also, why did this take so long?

What about you? Any little hacks to report from life lately that have had a disproportionate impact on your productivity or happiness? I’m all ears…

20 thoughts on “So…I Moved Our CO Detector To A New Outlet (But Why Do Little Hacks Take So Long To Identify?)”

  1. Why DO those little hacks take so long? I feel like when you get something new or move into a new house, be very careful where you put your things because although it might feel temporary, IT IS FOREVER. Occasionally I will reorganize something and think, why didn’t I do that before? This way makes so much more sense. Ah well, we live and learn.

    I am a fervent carbon monoxide detector person, when I was 35 weeks pregnant and I had a one-year-old, we had a carbon monoxide leak, thank god for our detector. It was very scary. Hilariously, the hospital staff asked if I felt extra sleepy and I was like “I’m 35 weeks pregnant? And I have a one-year-old? So I don’t really know, I’m always sleepy.”

    1. I don’t know? Why DO these little hacks take so long? I was hoping you’d have all the answers, Nicole!

      Oh no! What a scary story about your CO leak. We had a false alarm once in the middle of the night at my inlaws and it was terrifying, so I always take them seriously (when it goes to battery backup warnings, it is a different beeping pattern so while it wakes me up, it is not terrifying)

  2. Yes- why are we so willing to put up with minor (and, major) inconveniences instead of simply finding a better way? I know I’ve had many of these “aha’ moments where I finally fix something like that although I can’t think of a specific example offhand. But your post is motivating me to be on the lookout for these things now- my theme for this week is going to be “make life better!”
    Btw I love the story of you taking the beeping CO2 detector out to the trunk of your car in a rainstorm. That must have been a high point for you, ha ha.

    1. If you think that’s a high point…you should hear some of the other stories I have to tell.
      There are SO many things I’ve done over the last decade (mostly since becoming a mother) that I NEVER could have imagined…

    1. Dog walker is genius and I’m so glad Coco is “living her best life” πŸ™‚

      Here is the little blurb from my old post about my dire deodorant situation:
      We have a small en-suite bathroom in our home and ever since we moved in (over four years ago) I have been storing my deodorant in the top drawer of the bathroom vanity.
      From Day 1 this has been a nuisance. I prefer to get dressed in our bedroom, so I either have to go get the deodorant before I’m ready to get dressed (annoying)…or apply it after getting dressed (a recipe for a white-streaked wardrobe disaster).

      It sounds like a little enough thing, but it seriously still makes me happy to be able to access my deodorant from within my bedroom each morning.

  3. I have always had a mantra that if something bothers me every day, I should do something to fix it. But sometimes it’s that I don’t have ideas about how to fix something, the skill to fix it, or the energy to do the work. There is a missing piece of molding in our dining room that has been missing since we moved in. It bothers me so much, but I don’t really know how to fix it (how do I find the right shape to match the rest of it? stain it so it’s the same color? cut it to fit?) and so it’s been this way for years.

    But I just bought a new recycling bin and it’s too small, so the next time I’m in a store where they sell garbage cans, I’m buying a new one! No procrastinating on something I can fix!

    1. We have the EXACT same thing with molding. We got a patio door replaced and the new one is slightly smaller than the old one. Our baseboards are from the 1970’s so there is NO way we can match the wood tone/size. It’s been like this for almost a year now and I have no idea what to do next. Outsource the problem to someone else…but I know they aren’t going to have any perfect solutions.

      Sorry about the recycling bin. Was this the replacement of your beloved purple garbage can?

  4. I am a big procrastinator on odd little things too. For me it’s not as much about taking the time to fix problems, it’s just more that I won’t do things that are very easy, but I deem an annoying hassle. (Even if they really aren’t that bad.) Example- I store my summer dresses in our basement storage room. We went to Mexico recently, so I got a couple out. Then when I unpacked, at one point I carried the dresses back downstairs…and proceeded to lay them over one of our bar stools in the rec room. I don’t remember why- I probably had my hands full or was heading in to my office to work or something, and I just didn’t feel like going into the storage room, turning on the light, finding 2 hangers, etc. So I draped them over the bar stool. And they literally sat there for…. 10 days? At least. I finally just put them away on Saturday and we got home from Mexico on January 18. So, yeah. WHY? I don’t know! It’s like I perceived it to be just enough effort that I didn’t want to do it. So silly! It was the easiest task on the planet. I do this with lots of things. I’ve needed to replace the batteries in my office desktop flameless candle for probably 2 months now. The batteries are literally in the cabinet above my desk. Yet this is apparently too much effort. HAHAHA.

    1. I can relate!
      We have a hole in the wall of our ensuite bathroom (cut out to fix a leak 2 years ago). I know we’ll get it patched eventually when we get the bathroom painted, but it would take about 5 minutes for me to get a picture of some sort, a nail, and hammer and hang something over the hole.
      About a year ago I had all the materials and then decided the picture I’d picked out of our art stash was too small. So that was that.
      It bugs me enough that I notice it, but not enough to actually DO anything about it. And it also feels like the longer it goes without being fixed, the more resistance I feel. Either that it’s actually a big job (it’s not), or I just shouldn’t bother (I should). Sigh.

      Maybe now that I’ve admitted this publically, I’ll get around to actually doing something about it? I’m not counting on that, though…

  5. I can find it hard to make little changes that make life easier, I think because I am such a routine person! But I have learned from others so I am open to ideas, but not great at coming up with them myself!

    Like your friend, I have deodorant in 2 places – in the bathroom where I get dressed after showering and in our main floor bathroom. I use natural deodorant so in the summer, I often want to put a little extra on when it’s really hot outside, so that is the season when I appreciate having deodorant in 2 places!

    Another hack that I learned on the mom hour was to keep your kids’ socks close to where they put on their shoes. Which for us is by our front door. Our older son never wants to put on socks when he gets up, and he often takes socks off in random places. So we were often having to go upstairs to get him socks before we left the house and it was so annoying. So now his socks are in a basket by the front door and it’s been the best hack for us!

    Isn’t it funny how we are conditioned to use things, like kitchen sinks, a certain way? I grew up in a house where we used the right side to wash dishes and the left to rinse dishes. So that is how I use our sink – and it’s worked out because the right side has the garbage disposal in this house. But in our previous house, the left side had the garbage disposal and it was so hard for me to adjust to using that side!

    1. I’ve heard (and love) the sock idea because socks are such an issue in our house…but our entryway is very small and the kids have very different sock preferences. Thankfully their rooms are close to the door, so it’s not a huge hassle to send them back to their rooms. BUT WHY IS THE NO SOCK THING SUCH A PROBLEM WITH KIDS? When I get dressed in the morning, I put on socks. Both kids have been dressing themselves for years, but still need almost daily reminders to put on socks.

      1. I honestly do not understand the no sock thing, especially in the winter! Phil and I wear wool socks and then the kids are often barefoot. It just looks so cold to me, but oddly when I feel the 4yo’s feet, they are warm. So maybe he has better circulation than me or something? I even prefer to wear socks in the summer. I am like you and am a naturally cold person!

        1. My kids are heat machines. Levi almost always strips off his pajama shirt by the time he falls asleep. I’m in long underwear and wool socks with a toque and he’s barefoot and wearing shorts. But they do rarely seem cold…ah the circulation of childhood.
          And, to be honest, I don’t remember being cold that often as a kid? Definitely nothing like I am now. This winter has been better though with LOTS of use of Magic Bags, heated socks, and the extra insulation in our walls from the renovations. I’m cold a lot…but I’d say it’s 50% better than last year which feels like a major win.

  6. I’m usually not a procrastinator, once I write it in my journal for the week or day, I pretty much just do it without too much thinking. but it takes a while to get it on the list, to realize how much impact it would have on my life.
    I am procrastinating on our 2021 family album though.

    1. I do this on certain work tasks that I dread. They’re not even necessarily “hard” but just not very fun or don’t feel overly productive.
      I always feel better when it’s done, but sometimes need to procrastinate long enough that I can power through multiple mildly unpleasant tasks as a time.

  7. I think Nicole had a great point – when we move into a new place, we put stuff somewhere (just to get it out of the way) or we start a habit (standing at the left sink) and never really think about it. Things become habit and we don’t even realize that they don’t make much sense until we start getting really annoyed at something that we’ve put up with for years.

    People are strange creatures of habit, I suppose, but sometimes it’s good to make the change.

    1. It’s easy to fall into the rut of “this is how it’s always been done” – but when we can figure out those little things that are impeding our lives in different ways – be it deodorant or CO detectors, the solution is over very simple!
      Sometimes maybe we should just step back and observe our day-to-day routines and see where the pain points are and see what, if anything, we can do to address those. I suspect chances are good we can without too much extra effort?!

  8. This. Is. So. True. SO true. What Jenny said about things finding a temporary home and then…staying there in perpetuity is exactly what happened to me!

    My annoying thing that took me forever to remedy (and then, literally, 4 minutes to fix) was HATING my bathmat. My bathmat, seriously. One day at Target, I went down the bathmat aisle. I found one I liked, bought 2 (for something like $20 total), and threw the other one the heck out. Seriously, YEARS I hated that bathmat.

    1. Doesn’t it feel SO good, though, to finally make that decision? I’m always kicking myself for waiting so long but, as they say: the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is NOW!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *