10 Little Things That Bother Me About My Home—And How I Live Around Them

Some fixes require a pro, or at least some DIY cred. But I solved a few annoyances in my new home without spending much money or time.
Phillip Tinner Avatar
A small, bright room in a stylish studio-style room or apartment.
Photo: iStock

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

I take a longer time to settle into a place than most. I’ll deal with annoyances (and incessantly complain about them) for a long while, but after a year in my current residence, its handful of serial inconveniences led me to eventually decide that enough was enough. 

I’m no carpenter, though, and I had no intention of fixing these niggling thorns in my side with sweeping or costly renovations. I was determined to keep my solutions to the bare-minimum, least-path-of-resistance changes, and I managed to claw back a little bit more of my daily sanity with these easy workarounds.

Laundry Basket Case

When I moved into my place, it quickly became clear that storage for any laundry products or aides—aside from for the washer and dryer—was in dire short supply. The first (and largest) obstacle to overcome was my bulky hard-plastic laundry basket. I had to part ways with it, and opted for a collapsible laundry basket instead. This basket is easy to store when not in use and expands to hold a full load of laundry, making laundry days a little more efficient and organized.

Hook, Bar, and Sink-er

A mounted black metal and clear glass shelf next to a bathroom mirror.

Photo: Phillip Tinner for Bob Vila

The bathrooms lacked hooks for a hand towel next to the sinks; towels had to go on the opposite wall. Safe to say, making a 180-degree turn to dry my hands after washing them got old a couple of weeks in. To solve this, I hung decorative command hooks and installed a bathroom shelf with a small towel bar around the bathroom mirror. This setup provides much easier access to my hand towels, helped get my unruly bathroom counter a little more in order, and added a couple of little decorative touches in the process.

The Dreaded Drawer

A small kitchen drawer partially open, its face touching a stainless steel refrigerator.

Photo: Phillip Tinner for Bob Vila

I have somehow never been unlucky enough to live in a home with an unopenable cabinet or drawer due to some kitchen layout design flaw or construction oversight—until now. One kitchen drawer that opens right into my refrigerator (which can’t be pushed any further back into its alcove for ventilation reasons) broke a lifelong streak. I wasn’t going to let that stop me from accessing even one drawer’s worth of precious kitchen storage space, however. Another awkward storage situation with small trash can liners was soon unfolding in my under-sink cabinet as I settled in, so I simply moved those into the accursed drawer. Now it’s no problem that it only opens halfway, really! It’s fine!

Rugged and Matted

After moving my work space from all-hardwood floors to a carpeted office, I noticed my area rug and plastic desk mat were curling, sliding around, and doing anything but staying flat or still underneath my office chair. To address this, I applied rug tape to the rugs to keep them securely in place and invested in a desk chair mat actually designed for carpeted floors. (My problem chair mat was for hardwood and vinyl, oops!) These adjustments have significantly improved the appearance of my home office and eliminated a lot of unnecessary frustration.

Dishwasher Blues

A stainless steel dishwasher with a Dropps magnet on its face reading "Clean" when right-side up and "Dirty" when flipped upside down.

Photo: Phillip Tinner for Bob Vila

Remembering whether the dishwasher has been run can be tricky, so I found a helpful solution. I purchased a magnet from Dropps that clearly indicates if they’re “clean” or “dirty” based on its orientation. This simple yet effective tool has eliminated the guesswork and helps keep our kitchen running smoothly.

Cluttered Counters

A bamboo 8.5"x11" document organizer on a granite countertop.

Photo: Phillip Tinner for Bob Vila

To tackle the growing pile of papers on my kitchen island (aka where I drop my bills and coupons after I check the mail), I introduced a small document organizer. This organizer is perfect for holding coupons and bills that don’t need immediate filing, keeping them accessible yet neatly arranged. This change has cleared the clutter and made my kitchen look ever so slightly tidier.

Not-So-Hot Chocolate

A three-tiered bamboo shelf organizer in the corner of a kitchen countertop.

Photo: Phillip Tinner for Bob Vila

I had an overflow of hot chocolate packets in two bursting kitchen organizers, so I transferred the packets into mason jars. These jars now sit neatly alongside the mason jars containing coffee grounds in my coffee corner, saving space and making it easier to find and enjoy the right flavor of hot chocolate anytime (anything but the packet of raspberry I’ll never drink, because who would?).

And Then There Was Light

Managing the lighting indoors was a hassle due to there being multiple two-way switches and a complete lack of any power outlets wired to light switches. To simplify this, I installed smart bulbs from Govee and linked them to the app, which I conveniently already use for a desk lamp. Now, controlling the lights is as easy as tapping my phone screen, making my morning and evening routine less of a hassle.

Much Ado About Cabinets

A Gotham ceramic cookware set stacked onto a wire organizer inside of a kitchen cabinet.

Photo: Phillip Tinner for Bob Vila

With limited lower cabinet space for pots and pans, I either needed a serious storage solution or a miracle. To take a stab at the former, I bought and assembled a convenient under-cabinet organizer specifically designed for pots and pans. This little contraption has adjustable prongs to help maximize space while keeping my cookware easily accessible. It audibly rattles a bit when I walk by or sneeze, but I’ll take that over the alternative any day.

What About the Board Games?

Scrabble and other board games peeking out of the slightly open lid of an ottoman with a storage compartment.

Photo: Phillip Tinner for Bob Vila

My new place lacked the built-in shelves that any respectable tabletop game collection demands. And while my collection may only be around half-respectable, I still didn’t have anywhere to put all my board game boxes when I moved in. To adapt, I moved them into a simple ottoman with built-in storage I picked up at Target. This hid the games from view and made sitting on my couch a little more comfortable, making it an all-around practical storage solution for my small space.