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Make Life Easier With These Must-Have Items

Have you ever paused to think about those items everyday items you keep coming back to? Yesterday was one such occasion for me. You see I took on the task of installing a wall oven on my own. As one-person jobs go, it wasn’t overly complex. The hardest part was maneuvering the 30-inch, 100+ pound unit around. One accessory that helped with the maneuvering was a hand truck I purchased several years ago while in the Military. The process got me thinking about several other great purchases I’ve made over the years. Starting with the hand truck, here they are.

My hand truck is one of those items that I should have purchased much earlier in my military career. While moving my new oven from the front yard where the UPS driver dropped it (I think literally from looking at the box and pallet), up the stairs, through my front door, and into my kitchen, I couldn’t help thinking of what a great purchase it was. In fact, I believe it has paid for itself many times over the years I’ve owned it.

In the past, it has proven an excellent tool for moving refrigerators, hot water heaters, large and heavy boxes, and so much more. Additionally, it has proven useful when assisting friends and families with local moves. It’s just a useful item to have. Chances are if you don’t own one yourself, you’ve rented one along with a moving truck for your past do-it-yourself moves.

One feature that makes my dolly so useful includes straps for ratcheting objects I’m hauling to its frame. Doing so makes it easier to gain needed leverage on items as I tilt them onto the truck’s frame. Another is the tracks on both sides of its frame that help when moving items upstairs.

The next item that comes to mind is a home office all-in-one printer I purchased early in my military career. As frequently as I’ve had to receive, print, sign, and scan documents, my all-in-one printer has proven a great investment. Whether submitting leave forms, printing reports, writing letters, creating contracts, or scanning documents, my printer has made my home office life much easier.

Granted, in recent years, I’ve used it a little less with many documents now being handled electronically and fax falling out of favor. My wife probably uses our printer’s print function more these days than I do. Even so, my all-in-one printer remains a staple when it comes to scanning receipts I need for taxes or backing up important documents. I also, sometimes, just want to print a copy of a paper or article to read while traveling.

Some features I look for in all-in-one printers are scan-to-USB, double-sided printing, and wi-fi access. I also prefer laser printers over ink, but go with what you can afford. I started out with an inkjet but upgraded to a laser printer nearly ten years ago. Of course, color is a must for me, but monochrome and black & white options are available as well.

Next on my list is something that feeds my coffee addiction. One thing I am never without is coffee. However, prices for a cup of joe at work just seem to keep going up. I suppose our local vendors are taking advantage of a captive audience. To cut back on the gouging I purchased three 20 Oz Stanley Thermoses.

The first one I drink from on my way to work, which saves me any stops along the way to purchase coffee. The other two sit in my backpack until I’m ready to partake. That usually starts sometime between hitting the power button on my computer and logging into my system.

A less selfish reason for using these thermoses includes reducing your impact on the environment. Paper and Styrofoam coffee cups are not recyclable, so they immediately go in the trash. Plastic lids and cardboard sleeves may be recycled, but these too take energy to break down into biodegradable or reusable materials.

They also make great travel mugs since they keep my beverages hot or cold for hours. When traveling through the airport, I carry at least one empty thermos. Once I’m through security, I find a water dispenser and fill it up.

The final item on my list–at least for this article–is the Microsoft Surface. With the mobility of a tablet and the functionality of a computer, I seldom travel without it. It grants me access to all my books but with the added benefit of Microsoft’s suite of office products and storage. It also gives me access to all my PC-based programs and capabilities while granting me the ability to write programs of my own.

During trips, I frequently use my Surface to read books on my Kindle app or read research papers on my Adobe software. The pen for the surface also makes it easy to take notes and highlight content. Editing content for my websites or working on my book are also simple feats with my Surface. When I give a talk or teach a class at church, my Surface usually isn’t too far away. Part of my process includes making slides and rehearsing them on my Surface.

These are some of the top items I thought of while installing my oven. In fact, while installing the oven, I used my Surface to look up installation instructions as I drank my thermos. Meanwhile, my printer was used three or four times this week. What products have proved worthwhile purchases for you?

Meanwhile, if you are looking for information on transitioning from the military, you might try my article, Read This to Get Ahead of your Military Transition. Or, if you’d like to learn what more you can do to improve your retirement years, try Retirement is Great! You Can Do Better.

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