Helping You Help Yourself #26

Last week I spent like an hour filling out a form with text boxes online, and a hiccup in my browser made it all instantly disappear. Don’t be like me! Lazarus is a Chrome extension that will auto-save and let you retrieve text typed into forms.

On how to move out fast, from Rookie.

How to get things done when you’re depressed.

Mantras don’t work for everyone, but here are 21 mini ones you might like. #12 really hit home for me, made me feel very #seen.

Our own dearly beloved Laura Wooley shares how to use spreadsheets to make writing a research paper easier.

Putting a duvet cover back on a comforter after washing is a pain! Here is the easiest and quickest way. I did this just this week, and can vouch for its effectiveness (although I just shake it out at the end instead of unrolling by hand).

Finding a good and cheap bottle of wine for a potluck or social event.

This is somewhat outside the normally pragmatic scope of this column, but I thought it would speak to you: how to paint a giant portrait of your pet on your wall.

I don’t even have kids and I gasped out loud when I saw this: teach your kids to stop interrupting you with this technique.

How to make good coffee at home even if you’re lazy.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. Thank you for sharing that duvet video so I no longer have to cosplay as a patterned ghost post wash day.

  2. I’m still not entirely sure how that duvet cover thing works in a spacial-reasoning way, but I’m SOLD.

  3. in love with the mantras and the moving advice! do you think i can teach my cats the no-interrupting method?

  4. I know it’s not related to this specific HYHY column, but I’m very proud to report that I’m now successfully doing my dishes every day and taking my trash out every Sunday thanks to you and this column! Thank you so much, Rachel!

    • you’re crushing it! you’re doing so good! i didn’t even take my trash out this sunday, i didn’t get around to it til monday morning!

  5. 9. “Whatever your problems at work are, be grateful that they can often be solved via typing something on a computer from a comfortable desk chair.”

    oh man.

  6. That article on using spreadsheets to write papers was pretty nifty, but also I was reading it and kept feeling like, “this is like, a lot of work.” Nowadays there is no need to spend time formatting your citations by hand! There are citation managers for this, and they also can link straight to your Word document so there’s no need to use numbers and then find and replace later. I know lots of people use EndNote, but that shit is not cheap. I highly recommend Mendeley for all your citation needs. I think it’s just as useful as EndNote plus it’s FREEEEEE. You can organize and import documents (as well as highlight on them and make notes), auto-create citations for any style, and save yourself buttloads of time. Mendeley is awesome!

    • Your librarian would like you to know that if you are enrolled in a higher ed institution, there’s a high likelihood that your library already subscribes to and provides access to a variety of high-priced citation managers!

      Mendeley is great, but everyone’s citation-brain works differently, so if the free software isn’t doing it for you, ask your librarian! I promise they’ll be happy to help you access a citation manager that works for you!

      • This librarian strongly endorses the above librarian’s advice. Nothing brings us more joy than helping connect you with the tools and information you need for your research and coursework. Nothing!

    • You’re totally right that there’s all kinds of stuff out there! Thanks for all the sources (I didn’t even realize there was stuff that could Bluebook. Good LORD I wish I had looked for it earlier). I’m just a nerd who likes citing stuff by hand.

  7. I’ve read article about how to get things done when you’re blue four times today and will probably read it every day forever. Agghgh.

    • the title alone made me gasp out loud. It was like reading my own damn name and life in a list of other helpful links. Thankfully, The Year of Depression was me last year and this year is The Year of ReBuilding but I still love seeing in print the thing I keep telling myself; great link.

  8. The stop interrupting advice will be applied to all of my supervisors / colleagues; a.k.a. the grown-up toddlers in my life. Probably will also help me not interrupt other people, too.

    The snarkiest way to do this is “Oh I’m sorry, did the middle of my sentence interrupt the beginning of your sentence?” Salty, but not work-appropriate.

    • I was gonna ask if this advice can be used to fight back against the Patriarchy as well, but you beat me to it, congrats !

  9. In the moving article it says to put clothes on their hangers into trash bags, but even quality (pricey) trash bags will rip. So try this instead! Lay out a sheet or blanket and pile your clothes on top, then tie the opposite corners of the blanket or sheet together like a giant hobo bundle and there you go! This has worked for me numerous times.

    • I’ve moved a billion times in my adult life and have always done the garbage bag/clothes on hangers thing. YOU ARE BRILLIANT.

  10. Ooooh, the “Write a Better Paper with Spreadsheets” thing was helpful. I’m starting to write my dissertation now, and I have been looking for relevant life hacks!

    • Woohoo I’m so glad you like it! What’s your dissertation on?!

      I know there are tons of citation managers out, but giving numbers to all my sources keeps my brain sane so that I can give a number to every sentence so that when I moved stuff around in massive papers, I don’t lose where I got the idea from.

  11. I couldn’t figure out why my blog’s traffic went through the roof but I should it have known it was you, Rachel <3

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