What Hacks Reduce 'Friction' in Your Daily Life?

I've been on a home automation kick the past month and was wondering what other life hacks the OzBargain community has to reduce 'friction' in your daily life?

Now friction is probably a silly word to use, and will lead to a lot of replies about lube. Basically I'm just looking for little hacks you have in place to make your everyday life easier - and hopefully cheaper in the long run.

Do you stock up on Toilet Paper when it's on special, or do you subscribe so a new pack arrives every fortnight/month?
Is there a way you combine exercise with work/entertainment?

Anything that will help give me more time in the day or minimise decision fatigue.

Summary of the most useful and regular comments below:
• Electric Locks - Saves forgetting keys, giving access to family and friends.
• Robot Vacuum Cleaner - more suited to those without small children OR hiring a cleaner once a fortnight.
• Calendar Reminder to take bins out, especially if there is alternating Green waste and recycling weeks.
• Temptation Bundling – Pair an unpleasant activity (exercise, ironing) with a pleasant one (Netflix, audiobooks, etc).
• Apple/Google Pay so carrying a wallet is less important
• PriceHipster and OzBargain Subscriptions on monthly/quarterly consumables. Alternative is Amazon Subscribe and Save.
• Tile tracker for keys and wallet.
• Password Managers – BitWarden is free, paid for 1Pass or Dashlane
• Automatic top up and direct debits.
• Smart Lights and Plugs, pair with routines for Alexa or Google Assistant.
• Pyroletic Oven – No more oven cleaning (just oven dusting?)
• HelloFresh / Lite and Easy – Easier for those without kids


  • 1) Lube, as you said.

    2) The phrase "yes dear"

  • +178 votes

    I suggest reading a book on this subject. You'll find one in the non-friction section.

  • +23 votes

    Gas continuous hot water temperature controller in the kitchen and bathroom. Allows exact temp out of the water heater. Doesn't sound like much but saves adjusting/wasting the water temp in the shower as you just turn on the hot tap and get exactly what you want…

    Despite that, there's a fraction too much friction, yeah.

    • can you please post a guide on how to do this ?

      • If you have a Rinnai Infinity you can buy the add on controllers. No mains wiring required, if you can operate a screwdriver you can DIY install. Just a few wires into a terminal block.


        $450 for the wireless base unit is a bit steep but in theory you should also see a reduction in your gas bill because you're not heating the water to 60C just to cool it back down again at the shower mixer.

        • Rinnai has a practical monopoly in Australia, and it shows in their pricing. At least they did before Bosch arrived on the scene

          • @Jackson: Current pricing is pretty competitive just over 800 for the B26. I think I paid about 1100 for my Infinity 26 about 8 years ago. After 8 years with zero issues I'd be happy to repurchase .

            • @knasty: dont get me wrong they are good, simple, reliable products, but these should be a factor cheaper than 200L tank for your house. The only reasons they aren't, because you'd rather have one of these. No way and entire tank with everything that goes in it should be more expensive than one of these IMO.

              $800 sounds better though, I thought they hadn't moved and were still around the 1100 mark

        • Can anyone explain how this works? How does it know that one room is being used not the other?
          Edit: RTFM here https://www.rinnai.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/mc_503r...

          I'm so getting this!! Im tired of getting cold water in the shower when my wife is turning on and off the taps in the kitchen.

        • Hmm I understand how this will give you the exact temperature at the tap, but how does it actually maintain temperature fluctuations when the other taps are turned on?

          Avoid Temperature Fluctuations
          Continuous Flow water heaters like all types of water heaters can experience temperature fluctuations when other taps are turned on. Water controllers avoid this by maintaining an exact temperature even when other taps are used or a toilet is flushed.

    • OP, since you mentioned Home Automation

      Pair this with voice/schedule/routine controls to automatically set the water temperature when you're going for a shower.

      Shower in the morning? Bed sensor picks up that you've gotten out of bed, sets water temperature based on ambient in bathroom.

      Shower in the evening? Schedule + room presence picks up that you're probably going for a shower, does as above.

      Further extension: water heater being on + increased sensor in bathroom turns on your extraction fan.

    • Yes I am loving this! However there're certain shower heads / mixer tap to match this system or water temp will not regulate.
      Do you know roughly longevity of gas continuous system? Previous owner at my place initially installed a Bosch system then changed to Rheem and the property is 10 years old so I am guessing it'll wear out after 5 years?

  • Run/walk/cycle to work

    • I used to cycle to work when I lived in the city - though working from home the past four months means I've just been walking to the opposite room, which lead to a 7kg weight gain.

      • i gained 2kgs in a week :(

        • True. I have lost my only exercise, walking to station, get some lunch, etc2. And now I am sitting working even longer in front of my computer, doing 7.30 to 19:00 and not really being paid for the extra hours. It is hard to detach myself from work when working from home.

          • @kolorijo: Have gone back to the office as management were keen to have everyone back to push projects forward. We've all commented that we are all working a hell of a lot less and getting less done.

            So annoying. Would love to continue working from home.

          • @kolorijo: You're still allowed to walk.

          • @kolorijo: I lost 10kg from the start of the lockdown. It's a matter of discipline. Get rid of snacks and eat at a specific time. I do small portions and favour complex carbs during the week. No meat as well. I have cheat days on weekends q

          • @kolorijo: Same here, It's hard to know if I am working from home or living at work

      • +19 votes

        I lost 34 kilos. I am going to need a new ID to get into work.

        • Interesting. Did your workplace supply unlimited donuts for free?

          • +4 votes

            @serpserpserp: Last year in October I made a post for advice on travelling to isolate myself and get into a regime. Well I was right and it worked for me. Covid isolation has been a big advantage in improving my physical health.

            Part of my post from last year.
            "Being out of my normal environment means I don't really feel the need to drink to socialise and also I usually stick to 1 main meal a day. Its fairly easy for me to be regimental / exercise / walk around all day and lose weight."

            • +4 votes

              @Fysh: congrats and well done! 34 KG is A LOT!

              • +3 votes

                @pig: Thanks. I kind of say it was easy now but on reflection its very bloody hard and I wonder how personal trainers can really reflect on how difficult it can be for people to do this if they have never been obese. As an i traversed person the only way I could have done this is by myself and without input and judgement from people in isolation .

        • More home cooking? I lost my job so there went the egg and bacon sandwiches most days

          • @SirMurduck: Using the normal commute time to walk then got into jogging. Ate 1500 cals for 4 months , didn't cry if I had 1 or 2 days of stupid calories. Got a heap of sleep and water.

          • @SirMurduck: I could eat this on my diet using 2 shortcut pieces and 2 eggs spray oil in a non stick pan. Its the bread that kills ya. I dropped the bread.

      • I changed my routine to replace my lack of cycling to work. I now start my work from home when I would usually leave, finish at the same time and take a long lunch break to go cycling. It’s great to get outside during the day, and I’ve discovered all these new paths to follow and sometimes new takeaway places to try. I usually eat lunch at home before I ride to save spending money or buying junk.
        It has the added bonus of breaking up the work day for something pleasant.

    • As someone who sweats a lot and no shows at work, this makes things more complex

  • WD40, KY or graphite powder, depends on what aspect of my life we are reducing friction.

    • Corn starch is good for reducing chafing in damp areas. It's the main ingredient of non-talc baby powder.

    • WD40

      But WD40 isn't a lubricant! :P

      • From the WD-40 MSDS;

        Product Use: Lubricant, Penetrant, Drives Out Moisture, Removes and Protects Surfaces From Corrosion

        Anything is a lubricant with the right amount of force…

        • Anything is a lubricant with the right amount of force…

          That's what she said.

          Serious question but - is it that good of a lubricant? The time's I have used it to loosen up joints etc it has done the job, but doesn't seem to last very long, especially compared to other products i.e. white lithium grease.

          • @Chandler: It depends on what you’re using it on. It works well for some things, but not others. I would call it an immediate lubricant. Great to get something moving or quieter, but it’s not a long term solution.

            • @pegaxs:

              I would call it an immediate lubricant. Great to get something moving or quieter, but it’s not a long term solution.

              Yeah that's a well worded version of what I was thinking.

              Thanks :)

          • @Chandler: WD40 dissolves grease.


        • Anything is a lubricant

          Even water is considered a lubricant. You can even get water lubricated bearings.

  • Saving ingredients in a list in online grocery account for certain recipes to last a week. Save a bunch of recipes and then each week you can pick a list and you've got your dinner/lunch for the week.

    • I've been doing that mince recently. Splitting 1kg of mince into three portions rather than two, place in ziplock bags and roll them flat with a rolling pin to save on freezer space.

    • What app would you recommend for this?

      • I order through woolies online shopping and you can save different lists. So I can save one recipe per list, or a week's worth of meals' ingredients in a list.

      • I use Google Keep. I have the list shared with my wife so she can add stuff when she likes and so can I. Whenever one of us is out shopping, we refer to the list. You can even set reminders to trigger when you are at a place. For example, if you need something from Bunnings, you can set it to notify you to check the list when you are at your local Bunnings.

  • +25 votes

    Rather than add more complexity to my life, I follow a more simplistic approach to living.
    I'm in a pretty safe, secure country, have a job (I'm very lucky in that regard), and have a roof over my head. I walk a lot; if I use escalators I walk up those. I cook simple but flavoursome meals. I make time to read. I listen to the types of music I like, and enjoy exploring the works of artists that are new to me.
    I buy practical clothes, when I need them.

    To me, even home automation is a step too far; I cannot identify any benefits to me in going through the cost and process of procuring and installing.

    • +64 votes

      Is that part of your online dating profile?

    • +30 votes

      Robot Vacuum and Dishwasher are life improving home automation. Robot window cleaner and I am done.

      • +3 votes

        It depends what you do with time saved using these items.
        I don't mind vacuuming, and I ensure that I include stretching and core engagement whilst doing it, so that provides me with some additional benefits.
        I do use a dishwasher, but if I need to wash some pans or whatever anyway, and if there are only a couple of bowls or plates, I just wash those first, which saves on water usage / delays the use of the dishwasher until it is full.

      • Got both of these in the last 12 months. Revolutionary!

        Also, radar cruise control is amazing.

      • Who cleans windows? That's what the rain is for.

      • I believe Dyson stick is a godsend equipment. Leaves the place much cleaner than robot vacuum. It's perfect unless you're dealing with a very big house.

    • To me, even home automation is a step too far; I cannot identify any benefits to me in going through the cost and process of procuring and installing.

      You'd think this but every time I stay at my Mum's and have to use a light switch, I'm like "What? I'm expected to use my hands……LIKE AN ANIMAL?"

      • +9 votes

        I have stayed in homes where the owners have automated lighting, and have been in wonder at the frustration they go through to get it to work as they want it to.

        Similarly, I have recently realised that there are some people who have only ever encountered mixer taps, not separate hot and cold taps. Amazing how some can't cope with that.

        • have been in wonder at the frustration they go through to get it to work as they want it to

          As someone dabbling in Home Automation, you definitely have a point here.

          • @Chandler: My advice is that you get what you pay for… Cheap overseas items are a hassall… Good quality, available locally items work a lot better.

        • The automated lighting thing makes sense because there's the potential for more setup/technical issues but I feel like mixer taps are way more convenient than separate taps and just as easy to use and maintain. It's not that I literally couldn't survive without mixer taps but if I want to shave or wash my hands with warm water I'd rather not have to fill the sink and try to get it to the right temperature, the same goes for rinsing a few dishes.

          Like how far are you willing to go to avoid "automation"? Rather than having a hot water system and mixer shower would you prefer to heat water over an open fire for a bath?

    • A rare person in a country of greed, consumption and FOMO

  • I suppose a non-electronic number lock for the front door. Saves the hassle of remembering keys, and potentially losing them. I can give the code to the friends/family I trust, and they're free to come and go as they please without me needing to be home. Usually to borrow a simple tool or the like, or if family visits they can get in the house without any assistance.

    • Which one do you have? I have one on my garage but it is quite easy to crack the code I think. I thought all non-electric ones weren't very secure.

      • Some of them are garbage so make sure you do your research before getting an electric lock. I've seen some where you can open the latch by putting a magnet on them. Often they have a physical key back up and some really cheap out on the mechanical lock so the security of the keypad is meaningless when someone could bump or rake the lock open faster than you could get your keys out.

        I do like the idea of not taking keys with me on a ride though.

      • +3 votes

        Lock picking lawyer has your back, granted he may not have many of the electronic locks sold here, it'll help when researching though.


    • Got an electric keypad lock 14 years ago. Bought it after my wife " lost" her house keys couple of times and we paid locksmith to open the door… and to find her key somewhere in the car or her purse later. Now it's just a code everybody in the family knows. And I can give it to visitors if they need to access the house when I am not there. Obviously I haven't called locksmith since then.

  • For me, I learned the art of "not giving a f**k" with all the trouble around me sometime. You still are compassionate and kind to people but learn to push away those who doesn't build you and your life in general. Seems like a lonely life since almost everyone near you are just kind of like vultures but when you get those 'real' people, don't hesitate to befriend and keep in touch with them

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