Throughout the years, I have changed the way I do things to make the task more efficient, faster, and better. These three things have driven me to success in my manufacturing, and has also in consulting with manufactures to streamline their facilities.  It the result isn’t creating a better product, then making it efficient and faster only makes the product less expensive, which is fine. There is nothing better than making higher profits.

I will also review materials  and their suppliers. Cheap materials don’t really interest me. The photo lighting equipment given to me for shooting images for a product on Amazon came from China. It was basically a throwaway product. Last week I pulled it off the top shelf to use for the first time in 4 months. Part of the diffuser cover deteriorated in my hand! The strip of fabric wrapping  around the box light was 2” wide and about 6’ long. It looked just like the trim on the other box lights, but this strip became black dust when I touched it!

Enough said! We all have had our stories about lousy products we spent very little money on! So onward to those efficiency ideas for you while at home!



At the top on my list is making the bed. Rarely do I not make the bed sometime after we get up but before the Mrs. Comes home. Because I have my office at home, most people think I don’t work!
We have a king size bed, and I have really long arms (81 inches – like Michael Jordan).

Making the bed fast has more to do about how it was made before you when to bed, and the most important thing is how it is tucked in at the bottom! I figure the more tucked in at the bottom, the easier it is to just pull the sheets, blanket, and cover back up to where it needs to be for the pillows.

I use two pillows on top of each other, and my wife uses one in front of the other. This means there is actually eighteen to twenty inches down from the head board. However, we like that space to be covered by the bed spread when the bed is viewed while passing thru to my office/design-studio/darkroom/gallery/retreat/castle/man-cave. With all the 10 pillows my wife wants for view, the easier it is to cover this gap. However, she wants the spread to cover this space.

Starting with how it is supposed to look when made, I work backward, putting the top sheet and spread where it looks best. At at the bottom of the bed, I tuck in the rest of the top sheet, making sure this will hold well when  making it up in the morning.

At night, my wife takes three of the five “Show Pillows” leaving two for me. This is reversed if I head to bed before her.

In the morning, I flip the four pillows we use in the night back on the spread, then pull the top sheet, blanket and spread up to where it needs to be. I note if the whole thing needs to be moved sideways, and usually the spread has slipped to one side or the other.

So far I have made HALF the bed, whichever side I started with. I include the two or three “Show Pillows” at this point, making them look great. I can reach to the center of the king bed, so it is easy for me.

As I leave this side for the other, I note how much I need to pull up from the other side to make the spread even. You can’t push the sheet, blanket, and cover, so I pull it if need be, or wait until I go to the other side to pull it even there.

From the other side, I start at the top, pulling the top layer of things up and over to make the landing zone for the Show Pillows. I might have stopped at the bottom first to pull the spread even on the side, but sometimes I wait until I have the top done.

After I have all the pillows where they need to be, I adjust the spread and smooth out any bumps or wrinkles.

I am now finished! There is no need to go back to the other side unless the night presented opportunities to make a big mess of things, but then I’d be smiling anyway.


Making half at a time is how I save the time it takes to walk around the bed. My wife will take the pillows off the bed, then do the top sheet, walk to the other side adjusting the top sheet where she wants it. Then the blanket and spread, each time walking to the other side to adjust it. Then she places the night pillows on one side, walks to the other side for the other pillows, then the Show Pillows, returning to the other side to finish the job. That’s four or five trips around the bottom of the bed!


I have actually timed myself, and I can make the bed in one minute, with one trip to the other side. In reviewing processes, I look for needless walking back and forth. In making the bed, I start at one side, finished that side before walking the single time to the other side. I pay attention to what might cause me an extra trip, and next time adjust the first side to help not having to return.


This has taken longer to describe and write down than it takes to make the bed. I will do another video and post it up with this story.


One more Old Gray Guy action saving time for Grand Children!




Another less than a minute process is the pot of coffee.

I started out copying what I saw my dad do when he set the percolator in the morning. Then I made it faster and easier later in life. I am not sure why saving time is so important, other than to have more time to do the things I want to do rather than what I must do.

With employees, I discovered they will take as much time as allowed, plus a little, but rarely save time. One of my workers actually invented a new tool to do a process faster and BETTER! Because I was paying labor for each piece, he saw with a new simple tool, he could do four times the work! This was fine with me because I had the budget set of each stone. Getting the job done in one fourth the time and giving all the workers extra money, made smiles for all of us.

If I paid someone to make a pot of coffee, here’s what I developed as an efficient routine, depending on the size of the kitchen, the amount of water needed, and the distances between steps. You can customize this suggested process to fit your needs.


First of all, I looked at what I could eliminate completely, and first was washing out the pot, cleaning it, filling it with water, and pouring the water into the coffee maker.

First of all, a coffee pot is made for pouring a CUP of coffee slowly into a coffee CUP; the spout is not made for filling the maker with 10 or 12 cups of water quickly!

Another observation is almost always a little coffee is left over in the pot, so why not just add to what’s there instead of throwing it out?


I needed to eliminate waiting for the water pitcher to fill!


First, I took the coffee pot filled with ten cups and dumped it into the pitcher to see where the water level was in relation to the handle. Ten cups what at the bottom of the upper handle and twelve was at the top, plus a smidge.

Second, I got rid of the stupid coffee measurer and it’s two, four, six, etc! A ccoffe measurer is almost identical to a 1/8th cup measurer, so one cup measurer is equal to eight coffee measurers, and if I want ten cups, I mound it and twelve cups I heap it. This cut measuring the coffee by eight to ten times! One scoop is faster than 10!


In my maker, I need a cone filter, so I needed to make getting one filter at a time out of the box easy. I actually discovered the box had lines to tear open a dispensing area, and with my scissors, I modified the opening to allow me to pull one filter out at a time, and still leave the box up on the shelf! When I had a maker using the paper circles, I spent time while watching TV to separate the filters so I could set up the maker by the time the pitcher was filled.

Using all these functions together requires adjusting your timing to fit. For me, the longest single event is filling the water pitcher. I use RO water, so it takes longer than the faucet.


The first thing I do when making a pot is to

Take the coffee can and a filter out and place them next to the maker. Then I pop open the maker, grab the used coffee basket with one hand, and with the other hand I take the water pitcher and head four steps to the RO faucet. I pop the pitcher under the RO faucet and turn it on, all a single handed effort.

Then with the top of my left foot, I open the trash door from the bottom, and dump the grounds into the waste bin. Sometimes I dump it in the sink if I want to clean out the garbage disposal. Yes, my parents told me never to throw coffee grounds down the drain, but those days of having a septic tank are long gone, and coffee grounds are great at cleaning out the disposal, and followed with a citrus peel, the garbage disposal smells great.

As the water if filling the pitcher I take the empty cone holder back to the pot, drop it in, add the new paper cone, then grab the coffee container and with ONE scoop, add the coffee to the cone.


If you are inclined to spill the coffee, then pull the cone holder out with the new paper in it and fill it over the coffee can or take the coffee can to the filter. Make modifications to fit your circumstances.


I use a large coffee can because it is faster and easier. I happen to love Café Bustelo from my woodworking days in San Francisco when a redheaded … … Never mind. The coffee is strong favored and espresso ground. It takes me back to 1975, when the world came to my door and I was building beautiful furniture.


While filling the maker with coffee, I pay attention to the water filling the pitcher. I can hear how it’s doing, and when it is full, I pop over, shut off the RO and take the pitcher back to the pot interrupting the coffee filling process if necessary.


After filling the maker with the water, I can put the pitcher back on the shelf in one motion. Likewise, depending on the time it takes for the water, I may have already returned the coffee can to the shelf.


The secret here is to use all the times you previously waited with steps needed to get done. After I modified my coffee making steps, I realized I can get it all done in the amount of time it takes to fill the pitcher and pour it into the maker, plus return the pitcher to the shelf.


My pitcher is plastic see through, and has a much better spout for pouring accurately and quicker than does a coffee pot. There is a glass pitcher I have my eye on, but my wife uses it to water the house plants, plus glass pitchers don’t get along well with granite counter tops when dropped.



My wife looks at me like I am a lunatic, and indeed I am!

However, …

The dishwasher is a wonderful invention. While growing, way back in 1958, my mother purchased a portable dishwasher. It was probably from Sears, and the portable part was pulling it over to the sink where the faucet was modified with a pop on valve. We set the water to all hot, and full on, then plugged it in! It was a top loader with a chopping block for a top, which made it a convienent roller table for the kitchen.

Being the middle of five children, and the first born male, and being taller by a head than my classmates, I was expected to act like an adult two years ahead of my years. I say this because I had an inquisitive mind, and it usually was very satisfying AFTER the trouble it caused was resolved. Us baby boomers were exposed to many new things that baffled our parents, and the same things happens to all generations! Where’s my Grand Child when I need to find out why the remote is NOT working? So when my college educated teacher parents needed an answer to a mechanical thing, I was Peter-On-The-Spot. My favorite set of books was “Popular Scientific Do it Yourself Encyclopedia.” I had them on my worktable along the back edge, and they were worn out but the time I graduated form High School. It touched me to see them on the shelves of the family cabin while visiting my dad who considered the cabin more home than Eagle Rock where my mom ruled.

Now I have the internet, so there is very little I can’t to find answers to, as well as manuals for any year washing machines. Research is a flash compared to going downtown to the “Mechanic’s Library” in SF to research hydro foils for a sailboat!

 Loading any dishwasher can be an art, providing the results you want. I share my technique here so it may be challenged with a better loading technique. I never object to learning a better or faster way, so long as it has clean results. Our present DW has many options and I have used them all. It is quiet, and does a great job, but it seems to take 3 hours; I am researching why out of curiosity. Do I have too many options turned on, and are some of them duplications?

 I am still a guy who prewashes the dishes, and rarely will I put in a pot. My habit from the mountains and the wood cook stove is to was the pot or skillet as soon as I am finished with it, while the food is still soft and easy. Plus, without running water, the cast iron pots and pans would generated their own hot water from the pot itself, and this made everything easier. Up in Iowa Hill, we did not have electricity, hence no DW machine.

Here in Phoenix, life is more complicated, including the DW.

 I load from the back to the front for several reasons, the biggest is because it takes less energy; if you load from the front, the heaver the pullout, the further you have to pull it, and the faster the bearings will wear out. This is just plain observation of the effort. I do have certain glass sizes which work well with certain rows in the upper rack, but the rows are back to front, so there is generally room for all the glasses we use for normal meals. It would be real smart to load the dishwasher with all the normal dishes we use, then store all the extra dishes elsewhere. When the cupboard becomes bare, I’d know I am about to run the DW.

 However, in the real world, my wife likes to use different plates for different meals. And she loads from the front back! Somehow the shortest pull she can make seems more important than anything, plus she know I usually come along and rearrange them into the way I like them before I start the machine. I don’t run stainless knives because the soap we use makes the imperfections in the Chinese Stainless show through as tiny rust spots. The second reason is because I don’t like having my favorite knife in the DW waiting to get cleaned when I need it.

 We are also inclined to wait until the washer is full before running the load, and this means a plate might be in there for three or four days. Having prewashed the plates means a better wash later. I have noticed a dirty plate with food still on it makes for a scrub job after the food has been heated and dried to the plate inside the DW.

The DW is a prime example of efficiency in loading being actually less work. If my wife wants to do twice the work, there is nothing I can do. However, she will never do it my way even if I ask her to. So generally she heats up dinner and I clean up.

 More than enough said!