Five things you need to know about managing batteries

Batteries are super annoying, but actually fairly easy to manage.

Are there smoke detectors in your home? Probably, right? And has one of those mean little things ever run out of battery and started beeping every few minutes, in the middle of the night? Yeah, that’s what happened to me recently. And it was totally the boyfriends fault. Because two of the other smoke detectors around the house had already run out of battery recently (and it was so much fun trying to figure out which one was doing the beeping… why don’t these things have a warning light for low battery???), so I was going to replace the batteries in all of them, but he wanted to wait until they were actually empty. Well, now he knows better (personally, I sleep with ear plugs, so it didn’t bother me all that much… cue evil laughter).

Anyways, I feel like batteries, especially those in smoke detectors, are a suuuper annoying subject. Because, let’s be honest, who actually ever thinks about these until they’re empty and there are no new ones there to replace them? And the executive dysfunction, that comes with ADHD, doesn’t exactely make this any easier.

But also, as executive dysfunction goes, with a bit of organization, things like that are often pretty managable. With batteries, it’s not even super complicated. Really, it all comes down to being a little bit organized and developing some helpful behaviors. That’s all. I realize this sounds kind of complicated and annoying, but I promise it’s not.

So here are the five things that will help you manage your batteries:

  1. Batteries in smoke detectors:

    These should last at least about two years. So, with that in mind, you can set a reminder on your phone (I’m assuming that your calendar will sync with a new phone, if you get one in the mean time), and buy new batteries ahead of time. That way you’ll save yourself a lot of stress, because once the first smoke detector starts beeping, you can just get all of them down, replace the batteries right away, put them back up, and be done with it. Easy. This will also prevent you from forgetting about replacing the batteries and just not having any smoke detectors around, which we can probably agree isn’t ideal.
    Also, it’s not the worst idea to have a 9 volt battery (or whatever goes into smoke detectors where you live) in stock, because somehow we never have one if we need it. Like when my kitchen scale runs out of battery, while I’m in the middle of making a cake.

  2. Have multiple types of battery in stock:

    I’m not great at this, tbh. I usually have a ton of triple A batteries, but no double A ones, which is super unhelpful, because my bluetooth mouse and most of our remote controls all need double A. Yay. So be better than me, have some batteries of every type you need. And, generally speaking (this is the “helpful behavior” part), always buy new batteries the moment you take the last one out of the package. This is a good rule of thumb for a lot of things, like: toilet paper, tissues, cold medication, etc.
    Here’s what you should have at home: triple and double A batteries (two or more of each), a 9 volt battery, and at least one coin cell battery (those go into your car remote… you’re welcome).

  3. Use rechargable batteries where possible:

    This is a good idea for multiple reasons. On the one hand, I believe (correct me if I’m wrong) that rechargable batteries produce less waste and are therefore better on the environment. On the other hand, if you don’t live in 24/7-shopping land (aka, the US), rechargable batteries are just more flexible. And if you have multiple batteries of each type, you can always have some charged ones to replace empty ones, without having to wait or buy new ones. You can get packs of rechargable batteries on amazon, at hardware stores, and probably even at some grocery stores (not the one I go to, though).

  4. Empty batteries:

    This should go without saying, but just in case: Empty batteries do not belong in the trash! You should recycle them as far as possible. In Germany, and I’m fairly certain in most of the EU, most grocery stores and hardware stores have containers where you can drop off empty batteries. You should do so regularly, and not collect them for too long before getting rid of them.
    According to Duracell, there’s no general way to recycle batteries in the US, but apparently Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Staples all collect empty batteries, so just ask about that at your local store.

  5. Safety:

    Take batteries out of gadgets that you’re not going to use regularly, so they won’t leak. If you have leaking batteries, touch them carefully and wash your hands thorougly afterwards, or wear gloves while handling them.

These are the things I find helpful in managing batteries. Generally speaking, there are a lot of things that can be managed with some relatively minor organization skills. Not to brag, but I’m pretty good at this stuff (thanks to perfectionism, but anyways). So if there are other things in the daily adulting department, that you’re struggling with, and would like some advice on, please let me know. I’m more than happy to share the coping strategies I’ve developed over the years.

Image by Hilary Halliwell