Archives for January 2008
Let’s remember some of the things that made January 2008 a great month at Unclutterer.com.
January’s most popular posts:
- On January 6 we celebrated our one-year anniversary!
- Amazing or Awful? had more than 95 comments — our monthly high
- Storing coffee had 30 del.icio.us saves –- our monthly high
- Speaking of del.icio.us, we established a share a link system where you can point us to great stories through their site. Just go to http://del.icio.us, and mark your suggested link “for:unclutterer” (without the quotes).
- If you own an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can now have an Unclutterer icon on your phone’s desktop.
- We were discussed on the Encyclopedia Britannica blog. The closest we’ve come to being IN an encyclopedia.
- More than 598 people have joined our Unclutterer flickr group. There are more than 228 photos uploaded to the group, and we look forward to seeing your additions!
I just read a review by Ryan Brenizer over at the Shootsac. The Shootsac is a bag that holds multiple camera lenses for quick and easy access. The Shootsac’s design was created by wedding photographer Jessica Claire. From Ryan Brenizer’s article:
Specifically, she realized that while on a shoot, she almost never had to put her camera away, but she always needed to change lenses — so why not make a bag designed for that task? The ShootSac was born.
This bag is designed for serious photographers and professionals. Most amateurs won’t want to part with upwards of $150 for a bag to hold lenses. But, for those of you out there looking for an uncluttered option for lugging around your lenses, this looks like a well-designed option. More from the review:
Even with the extra lenses, it was more comfortable than my normal bag — the center of gravity is much closer to the body, allowing weight to be better distributed. During a shoot, I usually unhook my bag, put it down, and keep running back and forth. That was never an issue now.
If your answer to the title question is, “With as much fire power as possible,” I may have found an item for you. Have you ever eaten eggs in the shape of a .45? Well, now is your chance with Gun Egg Fryers, brought to you by the lovely folks at UrbanTrend.
In my quest to find ridiculous unitaskers, I often come across questionable and weird products. The Gun Egg Fryer is very perplexing to me and fits into the questionable category. Does food in the shape of a firearm taste better? Are the Gun Egg Fryers part of some bizarre national trend? Maybe weapon shaped food is the next big thing for 2008.
Can you please pass the bazooka shaped pepper mill?
**Unitasker Wednesday posts humorously poke fun at the single-use items that manage to find their way into our homes.
After our post on Uncluttering your refrigerator’s crisper, reader Josephine sent us the following information to help with keeping spices uncluttered in the pantry:
Sure, [dried] spices last a long time, but they don’t last forever. Some spice companies have online freshness checkers: Durkee, McCormick (with a sense of humor, to boot!), and Spice Islands (registration required).
It looks like most dried spices maintain their freshness for one to three years. I love on the McCormick site where it says, “If it’s from Baltimore/a tin, it’s at least 15 years old.” Riotous.
If you are an owner of an iPhone or an iPod Touch, you can have Unclutterer as a snazzy link right on your main desktop. All you need to do is open the Safari browser to our site, click on the plus sign at the bottom of your window, and then choose “Add To Home Screen.” In 30 seconds or so, the guy vacuuming his face should appear on your desktop for one-click access to Unclutterer.com.
When I think of a rock star, I imagine a party-until-dawn lifestyle that isn’t conducive to simple living. Maybe I’ve seen too many lives of excess stories chronicled on VH-1′s Behind the Music? So, it was refreshing for me to read that Foo Fighters’ bassist Nate Mendel buys his music digitally because he “abhors clutter.” From a Houston Chronicle article:
“People are buying fewer CDs every year,” Mendel says. “You don’t want to wait until those sales are finished, before you find a way to run your band.
Mendel isn’t helping CD sales. He admits that he buys his music digitally because “CDs create clutter, and I abhor clutter.”
Maybe Nate would be interested in our post on eliminating CD clutter.
Here’s another rock star who enjoys simple living.
Keeping track of all the different passwords I have for accessing online content is a bit ridiculous. Just this morning, I had to initiate passwords for three different sites. Yeah, I have auto complete for some of them, but not for the more sensitive sites like my bank account.
If you find that you are a bit overwhelmed by all of the passwords you have and are using a Mac running OS X, you may want to check out 1Password.
1Password keeps track of all web passwords, automates sign-in, guards from identity theft.
If you have the time, I recommend watching the informative video about their service. 1Password delivers the following features that will surely help you in your day-to-day browsing:
- Manage hundreds of passwords with one master key.
- Automatic form filler outclasses the other AutoFill products.
- Prevent phishing criminals from stealing your information.
- OS X Keychain integration provides maximum security.
- Integrated with Safari, OmniWeb, DEVONagent, Firefox, Camino, and Flock.
- Define multiple identities to be used by the form filler.
and many more…
While in Sur la Table last week, I literally ran into a display of cleaning items next to the checkout line. After picking up the items I had gracefully knocked to the floor, I spotted a basket full of house slippers as part of the display:
The Slipper Genies have microfiber, mop-like soles that are supposed to clean your hardwood, tile, and smooth surface floors as you walk around your house. The bottoms come off and can be thrown in the washing machine. In theory, I think they’re a lot of fun.
In practicality, I think they could be a little troublesome. I’d be worried that I would fall and break my neck because of a lack of traction on the soles. In a less dire scenario, I’d worry about making the mistake of walking on carpet or an unknown wet spot and leaving a clump of dust. Also, there’s the fear of unknowingly catching something like a rock in the sole and scratching up my floors.
However, life is full of things to fear that are more probable, and so the Slipper Genies may be worth buying and used wonderfully in your home. It’s definitely a product I would love to hear reviews about in our comments section.
The Unclutterer staff is speechless, so it’s up to you to decide. Is this craft storage unit amazing or awful? Cast your vote and make your argument in the comments:
My 98-year-old paternal grandmother loves National Geographic magazine. When we helped move her into a one-bedroom apartment in a retirement community a few years ago, I was shocked to discover that she had been saving every issue of the magazine for more than 30 years. The collection (stored in dozens of cardboard boxes in her attic) contained somewhere between 400 and 500 monthly issues and special printings.
I try not to think about how quickly those boxes of magazines could have burned in a house fire and am glad that such an accident never happened.
Unfortunately, all of the time, effort, and space my grandmother sacrificed to keep her collection was superfluous because the last 112 years of National Geographic magazines are now available on 32 CDs. I would prefer that they appear on DVDs, but 32 CDs still take up less shelf space than thousands of the yellow border magazines.
This isn’t the only magazine to undertake such an endeavor. The New Yorker (8 DVDs) and Mad Magazine (1 DVD) are just two of many magazines to publish their decades of collections. And, the digital collections don’t stop with magazines. Marvel Comics has also released many of their publications in complete collections, like Spider-Man (1 DVD), X-Men (1 DVD), Incredible Hulk (1 DVD), Iron Man (1 DVD), Ghost Rider (1 DVD), Fantastic Four (1 DVD), and Captain America (1 DVD).
If your favorite magazine isn’t on CD or DVD yet, I still stand by my previous suggestion to scan your favorite articles and file them on your computer using DevonThink, Yojimbo, One Note or a personally created digital filing system.
This week’s Workspace of the Week is Cramerica’s office in white, black, class and glass:
What speaks to me about this office is that the choices of white, black, and glass objects make it so that the work, in this case the computer monitors, are at the center of attention. There isn’t anything visually cluttering up the space or distracting from the work. A person could really think in here. Additionally, with the desk and light both being Ikea pieces, I like knowing that other readers could recreate this design without feeling too hefty of a hit in their pocketbooks.
Want to have your own workspace featured in Workspace of the Week? Submit a picture to the Unclutterer flickr pool. Check it out because we have a nice little community brewing there. Also, don’t forget that workspaces aren’t just desks. If you’re a cook, it’s a kitchen; if you’re a carpenter, it’s your workbench.
Anthro, an office furniture company, has a product for sale that appeals to my techie sensibilities. The eNook is a “gas station for your gadgets that has channels for you to plug in and charge all your gear.”
Not only does this look like a fantastic docking station, but could easily be used as a fold-away desk. In its compact state, it sticks out only 7″ from the wall. In my mind, this would be perfect in a studio apartment for a traveling consultant or in a busy family’s kitchen.
Having a 20-month old is a bit like taking care of a drunk friend. They don’t really know what they are doing, but they are having fun while they do it. My daughter is getting into the “terrible twos” a bit early, so hopefully they’ll end early.
One thing that seems to get worse as she gets older is the toy accumulation. I’ve mentioned this problem in some prior posts and I must say that my wife and I continue to struggle with it. I’m always on the lookout for new ways of curbing clutter that is kid specific. So, I was pleased to read this article in the Detroit News that had a long list of kid specific clutter tips. Tips such as:
- Divide and conquer:
Big toy boxes make it too easy for toys to get jumbled together. Better: a bin for Legos, another for action figures, another for dollhouse furniture, etc.
- Toss the flimsy crayon boxes:
Same goes for the marker and colored-pencil boxes. Instead, put drawing tools into lidded boxes or bins. And don’t bother saving every free crayon you’ve collected from restaurant visits. Teachers say most kids just grab the top two or three anyway.
- Craft supplies:
Keep a vinyl tablecloth with the art supplies. It’ll be on hand to protect the table or rug (skip disposable ones: not sturdy enough).
These tips aren’t earth shattering, but they are helpful. The accumulation of toys is the hardest thing to get under control, in my opinion. Forces beyond our control are at work. These forces, mostly Grandma and Grandpa, are unrelenting. Be vigilant in your removal of old and unused toys, and your toy clutter will stay manageable.
I never thought Sharper Image supplied consumers with practical goods until I came across the iwavecube Personal Microwave. Yes, it is about time we all had our own personal microwaves to carry with us. From Sharper Image:
How incredibly convenient — a personal, portable microwave! Forget all those trips to the kitchen or treks to the cafeteria — now you can reheat coffee right at your desk; or nuke some soup for your brown-bag lunch; or pop some `corn in the entertainment room.
While other suckers are walking all the way to the kitchen to nuke their soup in the microwave, you can hang out in your entertainment room while your soup gets nuked right next to your couch. Add this thing to a mini-fridge and you may never need to venture off to your kitchen again. More from Shaper Image:
Plug it in anyplace that’s handy — work or home office; home gym; family room; nursery; wet bar; dorm room; work bench; pool house, everywhere! The quiet, super-energy-efficient iwavecube measures just 10″ x 10.5″ x 12″ and weighs only 12 lbs. Features a built-in carry handle and view-through door.
The next time I’m rocking my daughter to sleep in the nursery, it will be great to have corn popping right next to us. That will certainly help her nod off to dream land. Less walking and more popping in 2008!
**Unitasker Wednesday posts humorously poke fun at the single-use items that manage to find their way into our homes.
Gift giving is an art. Some people have an amazing talent at picking out the perfect something. I, however, am not blessed with such a skill. Every now and again I’ll hit one out of the park, but those occasions are rare. I think that it’s my disdain for crowded shopping centers that fuels my ineptitude.
Regardless of the reason, my gifts are often received with a strange facial expression and the question, “What is it?” I’ll never forget the gift I got for my sister-in-law that drew the response, “This is such an interesting … uh … watering can?” It was a purse.
When I give a gift, I want the gift to be exactly what the recipient wants. I want it to be loved. I also want the gift to not end up as clutter or to cause stress. To avoid giving the imperfect gift or to cause stress, I’ve decided to follow David Seah’s suggestion in his post “Print Your Own ‘Re-Gift Receipts’” and create my own re-gift receipts to accompany my future gifts.
I’m not going to write mine up exactly like he has, but the principle is the same: a guilt-free return policy. It seems to be such a nice way to let people know that you will in no way be offended if they decide to return your gift.
Be sure to check out Seah’s template at the bottom of the post to save yourself time creating your re-gift receipts.