Unitasker Wednesday: iSleep USB pillow

isleep_scAll Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

Taking a nap at one’s desk isn’t the easiest thing to do, but taking a quick desk nap just got easier with the iSleep USB pillow. To use, just plug this inflatable pillow into an available USB port on your computer. (That is if you have a USB port to spare.)

The inflatable USB pillow inflates when you shut your laptop and then deflates when you open the laptop back up. The days of using a bunched up sweater or coat for a pillow are long gone. You can now catch a snooze in style with this inflatable option. Nap time has never been so hi-tech.

A year ago on Unclutterer

A fond farewell to 2008

The Unclutterer staff wants to send off 2008 with a list of our favorite posts from this year. These aren’t necessarily the posts that were the most read or the most commented, but are the ones we treasured for some reason we can’t explain. Most of all, we hope you enjoyed them!

Sue’s favorite posts:

Matt’s favorite posts and unitaskers:

Erin’s favorite posts:

Do you have a favorite post? We would love to know which posts bookmarked a place in your hearts in 2008!

Martha Stewart’s on maximizing your closet space

martha-closetsIn the January issue of Martha Stewart Living, there is a feature on maximizing your closet space. There is a great photo gallery on MarthaSterwart.com, which highlights some of the excellent ideas.

One of the ideas I liked was the following:

High Altitude: Hard-to-reach areas are a closet’s no-man’s-land. A spring-loaded pull-down rack, which you can install yourself, solves the problem. A light tug on a handle positioned in the center of the rod brings clothes to you. The racks are sold on the web and through some closet and organizing stores.

Be sure to check out the online gallery for even more ideas.

As a final note, I’ve looked for the “spring-loaded pull-down rack,” but have been unable to find a retailer that sells them. Does anyone have an idea of where to find this?

Apartment Therapy’s small space round-up

at-small-spacesApartment Therapy is one of the sites that we enjoy reading here at Unclutterer. AT recently did a 2008 review of their small space solutions that is a helpful resource for those of us who live in smaller spaces.

The small space roundup has tons of solutions, photos, resources, and storage ideas. Get inspired by taking a look at some of the ideas and products that they highlight in their year-end review.

(photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy)

The post-holiday tear down

christmas-treeI inevitably spot one every year — a house with Christmas decorations still displayed in mid-March. Granted, taking down decorations isn’t nearly as much fun as putting them up, but delaying the inevitable doesn’t make the process more entertaining later in the year.

Outdoor decorations can be a little more tricky to take down because of foul weather conditions in cold climates, but there really isn’t any excuse for keeping indoor decorations up through the spring. Here are some tips for making the tearing down of holiday decorations go more smoothly:

Lights: Gather up all of the lights in a systematic fashion. If you have misplaced the original packaging, wrap the cords around a flat square of cardboard to keep them tangle-free.

Inspect and repair: As you put away your items, inspect each piece to make sure that it is in its best working order and doesn’t pose any safety threats.

Keep all your holiday decorations together: Label all your storage boxes and keep them together in your storage space. It can be a good habit to limit yourself to a set number of boxes (in our house it is three). If you can’t fit all of your decorations into a limited space, it’s time to purge some of your items.

Donate: If you need to lighten your decoration load, take the lightly used ones to a consignment shop or charity. Nursing homes also can use some festive decorations. Regardless of the charity, be sure to call before you make your donation and make sure the group is interested and able to handle your gift.

What tips would you add to the list? Join in the conversation in the comments.

Organizing your personal finances

The state of the U.S. economy (and, realistically, the economy in most other nations throughout the world) has seen better days. Whether you need to or not, you are probably closely watching your money.

If you’re someone with “organize finances” at the top of your 2009 resolutions list, let me recommend a few products and services that might be able to help you keep better track of the money you earn, save, and spend:

  • Online banking. Most banks and credit unions have websites that let you track your accounts online. If you aren’t already, I suggest signing up for these services.
  • Online bill paying. To save money on postage, many utility companies and other service providers now allow you to pay your bills electronically. An automatic system can help you pay your bills on time, and also provide you with a second digital receipt of your money transfer.
  • Quicken online. You can track all of your personal finances through a free Quicken account. The service allows you to import all of your financial information and display it in a manner that is useful.
  • Mint online. If Quicken isn’t your style, you should definitely check out Mint. It’s also a free, online, personal finance program. Feel welcome to check out our review of an earlier version of Mint.
  • Personal finance blogs. Websites like Get Rich Slowly, Awake at the Wheel, The Motley Fool, The Simple Dollar, and Wise Bread are fantastic sources for product reviews, strategies, and tips and tricks for managing your money wisely.

What services do you use to help you organize your finances? Let us know about any programs or services that work for you in the comments.

A year ago on Unclutterer

After Christmas shopping

ornament_boxesMy wife is rather thrifty. I figured this out long ago, but one of the things she is accustomed to doing is heading out to local retailers the days after Christmas to purchase deeply discounted holiday decorations and storage products.

In the past, she has scored a couple of ornament boxes, a wrapping paper storage unit, and she always comes back with a few new ornaments and decorations to replace ones that didn’t survive the season. 

If you’re heading out to shop and take advantage of the sales, be sure to plan out a list before going on your journey. A list in hand will keep you from impulsively buying items you don’t need. Also, try to stay true to the one-in, one-out policy. If you do find a great deal, make sure to get rid of its replacement item already in your home. Before you take to the stores (if you go at all), check out our list of tough questions to ask of new acquisitions.

Workspace of the Week: Well-lit office

This week’s Workspace of the Week is Moundbaby123’s sky-lit office retreat:

This week’s entry includes a place for everything. The simple lines combine with the natural lighting make it conducive to productive work. I also like the built-in bookshelf in the reading area. I’m not fond of the desk chair, but that could easily be swapped out for a more ergonomic option. Thank you, Moundbaby123, for your submission to our flickr pool.

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.

Celebrate!

Like a good chunk of the western world, Unclutterer’s offices are closed today. We wish everyone who celebrates Christmas a merry one, and the rest of you we wish a joyful day off from work! We’ll return tomorrow to share more Uncluttering insights.

Unitasker Wednesday: Electric paper plane launcher

electric-plane-launcherAll Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

If there is one thing you need for your office in 2009 it has to be the Electric Paper Plane Launcher. Seriously, how have you survived office boredom this long without such a useful product?!

From the Launcher’s product description:

With simple assembly, you can discover how spinning motors and plastic discs can be used to launch a plane at over 30 mph!

30 mph!?! You could definitely put an eye out with these flying paper projectiles. Now if only someone could come up with an automatic paper airplane maker, our lives would be complete.