Archives for Hobbies
Do you play the guitar, bass, or mandolin? Do you have old membership cards cluttering up your wallet? If so, the Pick Punch might be a useful tool for you:
I’ve always thought picks were ridiculously expensive for what they are. Additionally, I always seem to need one. Making your own picks from recycled membership cards just makes a lot of sense to me. If we would have had one of these when my husband and I first started playing picked instrument, we could easily have saved hundreds of dollars. A simple, high utility, uncluttered solution for people who play picked instruments.
Image via Pick Punch.
Although the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has me wanting to spend time indoors, the sunny skies and 70 degree temperatures are tempting me to head outside. As a compromise, I’ve been doing work in our new garage where I can hear the team analysis on one of the 200 ESPN stations and still feel like I’m outside with the garage door open.
If you’re considering doing work in your garage this weekend or in the coming weeks, be sure to check out Unclutterer posts we’ve already written on organizing your garage and related topics:
- Get your garage ready for summer
- Find garage organizing inspiration from Elfa, Ikea, and Sears
- Tips to organize your garage
- Garage storage
Reader Star submitted the following to Ask Unclutterer:
My husband [and I] like to collect restaurant menus where we have had memorable meals. As you can imagine these are all shapes, sizes, colors and quality. Right now they are sitting in a plastic box awaiting some action from us. Can you please offer some suggestions as to how best to display/store/organize them?
What a fun collection! I’m going to give you just one suggestion, and it’s based on what we have done in our home with memorable concert posters. I hope our readers then provide you with even more suggestions in the comments. Among all our suggestions, hopefully you will find a solution that works best for you.
My recommendation is to find frames and hang them all as a collection. You can either do all of the frames in a matching style or find frames in all different styles. When you group them on the wall, it will be obvious they are a collection. And, in my opinion, a collection like this would be wonderful on a wall in a dining room or kitchen.
The reason I suggest hanging them up is so you can see them every day and be reminded of the happy memories each time you look at them. If they’re in a box, like they are now, you can’t regularly enjoy them.
Thank you, Star, for submitting your question for our Ask Unclutterer column. Now, go and check the comments for even more suggestions from our readers.
Do you have a question relating to organizing, cleaning, home and office projects, productivity, or any problems you think the Unclutterer team could help you solve? To submit your questions to Ask Unclutterer, go to our contact page and type your question in the content field. Please list the subject of your e-mail as “Ask Unclutterer.” If you feel comfortable sharing images of the spaces that trouble you, let us know about them. The more information we have about your specific issue, the better.
Basements and garages are places where tools and hobby supplies can easily become overwhelming if proper storage doesn’t exist. My husband loves woodworking (he makes stringed instruments and large furniture), and his tools are starting to outgrow his current storage system. I’ve been searching for solutions that can best suit his needs, and I’ve fallen in love with the Gerstner GI-R530 Hobby Roller Cabinet:
From the GI-R530′s product description:
- Removable locking bar on drawers
- 2 Swivel locking wheels, 2 Stationary wheels
- Metal, full extension drawer slides – rated for 60 lbs
- Collapsible side work table
- Polished chrome plated hardware
- Felt lined drawers for cushioned storage
The cabinet retails for $569, so I haven’t yet ordered the unit. I feel that this cabinet is certainly worth its price, I just need to decide if it’s right for my budget. Valentine’s Day is on the horizon …
For smaller and larger storage chests, some rolling and some fixed location, check out Gerstner’s full inventory.
We’re pretty late to the game on this one, but on the slim chance you haven’t seen it — check out Atomic Tom performing their song “Take Me Out” on a New York Subway car:
The band’s “stolen instruments” claim is just a concept for the video — their instruments weren’t actually stolen. However, what they show is that a band can produce decent music simply using iPhone apps. (The video was even shot using three iPhone 4s.)
To create your own iPhone band, all you’ll need is $11, some practice, and the following apps:
- Tobias is playing Drum Meister ($1.99)
- Eric is using iShred Guitar for iPhone ($4.99)
- Philip is on Bassist by MooCowMusic ($2.99)
- Then, Luke starts off the video playing Virtuoso Piano Free (Free)
- Unfortunately, I can’t find any documentation or get a good enough look at the exact microphone app Luke used in the video, but Microphone Pro ($.99) or VonBruno Microphone ($.99) seem qualified to do the job.
Lena Brown Designs, an artist who sells her creations on Etsy, has fashioned a product that makes this organized knitter’s heart go pitter patter — The knitting needle or art tool case:
The case has 30 pockets to hold all styles of needles, brushes, materials, supplies, and tools. She even makes custom cases for people who want more than 30 pockets.
If you’re a whiz at sewing, I’m sure you could make a similar needle organizer. I just love how calm the needles look all nestled in their pockets. They’re protected when not in use and ready for their next project. Finding a pair of needles would be so much easier with a case like this instead of the shoebox I’m currently using.
Interesting articles and services relating to uncluttering, organizing, and simple living:
- Patrick at Minimal Mac asks “A Most Important Question.” If you don’t know where something belongs, it may “… not have a place in your home, in your relationships, in your job, or or in your life,” and, “perhaps it should not be there.”
- Alton Brown, the celebrity chef who is the inspiration behind our Unitasker Wednesday posts, wrote a diary about his (bizarre?) minimalist eating practices when he travels in last week’s New York magazine: “Alton Brown Makes His Own Avocado Ice Cream, Does Shots With John Hodgman.”
- Learning Express Library is an online resource for practice tests on hundreds of topics. The free and digital tests range from the U.S. Citizenship exam to college entrance tests. Save your money and some trees with these helpful resources.
- Lose the equipment and your gym membership, and get an uncluttered workout using only your body weight. From Nerd Fitness, “Beginner Body Weight Workout.”
- The Art of Manliness has a tribute to all things minimalist in “Go Small Or Go Home: In Praise of Minimalism.”
- Clean up your iTunes digital music collection with Tagalicious — a simple and easy to use application that gets rid of all of those “Track 01″ files you have in your directory.
- Are you on Twitter? Does it bother you when someone attends a conference and floods your stream with messages that don’t interest you in the least? Use DeClutter to remove specific keywords from your timeline. (via Swiss-Miss)
The website Comics Alliance, as its name suggests, covers comic books and all things related to the comic book industry. Reader Haley called our attention to the site to check out the post “Super-Hero Hoarders. The 7 Biggest Pack-Rats In Comics.”
Art often mimics life, so it’s not surprising that fictional characters struggle with clutter the same as everyone else. I really liked #4, Rick Jones’ illustrated mess. From the article:
At first glance, it’s pretty easy to call Rick Jones out for hoarding super-hero contacts. Over the course of his existence in the Marvel Universe, he’s sidekicked for the Hulk, Captain Marvel, Captain America, ROM: Spaceknight and the entire Avengers team, and been singled out as the bearer of the Destiny Force, which was so complicated that even Curt and Chris won’t touch it.
In reality, though — or at least, in one reality — Rick’s a straight up legitimate hoarder: In the alternate universe of “Future Imperfect,” the Hulk ends up killing all of the other super-heroes and super-villains, leaving Rick to amass a pretty hefty collection of memorabilia
Check out the full article to learn who took the top spot.
The website /Film reported on Friday about author J.K. Rowling’s method for organizing her books. Using pen, notebook paper, and a simple grid, she plotted out the direction of her stories. Pictured here is the chart for chapters 13-24 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:
(Note: /Film includes a larger version on their site for detailed reading.)
The grid outlines the chapter, month, chapter title, explanation of how that chapter relates to the over-arching plot of the book, and then columns for each of the book’s six subplots (prophecies, Harry’s romantic interests, Dumbledore’s Army, Order of the Phoenix, Snape and crew, and Hagrid and Grawp). Like the /Film post’s author, I believe that Rowling likely used more organizing tools in her story preparation. However, I think it’s wonderful to see how an author planned out her story before writing it.
When constructing memos, documents, short stories, novels, or whatever it is you’re writing, do you map out where you’re going and all that you want to include? Could adopting a method like Rowling’s help you to be a better organized writer? I’m certainly taking a few tips from her method and applying it to my own work. I’m thoroughly impressed.
While uncluttering, you may come across a few collections you decide no longer interest you or are worth the space in your home you’ve been dedicating to them. Last year, for instance, I gave my yarn collection away to friends, and now have two shelves in a closet that hold my son’s toys.
Maybe you’re ready to part with your baseball cards, vintage Barbie dolls, or a few pieces of antique furniture? When was the last time you looked at your comic books or dusted the snow globes?
Unfortunately, not all collections will sell for amounts anywhere close to what you paid for them (but that doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t get rid of the collection, especially if it no longer interests you and is just cluttering up your home). The website ManOfTheHouse.com ran an informative article in August that discussed ways to learn if your collections will be considered trash or treasures when you decide to sell. From “Sorting Collectibles from Junk” by Amy Carson:
So how do you find out if your “junk” is valuable? Start by looking online. Search eBay to see if any similar items are for sale, and how much they sell for. On Google, search for online collectors’ clubs. You can also ask a dealer for an appraisal or look up collectible prices at your local library.
It’s no guarantee, but before you give away your old stuff it’s worth checking what it’s worth. After all, you never know how much money might be lurking in your closet, garage, or attic.
A few items Amy says are trending right now — African-American family archives, unusual and less-popular board games that are no longer manufactured, letters and diaries relating to historical figures, Bakelite jewelry, old postcards of locales, Sears’ Craftsman tools made before 1950.
Do you have a collection that you’re ready to let go? This weekend might be a perfect time to gather it up, research its value, and decide if you want to sell it (or simply give it away).
Interesting links related to uncluttering and remarkable living:
- The US Drug Enforcement Administration is sponsoring a national take-back initiative to accept unused or expired prescription drugs for safe disposal on Saturday, September 25. “Collection activities will take place from 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. at sites established throughout the country.” Check the DEA site for locations in your community.
- Along similar lines, but with clothing instead of medications, the Men’s Wearhouse is accepting lightly used men’s suits, sports coats, slacks, dress shirts and shoes, business casual clothing, coats, ties, cuff links, and other accessories during the month of September. The Men’s Wearhouse National Suit Drive gives the suits to local non-profit organizations. Donations can be made at any Men’s Wearhouse.
- I stumbled upon an ezinearticle about the Top Five Regrets of the Dying. It’s an incredibly humbling article, and helpful for anyone wrestling with their vision for a remarkable life.
- DumbLittleMan has a wonderfully inspiring article “7 Must Read Success Lessons from Ralph Waldo Emerson.” If you’re looking for motivation to make a change and become an unclutterer, Emerson is a great place to start.
- Fellow runners will be glad to know that Nike+ tracking no longer requires a proprietary chip (*cough* unitasker *cough*) to be worn in your shoe. Lifehacker reports on the Nike+ GPS app for iPhone and iPod Touch.
This week’s Workspace of the Week is Clara in Paradise’s whimsical sewing room storage.
But, to appreciate the After photograph, you should see what the area looked like before:
I like the idea of creating a closet — even with faux doors — to streamline a room and reduce visual clutter. I also like the fun Clara clearly had creating this storage space. Her closet door design is sewn on with a serger using blue thread, and the knobs are all blue felt. And, she states, the whole setup (curtain rod, fabric, thread, felt, etc.) was only $50. Check out her step-by-step process on her website. Thank you, Clara, for submitting your creative sewing storage solution to our Flickr group.
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.
Where Women Create magazine is a product of the Stampington rubber stamp company and is published four times a year. Each issue features 10 to 15 offices and studios of women who make their livings in creative careers.
Since artists typically need lots of supplies to produce their crafts, I thought the spaces in the August/September/October 2010 magazine might feature some atypical storage solutions. Although most of the offices were stuffed with supplies, many of them had ingenious methods for storing items. Here are a few of my favorites:
Camille Roskelley covered her closet doors with white felt to use as an inspiration board for her fabric while designing quilts (image by Ryne Hazen):
Wendy Addison uses an old architect’s blueprint chest to store paper supplies she uses in her artwork. These chests are perfect for organizing flat items (image by Michael Garland):
Artist Jennifer Murphy is clearly a visual processor, and as a result uses walls lined with cork board to store her papers and materials. For people who need to see their work or they forget about it, taking advantage of vertical space can be very helpful (image by Jennifer Murphy):
Editor-in-chief of Where Women Create Jo Packham has repurposed antique shelf brackets to hold ribbon rods and new shelves to store craft supplies in her studio (image by Zachary Williams):
Editor and consultant Nancy Soriano utilizes the space above her office door to store books and the back of her door to hold magazines (image by Scott Jones):
Self-proclaimed “junkinista” Ki Nassauer has made a career of rescuing damaged and discarded items and turning them into artful and usable objects. In this case, she took an old table, sanded, repaired, and painted it, and then added a small fabric mattress to create a kitty bed. It’s not necessarily storage, but it is incredibly cute (image by Heather Bullard):
Similar to Laura Wingfield in Tennessee Williams’ play The Glass Menagerie, I have a collection of animal figurines. Unlike Laura, however, most of mine are wax creatures made in Mold-A-Rama vending machines.
Mold-A-Rama machines are located in tourist destinations across the U.S., so finding them is a lot like a scavenger hunt. Actually, it’s a very addictive scavenger hunt. To keep my collection from taking over my home and becoming clutter, I instituted some rules to control the menagerie:
- Animals may not be stored anywhere other than their designated 4′ shelf. If there are too many animals, must sell least favorite on eBay.
- Only collect animals in person. No ordering them off eBay or asking friends to pick them up for me on their travels. If I don’t touch the machine myself, I won’t obtain it.
- The Mold-A-Rama must be an animal, not buildings or other molded forms.
- Don’t plan trips around collecting the animals, rather check machine locations only after I’ve made plans to visit somewhere.
- No duplicates. One animal in one color from each machine I encounter, no more.
- No paraphernalia associated with the collection. No t-shirts, no pamphlets, no books, no broken Mold-A-Rama vending machines rescued from the dump, etc.
- No more than 7 acquisitions in a single year.
If you have a collection, I recommend instituting similar rules to keep your treasures from turning into clutter. It’s always a good idea to institute limits for your collection that include budget, storage space, and acquisition guidelines. Also, if you live with another person or other people, make sure they’re okay with the rules you establish since they also have to share the space with you.
Remember, being an unclutterer doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t have collections — but it does mean taking an active role in ensuring your collection doesn’t become clutter.
Creative personalities have the stereotype of being messy, disorganized people. When, in reality, the incredibly successful creative people of the world are often profoundly organized — they have to be to manage their work and schedules, so they can be ready when inspiration strikes.
Reader Sarah sent us a clip from the Joan Rivers documentary that illustrates one comedian’s method for organizing the jokes of her decades-long career:
Sarah went on to say, “Organization is in part about being prepared for the moment when insight strikes. It’s about creating the conditions for creativity to flourish, so that when you enter into creation mode, your physical world is set up to support you.”
I think of this organized preparation every time I watch the Olympics. The five minute gymnastic routine or the less than 30 second speed-skating race took decades of daily practices, workouts, proper nutrition, sacrifice, and emotional turmoil to make happen. Success doesn’t happen overnight, and it certainly doesn’t happen surrounded by clutter. To be at the top of any profession requires commitment and structure — even for artists.