Archives for Humor
This installment of the Unclutterer Gift Giving Guide explores the not-yet-invented or completely outrageous gifts that would make our readers’ lives more organized. We asked our Twitter followers what they would put on their dream holiday wishlists, and these were some of the fun responses:
Universal power cord
This cord would work with every electrical object. Need to power your laptop, cell phone, television, sewing machine, dryer, iPod, or oven? All you need to do is grab the universal power cord!
The perfect laptop bag
The perfect laptop bag has a pocket for everything you need to carry with you, has a comfortable shoulder strap, is made to last, is professional in appearance, and doesn’t scream I’M CARRYING A LAPTOP FOR YOU TO STEAL. This bag is so perfect that you want to name your pets after it. We have found many bags that come close to meeting these requirements, but none that are perfect.
A magic wand
The magic wand empowers its user to clean and organize his or her home and office by simply waving it near disorder. If it actually existed, I would also want for it to make a pleasant chime when in use.
A full-time cleaning staff
The benefit of having someone clean up after you make a mess was at the top of many Unclutterer readers’ lists. Unfortunately, a full-time cleaning staff comes with a very hefty price tag. A cleaning robot might be more affordable.
Food tracking software
As far as we know, this exact product does not yet exist. The reader who mentioned it said that the software should have a bar scanner that reads use by/expiration information off a product, enters that data into a database, cross-references the food item to recipes in your collection, and then tells you when to use the food. I think this software should also notify you when to preheat your oven and how long any leftovers might be good for using.
What not-yet-invented or completely outrageous organizing gift is at the top of your wishlist? Tell us about it in the comments!
P.S. If you are an inventor/programmer/industrial designer and would like to create any of the items listed above, we would really appreciate your efforts.
I’m always on the lookout for reasons to laugh, and Ali Hale recently came to my rescue over on the blog Dumb Little Man. Her article “10 Ways to Create a Work Environment That Drags You Down” was splendidly entertaining:
9. Keep it Shabby. Make sure your workplace environment looks as run-down and shabby as possible. Paint should be peeling off the walls, posters should be torn, and noticeboards should never be cleared. Don’t ever replace the carpet. And any pot-plants should be left unwatered for weeks – there’s nothing like dying plants to give your workplace a real air of gloom and decay.
Well played, Ali.
If you were to add to the list, what items would you put on it? I would add a frustrating parking situation to the mix. Having to fight for parking in a lot blocks away from your office building is truly a great way to begin your day.
Photo credit: hoyasmeg
I warned about Rock Band clutter last year and Erin provided a possible solution to keeping Rock Band accessories in order, but neither of us could have foreseen such an incredibly ridiculous add-on to the Rock Band “experience.” The new add-ons for Rock Band 2 are a smoke machine and a strobe light. The Stage Kit from Performance Designed Products (PDP) is $99. The release date is November 2008, which makes it perfect timing to clutter up your holiday season!
I’m not exactly sure what the Stage Kit will do for improving your game play (won’t it decrease visibility of the TV screen?), but it may increase your need to hire a Rock Band roadie. The roadie could carry all your Rock Band peripherals along with your new Stage Kit. He or she could even set up your Premium Drum Set.
Check out Crave for more information and a cringe inducing video for the Stage Kit.
Reader Shalin passed along this gem from NPR. It’s a “break up” letter from a suburban woman with The Container Store. It’s less than two minutes, and worth it for the smile it will bring to your face. Enjoy this light-hearted musing:
“Dear Container Store, I Almost Loved You”
My favorite line: “I admit, I was checking you out. There was something seductive about all that sparkling acrylic.”
Wondering what to do with all of your old CDs? Wonder no longer!
In the past, I’ve seen old CDs repurposed as coasters, artwork, and Christmas tree decorations. What clutter-busting solutions have you found for your old CDs?
Image from Make:, and thanks to reader Katherine for bringing this to our attention.
I have mentioned many times before that organization and tidiness are not natural instincts for me. I spent years learning how to live an uncluttered existence, and most of those lessons are what go into my Unclutterer content.
Unfortunately, I inflicted my disorganization on many roommates and family members before I changed my ways. I was thinking recently about how awful it must have been to have lived with me. Yikes!!
For today’s post, then, I want to write a few (humorous) apology letters to all of those I wronged with my disorganized ways. Please feel welcome to add your lighthearted apology letters in the comments. We can get all of the guilt off our chests in one giant outpouring!
I’m sorry that I couldn’t figure out how to use hangers or the dirty clothes hamper when I was a teenager. Also, I’m not sure what my motivation was to change clothes three to four times a day, but I’m glad you didn’t throw me out of the house over it.
P.S. Please apologize to the cleaning lady who discovered the two-year-old apple core under my bed while I was at Girl Scout Camp in the sixth grade.
Dear Jennifer and Libby,
You two were fantastic college roommates and I was abysmal. Sorry, Jennifer, about leaving that glass of rotting milk under your bed. You showed complete restraint by not kicking my arse when you found it.
And Libby, my apologies for never washing my dishes and often leaving dirty pans on the stove. I can see now why you had a problem with this. Ewwww. Thank you for not smacking a pan upside my head.
Oh, and I’m sorry to both of you for having an awful boyfriend during this time period. I am grateful for Jennifer’s advice to break up with him for Lent, and I will forever be grateful for this suggestion.
I hope you two are doing well!
Dear Angie and Lori,
Pretty much repeat what I just wrote to Jennifer and Libby, but substitute Lori for Jennifer, Angie for Libby, and awful boyfriend for well, another awful boyfriend.
Readers e-mail us some, uh, er, um, interesting questions. I’ve been collecting them, and I decided to do a whimsical question and answer column for today filled with my best attempts at responses. Feel welcome to play along and provide answers to any questions that interest you in the comments:
After organizing/minimalising/unclutterring a space, is it okay to write a poem about it if you are so inspired?
Sure. Why not?! If you feel inspired to write a poem, write a poem! Here, I’ll give it a whirl …
(A Humorous) Ode to Order
By Erin Rooney Doland
I love it when it’s clean in here
I love it when the counter is clear
I love to have my friends stop by
and not once have to apologize
Oh how I love my newly organized space
A place for everything, and everything in its place
Do you watch tv? What shows?
I love pop culture. I have a TV and a DVR, and I watch most of my shows in clumps on Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings — and some mostly in fast forward (Project Runway, Top Chef). The following shows are programed to record into my DVR, but not all of them are currently in season: Burn Notice, Chuck, Closer, CSI: Las Vegas, Dirty Sexy Money, Eli Stone, Eureka, Heroes, How I Met Your Mother, In Plain Sight, Law and Order, Life, The Middle Man, Myth Busters, Project Runway, Psych, Pushing Daisies, and Top Chef.
If you could legally burn your house down and start over from scratch, would you?
One of Unclutterer’s programmers lost his house in a fire in June, and I know for certain I do not want to go through a similar experience. Please don’t burn my house down.
Are you married?
All of the Unclutterer staffers are married except for Intern Julia. And, Intern Julia would like everyone to know she has a boyfriend.
Is that really a picture of you in Ready Made?
Yes. Do I not look how you imagined? If you met me on the street, I’d likely be taller than you imagined, too.
Can you come and clean my house for me?
No, but I hear Merry Maids does a decent job with cleaning!
Seriously, if you’re looking to hire a professional organizer, I highly recommend you use NAPO’s referral service to find one in your community.
Can you yell at my husband for me?
I try not to yell except at sporting events. Does your husband play for the Nationals? If he does, I yell at him all the time.
Do you like Martha Stewart?
I’ve never met Martha Stewart, so I don’t know if I like her. I typically enjoy her work, though, and I am in love with her book Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home. I think it would be great to sit down and have a glass of wine with her. She has more experience in the home lifehack industry than any other human, and I know I could learn a great deal from her.
Why do you think you’re better than everyone else?
Really? Huh. Are you sure you’re reading Unclutterer.com? Because, honestly, trying to be better than everyone else would take a LOT of time and effort, and I just don’t have that sort of energy.
Can you please get rid of the cartoon at the top of the home page? He scares me.
The cartoon guy at the top of the page is staying. I have a crush on him. Around the Unclutterer offices, we call him Suck Face Man. I can’t tell if he’s inept and can’t figure out how to properly operate a vacuum, or if he’s so good at cleaning that he’s the only thing in the room left to clean? Have you seen the little guy hiding from Suck Face Man at the bottom of the page? I love him, too.
I got your contact regarding your trust worthy. I need assistance to transfer some money out of my country into your personal or company account. For your effort my family is willing to offer you Money for your expenses incurred. Can your help?
Your right, I trust worthy. You bad grammar spammer.
Today, a commenter made a response to Matt’s Plan out the week’s clothing on Sunday post that gave me a good laugh:
“I use the Seth Brundle method of not having many different work clothes, and they all pretty much go together (IMO). This works so well I often forget that Friday is casual day, because I just pick the next shirt and trousers without thinking.”
If you don’t immediately catch the Seth Brundle reference, check out the Wikipedia page on the subject. Brundle is the protagonist in the film The Fly and he “adopted a habit of Albert Einstein’s when he bought five identical sets of clothes so as not to waste mental energy deciding what to wear each day.”
My guess would be the following:
Male — Dress khakis, white button dress shirt, brown or black leather shoes with coordinating belt.
Female — Black slacks, white button dress shirt, black leather 1/2″ heels and coordinating belt.
Okay, there is nothing creative about either outfit I picked, but I think most people would be able to pull it off except for formal parties. Also, I’m not sure that most people would know that it’s a repeated uniform, unless they saw you regularly.
What do you think is the ideal uniform? I’m not suggesting you need one, this is just a fun thought experiment for a Thursday afternoon. Let me know what would be your suggestions for ideal uniforms in the comments!
Our apologies for this post coming in on a weird schedule. Ack! Some days, technology wins.
Honor students, America, political figures, and the environment are all subjects that are routinely displayed on a bumper sticker. I’ve never been one to display my political or social beliefs on a sticker on the back of my car, but it seems that many people enjoy displaying things on the bumper of their car. To each their own, but some drivers feel that they must wallpaper the back of their car with just about every conceivable sticker they can find. It turns out, that the over use of bumper stickers may have a correlation with incidents of “road rage.”
Dale Jewett, citing a Nature article in AutoWeek, writes about the possible correlation between bumper stickers and aggressive driving:
“The number of territory markers predicted road rage better than vehicle value, condition or any of the things that we normally associate with aggressive driving,” psychologist William Szlemko said. “What’s more, only the number of bumper stickers, and not their content, predicted road rage.”
I’m not sure of the merits of this study, but it sounds legitimate enough to me to keep bumper stickers in high numbers off the back of my car.
For more on the study behind the AutoWeek article, check out the Nature magazine article (registration required).
George Carlin, my favorite comedian of all time, passed away last night at the age of 71. He was controversial, insightful, and most of all hilarious. His commentary on culture and politics were second to none and his no-holds-barred style of stand-up comedy will be missed.
Here at Unclutterer, we highlighted his bit on “Stuff” from his 1986 Comic Relief performance. This was some of Carlin’s more tame subject matter and not the scorched earth musings that made even the most progressive thinking folks sometimes cringe. If you’ve never seen his “Stuff” routine, we recommend you take a look. He will be missed.
For those of you who love to be surprised, there is a website that can send that surprise through the mail. The SomethingStore can send you as many random gifts as you’d like. All you need to do is sign up on their site, pay $10 per item and you will receive random products in the mail. (The excitement that you feel while you wait for your package is free.) From the SomethingStore site:
SomethingStore works like a well-oiled machine in three easy steps:
1. Place your order on this page, via Google Checkout, our payment service provider. Your information is safe with us and will not be sold or traded.
2. We will send your randomly picked something within 7 business days and will confirm shipment via email.
3. You will find out what your something is when you receive it and we hope you will be pleasantly surprised.
So it is that easy! Just pay $10 per shipment and you can be in receipt of such randomness as a Paul Potts CD (everyone likes music), Gigli Perfume (is that perfume from the J Lo movie?), earrings, a radio controlled robot, or an incense kit. Check out the randomness here.
Yes, not every item that is sent is questionable. From the items I looked through, there were a few $25 gas cards, an iPod Shuffle, and a $25 Amazon gift card. There are a few nuggets in all of that random stuff, but for every $25 gas card there is a tie and suspender set. But, waiting for your package from the SomethingStore is a gamble and gambling is fun right?
And, OBVIOUSLY, Unclutterer is poking fun at this site and we find this whole concept laughable.
As a tornado ripped through a small town in Tennessee, one man’s cluttered trailer was credited with saving the home in which his family sought shelter. From the WSMV-TV article:
A Lawrenceburg man who has saved everything for years said his clutter may have saved his life.
Several homes were destroyed and many more were damaged in Friday’s tornadoes in Lawrence and Giles counties, but Bobby Massey’s family is crediting his bad habit of being a pack rat with saving their house.
I find it hard to believe that a trailer full of clutter withstood the awesome power of a tornado, but the Massey family may argue the contrary.
When the Masseys walked outside, they said the trailer packed with Bobby Massey’s stuff had stood fast and protected the house.
“That thing is loaded down with heavy stuff,” he said.”Had that trailer not been there, what do you think would have happened?” Dorsey asked. “I guarantee you, it would have leveled the house,” he said.
This is one of the first times I can admit to reading a clutter-is-good story. It definitely isn’t persuading me to change my uncluttered ways, but it is interesting. Honestly, I’d be more afraid of what would happen to all that stuff if it were directly hit by a tornado — I’d be terrified of all of the flying projectiles. What do you think? Did clutter save this man’s home?
Cartoonist Lynn Johnston tackled the issue of inherited clutter last Monday through Wednesday in her comic For Better or For Worse.
In addition to it not creating clutter, one of my favorite things about reading this strip online is that some of the characters blink. Don’t believe me? Click through to Wednesday’s strip and watch the third frame for about fifteen seconds. A “thank you” to reader Katie for bringing this one to our attention.
Reader Alex also let us know about clutter being discussed over the weekend in the cartoon Opus. Cartoonist Berkeley Breathed, in this full-color Sunday strip, shows the political pressures Opus the penguin feels to spend, spend, spend! Maybe simple living is “trendy” after all …
In 1986, George Carlin first performed his “stuff” routine for Comic Relief, humorously telling us the hard truth about the things in our homes. There are some choice words in the video clip, so if you are sensitive to harsh language or at work where other people can hear sounds from your speakers, you may not want to click on the link. However, if you’re up for some Friday humor, here is George Carlin on “stuff.”
Thank you to The Excellent Adventure for reminding us of this great sketch.
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.