Unitasker Wednesday: Caramel apple dipper

Caramel Apple DipperDo you have a sweet tooth? Well, if you have a sweet tooth and you like to indulge in compulsive purchases, then the Caramel Apple Dipper is probably right up your alley. Why wait until your next trip to an amusement park or the county fair for a taste of caramel wrapped around an otherwise healthy fruit? You can melt caramel in this giant apple and easily dip your apple into the sweet golden goodness.

If you can’t get enough of that caramel apple, you may want to invest in a cotton candy machine. This is the next step in your descent into the carnival food pyramid that will undoubtedly leave you asking for mercy.

** Unitasker Wednesday posts humorously poke fun at the single-use items that seem to find their way into our homes.

2007 Gift Giving Guide: Buying for children

Holidays 2007The holiday season is upon us and now is the time when grandparents and family friends overindulge and spoil their children by purchasing everything that they think looks cute.

My 19-month-old daughter is getting ready to enjoy her second Christmas. She is the only grandchild between the two sets of grandparents and the spoiling is hard to combat. Both sets of grandparents are raring to go out and buy, buy, buy.

Here are some tips on trying to combat the accumulation of more toys:

Make a list: This year we supplied both sets of grandparents with a list of what our daughter needs. We didn’t really want to resort to this, but it is definitely a necessary evil. We can’t house an endless supply of toys, and there are actually things we need for her.

Consumables for the little ones: To combat the influx of new toys, you might want to include some consumables for your little one’s list. How about a season pass to the local zoo or museum? These are great purchases that grandparents can also enjoy by accompanying their grandchild to such an outing. What about a year’s worth of gymnastics or piano lessons? Be creative.

Prepare old toys for donation: What better time of year to donate old toys that no longer hold your child’s interest than the holiday season? In preparation of the new toys coming in, make a conscience effort to donate all old and gently used toys and books to a local charity. If you child is old enough, have him or her participate in the charitable process.

When shopping for other people’s children, consider ways that you can give in uncluttered ways, too. Toys with small pieces probably aren’t the best choices.

I hope these tips help. Good luck, and happy holidays!

Hide your desk’s power strip

Hiding cables is one of the reasons, if not the reason most people come to our site from search engines. As a result, we are always on the lookout for creative solutions to this problems.

Today, we share reader Greg’s solution for how to hide power strips and cables under your desk. And, because Greg is fabulously organized, we also share the link to his step-by-step instructions for how he did it from Instructables. We want to note, though, that we recommend using a solid plastic basket as an alternative to avoid accidental electrocution.

Also seen on Lifehacker.

2007 Gift Giving Guide: Charitable giving

Holidays 2007What do you give the person who has everything? You don’t. Instead, you can give to people who don’t have everything in the name of the person who does.

There are endless lists of organizations you can give to financially and with your time and talents in someone else’s honor. Compiled here are a handful of organizations to inspire you in your search for charitable groups that suit your recipients:

Additionally, check out the Better Business Bureau’s Tips on Charitable Giving page for helpful suggestions. Websites like Charity Navigator and Charity Watch also can provide valuable background research for your giving.

Eye-Fi eliminates the need for USB wires

Eye-FiEye-Fi is an SD memory card that wirelessly uploads your photos to your computer without the need for an extra wire or stand alone card reader. This little 2 GB card will make those wires and cables obsolete. Here at Unclutterer, we are always on the lookout for products that conquer the wire beast that lurks around your desk or entertainment center.

Unfortunately, the folks over at Engadget have thrown cold water on the Eye-Fi by giving it a marginally poor review. It’s at least a step in the right direction, and we look forward to future generations of this wireless SD card.

Gift guide for the 2007 holiday season

Holidays 2007Over the course of the next couple weeks, we are going to be exploring uncluttered gifts you may want to consider for your holiday giving. Each post in the series will focus on a type of gift, like charitable giving or experience gifts, and will contain a number of suggestions on that theme.

When we were preparing the guide, one question kept coming up in conversation: How will it impact the recipient? Eventually, that question led us to develop the central focus for this year’s guide.

As you are preparing your shopping list for the holiday season, consider the impact your gift will have on its recipient. Will the recipient use the gift on a regular basis? Is this something the recipient truly needs? Will the recipient have to sacrifice substantial storage space for the gift? Will the gift inevitably become clutter? Can I find a gift instead that is perfect for the recipient that has no possibility of becoming clutter?

We hope that the coming gift giving posts will be a helpful guide during the holiday season. Stay tuned for our uncluttered gift ideas!

MUJI store opens in New York

I love MUJI products. When I’m in Paris, I am drawn to their store and all of its organizational goodness. I especially swoon over their desk organization products.

Since yesterday, however, my journey to a MUJI store has significantly decreased. No longer do I have to jaunt to Europe or Asia to get my in-store MUJI fix. Yes, MUJI has opened a full-blown store in the SOHO neighborhood of New York City between Grand and Howard Streets on Broadway. Three cheers for this new location!

If you’re unfamiliar with MUJI, you can check them out online here. If you’re in New York, check them out in person!

Workspace of the Week: Home Office 2.0

This week’s Workspace of the Week is sirw82’s Home Office 2.0.

I chose this office because there are no visible cords, a terrific view, and a lava lamp to add personality. It makes me feel comfortable and productive just looking at the photograph.

Sirw82 recently moved into a new apartment, and had the benefit of creating this ideal space in the move. If you’re not embarking on a move, one thing to consider with your own space is to move everything out of your office and start again with a blank canvas. Often times, seeing the bare bones of a room can help with organization efforts.

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.

Oprah airs two episodes on hoarding

We’re a little late to the game on this piece of news, but thanks to a number of readers it didn’t completely slip through our fingers. If you have the chance, set your TiVos to record today’s episode of Oprah. The show is the second in a two-part series on hoarding.

Thursday’s episode, “Inside the Lives of Hoarders, Part I,” introduced viewers to Sharyn and Marvin’s 3,000 square foot home filled to capacity with clutter. In addition to Peter Walsh helping the family discover their home from under the mess, Oprah brought in Dr. David Tolin to help with the psychological issues of hoarding. Oprah’s site provides additional resources on the subject of hoarding, which can be found here.

Today’s episode follows the family as they continue to work on cleaning and repairing the home. This project, initially scheduled to be a two-week process, ended up taking eight weeks and required more than 100 people to staff its undertaking.

Check your local listings for today’s show times.

Cleaning and organization quirks

Before I leave on vacations, I have to clean my house. I don’t know if it’s a peace of mind issue or what the motivation is behind it, but I always do it. The benefit is that I return home to a bed with clean sheets and fresh towels in the bathroom and uncluttered surfaces throughout the whole house.

I clean when I have to make a difficult decision. If I need to mull things around in my head, I find that tedious chores are what I do first.

I also organize when there are things in my life I can’t control. When my grandmother had a stroke, I spent two days organizing my office closet.

I’ve heard of students who clean when they are procrastinating doing their homework. Is that you? Do you have quirky organization or cleaning sprees? Tell us about your cleaning and organization quirks in the comments!

Unitasker Wednesday: Doughnut maker

Doughnut Maker Mmmm…Doughnuts. I confess, I love those round little treats. I mean, who doesn’t? If you don’t, well more power to you, but I would imagine most of us feed our doughnut cravings every once in a while.

Indulging in a doughnut every once in a while is advisable, but making your own mini doughnuts could turn out to be a terrible move for your waistline. If you want to undertake doughnut making, Williams-Sonoma has you covered with the Mini Doughnut Maker.

Young cooks will have fun using this clever machine to create miniature cake doughnuts ready for decorating with their favorite toppings…Making seven little doughnuts is as easy as pouring batter into the wells of the machine and closing the lid.

Yes, they are suggesting turning this thing over to your children. What a great way to introduce the kiddies to the wonderful world of doughnut making! I’m sure they’ll get their fill of this contraption in about one use, and with measurements of 8″ x 10 1?2″ x 4″ high it will fit nicely in the cupboard of forgotten appliances.

** Unitasker Wednesday posts humorously poke fun at the single-use items that seem to find their way into our homes.

Set your TiVos!

One of Unclutterer’s long-time readers and someone I have been known to bounce ideas off once in a while, Geralin Thomas, will appear on two upcoming episodes of Time Makeover on the Fine Living TV Network.

Time Makeover is a new show that helps viewers find more time in their lives. “Whether it’s looking for an extra hour every day or freeing up your weekends, it’s all about managing time.”

In the episodes she appears, Geralin Thomas, a professional organizer based out of Cary, North Carolina, and owner of Metropolitan Organizing, will help the Shedrick and Damare families find ways to use their time more efficiently. Check out the episodes on Saturday, December 1 at 8:00 p.m. and on Saturday, December 8 at 8:00 p.m.

Here are some of the tips she provides on the shows: