Rid your shower of bottle clutter

Your shower should be a serene place where you can escape the outside world for a short time each day. You shouldn’t be distracted by a multitude of containers all over the walls and/or floor of your shower. The Better Living Dispenser Classic IV eliminates the need for the bottles that get in your way.

Let’s face it, those bottles are designed to fall over easily and scare the heck out of your loved ones in the next room. The bottles I recently knocked over are nearly empty, so they need to be perfectly balanced on their heads to get the last of the liquid out. (We are frugal and the need to use every last drop of shampoo is a must.) This dispenser eliminates the bottles, the balancing act, and the false alarm of a shower disaster. If you need more storage space, The Better Living Ulti-Mate Dispenser includes a soap tray, mirror, and hooks to store your razor.


This post was originally published in June 2007.

Unitasker Wednesday: The IceBlok

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

One of the reasons I hate refreshing cold beverages in the summer heat is the “shocking splash of wayward ice cubes.” Thankfully, the IceBlok set puts an end to such shocking, horrible events. Made from space-age material (I’m assuming), the IceBlok will keep terrifying ice from falling into your face. From the product description:

Simply add ice to glass, slide IceBlok in, and sip beverage; IceBlok stays in place to keep ice out of your face.

Stop using straws that do the exact same thing, and get yourself an IceBlok!

Thanks to reader jsn for bringing this unitasker to our attention.

Unitasker Wednesday: The dog umbrella

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

I recently had a big double take after seeing a pet umbrella in action at my local park. Did I just see that? Yes, yes I did.

Did the poor dog have a cold? Did other dogs make fun of him for retreating under an umbrella? Since when did a dog require an umbrella for a walk in the rain? Has the pampering of pets become such an industry that a product like this becomes a good idea for consumers? I had so many questions to ask the owner, but I had to be somewhere and the dog owner was probably unable to answer any of my queries.

Have any of you seen a pet umbrella in action? It is definitely something to see. Any owners of a pet umbrella out there? Defend it in the comments if you’d like. The wet dog smell is obviously a reason to employ the pet umbrella, but what else beyond that? I’m truly baffled.

A home office for a small space

Having a home office in a 450 square-foot space may be a pretty tough task. How does one make room for a home office and make it feel separate from the rest of the living space? The Unfolding Office featured in Dwell’s Dec/Jan 2007 issue is a unique option for a home office in a tiny space.


The Unfolding Office was a project of Michael Chen and Kari Anderson of Normal Projects who designed this solution for teacher Eric Schneider’s 450 square-foot apartment in New York City. The outcome was an all-in-one unit that holds everything from a desk to a bed and nightstand. For a better idea of the finished project, take a look at the slideshow.

Apple wool felt laptop sleeve

Laptop sleeves are a necessity if you are regularly on the move. They protect your computer from daily wear and tear while providing a quick way to transport your precious cargo. The wool felt laptop sleeve designed by redmaloo is a nice option because it serves more than one purpose. The sleeve protects you computer, but it also unfolds to provide a work surface with a mousepad (see picture below). The sleeve is available via ex49. ex49 imports was created to provide emerging, talented artists from Germany with the opportunity to exhibit and sell their products overseas.


(via Swiss Miss)

Unitasker Wednesday: Toothpaste dispenser

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

A streamlined morning ritual is always a good idea. Planning a morning routine is key to being on time, and the Toothpaste Dispenser is just the thing to help you with that time-wasting, strenuous task of putting toothpaste on your toothbrush. I can’t think of a single other method you could use to extract toothpaste out of the tube. This wall mounted dispenser not only saves you from extreme stress, but it also takes up a lot of space! We’re so lucky to live in 2009.

The dispenser comes in chrome (pictured) and white. So choose wisely on which color matches your decor the best. Also, don’t be afraid to invest in two (or more!) of these dispensers if your roommate, wife, husband, or child uses a different toothpaste. Your friends will be envious that you have cracked the code on how to get toothpaste out of the tube.

The deep drawer problem

deep-drawerOne drawer in our kitchen (pictured) is a real problem area for us. It is an incredibly deep drawer that is the depository for most of our food preparation tools. It contains everything from a whisk to a rolling pin. The depth of the drawer makes it prone to disorganization.

I looked into drawer dividers to find a stackable option and eventually came across the Lipper International Bamboo Drawer Organizer with Removable Dividers and Top Sliding Tray. This drawer organizer looks like the perfect solution for my problem. The top tray can be removed for access to larger kitchen tools below and the measurements (14-1/2-inch W by 12-1/2-inch D by 3-3/4-inch H) are just right.

Has anyone else had a problem with too-deep drawers in the kitchen? How did you solve the problem? Please share your solutions in the comments.

INCHworm shoes grow with your child’s foot

Children’s shoes don’t last very long. The main culprit is their growing bodies. I’d venture to guess an average pair of shoes lasts around six months — max. Depending on the amount of wear and tear, the shoes may not be suitable for donation after use, which is unfortunate.


The INCHworm shoe is a decent solution to the ever-growing child’s foot. The shoe is adjustable and extends itself by one whole size, in half-size increments. So a size six can become a six and a half and then eventually a seven. This would surely extend the life of the shoe by several months. From the product description:

Inchworm shoes are design specially for kids, both boys and girls. These shoes grow with your kids as your kids feet grow, one full size in two half size increments. With the 1 fit System you have the possibility to adapt the shoes to your children feet. Inchworm shoes are made in two parts with rubber outsole & PU midsole for the best comfort and support with anatomic insole and latex heel pad. The uppers are made from quality leathers and synthetic mesh. Inchworm shoes will last approximately 3-6 months longer than an ordinary pair of shoes. Simply push the button on the side of the heel and watch in amazement as the shoe grows.

This is a pretty cool idea. What do you guys think? Let your opinions fly in the comments section.

(via CNet’s Crave)

Install a tip out tray in front of your sink

tip-out-trayOne of the things that my old kitchen was equipped with that my current kitchen doesn’t have is a tip-out tray immediately in front of the sink. My new home only has a fake attached front to a drawer that doesn’t exist. Instead of the decoration, I wish my new kitchen had a tip-out tray that helped contain our sponge, scrubber, drain plug, and garbage disposal allen wrench.

I’m not sure why all kitchens aren’t equipped with this simple solution. The tip-out tray is inexpensive and it serves a purpose. The fake drawer serve no purpose.

There are different size tip-out trays, so be sure to you measure before ordering. These 36 inch options can be cut to the size that you need, or they can fit a longer, single drawer.

Unitasker Wednesday: Bed Made EZ

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

Making the bed is one of my least favorite household chores. Is the chore difficult? Not really, but it does seem like a waste of time, especially since we don’t have pets. Hardly anyone ever sets foot in our bedroom, so we simply let the sheets and blankets be most of the time.

All of this bed-making procrastination may come to an end if I invest in the Bed Made EZ. This tool is “an ergonomic device that slides easily between the mattress and the box springs, raising the mattress so linens are easier to put on.”

If you have back pain that is a hindrance to your bed-making skills, maybe this has a purpose for you. Maybe. You’d still have to bend over quite a bit to shove the device between your mattresses. For able-bodied people, though, it actually looks like it takes more effort than tucking the sheet into the bed normally.

Another option in space-saving ladders

A little over a year ago, I highlighted the telescoping ladder as a space-saving option. The other day, I found another collapsible ladder via Apartment Therapy. The 5-Foot Compact Ladder (pictured) collapses down to roughly the size of a 61″ long 2″ x 4″.

Apartment Therapy dubs this as the “world’s most compact ladder,” but I would argue that the telescoping ladder is a bit more compact. At a length of 61″, this would still be tough to carry through tight corners.

Either ladder would be a much better option than the traditional ladders that many of us own. The space saved by either of these is well worth the replacement of a clunky, old, space-hogging ladder.

Toronto architects utilizes under stair storage

stair-storage-tanUnder stair storage is a great way to utilize dead space in your home. It may not be the easiest project to tackle yourself, but it is an ingenious way to store things. We highlighted some under stair storage a while back and the most recent example is from Toronto architects Christine Ho Ping Kong and Peter Tan.

Dwell magazine featured this wonderful home in their April issue and the slideshow is well worth viewing. The home took Peter and Christine six years to complete and features many unique ideas. Peter constructed the under stair storage himself with each stair being its own separate drawer. Here is a excerpt from the article on making the most of a small space:

The unusual site and limited budget created a crucible for Ho Ping Kong and Tan’s intense creativity. Beyond the constraints of building codes and cost, the extremely tight quarters presented their own challenges. “In this house, the small spaces were massaged to hold as much as possible,” Tan says. The pair met the demands of the compact design, but just as they got all of the pieces arranged, along came their two children. “Originally, Pete wanted only one bedroom,” Ho Ping Kong remembers with ?a grin. “I had to say to him, where will our kids sleep?”

“I was in my purist phase,” Tan counters, smiling. “I was thinking: Here are the architectural elements we need—now how can we fit bedrooms inside?” The solution is a testament to their inventiveness. The bed in the master bedroom sits up against three small screen doors with the children’s beds on the other side. The flexible barrier creates a semiprivate room that can be kept open while the children are young. A second sliding wall system will be installed when the kids are ready to have their own rooms.