Saturday’s assorted links

Except for when a kind neighbor drove me to the grocery store in his all-wheel drive station wagon on Monday, I haven’t left my house in 10 days. Since I declared February as Super Simple Month, I guess I should think of this time as Mother Nature’s way of helping me to keep to my plans. (We’ve received about 4′ of snow in the past two weeks.) But, unfortunately, being shut up in my house for so long has negatively affected my creativity. I haven’t been able to run (usually this is my time to be alone with my thoughts each day), and I’m finding nothing in my house inspiring right now.

Instead of reading about my cabin fever, I thought you might enjoy checking out some links that have more valuable insights into uncluttering, organizing, and simple living than I can produce right now. Trust me, this is what is best for all of us:

Zipco closet organizer: Pies! Pies! Pies!

I had a good laugh at this sketch from this past weekend’s episode of Saturday Night Live, and I wanted to share the fun. Erin lost it at “Dirt!” and now I can’t stop chanting, “Pies! Pies! Pies!” And, we should definitely warn you, it’s probably not safe to watch at work because of the “testimonial” in the middle of the sketch.

Clutter-related fun

Since yesterday’s post was melancholic, today we’ll keep things on the lighter side. The first post today is a series of fun links related to clutter and uncluttering.

First up, Naomi Seldin at The Times Union in Albany yesterday posted a new Clutter Game (pictured). Using your arrow keys, catch the “clutter in the donation box before it fills the house.” My high score is a lame 270 — when you need a quick break, see if you can beat me.

Up on deck next is a strip from the comic Basic Instructions. Scott Meyer’s “How to Accept an Unwanted Gift” is a new favorite.

Finally, a number of Unclutterer readers forwarded me the links to two great strips on the cartoon site Wondermark. Enjoy “In Which Beth Keeps Her Books” and “A Rat Has Many Hobbies.”

Have you seen any fun clutter-related things recently? Share your cheerful discoveries in the comments.

K is for Kittens

I thought you might want a bit of P for Precious motivation to help with your filing:

Thanks to Cute Overload and photographer Mae for spreading this adorable image to the web. Enjoy this soul melting gift as a belated-birthday present to you. Awwwww!

Thought experiment: How would you organize Hannah Montana’s closet?

A year or two ago when Hannah Montana became the favorite topic among my young cousins, I decided to watch four or five of the episodes on the Disney channel to figure out what they were discussing. I’m not really sure I’ll ever understand the appeal of the show, but I did learn about Hannah Montana’s closet. (The link goes to a video of her closet. I couldn’t bring myself to embed the video.)

Hannah Montana has an enormous closet with library stacks filled with shoes, belts, and purses, and rotating racks of dresses, tops, and sequined pants. While a fashionista might see the closet and start salivating, my first thought was, “How could I better organize this space?”

A Closet Carousel would definitely be an improvement over the spinning metal racks in Hannah’s wardrobe. Getting rid of all of the clothes she no longer wears would be another good idea (but my assumption is that since she leads a double life, she has more clothing needs than most). And, Simple Division Garment Organizers wouldn’t hurt in such a large collection of clothes.

The pièce de résistance, however, would be a digital wardrobe database with images and descriptions of all of her clothing and accessories. This way, Hannah might be able to pick out what she wants to wear before setting foot into her closet for an evening of party hopping or whatever it is secret rock stars do with their time.

If she has a Mac, she might enjoy the Dress Assistant closet organizing software:

If she is a Windows user, she might like the Victoria Clothes Organizer:

Or, if she wants a custom solution, I’m sure she could whip one up in Access without too much trouble.

For those of us not living the secret rock star life, any and all of these ideas would be overkill. However, it’s still a fun mental exercise. How would you organize a fashionista’s closet?

Surprisingly bad multi-taskers

At Unclutterer, we love touting the benefits of multi-use items. However, there are times when maybe product designers go too far with their melding of purposes. Gizmodo recently identified “10 Gadgets With Too Many Stupid Features,” and we wanted to share a little of their humor with you.

My favorite misguided objects:

Spinning rims with LCD television screens. I definitely think these are a car accident in the making.

The cell phone razor. Just imagine if you accidentally turn on the razor when you intend to answer a call. Oh! Ow! My lip!

Okay, maybe the “Mug-Mouse” is fun, but how would you ever wash it??

Click on the first picture in the series, the “Gun-Knife” to start scrolling through the slideshow. Then, click on the right side of each image to move between the gadgets.

The multi-tasking unitasker: Bag TV

bagtvIf you are a bit sad because you didn’t get your most sought after holiday gift, then you’re probably not alone. There is some hope for those of you who didn’t receive that new designer bag and that new LCD television. BagTV could fill two voids with one incredibly ridiculous product.

Yes, two products in one amazing combination. It isn’t really a unitasker so I couldn’t include it in that category. BagTV will have to stand alone in all its glory. It is a multi-tasking product of excess.

From the product description:

Bagtv is a totally new concept in bag design, combining bespoke luxury bags with high tech electronic equipment.

The first in a range of new products, is a beautifully crafted ladies hand-bag, which comes in a range of cool colours, leathers, and fabrics, integrated with a high quality 7in TVscreen combining, DVD, and Mpeg player.

The screen sits behind a protective transparent shield and enables the owner to literally watch Films/Videos either on DVD or downloaded to the bag. 

The system comes with full connectivity for use with computers or digital cameras through USB port and SD card slot, allowing the playing of scrolling photos on the bag.

Use on the move, on the way to and from work, for holidays, on trains or in the car.

Use at night in bars, and clubs to show off your latest photos, or favourite videos.

The smart light weight battery system, allows the player to play up to 2.5 hours, movies, video, photos before re-charging.

It comes equipped with its own re-charger unit for use with the mains or in car, together audio/video cables for connectivity with TV .

All in all, bagtv is the latest fashion statement, and doubles as a really useful bit of kit for the ladies to rival their boys toys!

Sorry, gentlemen, this item appears to be just for the ladies — you’ll have to use your small, longer battery life iPhone as an alternative.

(via Red Ferret)

Photo courtesy BagTV.

The Onion’s fake gift boxes

In the spirit of Unitasker Wednesday, the always hilarious Onion has some great gag gift boxes for the holidays. The boxes feature six fake products that will surely confuse the recipient.

The boxes are available in a set of six or individually through the Onion’s online store. While these are obviously fake products, they aren’t that far out of the realm of some of the unitaskers we have featured here over the past year and a half.

I enjoyed the USB Toaster and the iFeast, an iPod dock for your pet’s food bowl, but they play second fiddle to my personal favorite: The Visorganizer. From the “product” description:

Use your head and stay organized! The Visorganizer is a revolutionary carrying case for everything you need to make it through your busy day whether you’re a pro golfer, a retired ship builder, a club DJ, or a busy mom on the go. And it clips on the front of your favorite hat. Pack it with up to 7 lbs. If it has a visor, it needs a Visorganizer!

I wonder how long it will take someone to actually invent a saleable Visorganizer?

2008 Gift Giving Guide: Gifts of clutter

It’s the holiday season, and we all need a little smile. Similar to our Unitasker Wednesday posts, we don’t want you to buy these items. We simply want you to have fun reading about all the awful gifts of clutter you wouldn’t really want to give this year.

Stumped on what to buy your favorite co-worker or loved one? Consider giving the gift of clutter!

Small Kitchen Appliances

Your mother-in-law hates coffee? No matter. Buy her an espresso maker anyway. Get the deluxe version equipped with steamer and grinder. It’ll take up lots of counter space and you can use it when you visit. Heck, buy her two!

Knick Knacks

If you really want to yank the chain of the minimalist in your life, buy knick knack gifts. These small shelf stuffers fit any budget. You can get a $1 replica of the Statue of Liberty. Inexpensive gifts not your style? Consider the pricey gem-studded Hello Kitty figurine for $163,000.00. (image from

Arcade-Style Video Games

Who needs Rock Band when you can go retro and deliver a full size, 300-pound Ms. Pac-man to an eager child or adult? Cram it into the living room of a tiny studio appartment for easy entertainment. A fun and educational experience on the history of video games can be had by all.

Obscure Art

Who says you can’t impose your own artistic tastes onto others? Let’s face it, some people in your life need your artful guidance. At big box stores, garage sales, or art galleries, look for bizarre sculptures, abstract paintings, or anything that would leave the recipient asking: “What is it?”

A Pile of Boulders

For your suburbia-dwelling friends, don’t forget the garden. Call your local rock quarry and have a truck dump off a pile of rocks on your friend’s driveway. They’ll have hours of fun trying to pick up the boulders, one-by-one, and finding the perfect garden spot for each to occupy.

Hard-to-Use Electronic Equipment

For the technically challenged on your list, give the gift of complex electronics that will end up tucked away on a garage shelf. Universal remotes that require setup on a computer and web access are an option. Challenge the recipient to sit with the manual until he or she figures out how to program it.

Giant Vases

In his post Too many flower vases, Matt asked: “So what can I do with all of these vases?” There is no need to get rid of them when you can let them collect dust in a cabinet! Add to your friends and family members’ collections with a giant vase to obstruct the entrance through any front door.

Really, the possibilities are endless when it comes to lovely clutter gifts. Large, small, expensive, cheap — clutter gifts span the world over and can easily provide a lifetime of dust, maintenance, and storage fees for your most treasured friends.

What is the most outrageous clutter gift you’ve ever received? Let us know about it in the comments.

2008 Gift Giving Guide: What we want, but can’t yet have

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.

Humor: What not to do

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