Thursday, January 22, 2015

Very Cool Surfboard Storage from Australia

surfboard rack for five boards, with swan's head design

I've written about surfboard storage before, but I’ve never seen anything as eye-catching as the surf shelves from Kauai Swan. This one is the Sentinel, which comes in sizes for two, three, four or five boards.

corner storage rack for two surfboards, with a swan design

And this design is called the Cygnet; it was designed specifically for corner space storage.

Both designs are made from “the finest quality Wisa marine grade laminated wood, harvested from environmentally sustainable birch plantations in Finland. Timber struts on the Sentinel models are of Australian hardwood.”

The products are shipped in a flat-pack; they are assembled with just a Phillips screwdriver. You can contact Kauai Swan about delivery outside the Sydney area, including overseas delivery.

horizontal surfboard rack, wood

If you'd prefer to keep the racks stored horizontally, take a look at Byron Bay Board Racks, such as this wedge rack for seven boards. All of these racks are made from “recycled Australian hardwoods, including iron bark, yellow box, Australian cedar and red gum to name just a few.” The wood comes from old houses, barns, decks, fences, etc.

wood surfboard rack for 10 boards

The company also has a vertical rack, available in various sizes. You can get a protective floor mat to go with this rack, made from recycled tires.

The Byron Bay racks are shipped fully assembled. The company does not ship outside of Australia.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

You Have Too Much Stuff

book cover: You Have Too Much Shit - a self-help book by Chris Thomas

If you don’t mind a bit of obscenity, and you want a quick read to inspire your decluttering, this might be the book for you. It only has 16 pages of content, in large type; you can read it in 10 minutes or so. And the ebook version is free!

Chris Thomas, a designer, doesn’t provide any gentle handholding here. Rather, this is more of a manifesto for those who own lots of stuff: identify the useless things and get rid of them. And, most importantly, stop buying the kinds of stuff you wind up tossing.

The book starts with a list of things you probably don’t need, including
  • Free pens, mouse mats and mugs.
  • Your hidden stash of takeaway menus.
  • Unwanted Christmas presents that have hung around too long.
  • Your plethora of novelty electronics.
  • Boxes full of photographs that you, be honest, will never look at again.
  • Rolled up posters hidden from view.
  • Obsolete gizmos you keep lying around in case they’re ever worth something.
  • Chargers and cables for obsolete gizmos you keep lying around in case they’re ever worth something.
  • DIY materials, bought for an unfinished project several years ago.
Chris then goes on to write about the negative effects of keeping all this stuff around and the advantages of getting rid of it. He also writes about the environmental impact of all our purchases:
The amount of stuff we consume as a species is insane. ... The environmental case is worthy of a whole other book, but I’ll put it simply: the earth’s finite resources are, well, finite – and if we continue to consume at our current rate, it won’t be long before they’re gone.
Chris says to spend our money on the stuff that really matters to us:
To find real value in material things, it’s helpful to discover a deep appreciation of the things you use every day.

Everyday things are the things that you use the most, so they’re the things truly worth investing in. Have hard-wearing shoes, comfortable chairs, knives and forks that won’t bend or rust. Have a computer that won’t crash or lose your work. Invest in your hobbies. Whatever it is you spend most of your time doing, have things that assist in making this better, all of the time.
He concludes with a list of the many ways to get rid of things, including selling them or just giving them to people who need them:
People with less than you. Charities who need the money. Schools. Libraries. People who need materials for experiments or making things.
There's nothing new in this book — nothing you can’t read plenty of other places. But sometimes the way a person words a familiar concept makes it resonate in a way it didn’t resonate before.

[via Sam Dunne on Core77]

Monday, January 5, 2015

For the New Year: 2 Thoughts About How to Spend Your Time

Image entitled Time by Sean MacEntree, licensed under Creative Commons

I'm not into resolutions, but I read two things recently about ways to approach time management in the new year that I wanted to share.

From Oliver Burkeman, one of his resolutions worth making (and I recommend reading them all):
Select something to stop doing this year. I don’t mean bad habits, such as injecting heroin or picking your nose; I mean something worthwhile, but that, if you’re honest, you don’t have time for. 
In our hyperbusy era, there’s an infinite number of potential things to do: emails to read, groups to join, ways to become a better person, parent, employee. Yet still we proceed as if “getting everything done” might be feasible. It isn’t; the wiser plan is to get more strategic about what you abandon. (One technique: list your 10 most important roles in life, rank them, then resign from at least the bottom two.)

From Neil Gaiman, as part of his New Year’s wishes and gifts:
Try to make your time matter: minutes and hours and days and weeks can blow away like dead leaves, with nothing to show but time you spent not quite ever doing things, or time you spent waiting to begin.

Monday, December 8, 2014

4 Unusual Things You Can Rent Instead of Buying

ugly holiday sweater

If there's something you seldom use — or plan to use just once — it often makes sense to rent or borrow it rather than buy it. This can save money, and it definitely saves on storage space. Let’s look at just a few of the many things you might choose to rent.

The ugly holiday sweaters from Rent the Runway are some of the most unusual rentals I’ve seen. [via Maria Konnikova and Business Insider]

living Christmas tree being delivered to a home

Don’t want to store an artificial Christmas tree, but also don’t want to go cut down a live one? In some areas, you can rent a living Christmas tree.

Polaroid camera

If you live in the San Francisco area and want to rent photographic equipment — including a Polaroid camera, a Phantom 2 drone and much more — you can do that at Photojojo. Other cities may have similar rental services.

Pley - Netflix for Lego Sets

And then there’s Pley, which lets you rent Lego sets. [via Megan Panatier and io9]

Related Posts:
Renting Things You Never Knew Could Be Rented
Now Where Did I Put that R2D2 Cake Pan?
The Sharing Solution
1 Way to Avoid Future De-Cluttering Decisions: Rent the Wedding Gown
Renting or Borrowing vs. Owning
The Joys of Renting Stuff: Saving Both Space and Money

Friday, November 28, 2014

Non-Clutter Gift Guide: Unusual Consumables

gingerbread dog house

Looking to give gifts that won't become clutter for someone else? Consider experience gifts or consumables. I just wrote about experience gifts at Unclutterer, so let’s look at some consumables, from stocking stuffers to more substantial gifts. I listed some great consumables over at Core77, but here are some more that didn’t make it into that post.

The Solvang Bakery has your normal gingerbread houses — but also gingerbread dog houses, and some houses decorated for Hanukkah. Just remember that gingerbread houses don't stay tasty for too long. [via Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Blog]

chewing gum - cinnamon and maple

Simply Gum is gum made with only six ingredients, and none of the artificial flavors, preservatives or synthetics included in other gums. It’s available in six flavors. [via Uncrate]

chai pumpkin jam

If you want a whole lot of tempting food ideas, head on over to Mouth, which is dedicated to indie food. This chai pumpkin jam is just one of a huge number of choices.

minted rose lip balm

Of course, not all consumables are food products. This lip balm from Rosebud Perfume Co. got raves from someone on MetaFilter.

mulling spices soap

This mulling spices soap comes from The Vagabond Tabby, which says its products are “crap free, guaranteed.”

organic toothpaste in 3 interesting flavors: eucalyptus, tutti-frutti, and a mint / green tea combo

There are even interesting toothpastes, such as these from Urtekram. There are three other choices from this company, too.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Clutter Avoidance: Resisting Things on Sale

tote bags that say: See. Want. Buy. Happy
Happy Tote Bags — Photo by K.K. Koay, found on Flickr, licensed via Creative Commons

As we head into the holiday season, we’ll all see lots of sales — and those sales may tempt us to buy for ourselves, not just for the people on our lists. But here are some words of caution to remind us that sales aren’t always our friends.

Here’s a user comment on an Apartment Therapy post:
I used to jump on a good deal, but a $7 shirt that I don't wear is $7 wasted.
And here's a tweet from Jane McGonigal as she decluttered a sale item:
Giving myself 5 pts for ditching a Marc Jacobs maxi dress I got for $75 marked down from $1000 that was too big and weird and never wore.
A new daily deal website called Meh says this, explaining its name:
Don’t you feel meh about most deals? You don’t have to buy something just because it’s xx% off.
Trent Hamm at The Simple Dollar has a thoughtful blog post entitled Why Buying Things on Sale is an Awful Way to Save, which includes this bit of wisdom:
When people snap to attention and pull out the wallet when they hear the word “sale” or see a big discount, they’re going at it completely in reverse.

The sensible way to bargain-hunt is to know exactly what you want before you even start looking. If you’ve decided, on your own, that you do in fact want Heroes: Season 1 for your own entertainment, great.

Now’s the time to bargain hunt, with the item you already have in mind. ...

The important part is to put on your blinders and ignore other items. A big sale on an item you don’t really want is still a waste of money.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Meeting the Challenge of Boot Storage

rubber tray for boots

Shoe storage is a challenge for lots of folks, and boot storage has its own challenges. But I’ve got some potential solutions to show you! Some will work well with wet boots; others are more suited for storing those that have already dried out. Some are intended for inside use and others for outdoors. Many of them come from the U.K.

The first option is a boot tray of some sort, such as this rubber tray from Ballard Designs.

boot tray with wheels

VivaTerra says this rolling metal boot rack will stand up to the elements.

wooden boot stand

Another option is a boot stand, such as this Welly boot stand from Make Me Something Special.

forged boot rack

For a totally different look, there's the Welly rack from Dean Forge. Another place to get this style is Studio Forge.

wall-mounted Welly rack

A wall-mounted boot rack is another possibility. This one comes from; the racks are available in a range of colors.

wall-mounted boot rack

Nether Wallop Trading Co also has a nice-looking boot rack.

wooden wall boot / Welly rack

And for a different style of wall-mounted boot rack, we can go back to Make Me Something Special.

boot hanger system for a closet

For storage in a closet, there’s the Boot Butler. [via Erin Doland]

Wellington boot box

Want to hide the (dry) boots away? You could use the Wellington Boot Box.

outdoor "house" for boots / wellies

This is The Welly House from Flyte So Fancy. It’s designed with sufficient ventilation to keep any wet footwear well aired.

welly boot storage

Finally, Garden Trading has this Wooden Welly Store.

Want more ideas? See my prior post on boot storage!

Friday, October 24, 2014

7 Questions to Ask While Decluttering

block with a question mark
Question Mark Block: Photo by Jared Charup, licensed under Creative Commons

Ask we look through our possessions as we declutter, we ask ourselves questions — and sometimes you may find a particular question helpful. You’ve probably heard some of the standards, such as: When did I last use this?

Here are some of the many other questions you might ask; pick any that work for you!

1. Would I buy it again today? (from one of my clients)

2. Similarly: Would I replace it if it were broken or lost? (from Gretchen Rubin, via Kathleen Crombie)

3. Regarding clothes: Can I imagine this ever being the best possible thing in my closet to wear? (From Dinah Sanders)

4. I suggest that each item earn its way in. In other words, don’t ask, “Should I let this go?“ Instead ask, “Does this deserve to be kept?” (from Janine Adams)

5. Does this memento prompt any memories? I tend to keep things that seem to be “mementos,” assuming that they have some emotional resonance, but many don’t. (from Gretchen Rubin)

6. Which choice would the person I want to be make? (from Dinah Sanders)

7. Does it spark joy? (from a book by Marie Kondo, reported by Penelope Green, via Eve Glicksman, Liz Jenkins and Farhad Manjoo)

Related Posts:
Questions to Help Eliminate Clutter
Saving Things "Just In Case ..."

Friday, October 17, 2014

5 Money Boxes: Piggy Banks and More

3D-printed piggy bank

Anyone who has loose coins all over the place might want to consider a piggy bank, and I’ve found some very cool ones recently. The one above, called Oinky, is 3D-printed! There are a number of designs to choose from, and the designs come in various colors. [via Erika Rae on Core77]

lacquered wood piggy bank

Newsmakers doesn’t seem to be making its piggy banks (which come in cow, sheep and pig versions) any more, but you can still find them at babatude and Not on the High Street. The banks are made from lacquered wood; the hind end is removable so you can get to the coins when needed.

green elephant coin bank

The Norsu elephant bank comes from MK Tresmer in Finland, which also has other banks; it’s part of the company’s Palaset product line. The bank is available from My Sweet Muffin in the U.S., Lagom Design in the U.K., and Monapart Living in Barcelona — which shares the story behind the bank:
In 1973 Palaset received a commission from the Swedish F√∂reningsbanken Bank: a piggy bank for children with the intention of cultivating in them the habit of saving. So far, nothing out of the ordinary, but since the “piggy” bank was so cute, the children did not stop to asking for it, and their parents opened deposits accounts just to get the prized elephant-shaped piggy bank. ... The word spread like wildfire and the precious Norsu Elephant Bank by Palaset soon became an icon in the Nordic countries, and it is still made with the same cast of 70’s and in the same factory in Helsinki.

leather piggy bank

If you really want to splurge, you can get this leather piggy bank at Shinola.

teapot coin bank

Want a coin bank that’s not a pig (or another animal)? Here’s a teapot coin bank. To remove the coins, you pull out the cork and pour.

Related Posts:
A Piggy Bank Menagerie
What a Pig! Piggy Banks and Money Boxes Worth a Look
Beyond the Piggy Bank: Tzedkah Boxes
Today’s Top 10 Piggy Banks
Piggy Banks: A Home for Your Spare Change
A Place for Your Coins: Piggy Banks and Money Pots
Organizing Products Inspired by Sheep

Friday, October 3, 2014

Tape Dispensers: Whimsical, Colorful, Practical

tape dispensers shaped like bunny rabbits

I’m always interested in the many ways something as basic as a tape dispenser can be designed to be more interesting. For those who like whimsical, there’s the desk bunny tape dispenser from Qualy in Thailand, also sold by design3000 in Germany and Molly & Fred in the U.K.

tape dispenser, two rolls, looks like an owl

The owl tape dispenser from Mustard is currently out of stock there, but you can find it at mzube in the U.K. — and there are a couple available on at the moment.

tape dispenser with gel base to stay in place

Want a tape dispenser that will stay put? The Stickit tape dispenser from Chris Hardy of Design Ideas has a “sticky polyurethane gel base” to keep it in place — but you can gently peel it up when you need to move it. It’s available many places, including See Jane Work, SmartFurniture and Fab. It comes in a range of colors.

tape dispenser with suction cup feet

Another stay-in-place tape dispenser (with a very different look) is the Bigfoot from the MoMA Store, with its suction cup feet.

blue tape dispenser

If color is your main consideration, head over to Poppin; you’ll find tape dispensers in 13 colors.

wood tape dispenser

This tape dispenser from ScanWood in Denmark places the tape flat on the desk, rather than in the upright orientation we’re used to. Hand-Eye Supply in Portland, Oregon carries this one. [via Better Living Through Design]

aluminum tape dispenser

Finally, let’s admire the Notchless Tape Dispenser, which has a special blade designed to give you a straight line when you cut the tape. It also looks pretty stunning.