Monday, September 26, 2005


OpenXI'm not usually a fan of special-purpose gadgets like this, but I've had this one for a couple of months now and am really happy with it. It's a tool for opening those impenetrable plastic packages in which so many things are packaged. It works great, and unlike my former way of opening these (the serrated blade on my Leatherman), it's very unlike to damage you or the contents of the package. And you can't beat the price - as of this writing, $4.95 shipped.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

O Discardia!

Via 43 Folders, I ran across a web site called Discardia, which is about as dedicated as I've seen to one of my favorite activities: Getting rid of stuff. They've even declared a quarterly holiday (e.g. today through October 3). Packrats of the world, all you have left to lose is your clutter. I've seen lots of advice on how to choose whether to get rid of something; the most recent was: If I were packing up my stuff and moving it myself in a U-Haul, would I move this? Now, go get rid of something.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Newly discovered blogs

I just discovered a couple of blogs that might be of interest, and which I've added to the "See Also" section on the right: Optimized Living and Spending Wisely.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Everything in its place

The key to conquering clutter is to have, as in a kindergarten classroom, specific places where each object in your home belongs. Ideally, most of these places (wherever aesthetically possible) should be labeled. Make liberal use of plastic bins (such as Rubbermaid and Sterilite), or fancier bins made of wood, leather, or basketry where they will be visible. Target is a great place to find both kinds of bins at reasonable prices. When you finish using something, put it back where it belongs every time - just like you tell your kids.

On those inevitable occasions when you must stow something that either doesn't have a place or whose place you can't get to (e.g. it's in a napping child's room), don't think about where is a convenient place to put it. Instead, think a moment about where you would look if you were trying to find this object. As obvious as this sounds, people too often look for a place that is easy at the time they are putting the object away, rather than a place that will be easy later when they are trying to find it. And it goes without saying that if the object doesn't have a place where it belongs, you should remedy that situation as soon as possible.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

DIY knife block

A very cool build-it-yourself knife block made out of a box filled with bamboo skewers stood on end. Note: For a project of this size, you don't need a brad nailer or even a palm sander; regular neanderthal woodworking is quite sufficient. (Via Frugal For Life.)

Friday, September 09, 2005


In yesterday's Washington Post, an article about installing lockers (or similarly-functioning but more attractive cabinetry) for your kids to store their stuff in. Great idea - we've accomplished a similar purpose with an entry bench and coat rack, both with basket storage in them. I also keep thinking about getting a bank of high-school-style metal lockers to put in my garage.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Disposable pocket-sized planner

PocketMod is a flash application for creating a pocket-sized planner. The application allows you to fill the planner with various functionality (calendars, note pages, checklists, etc.), which you then print out and eight-fold to create the planner. Personally, I'm quite wed to my big planner, but for those Hipster PDA types who like to keep everything together and in their pocket, I would think this would be pretty handy. (Via 43 Folders.)

Home improvement classes

Did you know that both Home Depot and Lowe's offer free home-improvement clinics? An article in today's Washington Post discusses these classes, and schedules can be found for Home Depot and Lowe's. I've attended a couple of these, and they're mostly pretty good. Home Depot also offers kids' workshops, to which I've always meant to bring my daughter but haven't yet.