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Some Ways That We Are Thinking Small

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I've previously mentioned the outstanding Mini Cooper billboard that I pass everyday on the way to work. While it's no longer functioning, it used to flashes new quotes. A couple of examples would be, "The Next Big Thing in Small" or "Small is the New Big." I like to think that I'm completely impervious to advertising, but sometimes I wonder. I'm not sure if I'm ever going to buy a Mini Cooper, but I'm thinking that the sign was really onto something.

When my wife and I were planning our a wedding a year ago, we made a registry like many couples do. The main purpose of the registry was to avoid getting useless gifts. Some people said that we shouldn't make a registry if we couldn't think of anything, but after going to more than 20+ weddings with registries, it seemed the socially appropriate thing to do. Long time readers might remember that we had a lot of difficulty in choosing items to put on the registry. Since we are both in our early 30s and had recently consolidated our two condos into one, we had pretty much two of everything. None of the typical registry items stood out as necessities - it seemed like a terrible waste to add a third pizza cutter. Even worse, many of the things that people register really seemed like a huge of waste of money. We didn't want people to spend hundreds of dollars on the nicest china or Waterford crystal.

We found a couple of solutions to our registry problem. Yesterday I mentioned that it may be possible to get rich by thinking small. Today I'd like to write about how we applied that philosophy to save space in our home.

  • The food processor - The first thing we saw was a food processor that we once were given but have never used. It's not that we didn't have food that needed processing... it's just that we didn't use it often enough to devote the counter space that it required. It sat in a closet, out of sight and out of mind. Even if we did think about it, by the time we got it set up, we could have just chopped up the vegetables. The solution was the Cuisinart SmartPower Duet blender/food processor. Since we already had space devoted to a blender adding the small food processor jar only takes up a tiny bit of extra room. My wife has already taken advantage of the food processor to make hummus several times. It's much better fresh and much, much, less expensive. If we make hummus twice a month, it will pay for itself in a year. We've also found that by shredding cheese ourselves we can buy blocks of cheese. This is cheaper per pound - an additional savings. We are also able to get rid of our old cheese shredder, saving space.
  • The colander - The next thing we noticed was a collapsible silicon colander. Colanders in general don't take up a lot of space, especially when nested with pots, but every little bit can help. The one we got is around an inch thick, so it can fit in some tight places. It's also a normal grey and white, not the weird cherry color on that link.
  • Microwavable containers - We had tons of microwavable dishes. We must have easily had 50 pieces when you count the lids. It was a mess, which made it difficult to match up containers and lids. I couldn't bring myself to throw them out because they still served their purpose. That all changed when we found these Rubbermaid collapsible food storage containers. Like the collapsable collander, they shrink down remarkably small. We ended up getting rid of the 90% of the other containers - I just couldn't completely shed my pack rat ways. In the process, we gained a whole kitchen cabinet without losing any functionality.
  • All-in-one photo printer, fax, copier, and scanner - I've mentioned this already a couple of times. Our fax machine was unreliable (we later found that it wasn't made for VOIP phone like Vonage - it also said that it would work line that have Caller ID or Call Waiting). We never had a scanner, copier, or a photo printer so this opened up a world of possibilities to us. In the first month we've had it, we used the scanner to deposit checks into our USAA account. (Really! You just scan the checks in, and they put the money in your account. Technology is amazing!) We used the copier to file our insurance claim for the robbery of my wife's car recently. We would have used the fax, but I need to set it up properly to work with our Vonage phone service.

I'm always on the the lookout for products that are innovative like the ones mentioned above. Do you have any favorites that you just can't live without? Let me know in the comments.

Posted on September 12, 2007.

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13 Responses to “Some Ways That We Are Thinking Small”

  1. dong says:

    love the collapseable kitchen items. The biggest problem with kitchenware is they take up too much space in the cabinets. Wouldn’t need so many cabinets if everything collapsed.

  2. Jonathan says:

    We got the dual blender/food processor (but in white) for our wedding as well. It’s been pretty good, more of a money savings than too much of a space savings since you still have both containers.

    Hmm… stuff we use everyday…

    – Dual electric toothbrushes with single charge base. You could go with just one toothbrush and switch heads every night, but we have two separate brushes

    – Pot rack, saves space and looks nice.

    – Microplane, since we love cheese ;) Takes up less space than a huge grater.

  3. […] Man had a couple posts related to thinking small. This is a great way to think about things. We went through a process before buying our condo where […]

  4. […] -Some Ways That We Are Thinking Small @ Lazy Man & Money […]

  5. […] Think diminutively – You might recognize that as a twist on the popular Apple slogan of “Think Differently.” This idea is to try to think of ways to live in a small space. I’ve written about why to think small. I’ve also written about how to live small. […]

  6. MoneyNing says:

    Wow I’m very surprised that you can just scan and send in your cheques electronically. It sure would save so much time in case you still get cheques!

    What do you actually use Vonage for? Couldn’t you do everything on your cell phone?

  7. Lazy Man says:

    I might be able to do everything on cell phone, but there are times that I need to fight a customer service battle which can chew up a ton of minutes on hold. Also all my friends and family are on the east coast, while I’m on the west coast. This means that when my phone becomes free at 7PM, it’s 10PM there, too late to call.

    I almost forgot the most important thing. My wife needs to fax documents for job quite often. It’s hard to fax over a cell phone.

  8. MoneyNing says:

    I agree with the customer service thing but the money I save every month without a land line more than covers for this.

    I guess I just don’t use the phone as much as you do since the minutes more than covers my needs.

    There are some online fax services (I don’t remember the names of them) which might end up to be cheaper.

  9. […] Practical Tips on Simplifying and Consolidating… -Lazy Man and Money […]

  10. […] but now I’m going to have to waste money. In the past, I’ve said that we are trying to live small, but we are not there yet. I need to get better at throwing my old stuff out, or at least […]

  11. Ryuko says:

    I can say thar VOIP is priceless when you don’t have a lot of cell minutes & have reliable internet. At my last duty station, I used Broadvoice ($20/mo to 25+ countries) to supplement my Virgin Mobile phone. Don’t do it now b/c I have another cell plan and [Editor: poopy] internet here…

  12. […] She’s also takes up a little extra space compared to some newer computers (I’m always thinking small.) Newer computers also come with new fancy features like USB ports in the […]

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