I love to read through collections of ideas for dual purposing objects. People send in their ideas to a magazine, and then the editor publishes the ideas that are most clever. Dual purposing products is important as it not only eliminates clutter, it also helps the environment by reducing waste. The only problem with these articles is that they can be difficult to apply to your own life. For example, using a crab knife to remove old grout is a great idea, but I don’t own a crab knife and I’m not sure what to do once the old grout is gone.
- Choose dual not dull. I love a play on words, but in this instance it truly works. Dull office supplies serve only one purpose. An ugly pencil cup, calendar, tape dispenser, (fill-in-the blank) is only good for one thing. On the other hand attractive office supplies not only serve their intended purpose, but also enhance your décor.
- Think outside the box. While I’m a big fan of purchased storage boxes (I did after all create the See Jane Work Storage Collection), I realize that it’s not possible to buy storage boxes for everything you own. Save the fancy storage boxes for open shelving. Used gift, shipping, shoe or even liquor boxes work great inside of closets or in the garage. Over the holidays request department store gift boxes in just one size. When you give gifts in your home people often leave the wrapping behind. You could be left with several same size boxes that will stack easily in a closet. If you’re a wine drinker you may be on first name basis with someone at a local wine bar or shop. Ask them to set aside boxes from their next shipment of a particular brand. The boxes will be uniform in size, color and design.
- Dual by design. Some products do all the work for you. No need for clever ideas here, the No Tomorrow Planner Pad is triple-purpose. It has room for your daily appointments, tasks, and notes. The Mouse Pad Notepad comes in several styles that at minimum are dual-purpose, acting as both a note pad and a mouse pad. Some styles even include room for tracking tasks and/or appointments.
- It’s all in the bag. Carrying both a laptop bag and hand bag used to be a necessity. Laptop bags were so devoid of style you wouldn’t use them for any other purpose. A lot has changed. A well-designed laptop bag can function as a hand bag, laptop case, and sometimes even a diaper bag (Baekgaard Laptop Tote shown).
- Save it. Saving money is very important, but saving time, storage, and your mind is also important. If you find yourself keeping slightly similar items on hand, it’s time to simplify. For example you may have acid free glue for pictures and art, and regular glue for everyday use. Skip the regular glue and just buy the acid free. If you’re anything like me you can never find the exact size of binder clip you need. Skip the small size and just keep large on hand, or buy a small mixed set.
Post your great idea in the comment section, but please keep it clean. While a used tissue could technically be repurposed as a sticky note it’s a very disgusting idea.