Graham Hill Downsized His Life And Enjoyed It More. Why Can’t We All Do The Same?

Simple Studio ApartmentGraham Hill’s article “Living With Less. A Lot Less.” in the NY Times is an inspiring read. Mr. Hill, serial entrepreneur and founder of Treehugger.com, got rich early and had filled 5500 sq. ft of living space in two cities with stuff and then decided to simplify his life and belongings into a 420 sq. ft studio. From the NY Times:

“I LIVE in a 420-square-foot studio. I sleep in a bed that folds down from the wall. I have six dress shirts. I have 10 shallow bowls that I use for salads and main dishes. When people come over for dinner, I pull out my extendable dining room table. I don’t have a single CD or DVD and I have 10 percent of the books I once did.”

If you get a chance, read the full article and see if it inspires you to downsize your life.

Our household of five doesn’t live all that large but I can not wait to downsize the inside of our house and our outside lives. What’s holding us back? Unlike Graham Hill and like many families, it’s our elem/teen/tweenage kids that might suffer from the drastic change of downsizing while they’re still in school. Now on the day my youngest heads to college, our house will be abuzz because everything will go. Not storage – instead we’ll donate, give away and sell what we can because we’ll never live larger. T-minus 8 years and counting! [NY Times]

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Upcycling A Pizza Box.

The Buzzfeed article states differently but I’m pretty sure these upcycled pizza box ideas assume you don’t have the cheese-grease stain that kept you from recycling the pizza box in the first place.

Pizza box cat bed

Pizza box cat bed (click on the image for instructions)

Pizza box solar-powered s'mores oven.

Pizza box solar-powered s'mores oven. (click on image for instructions)

Pizza box birds nest.

Pizza box birds nest. (click on the image for instructions)

Upcycled pizza box Battleship game.

Upcycled pizza box Battleship game. (click on the image for instructions)

What can you do with a cheese-grease stained pizza box? Rip-off and recycle the unstained lid and then save the lower cheese-greased section as a fire starter. Additional upcycled pizza box ideas are posted on Buzzfeed.


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The $875 Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Leather Edition Car Seat.

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Leather Edition Car Seat.Car seats are vital for safely driving with your younger kids. The Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Leather Edition with Air Protect® Technology and a Perfect Fit Harness has all the features you’d want in a car seat and works for kids up to 70 lbs but it’s $875 price tag is pretty extreme. Infant/child cars seats normally run in the $100-200 price range and provide the same regulated level of protection.

The Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Leather Edition reminds me of the $45 baby perfume from Dolce and Gabbana – unnecessary for the kids but necessary for status-driven parents. I wonder if the product reviews for Pria 70 Leather Edition will come from the parents or the nannies. [Gizmodo]

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Power An LED Lamp By Kicking The Energy-Harnessing SOCCKET Soccer Ball.

SOCCKET energy-harnessing soccer ball
SOCCKET in play.The SOCCKET from Uncharted Play, Inc. is a soccer ball that self-charges when people play with it. Thirty minutes of kicking the SOCCKET around will store enough power to run an LED lamp for 3 hours. It’s on Kickstarter looking for funding. According to CNET, if they’re successful on Kickstarter, Uncharted play will introduce a USB version. Who knows, maybe they’ll one day be able to produce SOCCKETs in quantity and follow the “One for One” model developed by Toms Shoes. [CNET]


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Jubbling + ABC’s Wipeout + Kid Birthday Party = Inexpensive, Fun And Memorable Celebration (Redux)

Planning a birthday party and want to keep it fun and on the cheap? Wipeout birthday is the way to go. From June 2012.

The Chunnel:  Lawn chairs with torn slip-n-slide on top.

The Chunnel: Lawn chairs with torn slip-n-slide on top.

My just-turned 9 year old son absolutely loves the ABC TV show Wipeout. He loves it so much that he will setup an obstacle course around our house and completing it is the last thing he’ll do before he goes to bed.

As the birthday party planner, I would normally go the “lets see a summer movie for your party” route because it’s easy to plan, lasts 2+ hours and I can sleep through it. This year, my kid wanted a Wipeout party and mom insisted we make it happen.

Wipeout Big BallsThinking about the details and the idea of corralling and keeping 7+ plus kids interested kept me awake the night before the party. How do you duplicate the Big Balls from the TV show? Then I realized that we just need keep it simple and we could reuse items we already own to create the course. So we thought of the things kids like to do/not do and we went through our house and yard looking for stuff to build the obstacle course.

The first obstacle was the dress up station where the kids had to put on a Farrah Fawcett wig, Army coat, pink-studded belt [all from our Halloween costume box and not my closet] and then do the hula hoop.

The grass is hot lava obstacle.

The grass is hot lava obstacle.

The next was the hula hoop (instead of tires) course that the kids had to run through, hop back and then run through again. The kids then had to traverse the rope crossing and not touch the grass – our poor man’s Big Balls. Four more obstacles completed the course.

After cake and presents, we had the kids run through it one more time and we added the water factor to complicate the course. Each race was timed and at the end, we gave small prizes to the winners. Total investment: about $25. We could’ve done it for nothing but we’re beginners as Wipeout party planners.

So if you’re planning a party soon, remember to keep it simple, accept help and try to reuse stuff you already own. It’ll Jubblingly keep the cost down and won’t affect the fun. And if possible, limit the party to 2 hours. Sub 10-year old boys can only keep it together for about that long before they start hurting each other.

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CTA Digital Makes An iPotty For Adults: Holds iPad And Toilet Paper Roll And Is Just As Unnecessary.

CTA Digital, makers of the iPotty

Kid sitting on an iPotty iPad holding training toilet.

… now bring you the Pedestal Stand for iPad with Roll Holder for adults.

iPad and toilet paper roll holder.
Somewhere in the world, there’s a factory worker assembling this wasteful shit who can’t stop shaking their head.

Creating a product to hold an iPad in the shitter wasn’t necessary for our kids and still isn’t necessary for adults. [Gizmodo]

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