Monthly Archives: April 2013

MYO/DIY/PIT Towel Rails for Serial Renters and Nazi Landlords

If you are looking to install some extra towel rails and 3 or more of the following apply to you –

  1. You are a renter.
  2. Your landlord won’t allow holes in the wall.
  3. In fact, your landlord is Hitler reincarnate that will cast their eyes over every inch of the house looking for screw holes to hold your bond to ransom.
  4. Don’t have any power tools.
  5. Don’t mind when function trumps fashion.
  6. Like the idea of ‘efficient use of space’.
  7. Like convenience & simplicity.
  8. Would like to feel productive today.
  9. Prefers simple over complex.
  10. Likes cheap but prefers classy.
  11. Was never taught how to tie a bowline, an easy-release knot or the use of rope as a pulley and would like to learn.
  12. Knows that by learning the above they are learning the often forgotten art of pioneering.
  13. Want to have the option of adding your own personal touch.
  14. Trying to save money.
  15. Hate wasting money.
  16. Knows ingenious when they see it.
  17. Wants towel rails that can be easily put up, removed and reused over and over again.
  18. Wants a towel rail that is multi-functional.
  19. Can spare 5 minutes of your time.

… then I have just the towel rail you are looking for.

Frugalites, I call this the ‘Renters Towel Rail Delight’

 

I call it the ‘Renters Towel Rail Delight’ because its main selling point is that it doesn’t rely on any permanent fixings and it can be put up, removed and reused over and over and over and over again. Once you’ve installed one, you will likely develop OCD and try to put it up everywhere… so don’t say I didn’t warn you J

All that is required is brickies line (about $5) which you can get at any handyman store and some spacer blocks. I’ve chosen to use some scrap ply that I had lying around, but you could really use whatever it is around you as a spacer. If you wanted a rustic look, you could perhaps use some broken tree branch with the diameter of your liking and cut them up into little blocks. If you don’t know how to saw wood you could just as easily scrunch up some newspaper and use that as a spacer. If you like the touch of fabric, use that. If you wanted to make it look interesting, just go into a thrifty store (e.g. salvos or vinnies) and pick something that’s to your fancy. Really, the sky is the limit with this one.

Once you have the above at your disposal, it’s time to put it together.

Here you will roughly cut to length your brickes line, about 2.5 widths of your door. On one end you will tie a bowline. Why a bowline? See dot point 11 & 12 above. The bowline is one of the most useful knots you will ever learn, the main advantage of a bowline is being able to tie a fixed loop to whatever size you want and that can be easily undone. Once you’ve tied a bowline on one end you simply wrap it around the door to your desired height. Now all you got to do is tie it off. It needs to be tight and you want to tie it off with a knot that can be easily undone.

If you leave the as it is, you can basically use it as a way to hang postcards and sheets of paper – see below.

Before you add the spacer blocks you will need to cut a notch on the side so that it ‘catches’ the line. A hacksaw for this works best and has just the right size kerf to hold the brickies line.

…and voila!… you have your first frugalman towel rail! J

…frugalman towel rail won’t stop your door from closing J

…comes double sided too! J

…did I mention they make great racks for your pot lids as well… J

 

The Slimmest Wallet in the World.

Lately I’ve been bombarded by these Bellroy Slim Leather Wallets ads… quite annoying because their wallets aren’t that different to any other slim leather wallet I’ve seen at your average department store, at nearly $80 pop it’s actually more expensive and when I compare it to my very own wallet, mine can only be described as anorexic and beyond cheap, but hey they do have good marketing – that I’m willing to give credit for. So it got me thinking if there were other companies out there marketing their wallets from the same angle and perhaps offering something revolutionary that I haven’t seen before.

I did some desktop research for “slim wallets” and I have to say it’s a fairly competitive market. There are a lot of established wallet companies that have since added a slim wallet line up. Interesting to me though was the half dozen or so new niche wallet companies out there that are simply marketing it from this one angle one design slim wallet concept. Many of them seem to have had their beginnings on kickstarter as well.

So in summary of my research I found the following slim/thin wallets available –

  1.  


     

  2. The Big Skinny Wallet – Around $25 various designs

     


     

  3.  


     

  4.  


  5.  


     

     

  6. The Supr Slim Wallet – TBA not available yet as of this posting.

     


     

  7. And the list goes on and on…

Now, I don’t own any of the above wallets, probably never will, so I’ll just comment on the design without mentioning its usability. In terms of revolutionary design it all but eliminates Koyono and Supr Wallets. All the others still look like a normal wallet. In the case of the slimfold and big skinny the tradeoff by being slim is that they are big which depending on tastes can detract from the intent of having a slim wallet in the first place. The Koyono is revolutionary purely based on the fact that it is open on two adjacent sides of a rectangle. It supposedly relies on the friction of the flaps to ‘keep it together’. The Supr wallet is revolutionary in its simplicity and choice of material – a small elastic pocket and nothing else. The Supr wallet could have easily been made with any other flash material, but I think the choice to use an elastic material is genius because it expands with the number cards you put in and it will always remain ‘tight’.

In light of the above if I ever had to choose, which I wouldn’t because I’m quite content with my own wallet, but if I did, I would probably pick the Supr Wallet, purely and simply because its design is most similar with my own.

All this leads me to the wallet that I actually use and our first Frugalman hack <drum roll please>…


I call it the $3.48 Brocollini Wallet –


…also known as the 3B Wallet for short… get it! 🙂

Is the 3B Wallet revolutionary? Not really… it’s just a rubber band upcycled. It’s what I call ol’skool. Your grandfather probably had something similar though back in the day they it was all cash –


Well it worked for your grandfather and I can say with great satisfaction that it still works today for your cards. What’s more it will actually work with both cards and cash combined, though it does exclude the use of coins. I don’t have a photo to show you but you simply fold the cash in half and slip it in between the cards that you have. If you only have 4 cards like I do, it means you will have 3 ‘pockets’ to fold your cash into. The rubber band may not look like a lot but it works magnificently to keep your cards/cash together and provides enough pressure to ‘keep it all together’ securely. I’ve been using my 3B Wallet for the last 12+ months (before that I was just using a stationary bulldog clip, but I found the hardness of the clip uncomfortable while sitting down) and I have never had any card or any cash for that matter slip out. For those who think it is not secure enough, you can either trust me or just try it for yourself. It really does hold it all together.

The ease of use is also another added benefit; however it does require you to use it in a certain way, a bit like learning how to use a zippo lighter, there is without doubt an art to it. Once you get it, it is both satisfying and liberating. As the saying goes the more knowledge you have the less you carry. Photos won’t do it justice and what will take a 1000 words to describe to you on how to use it, I am better off at just shooting a Youtube video to demonstrate it… So watch this space.

There are a couple of things to point out that will help you transition from a Costanza wallet servant to someone who is a skillfully trained 3B Wallet master –

  1. Learn to use less cards.

    In my 3B Wallet I have 4 cards, a proximity card for work, a personal credit card, a shared debit card with my partner, and a driver’s license. I’ve come to realize that I don’t need anything else. I used to have a rewards cards but I was able to obtain the key ring version instead. If I needed to go to the library then and only then would I bring my library card. It all has to do with how you arrange your cards with your lifestyle. So the first step is to learn to use less cards and only include the day to day cards in your 3B Wallet, alternatively consolidate all your credit cards into one. Now, this is not to say that your 3B Wallet can’t hold no more than 4 cards, to the contrary the 3B Wallet can hold as many cards as you can throw at it. In this sense it is similar to the Supr Wallet in that it will expand with the number of cards you put in and because of its elasticity it will still keep everything together and keep it tight. Most rubber bands are natural and one advantage of this over the Supr Wallet is that it has superior elasticity and the ability to remain elastic longer than stretch fabrics.

     

  2. Learn to hold coins in the pocket of your pants.

    Like learning to ride a bike or artfully using a zippo lighter, using a 3B Wallet will take some practice so that you don’t look like a fool at the counter. As mentioned already, it doesn’t accept coins for very obvious reasons. What this means is that upon receiving loose change, you will need to put it into your clothes pocket or simply take the charitable approach and drop it into a donation bin. Even better, you can simply learn to reduce loose change simply by transacting less with cash. In today’s world nearly all retailers provide credit/debit card transactions, most retailers even sport the new pay wave technology where you just hold your card up to the sensor to complete the transaction.

The function and performance of your wallet is related to how well it is able to keep your monetary instruments together, a traditional wallet certainly achieves that, however, what a 3B Wallet does is that it achieves the same thing with less. So rather than putting your monetary instruments in a pocket (which in essence is what your wallet is) and then putting it into another pocket, the 3B Wallet simply ties your cash/cards together with the bare minimum so that ultimately you not only will have the slimmest wallet you will also have the slimmest pockets.

Based on –

  1. Cost – $3.48 AUD (cheaper when in season)
  2. Health benefits – did you know that it can help prevent macular degeneration!
  3. Functionality
  4. Artfulness – takes practice and something to be proud of.
  5. Zen-like aesthetics – This is one of the easiest ways I know to become more Zen-like. It doesn’t get simpler than this.
  6. Comfort – there is nothing ‘hard’ about it; and
  7. Philosophical satisfaction – You’ve just read it

I’m not sure Frugalman can use anything but a 3B Wallet. It is without doubt the slimmest wallet in the world.

When something is free and can achieve the same compared to a bought item, take free.

***I’m almost tempted to set up a kickstarter project for my 3B Wallet as a parody… and what a lovely way to spread some broccolini love at the same time***