No Ordinary Dormitory
I always thought living in a dorm must be a really cool experience. Never mind that I saved a bundle by living at home while going to school, got to tap my parents for feedback on my work at a moment’s notice, and didn’t have to put up with noisy and / or smelly roommates – there is still something kind of appealing to my brainwashed-by-American-TV mind about getting thrown into the mix with a bunch of strangers that will hopefully quickly evolve into friends. And if you’re currently sitting in a dorm room or boarding house room reading this, let me tell you that one surefire way to buddy up really quickly is to have a must-visit room. Luckily for you, the folks at Quirky have made that goal oh-so-achievable with their affordable and clever products. Parents take note – these are great to gift the kids with when they come home at Thanksgiving or Christmas as well!
Cargo – $11.99
Much has been made of the whole communal bathrooms aspect of sharing a space – particularly in dorm land. If you want to keep your goods organized and ready to go, consider snapping up Cargo, a flexible basket that can hold oodles of stuff – including your razor, hair products, and shaving cream – so you can wash out last night’s party grease in a rush before hitting up class. It also comes with five flex-use bungee cords, allowing you to tack on extra items like a pair of must-have shower shoes, hair elastics, or a brush. The hole-y design is genius for quickly draining water and keeping your goods from getting grimy. Finally, it also works well if you’re currently splitting an apartment with a pal and don’t want to clutter up the bathroom. Be the better roommate!
Pen Zen – $19.99
Forget dorms – this funky gadget organizer would look sleek on just about anyone’s desk. The flexible teeth-style holder bars no writing utensil regardless of height or width (you can flip the thing vertically if your favourite brush or pen looks like it’ll topple over), while the magnetic sides make it easy to keep track of paper and binder clips. Extra kudos goes to Quirky for producing this product in eco-friendly and ultra-trendy bamboo – you can feel green when gifting this to your favourite student, creative type, or desk jockey.
Props – $5.99
Consider this a strong contender to hand out to your dormmates come that holiday Secret Santa gift exchange. Inspired by ‘croakies’, an American-based term for sunglasses chains, this thin strand wraps around the back of your neck for you to slide your favourite ear bud cords through. Next time you’re interrupted while studying with your favourite tunes going full blast, don’t risk fumbling around and dropping your headphones – simply pop them out of your ears and let Props hold ‘em for you until your conversation is done. Super affordable, simple purpose, multiple uses – from the bus to the gym to your bed.
Unhampered – $29.99
It’s the strangest things we often overlook when planning our packing list for moving out or back to school. Case in point? I rushed out and bought a laundry basket the day I realized I needed one, and not a moment sooner. Don’t get caught in a similarly sticky situation – Unhampered is a genius solution that takes up next to no space (less than 2 inches) when folded up, making it perfect for tight living situations. Of course, it’s not enough to simply be an unfolding bin. This lightweight bin also has multiple compartments so you can easily sort your whites, colours, and delicates before hitting the laundry room. Works really well for anyone with a communal washing area – from apartment dwellers to dorm room co-eds.
PowerCurl – $12.99
Now this one is a gift idea after my own heart, as I type this post on a MacBook. For any Apple fanatics out there, this simple device lets you wrap that pesky, ultra-long white power cord so it doesn’t get tangled up or run over by your desk chair (guilty as charged). What’s extra neat is the dual cord compartments that allow you to keep the laptop end and the wall outlet end separate – so you can unwind either side as needed as you pop from workplace to workplace. Works great for freelancers or those known to take their laptops on the go, or even just students who are always looking for a new place to inspire their brains.
Can I just point out quickly how cool Quirky is again? If you weren’t around the last time I wrote about ‘em, then you probably don’t know that they are the world’s premiere social product development site, where you can weigh in on dozens of cool inventions on everything from their price and colour to whether or not they actually get made into products. And if you’ve got a brilliant idea of your own – submit it! The guy who invented the PowerCurl above has been paid out over $87,000 for his successful invention, all for submitting a cool idea to a great site. You can order Quirky products online and get them shipped to Canada, but I’ve also seen them pop up at places like Bed, Bath & Beyond (note: pricing is probably a little different when you buy from retailers directly).
If you’re feeling like you could use a little reorganization in your home – dorm-sized or not – you’re in luck. Three readers are in the running to either win Cargo, Pen Zen, or Unhampered. All you gotta to do enter is:
1) Leave a comment by September 29th telling me which of these five fab inventions you’d most like to see in your home & why.
2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around September 30th to select the winner, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.
3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible to participate in this promotion.
4) Bonus Entry: Pin (via Pinterest) any or all of these five finds to earn up to 5 Bonus Entries! Leave a link to the Pins or the Pinboard they’re on to earn your bonus points.