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Tech House / Gadgets that maximize space

Use spaces more efficiently with innovative products

Quick Peek Smart Storage Labels from Bluelounge use scannable codes to work with a Quick Peek smartphone app

Images courtesy of vendors


Choosing to downsize one’s living space or even just get rid of extraneous items often stems from a desire to live more sustainably. Adjusting to a smaller space can be challenging, but innovative products, digital and otherwise, can help those in smaller abodes use their spaces more efficiently.



The Pocket Shelf mounts to most wall surfaces and folds out to provide users with a four-by-six-inch space for a baby monitor, small speaker, framed photograph, etc. Adhesive strips quickly attach the Pocket Shelf to a wall, and support wings provide additional structural integrity. If owners want to move the Pocket Shelf or take it traveling, the adhesive strip can be removed without damaging the wall. (thepocketshelf.com; $7.49 and up)



For more shelving space, Goggliere Telescopic Tiered Storage Racks are constructed from carbon steel and ABS plastic to provide hardness and durability to hold loads weighing up to fifty-five pounds. The telescopic racks slide out and can provide anywhere from 110 to 210 square inches of shelf; the telescopic rods can also be used to hang clothes. The ends of the storage racks include scrub pads to increase friction, which helps hold the rack in place. (amazon.com; $39.99)



The HDE Portable Elastic Clothesline stretches to up to ten feet, and includes twelve clips from which to hang wet clothes. Even dryer owners can benefit from this tool if laundry loads are large, or they’re seeking to cut down on electricity bills. The clothesline can be used indoors and out (which makes it useful for camping, too). (shophde.com; $15.99)



Space eaten up by shoes can be reclaimed with the Cozywell Wall Mounted Shoe Rack, also constructed of durable ABS plastic, Each rack gets a pair of sneakers, shoes, or slippers off the ground, and gives back an approximate square foot of space. A strong 3M foam adhesive maintains a strong mount without nails; replace the 3M foam to recycle the racks for installation in a new space. (amazon.com; $11.99 for six pack)



Storing items in boxes in a basement or closet can reduce clutter, but when you need to retrieve a particular project or office supply, it can be hard to remember which box it’s in. Quick Peek Smart Storage Labels from Bluelounge have the answer: these adhesive labels use scannable codes to work with a Quick Peek smartphone app. Scan the code, and the app retrieves information and any saved images of the box’s contents, which makes finding anything a snap. (bluelounge.com; $9.95 for 32 pack)



Although the pickup storage service Clutter does not yet serve Western New York, local downsizing enthusiasts may want to pay attention to the nationwide rollout of this app-based service. Clutter, which serves many California cities as well as Chicago and New York, uses an app for scheduling pickup of items for storage; after pickup, they’re transported to secure warehouse with 24/7 surveillance. Pricing for Clutter’s service depends on number of items and months stored (most plans require a twelve-month minimum). (clutter.com)



Gather, the modular desk organizer that began shipping in December, consists of a walnut or maple wooden base with grooves to secure desk organizing components in various configurations. Basic Gather components include a small tray, large tray, pen holder, Post-It holder, and phone holder. Extension options include a coaster and headphone stand that magnetically attaches to the main Gather base. (indiegogo.com; $109)



When kitchen counter and storage space has been reduced, the FreshGadgetz Multipurpose Kitchen Bin kit stores nine kitchen tools in a container the size—and shape—of a large wine bottle. The stacked middle of the Kitchen Bin holds a lemon squeezer, spice grater, egg masher, cheese grater, jar opener; and egg separator; the top can be converted into either a flower vase or funnel, while the bottom is a measuring cup, complete with markings. (amazon.com; $14.99)



Another tool that maximizes counter space is the Good Cooking Over the Sink Cutting Board, an extendable unit that turns the kitchen sink into extra counter space for food prep. The cutting board is composed of silicone and polypropylene, both of which are food grade and BPA- and phthalate-free, and includes a removable colander with a stainless steel rim for rinsing chopped food clean. (amazon.com; $27.95)



Home décor that doubles as storage is another downsizing trick, and the Industrial Storage Coffee Table from West Elm is a perfect example. The simple, attractive table offers ample interior storage space for books, office supplies, keepsakes, and other items to keep out of sight. The interior compartment of the smaller of the two available coffee table models is thirty-two inches wide, seventeen-and-three-quarter inches tall, and twenty-six inches deep. One can access the interior without clearing the tabletop, which leaves coffee cups and other items undisturbed. (westelm.com; $599 and up)


Steve Brachmann writes on technology, business, and legal topics for IPWatchdog.com, a blog focused on intellectual property law. Locally, he has also written for the Buffalo News and Hamburg Sun. He lives in Allentown.


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