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Space Saving Technologies for the Home? 156

An anonymous reader asks: "My wife & I are moving from an 1800 square foot apartment to a 900 square foot apartment this weekend. In order to keep our one size extravagance, a 6' x 6' table, we need to make some compromises. What can I do to solve this problem? What other great space-saving solutions with technology are there?"
"The first compromise we've made is books. All of my O'Reilly books, and any other book that we can access on Safari is being given away or sold. I've also gotten rid of my outdated tech manuals, except for the VMS books, and historically significant UNIX books.

I've also disposed of all my desktops. My wife is keeping hers, but all I really need is a portable laptop stand which can mount an LCD screen, and my PowerBook.

Now comes the Living Room -- our entertainment center takes up way too much space. 400 DVDs, 100 videos, and countless CDs. We're going to rip all of the CDs, for sure. We're also going to get rid of our television and replace it with a wall-mounted LCD.

This leaves an important question: Digital Media Centers. I've seen a lot of half-there DIY digital media centers involving MythTV or Windows Media Center Edition. I just haven't seen the right solution. The right solution to me needs to allow me to easily rip and encode (though I'd be happy just ripping, because I don't want to sacrifice quality for space. I have 10 400GB hard drives laying in my office waiting for a use)."
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Space Saving Technologies for the Home?

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  • by rueger ( 210566 ) * on Thursday September 15, 2005 @07:48PM (#13571688) Homepage
    Having just moved from a three bedroom house to a one bedroom apartment, I can tell you that you best choice is to just get rid of as much stuff as you can.

    Books, records, old software, old computers.... there is no end of stuff that seems too good to lose that in fact you can toss easily.

    If it can be easily replaced, sell it at a yard sale, on e-bay, or just give it to friends with less means that yourself. If you haven't used in it in a year, toss it out.

    Hell, I've given away cars in the past, and a seven foot aluminum stepladder today. The more that you do it, the ,more fun it is.

    Really, any of us have about 300% more stuff than we really need.
    • by Basje ( 26968 )
      Hear hear. I've been homeless for the last three months, moving from place to place. I live out of a suitcase and the trunk of my car. All the other stuff is not neccessary.

      But although it is not neccessary, I still miss it sometimes. It's nice to have a place of your own with things that are not neccessary. I will be happy when my new home is finished, but I expect to have a lot of free space for the first year or so.
      • Pretend its a dorm room and loft your bed. This may seem awkward if you only have a single, larger bed (as I assume you and your wife do) but if you have a queen size bed and build a sturdy loft for it, you could have a nice entertainment area below. There would definately be room for a TV on the wall with all its associated parts and a small couch at the foot of hte bed. Since you would probobly be sitting to watch TV, you wouldnt have to loft the bed as high up as normal.

        Its extreme, its radical but

    • I've given away cars in the past,

      Me too, a 1973 Dodge Dart with the 318 V8. I gave it to my girlfriend's uncle, who used it to go hunting. It was so rusty the roof columns broke and the roof fell in. It's probably still there in the woods, living as a convertible...

      Back to topic, I recently moved from a two bedroom apartment to a five room apartment, and never felt so good in my life. I now have a bedroom, computer room, electronics shop, music and reading room, and gym. Giving old things away is OK, but h

      • Giving old things away is OK, but having living space is essential to one's personal well-being.

        I disagree. I live in a one-bedroom apartment with a lousy 600 square feet. The only things it has going for it are the neighborhood (great), the private driveway (it's a garage apartment -- only share the driveway with my landlord), the lack of neighbors and the cheap ass municipal electricity.

        I would love a second bedroom. But I love the money I am saving even more. Given the choice between having extra

    • I second this. Get rid of as much stuff as you don't need or use. We encourage our kids to routinely give away slightly worn toys to the less fortunate, particularly when they are about to get new ones at birthdays and Christmas. Books are another area, particularly text, and reference books. Keep a few things of sentimental value, and ditch the rest. Who needs old reference books with the Internet at hand?

      On the ripping media front, I'm struggling to build a thin MythTV client around an Via EPIA nano-ITX

  • make as small a footprint as possible, and then stack as much shit as you can. Drawers are you friend.
    • Re:Stacking (Score:4, Interesting)

      by toddbu ( 748790 ) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @07:58PM (#13571750)
      Drawers are you friend.

      As are storage lockers and safe deposit boxes. Personally, I recommend evaluating stuff to see if you really need it. When I had an office, I had a 30 day rule. If I didn't touch it in 30 days, it was gone. It worked really well, and I had virtually nothing in my office.

      • Does this mean i Have to throw out my monitor? I haven't touched it in 2 months >.>
      • It worked really well, and I had virtually nothing in my office.
        Was it a virtual office???
        • Since it was a real office, having 'virtually nothing' in it means that he imagined it to be an empty space. Reality never was allowed to intrude upon this view, so the fact he couldn't open the door to get into the office means nothing...
          • Actually, I had the reverse problem. I had one chair, one small desk that I put rollers on, a desktop PC on the floor, a small roller cabinet in the corner, and a chair. I docked my laptop on my desk for a second machine. I could push everything to the wall in about 30 seconds. But this created a real problem for me. When I'd step out for a break, people would move into my office for meetings because it was the only free space in the building. :-)
      • If I didn't touch it in 30 days, it was gone.

        Yeah, but I'm still like the old girl.

        I didn't say that.
      • When I had an office, I had a 30 day rule. If I didn't touch it in 30 days, it was gone. It worked really well, and I had virtually nothing in my office.

        I tried that too. That worked well until I got audited.
    • Re:Stacking (Score:2, Informative)

      by D'Sphitz ( 699604 )
      Drawers are ok for small crap, but shelving is great if you're not worried about aesthetics. I have a small apartment, but I like my stuff. I have twelve 6' utility shelves lining the walls and four 4' in the closets. They're pretty cheap ($20ish each at WalMart) and everything has a place, figure i've probably quadrupled the storage capacity of this apartment.
  • Table (Score:4, Funny)

    by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @07:52PM (#13571707)
    Okay... think logically here.. What do you need a 6x6 table for?

    I specifically avoided having a table or a sofa in my (1,100 square foot) apartment. Those two items would take up the whole damn place. Instead, I have a treadmill, widescreen projector HDTV and a huge cheap desk with rows of computers.

    I can't figure what you'd use a table for that you couldn't use something else (that takes up less space) for...?
    • Re:Table (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JabberWokky ( 19442 )
      It could easily be a heirloom or favorite piece. My Mom had a rocking chair for decades that was one of the only things that survived a childhood fire when she was 16. She rocked all her kids in it. It hardly fit in with the decor, but it had history. She let it go when it ceased being useful (started falling apart), but there were entire rooms of furniture that came and went before the rocking chair left the house.

      It could be just that they like it, but having a core piece of furniture that you are at

      • Re:Table (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @08:51PM (#13572077)
        I don't think it's very likely that a dude is going to have much sentimental attachment to a piece of furniture (unless it's a lazy-boy). I could be wrong, but that's been my experience.

        People just collect too much crap. If you get rid of the crap you don't need (I have a huge DVD collection that I'm getting rid of, because it makes no sense to take up a whole wall to store them when I have already watched them and will probably never watch them again!). Keep a few of yoru most favorite DVDs (say, your Monty Python's Flying Circus collection and your Black Adder collection and your copy of Equilibrium and Brazil) but get rid of the crap. Are you seriously going to watch Red Dawn again? Or Romeo Must Die?!

        And for furniture.. well... don't be sentimental and don't be concerned with having to have what you are told everyone has to have by a certain age. Just because they tell you everyone should have a house, a picket fence, a dog, a sofa, a loveseat, a dining table, four chairs, a bed, two end tables, lamps, nightstand, armoire, phone stand, entertainment stand, hallway table, throw-rug, paintings on the walls and a rocking chair doesn't mean you need them or that you even want them. Get rid of the crap that makes people think you're "all grown up now" and keep the crap that you ENJOY and **USE**.

        Everything should be disposable in your mind, so that you can dispose of it when it has served it's purpose. Otherwise you're going to just let material goods run your life. You can't throw something away, because you might need it later. You might watch that DVD again in the next ten years even though you haven't in the last five. You might need that weird AC/DC adapter even though you have 14 of them in a plastic bag in an old cardboard box and you don't know what any of them go to. You might need that old $10 phone from Target that is taking up a bunch of space in a drawer. You just never know! Better keep it all!

        Then again, I'm not one of those people who like the "cozy" and "cramped" feeling. My home is very stark. Nothing on the walls. No paintings, posters, pictures. Nothing. No throw rugs on the floor. No decorative anything. I have a plain shower curtain. I have plain desks with my computers on them. I have a plain lamp for light. And a treadmill and a cat-tree thing. And then my big TV. That's it. You could roll around on the floor all day and not feel the need for more space.

        Even now, I'd rather have less stuff. Lighter stuff. Ideally, you'd have things in such a way that if you had to pick up and leave and never come back, you could do it all in one day - from packing to cleaning to shipping to physically leaving.
        • I don't think it's very likely that a dude is going to have much sentimental attachment to a piece of furniture (unless it's a lazy-boy).

          That's funny- because of my favorite three pieces that I AM attached to, one's a combination lamp table, one's a rocker, and the third is- a lazy boy. They originally belonged to, before deaths, my paternal grandmother, my wife's mother, and my wife's grandmother, in the same order.

          In fact, when Christopher plays on the rocker, we call it "rocking with Grandma Joyce" b
        • Re:Table (Score:3, Funny)

          by hoggoth ( 414195 )
          > Then again, I'm not one of those people who like the "cozy" and "cramped" feeling. My home is very stark

          I moved into a new apartment and after living there for 2 months, the landlord came over took a look around and said, 'whats going on? why haven't you moved in yet?'

        • Are you seriously going to watch Red Dawn again?

        • Re:Table (Score:4, Insightful)

          by JabberWokky ( 19442 ) <> on Thursday September 15, 2005 @10:39PM (#13572680) Homepage Journal
          And I just finished washing my hands from fashioning a Klingon wall hanging from a block of cardboard from an old three ring binder, a strip of natural muslin (I have a couple bolts, as a minimum of several yards get used each month), waxed thread off a spool (I have a dozen spools of various colors), and industrial tile (which I also use to cover my work area to protect it from scratches and as palettes when painting). To decorate I used a black Sharpie and watercolor on the muslin, and acrylic paint (indian red, gold and vermilion) on the hanging tiles.

          Tools used were a two inch brush (oh, I have a pot of watered down glue which I keep on hand; I also used it to bind a book earlier in the day), a couple other brushes, a razor blade, a sharpened screwdriver (to score the tile), a pair of needle nose pliers, some sandpaper, and a Dremel powertool (to drill out the holes for the lacing in the tiles). Plus a pushpin to pop the holes in the muslin covered cardboard. Oh, and a pencil and artist's eraser to sketch out the symbol before I painted it.

          That's a hell of a chunk of stuff... and I pulled it all out of boxes on shelves above my desk.

          I dislike a cozy feeling as well -- my living room has a few pieces of furniture and that is *it*. Even in my office, I have a wall of tools and boxes and another wall with a window and almost nothing else. It's where I face when I'm using my laptop. But at the same time, my hobbies do require a good chunk of "stuff", both tools and raw materials.

          I can play music on just a guitar. It's nice, and that bit of wood and wire is all I need. But when I build an entire set of props for a stage production, I need a bunch of "stuff". I have indexed and labeled boxes full of various odds and ends, and it generally winds up getting used. I occasionally even pick up stuff on the ground when walking around -- a beat up hubcap that I found in the gutter became, a bit of clay and a mold casting later, the emblem on a guitar case.

          I hate pack ratting... I am very aggressive when cleaning out the pantry, the bookshelves, my bedroom (one bed, one chest of drawers, two side tables with one lamp each, one cage full of mice). But I do have a ton of stuff useful for art and stage: foam heads with wigs in one closet, power tools in the basement, another closet full of fabric.

          Don't equate "stuff" with material goods -- it is the useless stuff that are the only things that weigh you down. And the attachment to things that can be replaced (and almost everything can be replaced). I've moved cross country twice in the past few years and dropped quite a bit of stuff in each move. But I immediately start building up a storehouse of useful items.

          Because it's not the items that are bad - it's how you feel about them and what you do with them. A football player needs a football. A musician needs an instrument. And other people wind up needing a bunch of stuff that is another man's garbage. The researcher needs their pile of books. The working musician needs a pile of gear. Stuff is not, in and of itself, bad.


        • Re:Table (Score:2, Interesting)

          by FLEB ( 312391 )

          Me? I like my crap.

          Although I do agree that one has to take the hobby of crap-collection as a casual thing, not a critical, life-warping obsession, there can be a joy, akin to any other cosmically-useless life endeavor, in getting and displaying new and interesting junk.

          I'm a garage-sale fanatic, specializing in the little things that society rarely lets commoners buy on the open market (or, at least, things with that general vibe). I enjoy inspiring "WTF?".

          My apartment is pretty much bursting
          • The image of your telephones ringing made me laugh.

            I showed my wife your post because we have collections of everything. We have not yet unpacked from moving into a bigger house last year. I actually have about 12 unopened boxes behind me in my home office right now.

            I want to sell or give away the stuff I will never use (like the six Dell desktops behind me), but some stuff I just have to keep or even get more of. We collect books, the older the better. I like technical manuals and maps. I also like foreign
    • Re:Table (Score:3, Insightful)

      by foniksonik ( 573572 )
      Here's something it sounds like you may never have GUESTS!

      (or a social life but I won't mince words here)

      Sometimes it's nice to have a clean open space to sit down and actually enjoy a meal or conversation with friends without having to plop them in front of the boob tube or cram them in fold out chairs between your server racks... gah!

    • Sheesh, think man; how else is he going to play those large Warhammer (or other tabletop genre) games?
  • My story. (Score:5, Funny)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Thursday September 15, 2005 @07:52PM (#13571708) Homepage Journal

    When I got my divorce the ~2200 ft^2 here got a lot bigger. Food costs went down by about 80% too.
  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> on Thursday September 15, 2005 @07:53PM (#13571715) Homepage Journal
    Put this on your action item list:


    Just blow it all up.
    • by smithmc ( 451373 ) * on Thursday September 15, 2005 @09:34PM (#13572310) Journal

      The first rule of optimizing your living space is that you do not talk about optimizing your living space. The second rule of...
    • I think you're right. I didn't get any sleep last night because I had to run an update of gentoo, because the compiler segfaulted when compiling an update of firefox. If I didn't have a computer, I would have slept happily through the night, and be in a well-rested state at the moment. Sure I like owning and using these things, but that doesn't stop them from making my life, quite possibly, worse off.
  • Just mail out some of those 400gb drives. I'll be glad to free up some space for you. Every little bit helps, right?

    See, we're here to help!

  • random ideas (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fred fleenblat ( 463628 ) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @08:01PM (#13571767) Homepage
    If you want to keep some of your stuff but don't necessarily need access to it on a daily basis you might want to get a public storage locker.

    Another thing you can do is put stuff up on ebay and make money while you gradually clear out your stuff.

    Lose the 6x6 table (or uncrew the legs and put it in the aforementioned storage); a 3x5 footer can fit against a wall when you don't have company over.

    When I do spring cleaning I look at something and try to decide if I've actually used it in the last year. If not, out it goes.
  • by meckhert ( 186609 ) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @08:02PM (#13571775) Homepage Journal
    Look into a new invention called a "dumpster". I hear that its a great way to make room!
    • No, no, no...

      All too often, that just ends up in an 1:1 or worse deposit/withdrawal situation (assuming a low-organic-content Dumpster, of course).
  • I got some steel shelving at Sam's Club for about $60. It's got 6 shelves and each are supposed to be able to support 200lbs.

    It also has wheels. Wheee!
  • by mcgroarty ( 633843 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {ytraorgcm.nairb}> on Thursday September 15, 2005 @08:05PM (#13571787) Homepage
    The best technology money can buy:

    A $30/mo storage locker and a push cart.

    Stick all you can in the storage locker. Anything you haven't gone and retrieved in a year's time goes on the push cart whenever the Salvation Army is ready for you.

  • by OneDeeTenTee ( 780300 ) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @08:05PM (#13571790)
    Measure the table in meters to make it smaller.

    Measure the apartment in centimeters to make it bigger.

  • Yup, that's the ticket. Variable gravity!
  • by whydna ( 9312 ) <whydna@hotmai l . c om> on Thursday September 15, 2005 @08:08PM (#13571813)
    Having slowly moved in the other direction - dorm room to apartment with roommmates to 700 sqft "1+den" aparment to the 850 sqft 2 bedroom condo that I own now - I can tell you that it's all just a matter of planning and organization. Living in small spaces is a matter of efficiently using the space that you have. The gotcha, of course, is doing this while not making your place feel cramped.

    Everything has a place. Make sure that everything you own has a place. In small spaces, sometimes you have to sacrifice a little bit of "logical placement" for some "practical placement". For example, I have my pile of extra batteries and spare lightbulbs in a drawer in the nightstand of my bedroom. Does this make sense? Not really; they should probably be in a utility closet or something, but, they fit well there and there was nothing else using that space. The important part is that they've got a place and they're not cluttering up another area.

    Efficient use of furniture. When possible try to use furniture that has built-in storage. For example, an end table with a drawer or two can be really useful for storing all sorts of things. Think in 3D. If a piece of furniture is occupying some of your precious square-footage, try to make the best possible use of that space. Storing infrequently used items in drawers or underneath an end-table with a table cloth over it (for example) can make a big difference.

    Shelving. You'd be amazed how much you can store on a couple of rows of shelves. If you're not storing books/trinkets or other "decorative" things, you can find wall-mounted book-cases with doors to hide your crap.

    Density. In areas that are more-or-less designated for storage (closets, etc), pack densly, but wisely. Well-labelled boxes (like shoe-boxes) can be great for storing all sorts of stuff in a dense manner.

    Organization. This one is a big one. Keeping track of where all your stuff is can be tricky. I highly recommend labelling storage containers and remembering to put back what you took out when you're done. When you're stuck in a small space, you'll be amazed how many things you own that you just don't use regularly. Keeping these things accessible but out of the way allows you to retain what you own and now feel too cluttered.
  • My wife and I did the same thing about 6 months ago.

    For a media centre we kept our VCR, and bought a Mac Mini for playing DVD's and ripped all of our audio on it. As a side benifit it also doubles as our webserver and email server.

    works great and is cheap!
  • IKEA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bruha ( 412869 ) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @08:16PM (#13571860) Homepage Journal
    Seriously they make stuff designed for small rooms or apartments.
  • Efficient furniture (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jrockway ( 229604 ) * <> on Thursday September 15, 2005 @08:16PM (#13571861) Homepage Journal
    The furniture you buy can make a huge difference in how much space you have. I live in a small apartment, and have way too many tables (because I write, do homework, tinker with electronics, have multiple computers, etc.) I made room by getting a bunk bed that doesn't have a bed on the bottom. I have my main computer desk `under' my bed, and I sleep on top.

    You can find the one I have at IKEA for $200: uctDisplay?catalogId=10101&storeId=12&productId=11 534&langId=-1&parentCats=10103*10144 []

    I also have other helpful pieces of IKEA furniture, like a $39 desk-on-wheels for my Linux desktop. It is really easy to move around, so when you have to rearrange furniture, it's not too much effort. Other things I've found helpful are shelves with partitions and things like: uctDisplay?catalogId=10101&storeId=12&langId=-1&pr oductId=15923 []

    This lets me store my junk somewhere but not have to look at it. Very helpful, and a very good looking coffee table.
    • Spend quality time meticulously planning shelving in your closets. You can get far more shelves in than you initially suspect, if you're careful about the layout. Check the "ShelfTrack"-based shelving from Closetmaid (the white wire shelving available at Home Depot) -- [] . You mount one horizontal bracket near the ceiling (i.e. on the wood of the header behind the wallboard there), and the vertical supports hang on that -- hence no searching for studs.

      Plan on shelves closer than
      • "You mount one horizontal bracket near the ceiling (i.e. on the wood of the header behind the wallboard there), and the vertical supports hang on that -- hence no searching for studs."

        Headers are only found above windows and doors. Otherwise there's just the top plate and the tie plate, a total of 3 vertical inches of wood running horizontally and part of that 3 inches is covered by the thickness of the ceiling sheetrock. There's a reason why the screw holes in the horizontal piece are 16 inches apart.

    • I made room by getting a bunk bed that doesn't have a bed on the bottom.

      Dude, you did read that he was married, didn't you?
      • Yeah, I know. But other people could have a lack of space AND a lack of people to sleep with. It is slashdot, after all :)

        Ask slashdot isn't *just* for the person asking, it's for everyone wondering about the same thing.
  • First up, media center. If you can put the drives together into a server (or at most two) that you can keep in a closet (remember to make sure it has good air circuilation) you can use a very small front end, such as a Haupauge MediaMVP that plugs into your TV and audio system to deal with most if not all your TV and Sound needs. I can't recomend it as a complete solution, as I am running into limitations with this, but you could alternatively use a laptop with s-video or dvi out, as well as an Audiology SB
  • Okay, sit back and think about this. If it takes you five minutes per CD ripped, you can rip twelve in an hour. Guessing that each CD case takes up 9 cubic inches, you're saving yourself a whopping 108 cubic inches for every hour you put into this project. You can't pack three t-shirts into 108 cubic inches. If your primary goal is to save space, this is a very inefficient way to do it.

    You can get most of the same benefit much more quickly by getting rid of the ones you're not attached to, throwing the
    • I recently ripped my 500 or so CDs. Took about 2 weeks of flipping disks when I walked by. No big deal.

      The space savings is huge though: the amp is hidden in a closet, and iTunes runs on an Airport Express. All other components are gone. I don't need to even have shelving for the CDs. Net savings is a wall-slot for a new book case.

    • For only a bit more space, you could put your CDs and DVDs in a few big CD wallets. That way you can actually find what you're looking for.
      • I have something on the order of 300-350 cds and currently keep them in large wallets while I boxed up the cases. I have to say that it drives me nuts because I can *never* remember what song is on what track of which cd.

        I am really looking forward to having them back in the cases when I am in a place with more space for shelving.
        • As a software developer you should have at least already created a database containing albums, songs, artists, etc.

          Aside: why stuck with discs? Many quality ripping programs are available.
          • I'm one of those strange people who actually likes his stereo system. The sound quality is better than what comes out of my laptop.

            Yes, I could write a database program for the albums, but I don't feel like booting up my laptop every time I want to look for a song. As far as ripping my cds goes, I don't have the storage space for that. I keep a couple of gigs worth of music on the laptop for when I'm out and use the cds for the rest.
    • You assume that, when he is ripping CDs, he can't do anything else. However, while he is unpacking the rest of his belongings, cooking dinner, etc., all he needs to do is go to his computer and pop a new one in there periodically.

      Spindles are incredibly inefficient because you can't get to individual CDs easily. He says he has "countless" CDs and 400 DVDs. Since he bothered to count the DVDs, but the CDs are too many too count, let's assume he has at least 800 CDs. That's 8 100 CD spindles (or 16 50 CD spin

  • by gfim ( 452121 ) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @09:15PM (#13572206)
    Just pile everything on the table!
    • Just pile everything on the table!

      And under it!
      Or take the legs off, strap 'em underneath the top and put the whole shebang on its side against the wall, (or hang it and call it Art! Or Woody, or whatever...)

      Now mod me funny for the punny, insightful for figuring out a functional way to get the table out of the way and informative for telling you how to do it...

      (Or mod me down just for the hell of it - I don't care - I've got karma to burn - bwaahahhahha! :)
  • There are clever hooks for hanging bicycles from ceilings. Maybe you have room to hang your bike near your doorway, without impeding pedestrian traffic?

    Do you have a stool, or two or three step, step ladder? Then you could mount some shelves at that height.

  • I recently went through a similar experience. I moved from a 2500sqft apartment to one just under 800sqft a few months ago.

    I have 3 recommendations:
    -think vertical. i know IKEA has been recommended to death, but really, they are a good option there. Cheap stuff, modular, and most of their collections can give you storage units that are 7-8 feet tall. Besides, it all looks fine from 10 feet away.
    -rent a storage unit. I rented a 10x19 for $75/month and I think of it as a second closet... that I have t
  • by Anonymous Coward

    We're going to rip all of the CDs, for sure.

    Shameless filthy hippy pirate detected. DEPLOY LAWYERBOTS.

    Mr. Anonymous (if that's your real name), prepare to be sued. I'm sure our settlement proposal will help you decrease the number of possessions you have to deal with.

    Mwah ha ha ha! EVIL PIRATE!

  • Dollar Tree sells smallish (6"x10" or so) interlocking plastic crates. These crates can store 11 standard sized DVDs cases per crate.

    Don't buy those fancy grooved CD towers, get one that goes up six feet or more and only has rails and shelves to store all your music and installable medium (no wasted space, minimum footprint). You can get thin jewel cases for single disks and you can also find up to 4-CD standard size jewelcases for your multi-disk software sets.

    Ceral boxes are great to store your comic

  • milk crates, put stuff in 'em and stack those bitches up. very little overhead for how much space they take up and free if you take them from behind a 7-11. also great for organization, just use a label maker over the logo of the company of who it used to belong too. sturdy too!
  • Put the CDs and DVDs in large storage binders. Recycle the plastic cases. If you want to keep the inserts/sleeves, just store them in a box in the closet. You'll be able to compress your whole collection into a couple of cubic feet.

    For the tapes, I think the best thing to do would be to throw them out or convert them to DVD.
  • This is a non-serious comment.

    Pack your bed inside your cupboard. At night, fold away your table and take out your blankets and put it in the middle of the floor. Then you can sleep on your floor (It helps if the floor is tatami).

    There's a lot of benefits of such a system. For one, you keep both your table and your bed tidy. You can't use the other unless you've packed the current one away.


    Personally, I figure if I have that much stuff to sell or give away, I might as well get a bigger apartment, or
  • I'm currently living in a 1400 sq. ft 3 bedroom house, and in many ways, and it in many ways, it seems smaller than the 500 sq ft studio where I lived in college (less closet space, if nothing else)

    Part of it is thinking about things differently -- need books? Hit the library ... then give them back when you're done. DVDs? Netflix is your friend.

    What I can't understand is the 6x6 table -- 6x4, I can see ... go shopping at IKEA or SCAN, as europeans are much more used to living in small spaces than amer
  • I have about 300 cds taking up 70% capacity of three 6' IKEA cd towers. The empty space is staggered in the towers, and each is filled with a little "pretty". A bright red little box holds matches, another holds carving from my trip to Italy five years ago.. you get the idea. The cds add to the look.

    I'm biased against DVDs, but I'd still say lose them. How many times can you watch a DVD? How many times can you watch 1000 hours of DVDs? (the horror!)

    I imagine you want the 6x6 table for projects or gamin
  • Depending on your building, you may want to use your basement or cellar as a server room.

    Few will let you pull your own cable or provide with cable from the start, so you'll probably need a wireless bridge.

    There are also some other problems (dust, floods, ...) that you have to take into account.

    In any case, you don't want more than 1 disk in your PCs, there's not only space, but also noise consideration.

  • Here is something I've been thinking about for some time: We always have too little room, but just consider how much space is unused when you're looking up. If there was an easy to use system to store stuff against the ceiling, we'd have a lot more space. How about mounting some sort of box to the ceiling and store little used stuff there? Or mount the PC there? IMO we're very inefficient with space in our houses.
    • You realize, don't you, that if you stored everything on your ceiling that you'd basically just have a lower ceiling, right? Ceiling heights are where they are for a reason (claustrophobia, lighting, ceiling fans, etc). Plus, I imagine because of this suggestion that you don't live where their are earthquakes...
      • You don't have to fill the entire ceiling, but you can win some space there. People have done this before, but seem to limit this to the garage, attic and (rarely) basement.

        We don't have earthquakes, The worst thing you get to see here is a "flood" after too much rain. Well, "flood" as in: you need to wear boots and get to pump the water out of your basement.
  • Put your bed up on blocks to get another foot or so of height for more storage.
  • The right solution to me needs to allow me to easily rip and encode

    You mentioned MythTV and said it wasn't quite right, but it actually does exactly what you say, and does it very well. Want to rip a DVD? Here's the process:

    1. Put DVD in
    2. Select "Import DVD" from the top-level menu
    3. Pick your compression settings... you can just leave it on "Perfect".
    4. Edit the disk name, if necessary. Some disks have crappy, useless names, like "DVD_VIDEO" instead of "GIGLI", or whatever. Most have decent names so you
  • by haplo21112 ( 184264 ) <[moc.anhtipe] [ta] [olpah]> on Friday September 16, 2005 @09:05AM (#13575169) Homepage
    Seeing that your married I am going to assume that you and yours have a queen size bed? A full at least? Anyway the foot print of the bed is a huge amount of unused and potentially un discovered space.

    1. Lift the Bed on blocks as high as you dare go with it. My wife and I have two queens in our house One of which is an antique cast iron frame. That bed as a good 1.5 feet of clearance under it Alot of stuff fits in that space. (or at least when we had a 1200sft house it did, with nearly 4500sft including the garage and basement now under bed storage space isn't nearly so as important.) The other bed was once upon a time before I meet my wife the one I had in my 1000sft house, at one point I had a 2.5 foot lift goinf with that one practically needed a ladder to get into it. LOTs of storage space there.

    2. Use all the typically wasted space. Get those wire (usually closet) shelf setups from Lowes run the around the top of the walls in whatever rooms you can stand them. They have a width thats perfect for CD's/DVD's/VHS (hint laying a strip of cardboard on then putting the objects on works best.) If you have the space do more than one row. That gets the media out of the way.

  • Honestly, are you keeping the table because there's an emotinaly attachment to it, or do you regularly have 10 guests around the table on a nightly basis?

    I mean, it's a 6x6' table, plus you'll need to leave about 3' of freespace around the perimeter for people to get in and out of chairs, so you're talking about a 12x12'=144 sq ft chunk of space devoted to this table, or 16% of your total living space.

  • If you need storage shelving in the closets, etc. ClosetMaid shelving is very lightweight, modular and flexible system that had for pretty cheap at most Lowes/HomeDepot type stores. A lot of it needs to be bolted into the walls with either stud screws or drywall fasteners, so check with your landlord first.
  • Priorities... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gabe ( 6734 ) on Friday September 16, 2005 @10:03AM (#13575560) Homepage Journal
    So you're moving into an apartment half the size of what you've currently got, but you're shelling out all this money to cram your lifestyle into half the space.

    Have you thought about keeping the old apartment (or getting a new one) with more space and not spending so much money on tech (ten 400GB hard drives?!) and other stuff (400DVDs?!).

  • For the love of God, rip to a lossless codec. I just re-re-refinished ripping my 1200 CDs to flac, and I've never been happier. I don't have the network space you do, but they sit happily on 60 or so DVDs, and, thanks to a quick donation to dbPowerAMP [], getting them into whatever mp3 format I want is just a matter of processor time.

    I'm not married to flac, but just the convertability of the lossless codec is easily worth the hassle. Pick one, stick to it.
  • For a media center, try a modified xbox with XBMC []. Unfortunately I don't think that XBMC can rip movies yet, so you would still need to do the ripping on a computer. I use AutoGK [] to do my ripping on my windoze pc, and store the files in numerous places, like the windoze pc, a linux box, or on the xbox itself.

    I'm sure there has to be some ripping software for a Mac as well... A friend of mine does his ripping on a Mac, and has mentioned a program called Mac the Ripper [].
  • as a NY-er living in a 300sqft studio with my lady, here are my tips for saving space
    - get a bedframe with storage. i've seen bedframes that allows you to lift up the mattress for storage underneath, or bedframes with drawers (those are cheasy). i have a queen sized bed with boxes underneath.
    - shelves. shelves for your everything. folders and files, to towels, books, etc.
    - clean and organize! keep everything and everywhere clean and organized. pick up your clutter. learn to put things where they belong.
  • Magazine (Score:4, Informative)

    by The-Bus ( 138060 ) on Saturday September 17, 2005 @01:28PM (#13585461)
    This sounds a bit anti-slashdot but I had/have the same problem and just went to the hardware store and got myself a magazine just about organizing. There were a TON of really good ideas there and I've picked up (and used) some ideas over the past couple of years. Here's a small list, hopefully someone will still read this one:
    • If you haven't used something in year, throw it out. If you think it's not garbage-worthy, give it to a friend or family member who might really like it. That was you can re-visit that poster/lamp/book when you see your friends.
    • Think unconventionally. My living room I've turned into my office (desk for work, couches for longer conference calls or meetings). I don't have a dining room and my kitchenette has one chair in there for reading. When we eat, we out in the deck, the basement/home theater room, or on the kitchen counters.
    • Give your clothes away. Any shorts or shirts you didn't wear this summer you should be giving away. In April, give away sweaters you didn't wear in the winter. Another test is to not do laundry as long as possible until you run out of clothes you want to wear. Once all the clothes you want to wear are dirty, clean those and give away all the others. (Exceptions for suits/formalwear/bathing suits etc).
    • Get furniture that closes. Messes look a lot worse when they are inside furniture. You may think you're cramped but it's only because you have stuff stacked everywhere that could fit somewhere else.
    • Media. While I don't feel like ripping DVDs, I rip every single one of my CDs. The discs I keep in easily reachable binders, the cases are all in boxes in storage in the furthest corner of the basement.
    • Lend temporarily. Moving cross-country for a year or two? Leave bulky furniture with family or friends and come back it for later once you have a bigger place or once you move back.
    • A lot of people mentioned wire shelves on the top of walls. I'll do you one better. While this isn't the most cost-effective way, it may look the coolest. Install wooden shelves with a flat bottom about 12-18" from the top of your ceiling. Do this along one side of the wall, or along three walls. Make sure they are seamless from end to end. You can always put in crown molding below the shelf so it looks more liek the home's architecture. I've seen these done and you can house hundreds and hundreds of books along space that is NEVER used. A few I've seen with recessed-/indirect-lighting.
    • Resist buying lots of things. That's especially tough for me because if I see something cool for cheap I have to get it. What do, however, is give it to someone else who needs it.

    As cheesy and ungeeky as it sounds, take a look at some home organizing magazines or walk around IKEA or Linens and Things or Bed Bath and Beyond or The Container Store, and you'll get ideas. There's no one list of things that can be done because everyone's space and everyone's stuff is different.
    • Re:Magazine (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Trixter ( 9555 )
      While I don't feel like ripping DVDs, I rip every single one of my CDs.

      Well, it doesn't make sense to rip DVDs to save space because they are already lossy -- ripping them to hard drive might make sense, although the drive might need to be quite big in order for the drive to take up less space than the DVDs would stacked on top of each other:-)

      CDs, on the other hand, can be reduced 2:1 lossless and 10:1 without any perceptual loss, so it makes perfect sense to rip those to save space.
  • You have any stairs? They're good place...drawers underneath each step, etc.

panic: kernel trap (ignored)