My Favorite Space Saving Gadgets at Our Little House

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I posted sometime back that I thought I was ready for an e-reader. I love to read and my four bookshelves are crammed full in The Belle Writer’s Studio.

I do get books and if they aren’t keepers, trade them into the used bookstore. The library is really out of the question as the one closest to our home is tiny and it typically takes two years to get new releases.

I’m a person who likes to hold paper in my hand and read. I still have a subscription to the local newspaper because I like to sit on the sofa and read with my coffee before coming over to the studio and reading further online.

That’s the reason I resisted getting an e-reader.

But I was wrong. I love, love, love my Kindle!

The best part of having the Kindle in Our Little House, of course, is that I can have 10 books at my fingertips and it only takes the space of a small tablet.

I also have been having some problems with my left eye this summer and I can adjust the type if needed.

Also, it feels like a book. I got a cover for it and really, it’s more fun to “turn the page,” with a click of my thumb.

I waffled between the different e-readers, as well as the new iPad, but one of our Living Large community members made a comment about price vs. what I would be getting.

At $189, the Kindle with 3G capability, which means I can download a book, magazine or newspaper from just about anywhere, suits my purpose.

In addition to downloading books this summer, I’ve been busy finally downloading my extensive collection of CDs to my iTouch. I got the iTouch a couple of years ago to store my music.

I now have them all downloaded and backed up so I can get rid of the CDs and create just a little more space, something I’m always on the lookout for in Our Little House.

What is your favorite space saving gadget?

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62 Responses

  1. Lori Stevens says:

    I have an ipad (so does my husband) and we love them. I use it a ton more than I ever used my laptop. Plus I like the fact that I can have the Kindle app, the Nook app, the iBooks app and the Overdrive app (for library books). I also have a new granddaughter and am loving the interactive book apps that are the coolest things ever (Dr. Seuss books and many other children’s books are available as apps and not just books and they interact as you use them).

    The ipad is better than a laptop, in my opinion. It is instant on (even a laptop can be slow getting going, even when it’s just trying to wake up from hibernate mode), long battery life (up to ten hours), small form factor, 200,000 apps optimized for the ipad, and on and on. There are great apps for almost everything you can think of plus tons of games and 98% of the apps I get are free or less than $2. Try finding software for a laptop for $2.

  2. Lori Stevens says:

    Duh, should have read Cal Olson’s comment before posting mine. Sorry for the repeat!

  3. Lori Stevens says:

    Did you know that you are breaking copyright laws if you rip your CDs to your computer and/or ipod and then sell or even give away the CDs but keep the music? When you buy CDs or tunes online, you don’t own the music itself, you only own the rights to play it. If you sell the CD, legally (and morally) you are obligated to remove the music permanently from all your devices. It’s basically classified as being the same as piracy and no different in the eyes of the law than if you went out and bought some software, installed it on your computer and then gave or sold it to a friend but kept using the copy you installed.

    So technically, the only way to do this as a legal, space-saving technique would be to keep the CDs in storage somewhere, or destroy them but keep the electronic version for your personal use only.

  4. So far, I’ve held out on an e-reader, but I keep hearing such good things! I’m considering an iTouch, though, since I’d be able to use it for connectivity while out and about (I just don’t use smartphones).

    • Kerri says:

      Kris, an iTouch or iPad? I cannot see a thing from the web on my iTouch. Too small. But I’m old, too. 🙂

  5. I’m trying to decide whether to buy the Kindle or the Nook. I go back and forth. But right now the Nook’s ahead.

    • Kerri says:


      If you want color and the ability to surf the web, I think the Nook is your choice. Other than that, I don’t see the difference for the price.

  6. Kim says:

    I actually won an ipad in a contest recently, and couldn’t figure out what it could do that my laptop (a mac) and ipod touch couldn’t do. I sold it to a relative (my mom) who wanted it. My husband’s a gadget geek and couldn’t believe I could do that, but I want $500 to spend on home updates more than I want a nifty new thing that doesn’t do anything I can’t already do. 🙂 It is really, really nifty, though. I’ll admit that.

    • Kerri says:

      Hi, Kim. Aside from the smaller size than your laptop, I don’t see it either. Glad you found a buyer and was able to do some home remodeling with it!

  7. patty says:

    i got a nook for my birthday from my kids. i didn’t want one because i like to hold the book in my hands. i love love love my nook, the cover i purchase is a easel type so i can still hold it like a book or sit in on a table and read with a swipe of my finger. my kids chose the nook because of the ability to download books from the local library and since march i’ve read at lease to books if not more. my nook has 3g ability so i can also surf the web if i choose. its the best gift i have ever received!

  8. Jane Boursaw says:

    You know, I’ve never thought of the Kindle in terms of being a space saver, but you’re absolutely right. This house is overflowing with books, too, and along with the other cool aspects of the Kindle, it’d be a great space saver. I haven’t quite brought myself to get one yet, but I know that days a’comin’.

  9. ElusiveRick says:

    My Kindle even reads me bed time stories or a meditation script or a bible story or whatever I select through its’ built in stereo speakers in.

  10. Kerry says:

    I do not have an ereader or an ipod/itouch, either.
    tend to use CDs for reference, as I write about music, so refer to liner notes etc often. books — I am still not convinced about reading on a screen all the time… I do that enough, I think. interesting discussion though. and as a move may be in my future, that’s a thought as well.

    • Kerri says:

      That’s what I thought about the screen, Kerry, but surprisingly, it really isn’t like reading your computer screen all day.

  11. sarah henry says:

    Am sure I’ll get a e reader eventually and then wonder what took me so long.

  12. Great discussion going here–I didn’t realize you could load books into your GPS. I still love reading books, the paper kind, but I suspect before too long I’ll move over to electronic too.

  13. I’ve been reading on my iPod and really loving how I can put the baby to bed and read easily (with the brightness all the way down), even though I’m tackling a 1,000+ page book right now. New technology is pretty amazing.

    • Kerri says:

      The iPod or iPad, Jennifer? I can’t see a thing on my iTouch, which is about the same as a full scale iPod.

  14. Sheryl M says:

    One of our spacing saving “gadgets” is the cd sized plastic sleeves that I’ve repackaged my cd collection into. Now instead of cd’s being 1/4″ wide in the cd cabinet, they are the width of a plastic sleeve that looks similar to a sandwich baggie. We’ve been able to shrink my cd collection into a space on the wall that holds an ikea cd cabinet – it’s about 2′ wide and 5′ high. I haven’t counted lately, but I think there may be 600 cd’s in there. One thing I need to do is go through the collection and purge what I no longer listen to.
    Our other spacing saving “gadget” is the great McKay’s book store in the Chattanooga area that will take books, cds, dvd’s etc in on trade – and either give you cash or credit for other items in the store. DH has an extensive book collection he’s working on downsizing before we move to our 800 sf cabin. Since we bought him a kindle, it’s been easier for him to purge his book collection (think bedroom sized room with walls lined in books). Both of us have a long way to go in this downsizing process, but technology is a good thing for helping you live smaller.

    • Sheryl M says:

      Another trick to space saving is the car GPS – we download audio books from the library website and load them on the GPS – so when commuting to work we can listen to books while in traffic.

  15. Frugal Kiwi says:

    I love and adore my Kindle. It is very helpful with my migraines because I can control the text size, allowing me to read on days that I’d otherwise not be able to do so. Overdrive, the eBook library system that many libraries use are adding Kindle capability soon. My library is getting Overdrive. How fantastic is that?!

    • kerri says:

      That is great, Frugal! I love it too. I couldn’t even read for awhile due to the problem with my eye. No worries when I got my Kindle.

  16. Because I borrow so many books from the library, I fear what having an eReader would do to my budget. I’m glad you love yours, though. I’m jealous.

  17. Sheryl says:

    I resisted for a long time, but now that I have it, I love my Kindle, too. Especially outdoors, where it’s glare-free. Now that I have it, I don’t know why I waited so long! And I just bought one for my younger son, who I think doesn’t doesn’t read enough. Guess what? He’s reading more.

  18. Diane says:

    I really loved the Kindle, but ended up getting a Nook because (at the time) the Kindle wouldn’t let me use it to check out library books. I’ve found that the Nook library book feature is awesome. It saves not only space in my home, but trips in the car to and from the library. And I can check out e-books even when the library branch is closed, which in these days of budget cuts is more often than it is open. Still, if the Kindle ever comes through with the ability to check out library books, I would probably change when my Nook stops working, rather than buy another Nook.

    • kerri says:

      I didn’t know that about the Kindle. I thought it does now have that capability, but maybe not. Anyone?

  19. I have a Kindle too and I do like it, especially for travel. However, it does not work well for travel guides for me – I need to be able to flip quickly and it just isn’t quick and easy in that way. But it’s perfect for reading novels on vacation. And I love how if I finish them, I can easily buy and download more. It’s great.

  20. Nicole says:

    I have had a kindle for some time, and I LOVE it, but I find that with the kindle app on my iPhone, I use it more than the actual kindle because it is always with me & it’s back lit. I have debated on whether or not to sell it and just use my iPhone, but I do like the larger page size and font size and it’s great when you’re in the sun, too. My iPhone is my everything, and I know that for everyone the monthly plan would be cost prohibitive, but I run a business out of it and my MacBook, so it’s a necessity too.

    On a side note, I narrowed my book collection down to one box that I thought I couldn’t live without, but that box has been stored for nearly a year and I honestly can’t remember what’s in it…. so do I really need to keep it? Probably not.

    • Kerri says:

      That’s really a good point about keeping stuff and then if it is not used, asking ourselves if we really need it. 🙂 Thanks for your comments on the iPhone and your Kindle. We don’t have the technological capability out here for the iPhone, but that’s probably just as well. As long as I can run my business with my slow DSL, I’m good. 🙂

      • I know it’s counterintuitive, but I keep all our CDs even though we listen to most of our music on mp3 – and it came in handy when the car’s iPod adapter clunked out and we had to go back to the old way of doing things! So maybe it’s best to hold on to that box of books – never know what you’ll need to keep you occupied if the power goes out.

  21. Alexandra says:

    My daughter just got a Kindle and loves it. I’m still resisting. Also do not have an iPad. My favorite gadget … maybe not space-saving, but favorite none the less is my new digital camera.

    • Kerri says:

      I love my digital camera too, although I just found out there is not a driver for my camera with Windows 7. They want to force me into buying a new camera and I hate that.

      • Dee says:

        Kerri, what do you mean there isn’t a driver for your camera? Can’t you just “drag and drop” the picture files onto your computer’s hard drive? I’ve been thinking about finally taking the plunge and upgrading from Vista to Win7 but your statement has me thinking twice. I’d appreciate your comments. Thanks, Dee

        • Kerri says:

          My pictures won’t even download from the camera, Dee. The computer will not recognize the hardware. When I clicked on the box that was suppose to help me solve the problem, it told me to go to the device’s website to get a new “driver,” when I did, Canon told me there wasn’t one available for Windows 7. This is a digital D10 I purchased maybe 7-8 years ago.

          • Dee says:

            Have you tried an external card reader? They’re very inexpensive. Maybe your PC might might recognize a card reader when it won’t recognize your camera. Good luck!

          • Kerri says:

            Thanks, Dee. I haven’t tried that. I’m not too technology smart. 🙂 I will ask my computer guy about this!

  22. Donna Hull says:

    I use the Kindle app on my iPad to read books. My only problem is resisting the urge to hop on over to the internet to check email and blog statistics. Bad, I know. And, Kerri, it hasn’t replaced my computer on trips, I still take both.

  23. I have the iPad, which I love — but still buy the occasional old-fashioned book because I can’t resist.

  24. mat says:

    My wife has literally THOUSANDS of paperback novels. The majority of them live in 3 or 4 125-gallon tubs in the bomb shelter. The rest live in a giant Ikea (6′ x 6′ x 16″ deep) storage unit…in her bedside stand…in the coffee table….

    I told her that if she finds a used bookstore that will take them in bulk, we can spend the money on an e-reader for her. I wasn’t aware of the free book options…that will probably seal the deal.

    • Kerri says:

      I know the feeling, Mat. That’s how our house was in KC. I must have donated 100 boxes of books to the Thrift store.
      Yes, there are FREE books. It’s awesome!

  25. My daughter got a Kindle last Christmas and after seeing hers, I’m sold! I didn’t realize all the ways that there are to get free books online, and even “borrow” books from libraries. When I travel, it’s mostly books in my carry on luggage, so would even probably eliminate the need for extra baggage on trips. I don’t have one yet, but it’s definitely on my wish list for next Christmas!

  26. Julia says:

    I’m moving across Canada (coast to coast, over 5000km) AGAIN and the one thing I learned was that books are a burden. I adore my books, but the only books come with me are the valuable/antique/non-replaceable ones now. My lovely partner bought me an e-reader, and I don’t know… it might not have the crisp paper sound and the fresh scent of ink… but it is light, and easy to curl up with, and having a thousand books at my fingertips does appeal rather grandly to my few romantic sensibilities.

    On a side note: I am a library fiend. I had some friends mock me once saying “If there is a book I want to read, well I’ll buy it new!” Yeah? And then what? Are you sure you are going to read it again? Are you going to store it in your closet? Is it just going to be clutter around your house until you finally take it to a new and used store and get a fraction of the cost back? What if you can’t afford a certain book? Are you going to deprive yourself of its information? Libraries got a bad rap with my age group(early 20s in the early ’00s) It was an odd kind of snobbery.

    • Kerri says:

      I wasn’t aware of that, Julia, and it is odd. Libraries play such an important part in our country, allowing anyone access to information, even those who cannot afford to purchase books or periodicals. And now they give access to the Internet.
      I agree with you on the eReader. The romantic notion of smell and touching paper goes out the window when you have space or travel issues.

  27. M Warden says:

    Hooray for you. I received a B & N Nook (e-reader) for Christmas. Like you I love books, but had decided that I could part with some & so donated to library to free up space. The library could sell them and use the money to offer e-books, etc. Win-win.

    • Kerri says:

      That’s a good thought, we do have a bigger library in Mountain Home where I could donate my “gently used” books. I know I need to cull the collection again. It’s just so very hard, like getting rid of children! 🙂

  28. Cal Olson says:

    Keep one thing in mind: it sounds lovely to move your CDs over to the iPod then sell them, but that might be a copyright violation. You bought the CD, that gives you the right to use it, but then getting rid of e CD means you’ve got an electronic copy you never “purchased.”

    Yeah, electronic media rights are clear as mud. Just be sure you’re aware of the steps you choose and the repercussions of them, whatever you decide. 😀

    For the record, my iPad is my gadget du Jour. Does just about everything I need, including writing, all in one little doowhackey, 😀

    • Kerri says:

      Thank you, Cal, for that bit of advice! I had never thought of that. I didn’t know, really, what I was going to do with them. Maybe I will send them to my niece and “gift” them. Copyright law is muddied in every medium. We writers can never figure it all out and the Internet has made it worse.
      Glad you enjoy your iPad. I played (and lusted) with one every time I went to the big city, but in the end, since I already have 3 computers for work, I felt it would be duplicating what I already had. It would be great, though, when traveling, just to take one thing, instead of my laptop, iTouch and Kindle!