Credit Card Storage Album

I tend to acquire a lot of cards that are used infrequently but are still worth keeping around for those few times they might be useful. For example, old credit cards, library cards for cities I no longer live in, frequent flyer cards, store loyalty cards, etc. It doesn’t make sense to try to cram all these cards in my wallet and carry them everywhere. I prefer a slimmer wallet both for comfort and aesthetic reasons. Additionally, having cards in my wallet that I never use makes it harder to find the one’s that I use frequently. Finally, my wallet space is finite so I couldn’t cram all my cards in it even if I wanted to. I initially resorted to storing cards in drawers. However, cards were difficult to locate when I needed them. Then I thought of a simple but elegant solution: a credit card storage album.


You can make a credit card album for under $10 using only 2 items that can be easily purchased on-line: sports card sheets and a 3 ring binder. Simple steps are given below:

  • Step 1: Open the 3 ring binder’s rings
  • Step 2: Insert the card album sheets
  • Step 3: Close the rings
  • Step 4: (Optional) Label the spine of the binder with the words ‘Credit Card Album’

Each sports card sheet stores 9 cards. (18 cards if you don’t need to see both sides.) So 20 sheets will be more than enough for most people. Note: Make sure you get sports card sheets not business card sheets. Business card sheets hold 10 business cards but won’t work for credit cards which are larger than credit cards.


Why even keep the cards around?


Some might object to keeping rarely used cards around at all. To this I have two responses. Firstly, there are some cards that are unambiguously necessary to keep but are very rarely used – most notably a social security card. Secondly, the amount of space that this card album requires is minimal – no more than a medium sized book. In all but the smallest sparsest dwellings, this is insignificant.

Essential Android Apps

A friend of mine recently got an Android phone and ask me which apps I recommended. After putting together a list of essential Android apps for my friend, I realized that realized to the list might be of interest to the wider Internet community. So, I’ve decided to share it here. For each app, I’ve included a short description of it followed by a link to the Android market place which will allow you to install it directly onto your phone. I decided not to include apps like Google Maps since most phones come with it already installed and I wanted this list to help people find new apps to install.

MyTracks is one app I highly recommend. It uses the GPS to track your location and then presents you with both a sharable map showing where you’ve travelled and statistics such as total distance, average speed, max speed, max elevation, etc. It’s especially nice to use during a hike or walk so that you know how far you’ve walked and where you’ve been.

Another good app is Google Goggles which, among other things, will allow your phone to read those increasingly ubiquitous QR codes.

If you listen to podcasts or want to start getting into them, Google Listen is worth trying. It does a fairly good job of managing and downloading podcasts.

OI Shopping List — This is a simple shopping list application but one I use quite frequently. Whenever I’m low or out of a particular item such as paper towels, I start OI Shopping List and add the item to my list. That way, the next time I’m at the store I just pull out my phone and get reminded about the item. Occasionally, I will also use it to make sure that I obtain all the ingredients for a complex meal.

Kitchen Timer is a simple but useful app. As the name implies it’s basically a kitchen timer. One nice feature is that it lets you have 3 independent timers on one screen.

Amazon MP3 — This app is often installed by default on phones so you may already have it. If you choose to purchase music over the Internet as opposed to on CD, Amazon is a reasonably good choice. Their MP3 store is fairly complete and their prices are competitive. An added feature of Amazon is that your music is available in the Amazon Cloud player. Additionally their MP3s are DRM free.

Finally, the regular Amazon app can be useful. Among other features, you can scan the bar codes of an item to get the Amazon product page. The ethics walking into a book store and price comparing with Amazon are very debatable and not something I’ll discuss here. But a very legitimate use of the Amazon App is to read product reviews. Reading product reviews on Amazon will often give you more information than simply reading a book’s dust jacket and flipping through it. Similarly, reading Amazon reviews is likely to be much more useful than simply reading the box of an electronic item.

Bathroom Supply Kit

This idea occurred to me while I was sick. I’m not sure if my fever induced thoughts were a flash of creativity, insight, genius, stupidity or insanity but now that I’m well enough to type and have caught up on some more urgent tasks, I thought that I’d share them and let the Internet decide.

The basic idea is to sell within a single box everything a person would have in a bathroom. This would include not just items such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, and toilet paper but also less frequently used items such as first aid supplies, cleaners and a plunger. Possible names for the product include: Bathroom Starter Kit, Complete Bathroom Supply Kit, Bathroom Kit, and Bathroom in a Box. The bathroom kit would be sold online and quickly shipped directly to a costumer’s new home.

A full list of items might include:

  •     Medical supplies: band-aids, antibiotic cream, rubbing alcohol, a thermometer, hot water bottle, etc.
  •     Standard Over the Counter medications: Tylenol, Advil, etc.
  •     A hair dryer
  •     A waste basket
  •     Bathroom cleaner
  •     Plunger and toilet brush
  •     Shower curtain liner & rings
  •     Hand towels
  •     Bath rugs
  •     Toilet Paper
  •     Hand Soap
  •     Shampoo and Conditioner
  •     Possibly luxury items such as scented candles, bathrobes, etc,

Including a thermometer may seem silly — it’s only used a couple of times a year — but we want the kit to be complete. The reasoning behind including a hair dryer is similar. The idea is that someone should be able to open the box and transform a completely empty bathroom into a well stocked bathroom as you would expect to find in a well maintained home. Depending on the level of demand, we might want to have different level of the product such as standard, deluxe, and luxury.

I see two main use cases for the product: moving and buying a second home. People buying a second home will need to obtain a new set of bathroom items anyway and this would allow them to do so in one shot. Those who could afford to buy a second home would be likely to value the convenience and be willing to pay for it. Furthermore, the convenience offered by having the bathroom kit shipped directly to a second home could be very significant since many second homes are located far from convenient shopping. (No one buys a second home that’s across the street from Walmart.) Beyond the convenience, there would also be the piece of mind of knowing that if one of their kids got sick or hurt, they would have the necessary medical supplies on hand.


Moving is a hassle. Our bathroom kit would mean one less box that people needed to pack and ship. Furthermore, your stuff often takes a while to arrive if you’re using a professional moving company for a long distance move. If you get our bathroom kit delivered to the new place, you might still sleep on an air mattress and eat pizza delivery for a day or two while waiting for your stuff to arrive but at least you’d have a fully stocked bathroom.

The economics of moving are such that our kit might actually save people money. People’s stuff is often worth less than it costs to ship but people often pack and ship it anyway — largely to avoid the hassle of buying new stuff. In some cases, the money that could be saved by not shipping your bathroom stuff would pay for the cost of our bathroom kit.

I see corporate relocation packages as one of the best customers for our bathroom kit. Most relocation packages provide an incentive to over pack. If the company bears the cost of the move not you, then there is no reason not to pack something even if its shipping cost exceeds its value. Thus offering employees the option of buying the bathroom kit with their relocation funds could well be more efficient. More significantly, the availability of the kit might cause employees to move out of a hotel and into their new place sooner since they’d have a fully stocked bathroom there. The savings from even one less night in a hotel could be substantial enough to pay for the kit.

The benefits to companies go well beyond the mere cost savings. Convincing a potential employee to relocate can be difficult and the existence of a kit like this could make relocation a slightly easier sell. One can imagine a pitch like “Our relocation package not only pays for your moving expenses, we also include a full bathroom kit that even includes scented candles and a terry cloth bathrobe.” Moving to a new city can be a jarring, and our kit — particularly if it includes some luxury products — could make new employees feel welcome and taken care of. More importantly, it would let new employees focus on being productive in their new job/location rather than putting together their new home.

Other Rooms

You could certainly create a similar kit for other rooms such as the kitchen, but there are a number of reasons why it makes the most sense for the bathroom. The items that people would want in a bathroom are generally common across households. By comparison, there is much less agreement about kitchen items. Furthermore, bathroom item are generally low cost. Bathroom items are also mostly transitory items that are used up and replaced. Finally, there is usually less sentimental attachment with bathroom items — you may want to keep a particular favorite set of dishes but are unlikely to be similarly attached to a favorite toilet brush.