My favorite non-essential inventions.

I can’t decide if the greatest invention of all time is contact paper or those fold up rolling crates.

I suppose I should clarify. I mean the greatest non-essential invention of all time. I’m not talking flush toilets, hot water heaters and one cup coffee brewers. Just things we could do without but make our lives easier.

Contact Paper

I have always enjoyed contact paper. When I was in school and had to cover my books, I always covered the covers in clear contact paper so they would stay clean. (I wasn’t one of those doodle on the book cover kids, obviously.)

And over the years I’ve used contact paper to cover storage boxes to make them prettier, cover old picture frames to spruce them up, cover cans to use as pencil cups.

Contact paper makes everything nicer.

One apartment I lived in even had contact paper on the bathroom walls. I didn’t put it there, and I wouldn’t recommend using it as wall paper, but it was water proof which was nice because the bathroom got a little steamy when you took a shower due to a lack of venting.

I can’t tell you how many dollars I’ve saved at work by covering signs in clear contact paper instead of paying to have them laminated. It looks the same and is a lot cheaper.

All in all, contact paper keeps the world cleaner and covers up the ugly.

Rolling Crate

Then you have the rolling crate.

When you are involved in community theater, you have to carry things, or “lug” things as my mother puts it.

Paint cans, bottles of water, programs, props, costumes. You’re always moving things into the theater, into the lobby, into storage.

It’s exhausting.

The rolling crate puts an end to most of the lugging.

Sure you need to get it up and down stairs, or use an elevator, but you don’t have to carry everything every step of the way. You can simply roll it.

This weekend the performing arts center had a booth at an arts fair. There was temporary parking for unloading your car on Friday afternoon, but not for picking it up that night or re-delivering it the next day.

We had to walk to and from the parking garage with everything it takes to decorate a 10 X 10 booth including table cloths, flyers, swag, photos, signs and more.

Luckily we had rolling crates. We filled them up and wheeled them around. Two people, three crates and one trip. Done!

As a bonus feature, these crates fold up flat so they don’t take up a lot of room when you’re not using them.

Living in a small townhouse with little storage, there’s great value on things that fold up, collapse or deflate.

So which is better? Is it more important to make things pretty and keep things clean or reduce physical labor and store easily?

Since I wouldn’t want to have to do without either rolling crates or contact paper, maybe I’ll just declare a tie.


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