As a manly man with a bonafide manly man card and manly man genes, I always laugh when I hear female friends and relatives complain about the lack of space in their closets for all the shoes and apparel they rack up through the years. I say that as someone who has seen his fair share of women in my family who store clothes and footwear in the trunk of their vehicles because all the closets in their houses look like home versions of the women’s department at Macy’s minus all the miserable guys commiserating with each outside the changing room. (You know who you are, people!)
Then again, you know what they say about people with stones who live in glass houses. I say that because recently, I’ve noticed that yours truly is running out of closet space as well — but not because of clothes and shoes. Nope, I’m running out room in my closets because of all the gadgets and games — worthless junk, according to my ex-girlfriend — that I have amassed in a lifetime of adoring tech. Touché, ladies, touché.
As such, I’ve been on the lookout for potential storage options lately that have nothing to do with using the trunk of my car. (I’m not that bad — at least not yet.) While I’ve done my fair share of trips to the local generic home furnishing store to buy all sorts of cabinets and bins, there was something about Quirky’s new Crates modular storage system that caught my nerdy attention. At first glance, the thing looks like a glorified milk crate or laundry basket. Then I realized that it was compatible with all these accessories that essentially made it the Transformers of supplemental storage products. In short, it managed to sucker in my inner geek. If you’re the type who can’t resist Lego blocks, then you know what the heck I’m talking about.
One accessory, for example, is a set of four wooden stands that transforms the Crate into a mini cabinet. Not the type to be weighed down by the old ball-and-chain? You can opt for roller wheels instead for added mobility. You can further customize your mini cabinet by adding a center divider or little drawers. Another accessory allows you to stack a Crate on top of another Crate. For added usability, there’s also a clip-on accessory that allows you to add a knob for hanging stuff like headphones on the side. There’s a corkboard accessory as well that can be clipped to the side or top of a crate. For folks who decide to use the Crate to hold consoles, hard drives and other plug-in gadgets, there’s another accessory for hiding wires.
Admittedly, the same adaptability that makes the Crate attractive also happens to be its main drawback. Although the crate itself costs about $20 each, you’ll have to fork over extra dough for all the other accessories, which can add up when you’re using several crates (drawers cost $29.99 while wooden base pegs cost $14.99). For example, it would’ve been nice if each Crate can be stacked as is. Instead, you have to buy a clip-on accessory to do so. Meanwhile, the corkboard accessory doesn’t lay exactly flush against the Crate’s curved surface, making it easy to come off if pressed from the sides. (On a side note one picture shows it being used to store an Xbox 360 vertically, which looks cool but isn’t something I’d recommend since that could leave you with a scratched up disk if the console topples over.)
Despite its drawbacks, the Crate system is a pretty neat idea overall. I see it being especially suitable for students who want to store stuff like their notebooks, tablets or Nintendo 3DS to help keep things organized. Well, that and the fact that its modular, Lego-like quality just makes it so darn cool in a geeky sort of way.QUIRKY CASE
- Cost: $19.99 per case, accessories extra
- Final rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
- Official site: www.quirky.com/crate (available at select Target stores or OfficeMax.com)