Windows Phone 7 & XBox Live Gold Membership Giveaway From Wise Bread
Editor's note: Contest has ended! Congratulations to Annette D for this winning comment!
To celebrate the launch of the new Windows Phone 7, Microsoft is giving away a fabulous prize to one lucky Wise Bread reader!
One Wise Bread reader will receive
- A brand new Windows Phone 7 (approximate retail value $500).
- A 1 year Xbox Live Gold membership
- A 3 month unlimited Zune Pass -- which lets you download and stream unlimited music for 3 months and keep 30 songs forever after 3 months.
How to Enter
Simply leave a comment below telling us how you can "do more with less" in your life. The comment should be around 25-250 characters long (basically 2-3 short sentences will be perfect). Don't forget to fill out the email address box or else we won't be able to contact you if you win!
You can enter one comment per day until contest ends on 11/29/2010, 11:59 pm Pacific.
We will randomly select one winner at the end of the contest period and post the results here in December, 2010. No purchase necessary. Must be legal US resident and at least 18 years-old at time of entry. See here for detailed official rules.
"Do more with less" is a very broad topic! You can write about budgeting, decluttering your life, bargain hunting, frugal philosophies, green/simple living, lifehacking, and more.
How We Do More With Less
To help get your creative juices flowing, here's a story of how we "do more with less" when our family moved into a smaller house.
When we found out that we were moving from a 2-story farmhouse with four spacious bedrooms to a one-level ranch home with just three modest bedrooms, we were a bit concerned as to how we would make it work. Add in the news that we were expecting a 5th child, and it might seem like we were doomed to be forever frustrated with our living arrangements. Thanks to some innovative products on the market, the well-documented paths of a few who’ve gone before us, and a “can do” attitude, however, we’ve managed to feel secure with our new arrangement – as limited as it may seem, at times. Here is a list of proven strategies for taking a smallish home and making it larger than life.
Use That Outdoor Space
As more mega-mansions go into foreclosure, we are seeing the average home size come down considerable. There is nothing shameful about living in a house that’s less than 2,000 (or even 1,300) square feet – even with a big family. Perhaps the best way to conquer the issue of going insane with all the bodies around you is to take some time to step outside. If done correctly, your outdoor living space (which isn’t included in the original square footage of your home), can offer just as much usable space as your inside space. Great examples of this include the common patio, a gazebo, or even a play house. (If you have small kids, a basic metal garden shed can provide hours of sheltered outside play.)
Turn a Closet Into a Home Office
This idea for converting a closet into a home office is brilliant (and keeps your office clutter out of guest’s view.) If you really need that closet for your wardrobe, consider “adding” a closet as a recess into a wall that can accommodate it. More space can be gained by either removing the closet doors and replacing them with a curtain or getting those accordion doors that won’t stick out into the room too much. (See a great example of how to upgrade your existing office-in-a-closet at LifeHacker.)
Skip the Nursery
Yes, you really can store more than clothes and shoes in even the smallest storage closets. While I wouldn’t recommend putting a baby’s sleeping quarters into a closet (unless it’s a jumbo walk-in), the idea of using a closet for the changing table, dresser drawers, clothing and diapers is not a new one. If baby is a co-sleeper, or you opt for a small bassinet or a modern space-saving crib, you can most definitely skip a separate room for baby and use the first two years of life to come up with options for where he or she will sleep once older.
Stack Sleeping Space
Remember how you got away with sleeping in the same room with another almost-adult during college? The all-wonderful loft is still applicable! Whether you’re trying to cram 3 boys into a small bedroom (like us) or just want to give your tween more floor space for all their junk, a loft can literally bring the organization of a bedroom to new heights. (Check out this wonderful set of directions for a DIY version.) I would also suggest bringing back the bunk bed (or even a trundle) for kids that have friends sleep over often.
Work Where You Live
Since home offices are very common – regardless of whether you actually work from home – they have placed extra organizational pressure on small family homes. We took a different approach with our home office, and actually placed it in our living room! By using very nice wood furniture that matched our living room décor, we were able to integrate it into the end of the room that foot traffic did not occur. Why would we do this? For one, it helps us to keep an eye on the happenings in our home. Secondly, it really does save space (have you ever calculated the room that an additional 3 walls takes up in an already small home?)
Get a Mini-Bath
The most difficult part of having a small home is our ONE bathroom. With seven people sharing it, life can get pretty crazy! While we don’t have the room to get an additional bath (or even a traditional “half bath”) we have considered just having an extra toilet in the laundry room. While some additional plumbing will need to be done, and we’d want to hang a shower curtain in the corner to provide some privacy, many older farm houses have a similar arrangement, and it’s worked well for those “emergency situations” that are bound to happen with small kids in the home.
This giveaway is brought to you by the new Windows Phone 7. Less tech tired. More tech trendy: Learn about Windows Phone online and see it in person at local T-Mobile stores today.