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In brief

The Tradesberry Multi Tool incorporates a calculator, compass, flashlight, clock, knife, spirit level with laser and tape measure.

MCT photo
WHAT’S NEW

The company that brought us the Phillips screwdriver has created the Swiss army knife of tools.

The Tradesberry Multi Tool incorporates a calculator, compass, flashlight, clock, knife, spirit level with laser and tape measure — oh, and a Phillips screwdriver, of course. A spring-loaded clip lets you attach it to a belt loop.

The tool can be ordered for $39.99 plus shipping at http://www.phillips-screwinnovation.com.

Q&A

Q: Is there any type of product you can use to keep birds from setting up residence in the contours of your awnings?

A: There’s no product you can put on your awning that wouldn’t endanger the birds, said Anne Hobbs of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, N.Y.

Instead, she recommended a couple of strategies: You can deny the birds access to your awning by hanging deer netting or some other kind of mesh so it hangs down a little lower than the edge of the awning. Or you can make the awning unattractive to birds by using something that moves frequently and randomly. She said hanging strips of Mylar or lightweight colored plastic, such as flagging tape, from the inside of the awning ought to do the trick if they’re positioned so they can catch the wind.

THE SHELF

Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch have a message of hope for the disorganized masses: Organization and perfection are not the same.

Rockwell and Welch built a business, Buttoned Up Inc., on a less-is-more approach to organizing — just enough to get your life in reasonable order but not so much that you’re a slave to an organizing system. They’re sharing their methods in “Everything (almost) In Its Place: Control Chaos, Conquer Clutter, and Get Organized the Buttoned Up Way.”

The authors coach readers to let go of perfection, enlist help and set priorities. Then they provide strategies for dealing with the things that really are important, such as coping with paperwork and keeping track of the family’s activities.

“Everything (almost) In Its Place” is published by St. Martin’s Press and sells for $13.95 in paperback.

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