The Zippo miniature measuring tape is the surprisingly useful little tool you never knew you needed.
Though it looks like a tiny lighter and reads “Zippo” across the bottom it is, in fact, a measuring tape small enough to tuck away almost anywhere. I carry mine in my purse and forget it’s there until I come across some large object of desire in a housewares store; then I measure it’s dimensions on the spot, jot them down, and see if the thing will fit after I get home.
The Zippo miniature measuring tape is sturdy and made mostly of metal; only the base plate is plastic. I’ve owned a regrettable number of cheap plastic sewing department versions which invariably broke before I finally found this durable little gem.
The greatest value of a take-everywhere tape measure is that it will keep you from spending money on things that won’t actually fit in your home. The 14 dollars I spent on mine has saved me hundreds of dollars simply by preventing impulse purchases of household items better suited to a larger home.
Your best bet to find one now is ebay.