Made-up measurements that you use

Welcome to this exciting thread, wherein we’ll be discovering what kind of made-up measurements you use for things like cooking, saying how far something is, how much time something takes, etc.

For example, one measure that I use a lot when cooking is one IKEA plastic cup:

When I was younger and smoked a lot I would measure distances in how many cigarettes you could smoke on the way to get somewhere.

What made-up measurements do YOU use?

Disclaimer: This is NOT the filth thread.

for calculating worth i use the freddo equivalent system

thing costs £1? is it better than 10 freddos? no, don’t buy it. thing costs £10? is it better than 100 freddos? hmm maybe

i know freddos aren’t 10p any more but this is still the internal metric i use.


Using listening to an album during a commute to measure how well or poorly your journey is going.

More so in the old days before streaming when you’d listen to the same album endlessly to and from work. You sort of knew whereabouts you should be on your journey e.g. tube stop when a certain song came on.

When I used to listen to Modest Mouse’s Lonesome from leaving my house in the morning I should have reached Leicester Square by the time Shit Luck came on my earphones. If I heard it much earlier then I knew the journey has had its delays.


when i’m cycling somewhere and i’ve got ~10 miles to go, i’ve got the same distance home from the erskine bridge left to go

I do this but with bottles of wine. So if something is more than £20 I just think will it last more than a weekend? So longer than 2 bottles…BUY IT!

When running I might use songs like - run really fast for one song, run slow for one song

Works well!

All measurements are made up when you thi…

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When pouring a beer the correct size of the head of foam on top is “two fingers”.

Everyone knows that the countdown timer on a washing machine doesn’t actually conform to normal units of time. A friend christened the units ‘washoids’ and that has stuck with me. ‘How much time is left on the wash?’, ‘oh, only 12 washoids left’, ‘sweet, should be done in 20 mins or so then.’


When I was a kid I had a Bigtrak and would use that as a measurement, for example how open I wanted my door when I went to bed (one length and one width). I bought my son a Bigtrak, he hasn’t been that interested…


Loved my Big Trak, took ages to programme it just to watch it hit a door frame after the first two moves

There’s Bigtrak talk in here now. I’m trying to build some hype but it’s not working. I’m playing with it this weekend whatever happens.

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Good call. Incredible for how long those things will tell you there’s 1 or 2 minutes left.

Similarly, an Uber minute is approx 4 hours.

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I used to have russian dwarf hamsters, and I once weighed one of them and it was about 25g. So if I need to estimate the weight of something quite light, eg measuring cooking ingredients where you can be approximate, I’m asking myself “does it weigh more or less than a hamster? How many hamsters is this?”


All distances on the mainland are expressed in units of distances between villages here. 15 miles from my destination? I’ve got a Brodick to Lochranza left. And so on.

I still think of the six week school summer holidays as a measuring stick for long periods of time, e.g. “lockdown has been in place for over two summer holidays”