You've spotted a great coffee table, but you're not sure if its size is right. These tips can help. Use them to approximate dimensions (write them down on a card to keep in your wallet) so you'll never come up short.
Hands and Arms
A "hand" -- the measuring unit for horses -- is 4 inches, the approximate width of many a palm. Another trick: Measure the span from the tip of the pinky to the tip of the thumb; then you can "walk" your hand across a surface. Additionally, the span of your arms is roughly equal to your height, so you can measure with outstretched arms.
A typical card is about 2 by 3 1/2 inches. On the back, the distance between the magnetic strip and the opposite edge is 1 1/2 inches.
It's about an inch in diameter, and its edge, rolled in a straight line, measures 3 inches (start and end with Washington's profile facing the same direction).
A man's size 10 1/2 shoe is about a foot long. A woman's size 8 is about 10 inches. Using the length of your shoe, you can measure a rug by traversing it heel to toe. For longer distances, count strides (to determine the length of your stride, walk through a puddle so you'll make footprints, and measure the distance between them).
U.S. currency is 2 1/2 by 6 inches. Paper money can wrap around objects, so it comes in handy for measuring small curved items (to mark the size, crimp the bill).