21 inches is the same as 1 foot 9 inches, which is pretty close to 53 centimeters.
Measuring something that is 3 inches shy of 2 feet can be a challenge, and very rarely will you need to measure 21 inches when undertaking a home renovation, gardening, or interior décor project. However, when the time comes, you’ll be glad to know how to measure 21 inches without using a tape measure or ruler.
Below, I’ll show you 12 common items that measure close to 21 inches that you can use as a reference.
15 Paper clips
Paper clips come in a wide assortment of shapes and lengths. However, the paper clips you probably use for office work—the one that looks like Microsoft’s office assistant Clippy—typically measures 1.375 inches from top to bottom.
So, using standard paper clips as a reference, you would need about 15.3 of them to get to the 21-inch mark.
10.5 Large Binder Clips
Like paper clips, binder clips come in multiple sizes. Micro binder clips are 0.5 inches wide, mini binder clips are 0.6 inches wide, and small and medium binder clips are 0.75 inches and 1.25 inches wide, respectively.
Using large binder clips is the easiest way of measuring long objects. Each large binder clip is 2 inches in width, meaning it would take roughly 10.5 of them to measure the full 21 inches.
Did you know that 2B actually means something in pencils? A 2B pencil is a pencil that will produce lighter marks as opposed to a 4B pencil but darker marks when compared to 4H pencils. While the darkness of the marks differs between pencil types, their lengths typically don’t.
A typical pencil used for drawing or writing will measure 7.5 inches long, so 3 of them would get you just 1.5 inches beyond the 21-inch point. Of course, this is assuming you’re using unsharpened pencils with the erasers still intact.
2/3 of a Footstep
The average length of a footstep—i.e., the distance one foot from the other after taking one step—is about 30 inches for men and 25 inches for women. There are several factors that come into play when measuring footstep distance, including the person’s height and whether or not they experienced a permanent physical injury.
So, measuring 21 inches is pretty straightforward when using footsteps as your reference. For men, it would take just about 2/3 of a footstep to get to 21 inches. As for women, 4/5 of a single footstep would equal 21 inches roughly.
3 Butter Knives
Butter knives come in all sorts of lengths and styles. The butter knife in your kitchen drawer may be different from ours, but in general, butter knives have a typical length of between 5 and 7 inches. So, to 21 inches with butter knives, you would need between 3 and 4 of them approximately.
2 Sheets of Letter Paper
Letter paper in the United States, which measures 8.5 × 11 inches, is the typical type of paper used in offices for printing documents and making reports. Measuring 21 inches using nothing but letter paper is quite easy—just place two of them next to each other lengthwise and subtract about 1 inch from the end.
3.5 Slim Soda Cans
Even though most soda cans sold in the United States contain 12 fluid ounces of a liquid, the dimensions of the soda can may vary. Standard soda cans measure 4.83 inches tall, but the tall and slim variety stands 6.125 inches in height.
Using slim soda cans, you would need about 3.5 of them to get to 21 inches. If all you have are regular soda cans, you would need approximately an additional can to get to the same height measurement.
Height of a 43-inch TV
When looking at TVs, the marketed size does not tell you about the TV’s physical dimensions. For instance, a 40-inch TV measures 15.7 × 28.2 inches. However, if you were to take a 43-inch TV with an aspect ratio of 16:9, the height of the TV would be pretty close to 21 inches. If you have a 43-inch TV at home, use its height as your reference.
Not all minifridges are made the same. Even though they are much more compact than a standard top-freezer refrigerator, their lengths, widths, and depths may differ drastically. But on average, a minifridge will measure just about 20.5 inches in height, which is just half an inch shy of 21 inches.
Compact Washing Machine
Compact washing machines are significantly different from full-sized washing machines in terms of size and load capacity. On average, a compact washing machine—the type that you can install in RVs and apartments—will measure about 23 inches in depth. You would only need to figure out how to subtract the extra 2 inches to get to 21 inches.
Footballs used in American football are egg-like in shape. They can move in random trajectories when they hit the ground. Footballs made for college play can measure between 10.5 and 11.5 inches when fully inflated. That means you would need about 2 of them to measure 21 inches.
21 500-ml Water Bottle Caps
Water bottle caps vary in dimensions. However, the average water size of a cap for 500-milliliter water bottles is about 1 inch in diameter. If you have a few extra bottle caps at home, all you have to do is place 21 of them in a line, and they should measure 21 inches, give or take a few centimeters.
And that’s how it’s done, folks. Using any of the 12 items listed above and their quantities, you can easily figure out how long 21 inches is without the use of rulers, tape measures, or laser measures.
If you found this article to be helpful, make sure you share it with your friends and family on social media. I’d also love to hear what sort of items you can come up with that measure 21 inches.