Hi dear friends,
Our family keeps discovering new ways to simplify. There are endless ways! It is not only about decluttering our wardrobes or having less on our schedule. Lately I am thinking about simple products and so I have written here a list of products that are simple or that make life simpler. Some things on my list are modern, but most are products my grandma would have used. Simple products save things like our time, our money, and the environment. We love them!
14 simple products. Products that can simplify life.
Baskets. Baskets are so homely but also brilliant for holding things together that otherwise might sprawl out far and wide! Like the shoes! I have a big one for shoes outside the front door, one for tablecloths on a kitchen shelf, and a small one for my recipe cards. I also have one on the floor near a sofa for the newspapers and magazines. My favourite baskets are large rectangle ones. I pick them up at second hand shops. Of course one has to be careful about basket-addiction! I most certainly have to employ self control to not get any more.
Cloth shopping bags. So it started with the fact that our shire wants to be plastic free. I got some roll up re-usable bags in my handbag and over the first year of using them I reckon I have saved hundreds of plastic bags. If you keep 2 roll up re-usable bags in your handbag, always, you will cover 8 out of 10 shopping moments! For the big food shop day you get some more out of the back of your car. But do keep 2 in your handbag. You will see what I mean.
Bars of soap. I used to love liquid soap. No drips. No mess. Buuuut… it comes in a plastic bottle. I am sick of how much plastic we have to throw out each week. So we started using bars of soap again, in the shower and at the bathroom sink. We rediscovered that plain old soap smells wonderful. A good soap dish is imperative.
Whole foods like vegetables, fruit, fish and meat. These things are so simple and so different to complex processed foods. Skip the processed food aisles and go to the whole foods. This change can dramatically improve our health because we skip ingesting colours, flavours, preservatives and lab-concocted ingredients. One of our daughters had serious health issues and we had to cut out all processed foods. Really, it was a very good step for us. Look at the ingredients label on a processed food. If we don’t know what half these ingredients actually are our digestive system certainly won’t either! Two extra bonuses: your pantry will be less cluttered and the act of food shopping becomes much simpler. It actually becomes more enjoyable!
Water. Such an underrated ‘product’. : ) It can replace juice, cordial, cool drink etc etc. So much better for you and much cheaper! If you drink water you can also stop sending a mountain of plastic bottles to the dump each year! I confess I am not the most environmentally friendly person around, but I am getting more and more dismayed by how much plastic is used to contain a few mouthfuls of food.
Paper bags. Good old brown paper bags are pretty nice for packing things in.
Vinegar. Many years ago I stopped buying horrible toxic cleaning products for windows the bath, the toilet, etc etc. I got a couple of empty spray bottles and filled them with vinegar and a bit of water and a bit of dish detergent. I rarely need to walk down that stinky toxic aisle at the supermarket anymore. I use the vinegar spray for windows, surfaces, tiles, stain remover on clothes (works on many stains but not all), cleaning the bath/shower/toilet/walls/kitchen/oven etc.
Bicarb and vinegar. If you want to try skipping dishwasher powder chemicals you can try a teaspoon of bicarb soda and a tablespoon of vinegar in the dishwasher! Even if one used this 1/2 the time we would skip some toxins. In fact there are endless uses for bicarbonate soda and for vinegar – you can research on google.
Matches. Next simple product that leaves no trace of plastic is matches. How annoying are those gas fire lighter things that run out of gas or break. Plastic plastic plastic. A few weeks of use and then a decade to break down. Now we happily use matches to light the fire each day.
Stainless steel pegs. Almost everlasting! There are wooden pegs and plastic pegs. None last that long and they end up all over the ground under the wash-line. My husband discovered stainless steel pegs online and ordered some. We are now set for pegs till we die! Search ‘stainless steel pegs’.
Legs and bicycles. These are great alternatives to driving a car to nearby places. This is an area I need to work on but I was reminded when visiting Sweden in January just how much Swedes walk instead of driving. It is so good for mental health and for the environment.
Spotify and Netflix! You are probably wondering how they can simplify life. Well, if you have ever helped Gen X’s move house and carted hundreds of CD’s and hundreds of DVDs like I have, and then seen a millennial move with zero DVDs and zero CDs you will know whose life is simpler. I have had Spotify since 2013 and add to that my bluetooth speaker and I have my entire music collection and good sound with me wherever I travel. We were in Thailand recently and one night in an airbnb my husband and I felt like watching a movie. We signed into our own Netflix account on the TV there and watched the next episode of our current favourite series. Simple. I have to say these options alas save money in the long run. Back in the recent days of video stores our fines for late returns alone were more than what I pay for Netflix per month!
Buy lots of the same. Here is a strategy about two products we all waste so much time and money on because we buy them in different brands and shapes and styles and they are a two part product and one part always goes missing so we have to keep buying more and more! These two naughty products who don’t like their partners are plastic containers in the kitchen (where are the matching lids!?!?) and socks (where are the matching ones?!?!). Every home is full of a large tribe of random socks and a hundred random plastic containers. I know because I have worked as professional organiser with many families. I have better things to do with my time and money than deal daily with missing socks and lids! PLASTICS: Try having only one brand of plastic containers and limit to three sizes S,M and L. You will never have trouble finding a lid again and hardly ever have to buy new ones. Also you will free up a huge amount of cupboard space as they will all stack! SOCKS: Buy socks in large batches of same brand and colour. I buy one brand of socks for each member of the family and it is never a problem to find a sock its partner, or know who it belongs to! So we don’t have to keep buying more! Small siblings can even share one batch of socks to simplify even further. I really have better things to
Shoeboxes. Oh how I love shoeboxes. They are your best friends for organising and simplifying cupboards. For example in my little linen cupboard there are a couple of shoeboxes for the pillow cases. I fold and stand them Marie Kondo style – upright – and you can see them all at a glance. They stay tidy. We also have shoeboxes in our drawers to segregate things like scarves, t-shirts, socks etc. In the pantry they hold our onions and potatoes and another one has all the sauce bottles. Shoe shops will love you to take them away and they are quite biodegradable.
I am sure you already have some of these simple products in your home, but maybe hadn’t thought of the others! Go enjoy some simplifying!