Every day there's more technologically advanced gadgets for facilitating housework. However, as a thoughtful interior designer will remind you, not every gadget is worth your money, time, and storage space – many household items that seemed useful at the time of purchase end up collecting dust in the back of a cabinet somewhere. If you've ever felt that you've been persuaded to spend your money on a gadget that you don't really need – or that doesn't really add any value to your life – this idea book guide is for you. Don't get stuck believing that you need a gadget or appliance for every single household function – there are more than enough high-quality, time-tested, and multifunctional pieces that eliminate the need for the fussy, cheap, highly specific, wasteful items that are trying to take their place.
This new year, simplify, choose your gadgets mindfully, and invest in quality.
To get you started, here are 6 common household items that you simply don't need:
The fumes from some chemical cleaners can be carcinogenic, such as some laundry detergent powders and dishwashing tablets. Of course, chemicals are highly useful in many instances of modern life, but they can be harmful to health. You can't eliminate them, but you can certainly modify your household cleaning regimen to include more human- and eco-friendly products, such as vinegar, baking soda, tea tree oil, and lemon juice. For example, baking soda cleans stains, disinfects, and can even remove mold. Vinegar works well for removing water residue stains in showers. Instead of aerosol air fresheners, opt for essential oils.
Paper towels are are cheap and disposable – a true symbol of what has become a very hurried modern life. What did humans ever do before the invention of the paper towel?
Washcloths work just as well as paper towels for most things (if not better than paper towels). Likewise, cloth napkins are simply a nicer touch than paper towels at a dinner party. Somehow, people got by without paper towels for centuries – when you've got a high-quality washcloth or sponge on hand (or old, cut up T-shirt rag), there's really no reason why you should throw your money away on paper towels.
During dry months a humidifier can be a valuable addition to your home. However, the rest of the time, they occupy prime real estate in your closets. You can easily use homemade methods to raise humidity: some people put a damp cloth above the radiator, or simply cook food that requires boiling water. Potted plants are also natural humidifiers.
A hot plate is a valuable asset for a restaurant, but it's really not necessary at home. Sure, it's a snazzy addition to your kitchen and might sound absolutely incredible in the store. However, you can achieve the same effect by simply popping the things you'd like to keep warm in a slightly preheated oven. A microwave also has great insulation – put a towel on your pot or pan, and place it in the microwave (no need to actually turn it on) to keep it warm.
Simply put, there is no egg that cannot be cooked in a normal pot or frying pan. Getting your hard boiled eggs just right is an art, but it's not rocket science! Get rid of the egg cooker and enjoy the extra space in your cabinets.
An automatic can opener is a valuable device for anyone with limit mobility or joint pain, but it's not necessary for most lifestyles. Considering how little time it takes to open a can with a sturdy, manual can opener, there's not much justification for owning an expensive, power-sucking device for doing the job – especially when you consider that a mechanical or power failure can leave you unable to open any cans.
Looking for kitchen tips? See this ideabook on How to make your kitchen the heart of your home