Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Simple is Better

Why is it we always think we can build a better mouse trap? What I really mean to ask is why do we ditch things that have worked well for years and replace them with things that may offer great promises, but in reality, cause us more work? Usually there's just more to go wrong with the item. 

I use to feel this way about electric windows on cars. Seems that they were always getting stuck in the down position and therefore, more of a hassle than a help. Why not just keep the old roll up version? I bet women had arms with less flab because of cranking them so vigorously. Just think, no need to use weights at the gym! I confess, they've improved these devices and I happily enjoy my electric windows on my vehicle now... as long as they work!


Photo Credit: cwwycoff1


The Shakers were famous for their simplicity and use of simple devices. And it's amazing how beautiful their creations were. Each item was well thought out in terms of dimensions as well as practicality. And why add decorations to a home where every useful item is a work of art in and of itself?


I think that's why I like Martha Stewart's Turkey Hill house so much (and her set for her TV show). Each item is kept simple and yet practical. And organized. And color coordinated. And high quality. And...okay, I'll stop there.


Martha's kitchen at Turkey Hill.
      Photo Credit: MarthaStewart.com

For years, I've hung my broom, swiffer, mop, and other items on this gadget...


I felt very clever for being organized. Until the dust started collecting on it and causing those little rollers not to roll so nicely. So I'd try cleaning them. That helped some, but it was a process that repeated itself regularly. And then there was the fact that a child wouldn't get the item put all the way in the slot correctly. As a result, an item was always falling down. Here it is on a good day...


Not too bad, but you can see the middle blue broom handle starting to fall out. And it's obviously overworked (uhhh... the vacuum hose. Not a good solution). I didn't photograph the bottom near the floor, but so many items so close together and always falling meant the floor was a mess almost 100 percent of the time. 

Then I found this beauty...


Simple, beautiful, and functional. REALLY functional. And did I mention it was sturdy. Those deep hooks are meant for holding things in a serious way. Here's how things looked after installation by my wonderful husband...


And that vacuum hose got a new home as well. I found a similar hook that was an over the door model. However, since I did not want it on a door, I had my husband make a block for it that could be attached to the wall. I still need to paint the plugs that cover the screws, but it seems to be the perfect fit for this item!


I feel a bit more like Martha already. Well, at least more organized. And while these two items may have cost a bit more, I think that in the long run, they're a much better investment. Cheaper is not always better, nor is it more frugal. It's the value for the dollar that makes it a good purchase.

What I find amazing is how a simple change can make an every day task so much easier and pleasant! Just the feel of reaching for a broom that is securely on a hook rather than struggling with a stubborn gadget makes a world of difference. Peace has now entered the pantry!

I really do think simple is better.




14 comments:

  1. Oooooh...I need that! It is the simple things in life that make me happy- like a simple organizational gadget. :)

    Thanks for sharing that,
    Joyce

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  2. I think you are right, Amy. I also think most of the time, older = better. The older stoves, refrigerators, etc are by far better than the newer models. Just take a look-see how many of these are still in use. No, they are not more energy efficient, but when push comes to shove, I'd rather have an old model than one that needs replacing every 8 years or so. Did you know (heard this from an independent repairman who had to come out and fix our 8 yr old stove for $100) that major appliances are now designed to wear out after 8-10 years? THAT'S how they stay in business!!! He also said NEVER buy a stove where the oven dial is on the top. It should be on the front, right along with the stove top burners. Far to difficult to fix when it is on the top. And the manufacturer knows this. Evil plan!

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  3. I love that hook bar!! The over the door modification is genius!!! Great job and looks good, too :-)

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  4. Farmgirl Cyn, I had heard some rumblings about the appliances built to "wear out" sooner. The man who repairs my 22 year old vacuum on occasion told me NOT to ditch it, because the little I spend to repair it is far cheaper than getting into the "newer" wear-out fast models that don't even work as well. And then, there is my sewing machine. I have a VERY basic all metal-Swiss model that was built to last forever. Sadly, however, I have a stovetop with the dials on top. I did not know this info when I bought it 7 years ago, but thankfully I've not run into trouble yet.

    But here's something interesting for you... My Kitchenaid Mixer had a housing unit that cracked causing it not to work. The repair cost was outrageous and would have involved a two + hour drive to get it to the repair center. I could have bought a new mixer for just a little more money. Then, no one would sell my husband the part because of liability - afraid of getting sued if he should repair it while it was plugged in! Finally, the fourth guy sold him the part for $24 and you know what? Instead of a plastic part like the original, this one was all metal! NO WAY it will break now... at least not that housing unit!

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  5. Isn't it amazing how something so simple can make life...and cleaning...a lot more enjoyable!!? Love the hooks...really cute.

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  6. i've long believed that less is more.
    glad martha (and you) are of this camp as well.
    whew. :o)

    jAne

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  7. Great post as always, Amy. I see we are on the same page re Martha today; her organization not to mention copper pots just amaze me. Thanks for stopping by this morning....

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  8. I really like that gadget. I too really like simple tools because they last longer and do a better job. JMHO

    Good Morning,
    Mal

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  9. You are so right. I like to keep the old that works, too. I'm glad you found a great looking and a great working solution.
    Laura

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  10. So true! I have always felt that the good ol cast iron pan and baking stone were so much better than the higher priced or even lower priced cookware. My mother and mother-in law have had the same cast iron pan for over 30 years. I am a firm believer in sticking with the Tried and True.

    I hear ya on the way they are making appliances. This is why I am always searching garage sales and thrift stores for the older version appliance. Not too old but older.

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  11. Putting the stove and oven dials on the front does make it easier for kids to get in trouble in the kitchen.

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  12. you got me thinking! You are so right!

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  13. Your hooks are beautiful! I recently moved into an old farmhouse. DH was swamped with work and I didn't have the heart to add to his to-do list. But the brooms/mops piled in the corner were driving me bats. I pried some huge nails out of the window frames that the previous owner had used for curtain rods (shudder), walked over to the entrance of my spidery basement and pounded those babies into a tidy row on a nearby board. Works a treat!

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  14. "Cheaper is not always better, nor is it more frugal. It's the value for the dollar that makes it a good purchase."
    My thoughts exactly. I'm afraid in our frenzy to save a buck, we've completely lost the value aspect of buying.
    Love your blog!

    ReplyDelete

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