Which Life-Simplifying Devices Would Your Life Be Simpler Without?

I’m just delighted to have Rachel Papworth of Green and Tidy with us again! Last Simplicity week she brought us Five Ways to Simplify Your Life and she is back today with the second of three essays on Simplicity. 

by Rachel Gertrude


‘There’s got to be a way to automate this!’

Last week, I was putting together an agenda for a meeting. A simple enough task except that, each time I added an item, I had to change the timings of all the others throughout the agenda. Not difficult. Just dull and irritating.

So I searched the interweb for free software that would do it for me…and then gave up after about ten minutes and went back to doing it by hand.

Maybe there is free software out there (feel free to post below and tell me about it) but I didn’t find it, and I wasted ten minutes looking for it.

And, if I’d found it, I’d have had to download it, and the next time I went to use it, maybe I’d have needed to update it.

Would it really have simplified my life?

The lure of technology is seductive. Each new appliance or gadget promises to make our lives easier. But do they deliver what they promise? They simplify individual tasks but do we trade the time spent choosing them, working out how to use them, maintaining them, sorting it out when they go wrong and making enough money to pay for them for that simplicity?

I don’t know. I’m not taking a position. Just asking the question.

I help people all over the world declutter and create homes they love, so it won’t surprise you to know that I’m always looking to see what I can live without – what I’d actually be better off without.

I’ve got a vacuum cleaner.

I’ve got a washing machine but not a tumble dryer. I save electricity by drying laundry on my rotary dryer or in front of radiators.

I’ve got an induction hob, an oven, a fridge, a freezer and a food blender, but not a food processor, a dishwasher or a microwave. I can chop vegetables and wash up by hand and I’m not prepared to spend money, sacrifice space in my kitchen, and use up the energy embedded in a microwave oven just to reheat food (slightly) faster.

I’ve got a PC, a printer, a wi-fi router, a laptop computer and a smartphone – that’s three computers! Actually, come to think of it, four: I’ve also got a notebook computer that I bought and haven’t made much use of.

I’ve got an mp3 player, a portable DAB radio and a separates system with tuner, amp, CD player and speakers. I haven’t got a TV (I can watch the tiny number of programme that interest me on catch-up), or a DVD player (other than my computers, on which I watch films). I haven’t got a tablet device.

I used to have a car and found myself using it less and less. When it needed replacing, I chose to live without one instead. I use my bike for local journeys and public transport for journeys further afield, saving energy and keeping myself fit. Some journeys (not all!) probably take me longer as a result but I don’t think about it. I reckon it saves me money overall and it’s less stressful: I’d rather be on a slow-moving train than in a traffic jam.

I don’t miss the devices I haven’t got. I’ve got less to store, less to look after, less to replace and maintain, and I’m using less of the world’s resources. Plus, I admit it, I’m a bit of a luddite. A resistor of new technology. Too lazy to learn how to use it.

I’m curious. Which devices truly simplify your life? Which devices have you chosen to live without? Have you counter-intuitively simplified your life by getting rid of any devices that aim/claim to make life simpler?



Rachel Papworth runs Green and Tidy. She helps people all over the world declutter and create homes they love – homes that support them to live the lives of their dreams. A trained coach with a Psychology degree, and a self-confessed decluttering and organising geek, Rachel loves the way decluttering your stuff declutters your mind, and the contribution decluttering and organising makes to living a low impact life. For a free masterclass ‘How to declutter and stay decluttered FOREVER’, join the Green and Tidy community at http://www.mygreenandtidylife.co.uk.

You can also follow her on Twitter, Like her Facebook Page, check out her boards at Pinterest and watch her videos on YouTube.

4 thoughts on “Which Life-Simplifying Devices Would Your Life Be Simpler Without?

  1. This made for good reflection on what’s in the home–and what really is useful or meaningful! This summer my husband & I began a bit painting/reno project throughout the house, which also coincided with a BIG downsizing of possession. This summer we gave up our TV. We still watch a few things via the internet on a laptop, but we’ve significantly reduced our viewing habits. Less screen time has given us more time in the evenings to be together, read, relax. We have less kitchen gadgets, although I still have the blender & food processor. I find these do help, as I cook a lot in big batches for the freezer. Washer, but no dryer. I air dry our clothes. We have one car, but it doesn’t get the greatest workout. We do try to use the train more, and live in a small town where most of what we need is within walking distance–save the environment, the walks gives exercise! We have 3 computers in the house, and can’t seem to do with less of those–my own laptop, husband’s laptop, and a big tower/screen-set up (this hubby uses for digital music/composing) We’ve more than halved our book collection (which at one time was in the 1,000s!) and are warming up to e-readers. These are easy to use, and require less space to store than lots & lots of books! It still seems like a lot of STUFF, but we’re reducing. I think it’s a matter of finding those things that we really use, need or love. :o)

  2. Ooh yes, e-readers. I could have included something about them above. I haven’t got one yet (luddite) but I’m interested in whether they help people keep and acquire less stuff, and how they compare to physical books in terms of use of resources.

    Well done for downsizing and decluttering so much.

    Always great to “meet” others who minimise their resource consumption.

  3. We made a big move, cross country, four years ago and I released a lot of “stuff”. I am truly always getting rid of the things that don’t delight me or serve me. Microwave-gone! Old LP’s gone! Clothes that I might fit into when I lose weight-gone! The food processor sitting in a cupboard? still there even though I haven’t used it in years…..maybe it is time to donate that too! I was gifted with an I-Pad and I still haven’t figured it out well enough to use it very much. My son’s are waiting patiently for me to say “here it is yours!” LOL

    I don’t bring anything new in unless it delights me or is useful on a weekly basis. That makes life so much simpler!

    Thanks for your take on this-and I am with you on downloads! There is still plenty of clutter on my computer!

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