Friday, July 1, 2016

The Cheap Tote

I have yet to find a more convenient holder for condiments than an empty six-pack. I win on both ends of the process. -30-
More after the jump.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ship Light

Stay light on your feet by paring grams off your kit. Every decision to acquire can be informed by futurist Buckminster Fuller's first design question: how much does it weigh? Bill Gates, Jr. pointed out that a computer weighs the same no matter how much information it contains.

The Great Big Hiking Co-op is the mother lode of ultralight thinking. Their wardrobe choices are consistently three years ahead of cutting-edge fashion. Field kitchen gear is fusing with domestic appliances.

High tech is the key to the mint; nylon pack cloth the currency. Miniaturize inventory to save space and weight. Quarter-sized squeeze-top silicone travel tubs replace bulky tubes. High-tech nylon zip-top bags, that resemble the grocery store variety, protect and isolate food, electronics, and supplies. Zippered nylon packing cubes organize inventory all year 'round and can be snatched up for travel in less than a second.

The cash register at my friendly local shipping office is the telling indicator. Interestingly, the most formal and conservative old school design is the lightest weight: cashmere sweaters, for example, weigh less and are more durable than comparable wool knits. Mohair lap robes outperform wool. Mahogany furniture respects space better than oak and is easier to shift here and there. High-end items have the lowest cost per use.

Every time I pack a rolling case to travel, I learn new things to live without. -30-

More after the jump.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Keeping A Pessimistic House

Years of sitting in on a weekly support group for a dread disease, that fortunately I do not have, have taught me the value of dwelling as if. As if relatives or friends would suddenly be managing one's possessions. As if one would have to move to small quarters overnight. As if a chronic invalid were to take up residence with no notice.

Before the abundance and complexity of suburban consumer life came to dominate images of American domesticity, a well-designed single family home included a bedroom off the kitchen to serve as an infirmary. The location eased the burdens of the cook/housekeeper/caregiver.

Inventory was relatively simple even for the wealthy, and it was carefully managed. Furniture was designed to lock so service persons could not threaten security. All doors locked. 

Every small decision that supports managing quarters is if sudden change and unknown helpers were imminent will make ordinary life simpler and more secure. -30- More after the jump.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Clutter And Hygiene

Keep horizontal surfaces, mirrors, windows, and appliance facades clear of bottles and knick-knacks. One can wipe down the hardest-working parts of the house in seconds.

The main piece of furniture, the floor, counts as a horizontal surface. -30-

More after the jump.

Monday, June 27, 2016

How A Stamp Works, A Guide To Low-tech Communication

I wrote this post for a young friend contemplating issuing wedding invitations by snail mail. He doubted that any of his friends would know how to use a stamp to RSVP.

A "stamp" is a small piece of adhesive paper or plastic, often artfully designed, that is the ticket for air, sea, or land transportation of a physical object. The price of a stamp is called postage. Stamps are available at one of a network of vendors known as post offices.

After a stamp is applied to the passenger-equivalent item, it is marked with ink to indicate that it has been used. The action is called cancellation.

Stamps are popular collectibles. -30-
More after the jump.