I’m not talking about the kind of gadgets we find in a kitchen or workshop. This is about the kind of single use item that was all the rage 30 years ago: that Personal Organiser that niftily combined a calculator with a tool to keep track of your expenses, or a long-defunct electronic measurement tool that has had better days.
Gadgets come in all shapes and forms, from laser distance measuring tools to USB-keys, from smartwatches that count your steps to google glass spectacles. The issue here is that many of those are novelty items, really. They do a job reasonably well, but ultimately most of them have been regrouped into a smartphone these days, right? This means you’ll have to really think about which gadgets make sense for you to keep and use and which ones can be regrouped.
Remember those old days when you owned a radio/cassette deck/LP player combo? If either of those components broke down you lost the use of all of them at once because you could never replace either component at a reasonable cost. Luckily, those days are mostly over: apps on phones have taken away some of the worry in that respect, but we may now have gone in the same direction again: maybe we are so hooked on apps that we never consider the trouble we could be in if our phone suddenly decided that it has had enough of this collection of apps?
As usual, when you look at your gadgets of all sorts, it makes sense to consider which of them actually make sense to keep and which ones are not all that useful any more: if you can use your phone to count your steps, why spend the money on a separate gadget? And don’t forget that it takes time to understand how the gadget works, it needs regular charging (or new batteries = money) and may overall be more trouble than it’s worth. Find out which of your many gadgets are actually adding to your life and which ones make life more difficult. And then dispose of the guilty pleasures!
In some cases, the choice you make could be dependent on the consideration if you want to stay electronic or paper-based. If you choose to do everything paperless, why would you want to keep a printer and pay for expensive ink cartridges? You’ll find that a number of items in your household may fall into a comparable category.
A lot of gadgets have one thing in common: they only serve one single purpose. Those are usually solutions to problems you never even knew you had. Have you been able to survive before you bought that novelty pineapple slicer? Did you never grill a sandwich without the Super Deluxe Rotisserie style sandwich grill? Of course, you simply used a knife or a toaster or grill to do this. What is perceived as a simplification is often just shifting the amount of time you spend in making your food and cleaning the gadget. Plus: how often are you likely to use a single-purpose item like that pineapple slicer, in comparison to multi-functional tool like a knife?
Hard questions to ask, and you will most likely be guided by thoughts like “I’ve bought it so I better keep it stored away for future use” or “I have only used if half a dozen times, but I intend to do it more often” and the like. Just consider that in between uses this item will take up space, and will be in the way of finding other things. Make the cut sooner rather than later and you’ll be all the better for it.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.