Great piece in the NYT yesterday morning about a group of individuals in the Netherlands who, as a small but meaningful way to help reduce waste in the community, have organized the first ever Repair Cafe. Got an iron that’s burning your shirts, a sweater with holes, a vacuum cleaner not sucking up its share of dust and dirt…well, just bring all of the above and more to the repair cafe, and a group of talented and devoted volunteer fix-it practitioners will tend to your needs. As a result of their original success, thirty additional groups have started repair cafes across the country. There are so many things that are right about this program!! The primary one being that it takes a real stab at the planned obsolescence that has become so readily accepted in our material world. It brings to mind one of my earliest posts on this blog: The Repair Manifesto from the very thoughtful people over at platform21, a site that is sadly no longer.
I think these Tub Trugs are indispensable. I use them for countless chores and storage. I find the yellow ones to be especially lovely. The shallower designs are also new to me…so quite exciting. For even more sustainability there is a recycled plastic line as well. If you’re gonna get someone a gift, it might as well be useful, right? I’ll take one of each please. Oh, and by the way, these last forever!
Sustainability can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To me, the ultimate green product is the one that you never ever ever throw away. You buy it once and then you are finished. Done. End of story. And that thing you just bought…you use it! It’s the tool you reach for every time. This approach is not exactly the one that the manufacturing sector wants to promote, but it is a standard that I go back to over and over again. So, to that point, let me introduce the one and only serving spoon you will ever need or want. It was designed in 2000 by Antonio Citterio for the Finnish company Iittala. The thing is a workhorse. And what’s better, it looks good, feels really great to use and…here’s the kicker…it survives the cous cous test. It is the only serving spoon I have ever owned that does not spill a single grain from pot to plate. Pure genius. Yes, it’s a little pricey. For more info click here.
As a kid, my fantasy was to live in an RV. I was fascinated with the idea that everything had a dedicated spot and that there was essentially no space for anything extra. Dining tables converted to beds in the evening, and there were built-ins galore. Like a lot of people, my dream house has since morphed into a series of small sheds: One for sleeping, one for cooking and eating and relaxing and definitely one for working. If need be, I could easily combine both of the “non-studio” structures into a single unit. When I came across the Just Sheds site I found myself plotting some teeny future compound.
This is a video re-post from when I first started this blog. I don’t know about you, but I am proud to say that I have “almost” completely eliminated the use of plastic grocery bags. However, when you are faced with one, here is my friend Keiko’s very special technique for folding said item into neat little package for handy future use.