Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

5 Products That Make Our Lives Better

We are always on the lookout for products that do more, last longer and take up less space than their conventional counterparts. We’re not talking about things like a good laptop or phone, which might be indispensable, but will be outdated in six months. We’re talking about the products that won’t go out of date, whose utility proves itself through the years.

We’ve put together a short roundup of products we find ourselves unable to live without (not literally of course). It’s also a nice excuse to ask you what your list includes. What are the things that make your life or home work better–things that make life simpler and more streamlined? Let us know in our comments section below.

  1. Waffle-weave towels. We’ve talked about them before, but too much cannot be said about their merits. The longer we use them, the more they prove their superiority to terry cloth. We’ve been using Aquis microfiber towels and Gilden Tree cotton waffle towels. Both take up less storage and washing machine space, dry faster and avoid mold. If we were to choose one however, it’d be the Aquis; the synthetic material seems to grab moisture from your skin. It’s also softer than cotton. If you’re not into synthetic stuff, the Gilden Tree towels still work great and are available in more sizes and colors.
  2. Outlier pants. These things rock. They look like dress pants, feel like sweat pants, wick and repel moisture like mountaineering pants and wear like iron. Starting at $188, they are not cheap, but they will literally replace three pairs of conventional pants and outlast them as well. I have had several pairs for the last few years. My favorites are the 4 Season OG’s and Climbers, both of which have four-way stretch material (not all Outlier pants are as stretchy). Their shorts rule as well. Right now, they make one women’s variety.
  3. A cast iron skillet. Nonstick skillets are great, but they wear horribly and have a dubious safety record. Copper and stainless steel wear great, but are temperamental, scorching and staining easily. Cast iron, on the other hand, wears like, well…iron. It distributes high and low heat great. With a little bit of use–i.e. ‘seasoning’–it can be almost as nonstick as a Teflon pan, without all the plastic bits in your food. You can clean them without water. And while enameled iron pans are nice, the bare cast iron versions are less fussy and prone to marring. I use a beautifully designed 12″ iittala Hackman Dahlström Tools for almost everything (pictured at very top. Discontinued, but available at various stores), but most any cast iron skillet work equally great. Get a size that’s big enough for the amount of cooking you do, but not so big that it takes ages to heat.
  4. A comfy couch that you can sleep on. I was at IKEA a few weeks ago and they had a 375 sq ft mock-up apartment featuring a huge, overstuffed sectional couch. I thought it a waste of space until I sat it in. Few things demarcate home like a comfy couch. In the LifeEdited apartment, the Resource Furniture Swing couch is the most used piece of furniture. A great couch can be your guest room in a pinch, and while convertible sofa-beds are great, sometimes it’s better to get a longer couch than invest in a substandard sofa-bed, which are often pretty uncomfortable.
  5. A scanner. We thought scanner technology was stable enough that it could be included on this list. Scanners are simple, can last ages, don’t require stupid, overpriced toners and, most importantly, allow you to dump tons of paper by scanning receipts and important documents. Scanners eliminate the need for a fax. You can also scan old photographs for posterity and digital display.

What would you include on this list? What items streamline your home and your life more than most? Let us know in our comments section.