2021-02-12

simple living

examples and inspiration for living cheaply with only the personally most useful items

subtopics

options for floor sleeping

objects

  • carboard boxes

    • for clothes and most other items
    • pro

      • cheap and available
      • easy to disposed
      • less likely to give off toxic fumes
      • easy to access contents if kept open by folding-in the top sides
      • can be stored folded if not in use
      • can be moved as is when moving to a new place
    • con

      • ugly if not painted (potentially plastic layer) or hidden
      • may rot in humid environments, other material needed there
    • without a shelf: boxes with rarely used items at the bottom, more frequently used in open boxes at the top
    • clothes can be rolled instead of folded and stacked. this saves space is easier to access and also useful when packing a suitcase
  • silent refrigerator using water-ammonia absorption

    • often marketed to hotels as mini-bar fridges
    • pro: completely silent, no humming, bubbling, only a click sometimes, energy requirment is ok
  • lightweight mini-oven ($30)

    • with a layer of aluminum foil on the inside bottom to make cleaning easier
  • mobile induction hotplate

    • pro: heats much faster than heated metal plates and cooking is therefore often easier to manage. the flat surface ceramic plate is easy to clean
    • con: usually have an audible fan that runs when active
  • glas, smoked glas or opal glas for cups

    • pro: material does not affect taste, degrades little over time, no coatings that chip or dissolve
  • garbage bags in boxes or bag holder stands. bag size can be varied for type of garbage

    • pro: cheap and space saving
    • con: very ugly
  • distilled water for cleaning screens. leaves no residue and doesnt harm plastics like alcohol can
  • glass water bottle with metal lid from store bought mineral water, refilled with tap water, if good tap water is available
  • battery powered vaccuum

    • vacuuming in straight lines and checking with a strong light for dust left on the floor
  • air cleaning device to reduce dust particles in the room

    • for example, take a strong flashlight, darken the room, turn on the light: what can be seen floating in the air - lots of dust? is it everywhere in the room? that is what you are breathing. is that bad? might be. fine dust particulates are known to create lung cancer (any residues from combustion, exhaust, asbestos, textile dust; dust can break down and become smaller)
    • coal power plants, neighbors burning wood for heating and industry emissions are significant killers
  • wide flat mop for hard floors

    • mopping solves and looses dirt with water that the vacuum could not get. vacuum before mopping
    • spray bottle to apply a thin layer of cleaning solution. dont just mix what is on the floor
  • powdered food like plenny, soylent or queal

    • it works. some people are already using it as food for years
    • supposed to contain all needed nutrients. at least potentially optimal nutrition. can be alternated and combined with other healthy food.
    • no other type of food can compare in nutrition density, low space requirement, price, simple and fast preparation, quick consumption and long shelf-life (a year or more)
    • never be hungry again, because a full meal is always quickly in reach
    • can save kitchen appliances (freezer, fridge, stove, microwave, blender, ...)
    • less trash, and less weight to transport
  • hemp and linen materials

    • are tough and available certified to be low in toxic chemicals. may create less fine dust than cotton because of larger and stronger fibers
  • synthetic materials

    • pro: no dust, temperature balance, resistant, fast drying, need no ironing, stretch materials that ease movement, lightweight even when wet, insects ignore it
    • con: petroleum based, perhaps more likely to contain toxic substances
  • camping mat with an organic natural fibre (yoga) mat on top and hemp fibre bedsheets for bedding on the floor
  • flashlight with rechargable batteries as sole lightsource. can be taken into all rooms
  • monochrome laser printer with toner. toner is much cheaper and lasts much longer than ink. they give contrast-rich print results, faster and are wholly less expensive than inkjet printers
  • paper bags and organic cotton sacks and net bags instead of plastic
  • neoprene shoes (aquashoes, water shoes) ($15)

    • pro

      • lightweight
      • less surface for dirt to collect, very easy to clean
      • no shoelaces to bind
      • stretch material with natural feel
      • flexible and available with thick-enough sole
    • con

      • no protection for if something falls on the feet
      • might wear down quicker because sole sometimes made from softer materials
      • some types are slippery on wet surfaces
  • neoprene clothes against low temperatures

    • pro: thin and light
    • con: plastics, neoprene smell, doesnt let through much air
  • simple bicycle that uses commonly available and cheap parts

    • for example a lightweight single-speed bicycle
    • single-speed bicycles are fun because of a more direct power transmission feel and still being quite useful with one gear

      • gears can be changed by replacing the gearwheel (cheap), but the length of the chain has to be modified
    • 2000 euro racing bicycles with uncommon parts might require frequent replacement of expensive parts
  • electric cars have much fewer parts than other cars and should therefore require less maintenance. the fast acceleration could improve the flow of stop-and-go city traffic
  • white daylight led bulbs. the white light from daylight lamps tends to look exactly like daylight in the periphery and can help staying more productive in the evening
  • tiles with no or small gaps on the floor and walls. easiest to clean and resistant
  • sight-blocking matte foil on windows instead of dusty curtains. because foil does not need attachments on the wall and are thin, they save space that would be lost by having a curtain in front of the window. no regular cleaning necessary. can be difficult to apply
  • velcro tape cut to custom lengths to bundle cables
  • black tape for covering unnecessary led lights on appliances
  • monitor desk mount. a metal arm to reversibly attach to the table and monitor. the monitor must have vesa screw holes, which many do. takes very little space on the table, perhaps 6 square centimeters, and can offer a maximum of ergonomic flexibility. the monitor can be pulled towards, turned around or rotated out of the way and it cant fall from the desk
  • silent computer mouse that makes less audible clicking noises
  • tower computers have benefits in extendability and performance. the parts are more widely available and easier to replace

    • laptops might not last as long generally because they are built more tightly and get hotter. they are also harder to clean from accumulating dust. if one part breaks, like just a fan, the part might be irreplacable or hard to get and it is sometimes easier to buy a complete new laptop
    • passive cooling components or large fans and ssd drives to ideally have no noise emissions
  • enough external backup drives attached via esata or internal docking stations to have at least two backups of all data you would not want to have lost. mix different types of storage, flash/magnetic/optical/m-discs/etc. hard disks fail, and when this happens it is the wrong time to think about what important data was on the drive
  • slim keyboard with flat laptop keys

    • flat keys usually easier to press from all approach directions and have shorter travel time to be pressed and take less time to be pressed again
    • smaller keyboards often still have a numpad on the letters accessible via fn key, if needed. typical keyboards are big with more useless keys
    • more room to have the keyboard almost in the center and the mouse right next to it
  • headphones with ideally a flat frequency response and no sound coloration. this lets the source material as much as possible control the sound without unnecessary standard distortions. etymotic, sennheiser and possibly akg might have suitable products that make decent compromises
  • noise insulating earphones that go in like actual earplugs, like the ones from etymotic
  • external dac (digital to analog converter, basically a sound card) and headphone amplifier combination (may be built in)

    • sound cards can make a huge sound difference
    • the resulting quality difference can be described for example by a combination of resolution (how much can be reproduced at the same time and how clearly), dynamics (how quickly it can change between sounds without slurring) and frequency response (if x is requested does x come out)
    • as an audio enthusiast, i would buy in a range from $500 to how much you value sound quality. mabe up to $2000. but note that getting high quality sound material adds additional costs
  • good office chair. a chair molds the body. can cost $300 or more but usually lasts a long time (10y or longer)
  • earplugs for a quieter life
  • zip-lock bags to protect electronic devices from rain
  • pop-up tent that builds up by itself and can be folded back together in seconds

other

  • things should not need a car to get rid of them. it should be possible to dispose items with the home trash
  • materials from packed items in the store are cheap (glass bottles, metal cases)
  • common, mass produced variants of items tend to be cheaper than special types. for example: sports bicycle with uncommon and expensive parts
  • avoid plastics

  • household chemicals

    • concentrated vinegar for dissolving lime, killing bacteria and mold when cleaning
    • non-animal derived soap for personal hygiene
    • sodium bicarbonate as an antacid and for cleaning fruit
  • drying clothes after washing by air drying works in 1-3 days and saves the costs of using an electric dryer
  • exercise

    • important for keeping up the efficiency and strength of the heart, lungs, blood flow and many other parts of the system
    • less breathing is required even when resting or with less air in the environment, movement and good posture becomes easier, bone structure hardens
    • within limits, trained bodies are healthier than untrained bodies and aid a longer life
    • many processes in the body may depend on movement to work
    • "what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable"
  • speak english. life is simpler when people can understand each other
  • products made for commercial or industrial use tend to be more durable and functional
  • avoid recurring costs and contracts
  • make payments in larger intervals, for example bi-yearly, yearly. cleans up the bank statement
  • avoid debt strictly
  • using a non-qwerty keyboard layout

    • i used dvorak for several years before i switched to qgmlwb, and given that qgmlwb is more colemak like, i would probably recommend colemak
    • using a too uncommon layout has heavy downsides when being on computers of other people or for on-site coding challenges for job interviews
  • the c and scheme programming languages both offer a kind of minimalism. although the syntax of c is much more complex and has pitfalls that may take the minimalism away

tried alternatives

  • air mattress

    • con: air has to be refilled about once per month. will get punctured sooner or later. made of plastics that might contain health affecting chemicals
    • pro: can be quite comfortable, easy to clean, easy to carry, easy to throw out, easily moved
  • sleeping bags: more of a hassle to get in and out, harder to clean
  • peltier and plain electricity based refrigerators use much more energy (3x) and usually have a fan
  • compressor refrigerators make audible compressor noises
  • cloth stand and cloth hangers: more of a hassle compared to open boxes
  • microwave/oven combinations are much more expensive, heavy, and not good at any of the two functions
  • wallpaper: very easy to scratch or get discolorated by contact with other objects. can grow mold quite easily. hassle to put on and remove. have to be repainted or replaced regularly. never looks as clean as stone
  • big tile gaps. a traditional style choice. the gaps are less mold resistant and much harder to clean. soak in liquids. makes it look less-uniform and gives areas a distracting, never quite clean/comfortable look
  • audio speakers are better at producing low frequencies, but room configuration, materials, placement, listener position in front of the speakers have great influence on the sound. the seating position is important and room reflections add a significant room dependent standard distortion that is hard to control. more importantly, music through loud speakers, especially with subwoofers, can easily annoy neighbors