I’ve discussed in previous posts purchase decisions that I’ve regretted. Today I want to discuss purchase decisions that I’ve been very happy with and that I would repurchase. These are items that have made life easier, so I consider them essential minimalist purchases.
I love sprouts, but you usually buy them in plastic tubs. I bought this class sprouting jar a few years ago and have never looked back. I buy sprouting legumes in bulk, such as lentils, mung beans, and chickpeas. I also buy some sprouting salad seeds in paper containers from one of the local food stores. It’s so much easier and cheaper to grow your own sprouts, and this jar is in constant use. I used to use a simple mason jar with a piece of cheesecloth wrapped around the top, but I made a few messes with this method, and have found this custom-made jar to be far less messy.
I love tofu and eat it almost daily. I am particularly fond of air frying tofu (more about this later), or grilling it. These two processes work best with tofu that has as little liquid as possible. I used to press blocks of tofu with weighted plates, but I broke a few things along the way. Some people freeze tofu to extract this liquid, but I hate the rubbery texture of frozen tofu. I invested in a tofu press. I normally avoid buying single-use products, but given how often I use it, this press has been a very good investment
Pull tab opener
I have arthritis in both my hand and wrists, and pulling open tabs from tins has become difficult and painful. I need to open tabs every day for my cats’ tinned food, which they get in the morning. This device has made my life so my easier, and it can be used as well to open screw-top bottles and smaller jars.
I despise cables and wires with every fibre in my body; they cause visual clutter that bothers me enormously. Wireless chargers have helped cut down on some of this clutter. I have one downstairs and one upstairs. I use them to charge my smartphone, and my bluetooth Galaxy ear buds. I love the fact that I don’t need to have different charging adapters. I wish that my Chromebook could charge this way.
I have a number of Dyson products. I had resisted buying them for a long time, as they are shockingly expensive, but once I did, my attitude for all of them was “I wish I had done this sooner.” My first Dyson product was the bladeless fan. I love not having to worry about getting my fingers caught in blades, and traditional fans accumulate a lot of dirt and are difficult to clean. My next purchase (on points, thanks to HBC. Canadians will get this) was a handheld vacuum, which I use to clean carpets, furniture, and stairs. I live with two cats and am a neat freak, so I use this device daily. My third purchase was the hair dryer. I really questioned by decision to buy this, as I let my curly hair air dry for the most part, but this process takes at least 5 hours. Most regular hair dryers, with diffusers, don’t work very well on my hair, as I don’t towel dry it, so it’s sopping wet. I use the Dyson hair dryer, with diffuser, for just a few minutes so that my hair doesn’t continue to drip down my back, let my hair air dry, then use the dryer again to scrunch out the gel cast (it’s a curly hair thing). The Dyson disperses heat much more efficiently, rapidly, and gently than any other hair dryer I’ve used. My most recent purchase was a Dyson vacuum cleaner. My older vacuum cleaner was still fine, but I was getting very tired of winding and unwinding the cord every time I wanted to vacuum (which is every day in certain parts of the house). I tried the new Dyson on my living room rug just after I had vacuumed it with my older vacuum and I could not believe what the Dyson picked up. Absolutely no regrets: Sir James has my heart.
This plastic olive oil sprayer is a gem. I like to make an oil spray that consists of one part olive oil to four parts water: This acts similarly to those canned oil sprays you can get and cuts down on the amount of full oil I need to add to foods. I’ve tried repurposing spray bottles do this, but the nozzles generally sprayed a direct line, rather than a mist, and they would often clog. This bottle works very well: It mists the oil (although the mist is generous and sometimes hits other surfaces, but I’ve learned to have a clear path), the nozzle never clogs, and you can tilt the bottle in any direction without affecting the spray function. I use this bottle every day.
Even though I love to cook, I keep my cooking equipment down to the bare minimum; for example, I have only one pot large enough to boil past and make soups; one saute pan, one small pot, one medium sized pot, and a vegetable steamer insert. I hesitated about getting an air fryer, as I questioned whether my oven was sufficient, but after a lot of research and pondering, I thought I would try one. One use was all it took to convince me that I had made the right decision. I use my air fryer several times a week to cook tofu, vegetables, and potatoes. I love the fact that you need very little oil and that things cooks quickly.
Electric pressure cooker
I’ve been using pressure cookers since I was a child. The one we had in our family home was the type that could explode, but when it worked, we loved it. When I had my own kitchen, I invested in a standard pressure cooker that worked on the stove top. These types of pressure cookers are very hit and miss, as a lot depends on the temperature of the stove top. When I discovered electric pressure cookers, I was over the moon, as I no longer had to fiddle with closing the sliding lid properly, finding the right temperature, and so forth. My first electric pressure cooker was too large (8 litre) for my needs, but it worked well, until I managed to lose the pressure valve, without which the cooker doesn’t work. I bought a smaller 3-litre Instant Pot and use it very frequently, particularly to cook risotto, dried beans and legumes, soups, and so forth.
I wear a lot of natural fibres that get wrinkled, such as linen and cotton. I understand that these fibres will wrinkle as the day goes on, but I absolutely refuse to start off the day with wrinkled clothes. I even iron my kitchen towels and dish cloths. I air dry most of my laundry, so items do get wrinkled. Fortunately, I love to iron; I find it very soothing. I’m probably the only child who would beg my mother to let me do the ironing, which she gladly did once she was reassured that I wouldn’t burn down the house. I’ve gone through a number of irons, but the Eurosteam is the best I’ve ever used. It uses pressure to heat the water and has no heat settings. You can iron any fabric with the same heat setting and can leave the hot iron on any fabric, walk away for hours, and come back with no damage to the fabric. In short, this iron is magic. It’s expensive and worth every penny. I’ve had it for years.
Juwel drying rack
I air dry most of my laundy, including my towels and sheets; the only things I put in the dryer are the mattress pad, and the slipcover of my sofa. Dyrers use a lot of energy and have a high environmental footprint. I have had an assortment of drying racks over the years, and would often need to use three at a time. When I discovered the Juwel Twist drying rack, everyting changed. This drying rack is very lightweight and folds. In the image above, you can see the two sides of the rack, which extend fully. The legs collapse as well so that you end up with something the size of a thick broom when it’s fully closed. When it’s fully open, I can place one sheet on each side, which shows you how large the surface is. This now the only drying rack I use. It wasn’t cheap, but I’ve had it for years and it has completely changed the way I do laundry.
I’ve always liked bidets, as I consider toilet paper to be very inefficient, wasteful, and unhygienic. I had considered getting a bidet attachment, such as the Tushy, but they seemed a little fiddly to set up, and I have heard they don’t work with all sizes of toilets. I bought a handheld Brondell bidet about five years ago. It took me five minutes to set up and works really well. This bidet, in conjunction with washable cloths, are all I need. I keep a small supply of toilet paper for guests, but I don’t use it otherwise. I have a portable bidet that I use for work.