Part One. (this is bound to be complicated.)
it’s no secret that i’m not a neat freak. nor am i particularly organized.
perhaps this is why i’m often compelled to pick up Real Simple magazine whenever i find myself sitting in a waiting room. perhaps i’m hoping some of the publication’s many “tips” or “tricks” for sorting out my entire life will just seep in and magically create some order.
or, perhaps it’s just the way the paper feels when you flip through the book. it’s sandpaper-y but still slick. saturated with color and pretty pictures and J Crew-ish looking people living in cool lofts having to make “creative use of small spaces” while also coming up with clever homemade gifts. similar to ReadyMade – another aspirational publication that makes me think, “i could totally make an end table out of PVC pipe and old stereo speakers on saturday afternoon!”
recently, i came across a nifty little time-saving trick in Real Simple: use a can opener to open those impossible plastic clamshell packages! when I mentioned it among a group of friends (wow, there’s a sign I’m getting old,) two friends admitted that reading Real Simple actually stresses them out. Real Simple – a magazine with an overall mission to make life a little simpler – stresses them out.
that’s crazy. i wonder if the editors have any idea.
sure, if you read it like a manual every month, follow each and every household tip and buy a label maker to tag everything from the salt and pepper shakers to the dog bowl, that might be a bit stressful. it’s important to realize the writers and editors at Real Simple have one job: to fill a couple hundred pages with new uses for old items and organizing buttons and safety pins. perhaps taking a few little useful tidbits each month might be better than reading it cover to cover and trying to put ALL of their friendly suggestions into play in day-to-day life. in short, maybe just organize your safety pins.
looking a little deeper (ha) into Real Simple, i discovered the website offers “100 interactive checklists that will keep you on track.” really? 100 to do lists? and, they run the gamut from writing your vows or packing a picnic to hosting a cheese party and “keeping it together” during the month of february.
is february the time when things typically fall apart?
another discovery: you can “learn to do almost anything” with Real Simple. “watch step-by-step instructions on how to braid hair, how to make a martini, how to chop parsley, and more.” i have a suggestion for anyone perusing a website to learn how to chop parsley: PUT THAT KNIFE DOWN.
next, i figured maybe i should sign up for one of their daily or weekly email tips. everybody likes sollicited automated email advice! i mean, hey, the can opener trick was rooted in good thought; it’s just that that clamshell plastic is way tougher than my dollar store can opener.
here’s an example of an email “tip,” which, you too can clog your inbox with :
Before discarding an envelope from a friend or relative, check your address book against the return address to make sure your information is up-to-date.
click-thru and you also get the following news-breaking headlines:
New Uses For Old Things Hall of Fame …first of all, there IS no hall of fame for new uses of – whatever. that’s just stupid.
they might as well just put this at the top of the page: “WE RECYCLE OUR CONTENT BECAUSE YOU KEEP BUYING IT. JACKASS”
boy am i glad these “tips” are free on the website.
i want the TMZ version of Real Simple editorial meetings. i just want a bunch of people sitting around throwing out ideas on how to “make life a little easier.” i want to know about the stuff that DOESN’T make it into the magazine or website. those must be some real gems.
for example: “here’s a helpful tip for cutting down your monthly budget by $4.99…”