Good Goods

Draft / Sketch about features that can improve household things.

Goods are things that make life good. We usually buy them. The quality of a good is the main reason we invest, but don’t forget the secondary reasons. I think about these as a designer. As I look about my house, I have improved some goods, and I’m asking, why, and how did I choose to do so?

Now I see a few recurring themes which I want to highlight. On one hand, it is a call for industry to meet these demands, but the the good hand is sharing this as a reflection for the best life. It helps my best life, and I hope yours.

In addition to being good at what it should, goods are better when they:

  1. carry their own weight. If you rearrange your room, house or move, it should help you move it. A heavy thing should come with wheels. A floppy thing (blanket) should have a rope or bag. If a bag or wheels, it should have a way to store those when not in use, or build into the object in a way that is not obtrusive. If a bag, is it creating an inconvenience by being opaque?
  2. Be where you want it to. A toothbrush needs a stand. And a surface to put it upon or drawer in.
  3. Keep itself clean, functional, and safe. A toothbrush might want a sanitizer, a hood when not in use, and or a box to protect bristles.
  4. Retire itself gracefully. Paint cans and CFL bulbs are the worst–you must pay to safely dispose them. That mailer I didn’t ask for should come with return postage built in, or better, compensation for my recycling it.

This all could look like I invite an explosion of accessorizing, certainly a needless one. Instead, this is a design challenge I say, because I only adopt improvements that do not significantly increase the material cost of the good. Ask:

  1. Are other shapes for bases more useful?
  2. Can the existing storage be adapted to provide some maintenance?
  3. How might labels help find and put things?

For arranging, moving and storing there is a call for better generalizable systems. We have goods that accomplish these, like shelves and drawers, dollys and bins. In this domain there is the most room for improvement. Most of these goods are designed object-specific, such that it requires constant replacement or adjustment. A bookshelf is SO heavy and big and flat and easily wobbly. Drawers are a mess. End table, entertainment shelf, closet storage, kitchen cabinets. All different. Drink glass, storage glass, tupperware, etc.

  1. Modular design: black pipes for any need to raise or suspend something heavy. Heavy wire can suspend with more adaptability to length.
  2. Universal use: mason jars are for drinking and storing. And for small plant holders.
  3. What cleaning supplies? Vinegar, baking soda, peroxide handle most of your non-soap needs.

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