Not So Simple

I have a love/hate relationship with Real Simple magazine.

The love comes from my Type A-ness and the imaginary affair I often have with a well-organized life.  In those moments, I pick up a copy of Real Simple a few times a year and gush over some of their home solutions and great ideas.  If I’m getting a pedicure or commuting (the only times I can read a magazine in peace), I fold the pages I like.  I marvel at the brilliance.  I vow to implement.  I consider a mail subscription so that I can read more great organizing tips that will surely change my life for the better.

And then our relationship begins to deteriorate.

I’ll be at home, in the grind of daily life, and I’ll spot the pile of Real Simple issues I’ve saved.  A pile that is adding to the clutter with which I wage a daily battle.  All with folded pages.  All ready for brilliant idea implementation that I never started.  Which adds to my already huge to-do list.  Which stresses me out.

And that’s when I go all Sybil and cross the fine line to resentment of Real Simple, followed by mockery and hatred. 

Who reads this nonsense, anyway?  In my now least favorite column, “New Uses for Old Things,” let’s just take a brief look.

  • New use for a shower cap:  A shoe bag.
  • New use for an oven mitt:  A curling/straightening iron heat guard.
  • New use for a mitten:  A carrying case for sunglasses.
  • And — wait for it — New use for popcorn:  Packing material for fragile shipments.

{Photo: Real Simple}

OK, people of Real Simple, let me tell you something.  If there is a batch of popcorn, a fragile shipment requiring packing materials and me in the same room, it’s going to go down like this:  I’m going to inhale every last kernel of the fucking popcorn and then drive my fat ass to the UPS store to pack up the shipment.  And, because my disdain for you at this point has now crossed into irrational territory, I might make that drive wearing the shower cap on my head, with the oven mitt and single mitten on each of my hands.  How’s that for simplifying?

You can see how our relationship is complicated. 

I’ll then purge the pile of magazines, ideas unimplemented (maybe with a few gems mentally filed away) and feel human again.  Until I spot the next issue on the shelves, when the cycle begins again. 

Real Simple, I wish I could quit you.

Perhaps I should refer to their column entitled “Relax in an Instant,” and then go back to reading People, while finishing the popcorn.  That might be for the best.

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  1. I used to subscribe to Real Simple! I’d bookmark half a dozen pages…time would pass…I’d realize it was March and I hadn’t even read February’s issue yet…I’d speed through two more issues…marking pages like a demon…and nothing…until two or three months later when the cycle would repeat. Suffice it to say that as much as I love the magazine…and as much as I like to imagine that I am THAT kind of person—I am not—and I didn’t renew!!

    • fordeville says:

      See, it’s bad for your self esteem. I’m glad you cut them off. I wish I had your strength 🙂
      I have to just look away at the newsstand to have a fighting chance. This could be the year.

  2. Wendi says:

    Real F$&@ing complicated.

  3. Jessica says:

    Popcorn as packaging material is just crazy. How do they expect people to make popcorn and put it in a box to send to someone else without eating it?

  4. anna says:

    i think this may be why the internets was invented.

  5. Seems like once you buy basic stuff you never have to buy anything new again with these hints. I don’t have titles at hand at the moment but you would love reading about the thriftiness of colonial life re household in 1600-1700.

  6. I’m not a fan of Real Simple. It started as a decent premise but then got pretty exclusive and uppity. I love the new uses for things: Use a plastic bag as a plastic bag! Use a bobby pin as a bobby pin or as something like a bobby pin! And the clothing they feature? 150 bucks for a real simple blouse. Really simply ridiculous.

  7. Jess Witkins says:

    I’m a little concerned at your dislike for common household items right now. Woh, woh, put down the turkey baster, there’s no need to get violent! We can handle this like adults, just sit down on this chair I made out of old hoola hoops and plastic grocery bags.

  8. This is so funny!! I have the same problem with Real Simple. And if I seriously chose to pack a package with leftover popcorn, as if it would look that cute. Ha!

    • fordeville says:

      That’s a great point. Even if we did use the popcorn as packing material, it wouldn’t look like the photo. It would look like I was sleep deprived and confused snacks for packaging. And then I’d be in the ER getting an x-ray to remove those styrofoam packing peanuts from my stomach.

  9. Patty says:

    I can relate 100% percent!

    I only buy this magazine a few time a year when the cover strikes me with something “I can totally do”…then I don’t do it! 🙂 I’ve filled out the subscription card, then toss it because I’ll never even read all the issues much less implement any of them. Even now I’m itching to subscribe but why? I have no idea…this magazine must be the “perfection” we all strive to achieve when it comes to organizing.

    P.S. Watch me buy a copy when I go out to lunch! The idea is in my head! LOL! Or maybe I’ll just buy a bag of popcorn instead! Loved this post!

  10. Luisa Megale says:

    And across the oceans – the same obession comes over me – but it is not just magazines – nope – my obession covers recording “lifestyle shows” (and then freaking out when No 1 husband asks me to watch or delete as I am using us the hard drive), home improvement stores (sure I can build Jack a sandpit in three easy steps and I have ALWAYS wanted to set up a hydroponic garden to grow my own organic vegetables) and then the magic of Kikki K (here is the URL for those not in Asia… sheer torture

    • fordeville says:

      Wow. Just looked at the Kikki K URL and wish I could un-see it. This has now replaced Real Simple as the target of my misplaced fury. You have my condolences for living in a world with Kikki K.

  11. Funny stuff!!!! I feel the exact same way about all home improvement magazines…and self improvement ones too. Damn you marketing peole for making the overachiever in me go all batshitcrazy for your unrealistic drivel. What an awful setup and then crashing disappointment …woooaaah such harsh words I have for them huh??? Lol clearly I need some real simple work through. It…heh

  12. Love this post! I’ve been a subscriber to Real Simple for at least 6 or 7 years. I think it is such a gorgeous publication and I love plucking it’s solidness out of my mailbox. I always read it cover to cover and dogear a handful of pages that will improve my life spectacularly. Then I drop it in my magazine box. And there it sits for the next six months or so until I purge the collection. So in theory, Real Simple is incredibly important to me. In reality, it’s probably most influential in giving me something to organize and get rid of twice a year.

  13. This post was never delivered via email. Glad you referenced it today.

    I used to be a big magazine junkie, but their topics are so cyclical, it’s a major yawn fest. I went to Real Simple’s website just now to get a feel and the first thing that caught my eye under New Uses for Old Things was New Uses for Banana Peel. They lost me already. 😉

  14. Kim says:

    The popcorn alone is THE most genius idea EVER. Can’t wait to use that one! Popping over from ftf. -Kim

  15. Kelley says:

    So hilarious & true! I always think, “Wow. Those people at Real Simple ate geniuses! I’m going to do everything they say!” and never do a ding dang thing in the magazine.


  1. […] Not So Simple by The Fordeville Diaries: A very cathartic post that explains a love/hate relationship with Real Simple magazine. I loved this post because I could have written it myself. I love the concept of this magazine though when I buy it, put it on my nightstand, never read it completely, and months later throw it out…I go from feeling productive to completely unorganized. A very awesome and funny post! […]

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