Lessons from an Antique Hair Dryer

My hair dryer is so last century . It is sunshine orange with chocolate brown trim, the same colours as the wallpaper on my childhood home,.

It was purchased in the seventies. A time when I wore a pink and purple pant suit to school and shoes with the two inch platform soles to town. It has outlasted both the suit and the shoes by thirty four years.

Like the energiser bunny, it has soldiered on and on; through years of intermittent use, and times of neglect. I have never been unfaithful to my hair dryer, no other hair dryer has graced my home, but I did abandon it in storage when I set out house sitting for two and a half years. Perhaps it was offended.

When I brought it out and started using it again, it stopped working. My husband offered to fix it, and by golly he did.

In electronic small goods terms, my hair dryer is an ancient relic, built in a time when things were designed to be repaired instead of to die right after the warranty wore out. To my hairdressers astonished disbelief, my hair dryer has screws you can open to see the inner workings, and functioning parts you can understand. Not a single microchip in sight. 

Sadly the repair didn’t last.

My hair dryer has followed me through six children, three countries, and two marriages, but now it seems it has breathed its last. My no nonsense, no frills, plain-Jane, maker of hot air, is gone and I am sad.

It was a rare constant in the ever changing landscape of my life. It lasted longer than my first marriage. Now it is time to throw it away and I am tempted to keep it as a souvenir.

That would be a mistake.

It can be hard to get rid of old things, but after two years living out of a few small suitcases, I realise that “things” are not important. I don’t need a hair dryer just because everyone has one, or even because it would be useful. I am reminded of three things I learned from house sitting with so few things.

1. There is a freedom in owning fewer “things.”

One of the great things about house sitting is that you can live very simply with just a few personal items. For almost a year I lived out of two back packs.

I carried just enough clothes to last between a few wash days, toiletry needs, a tiny torch and small first aid kit, a phone, a camera, and my laptop.

There was so much freedom in owning so few things. I felt I had left my worries behind with my worldly goods. Owning less is liberating.

2. More possessions mean more work.

Owning more items means more tidying, rearranging, and moving things around. It means less space and more cleaning. Clutter can create worry. Broken items can create stress.

I also believe that if you want new experiences and adventure to flow into your life, you should not have too many items cluttering up your space.

3. Letting go does not have to be painful.

Here are a few suggestions for ridding yourself of items like my almost antique hair dryer

·         Take a photo of the item to keep instead
·         Hold a ceremony to celebrate getting rid of it,
·         Find a new home and recycle it (Any museums need a broken 70’s hair dryer?)
·         Then think carefully before you replace it.

Instead of replacing it, I will continue to let my hair dry naturally and keep my money for my upcoming holiday. 

Where am I going you say? Well that is going to be the subject of another post but I will give you a hint. It is a sunny group of islands close to the equator.

Until next time, happy, safe, and cheap, travels.


  1. I have a sunbeam mix master like your hairdryer but it is still soldiering on after 44 years. You have a good philosophy about owning less and being free. You sure have done some adventuring too.

  2. 44 years is a long time. You must be very attached to it.
    It makes me cross how todays appliances don't last. My computer is only three years old and failing. My two year old phone is out of date.
    Less is better but the old can be nice too.


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