I recently came across the book Guide to Easier Living by Mary and Russel Wright. Originally printed in the 1950’s it provides a glimpse into domestic life of that period while also presenting strategies for simpler living. The Russel Wright Design Center notes that the book “offered readers a declaration of independence from convention, rejecting the dogma of ‘etiquette despots’ like Emily Post. Defining the way Americans live even today, Russel and Mary Wright wrote, ‘Good informal living substitutes a little headwork for a lot of legwork. It doesn’t need wealth, but it does take thought, some ingenuity and resourcefulness, and more than a little loving care to create a home that is really your own.’ ”
The book is full of illustrations and strategies that range from the overall layout of the home to the organization of specific closets. The authors include material suggestions for each room and note which material is the most practical or durable solution. They even suggest methods for increasing efficiency for everyday tasks including tracking movements while you work and arranging furniture to make cleaning easier.
But the book is far more useful than just for history, novelty, or efficiency. The pages and illustrations challenge you to look at the ordinary with a fresh perspective. And that is the type of thoughtful analysis that can lead to a breakthrough idea.
For more information on Russel Wright, visit the Russel Wright Design Center.