9 Products You Should Always Buy to Last

When I look at my grandmother’s home, I see many items that have followed her through more than fifty years of family life. Many of the things she uses daily — her sewing machine, her favorite pumps, her coffee maker — were chosen with great care back in the 1960s, and with only a few small repairs here and there, they simply haven’t failed her.

As someone who lives during the height of throwaway culture, this astonishes me. I can’t imagine my coffee maker lasting even a decade, let alone the sandals I bought on impulse at Target last week, and I can almost guarantee that the new iPhone I purchased last year will barely make it three years, hobbling to its death bed just in time for the next model to come out.

The truth is, this quality lapse, paired with overconsumption, the death of repair shops and a cultural need for instant gratification has taken us far past the point of wise. It’s time to throw away our throwaway culture and reevaluate what it means to buy to last.

Tara Button, founder of the e-commerce site, Buy Me Once, has been championing long-term buying since 2016. She says the trick is ”mindful curation,” purposefully buying only the products that will you serve you for life, while avoiding the trend rollercoaster. Ready to take on the quality over quantity mindset? Here are nine products you should always buy to last.

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1. Your furniture

No one would argue that IKEA furniture is meant to last a lifetime, but it’s pretty clear we can do better. Buy instead from companies that use solid wood that has been legally and ethically sourced and exhibit true craftsmanship. Or better yet, buy antiques!

2. Your cell phone

Now this is a tough one, I know. Many of us run our lives with our smartphones, using them for everything from monitoring fitness activity to getting up in the morning. But the iPhone isn’t exactly known for its durability, and even if you take advantage of electronic recycling programs like this one, our level of consumption in this area is still staggering. Reddit users love the old-school Samsung Blackjack II for its longevity, if that’s any help. Use electronic repair stores whenever possible instead of giving up on your phone.

3. Your boots

Whether you prefer The Frye Company, Red Wing or Dr. Martens, buying boots is an investment-level decision. Because they’re such a key component of a classic wardrobe, it’s important you choose something that is re-soleable and easy to repair, and will work hard for you for years to come.

4. Your watch

If properly serviced and kept away from metal-unfriendly environments, any mechanical watch should last a century — at least. You don’t need to spend mega bucks to get a great watch—just don’t expect the same results from a $7 eBay watch made in China as you’d get from something made with care and expertise.

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5. Your cookware

Investing in a nice set of cookware is one of the best things you can do to keep a quality kitchen. In fact, my Lodge enameled cast iron collection is one of my favorite things I own. Look for a heavy duty, attractive, classic looking set that is oven safe and has useful features like drip-free pouring and comfortable grips. They’ll be with you forever!

6. Your knives

Whether we’re talking kitchen knives or multitools, you’ll want to make sure your knife will hold up to daily use. Fan favorites include Leatherman, SOG, Benchmade, Shun and Wusthof. With their help, you’ll be slicing and dicing for years!

7. Your bags

Purses, backpacks, luggage…if you carry your things around in it, buy it to last. Look for solid construction, hardy materials, timeless design and a service warranty that will help ensure you can use it for decades to come. At JanSport, for example, you can send any of their products back to their service center and they’ll repair or replace it, free of charge.

8. Your kitchen appliances

If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, it’s a good idea to buy your appliances for the long haul. Products like this KitchenAid stand mixer are so reliable, many people pass them on for generations. The same goes for high quality espresso makers, blenders, toasters, etc.

9. Your clothing

Fashion seems to change course second by second, but some staples will never go out of style. If there’s one bad consumption habit you should kick right now it’s fast fashion. Keep Target and H&M in the rearview mirror, and buy dress shirts, denim, undergarments, belts and everything else that is relatively trend-immune to last. Or buy used! The earth will thank you for it.

What products do you own that have stood the test of time? Why do you love them?

48 comments

Chad Anderson
Chad Andersonabout a month ago

Thank you.

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Lesa D
Lesa D1 months ago

thank you Lauren...

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Biz M
Past Member 2 months ago

cool thanks for this.

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R2 months ago

EVERYTHING I buy better be made to last...

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Magdalen B
Magdalen B2 months ago

The mild steel spatula/fish slice/egg lifter that I kept from my mother's kitchen is at least 50 years old. It's great for taking fried eggs out of the frying pan because it's so thin but still very strong after all these years.

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John W
John W2 months ago

Thanks

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Angela G
Angela G2 months ago

ok

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Ruth S
Ruth S2 months ago

Thanks.

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sandy Gardner
sandy Gardner2 months ago

Thanks!

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JoAnn Paris
JoAnn Paris2 months ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

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