How to Stop Buying Crap and Buy It for Life Instead

Although my feelings on minimalism have switched from positive to dismissive, I acknowledge the good effects the practice of minimalism has had on my life. One of these positive effects has been an appreciation for good quality stuff. Stuff that will last you for years…for your entire life!

With so many smart (and often unemployed) industrial designers, engineers and product designers, it’s a wonder that not everything is designed to last. But as we all know, plenty of items need only be used a handful of times before falling into a state of disrepair. Everyone is familiar with the infuriating experience of attempting to fix electronic goods, only to be told that it would be “cheaper” to replace it.

Since doing my buy-used experiment, I’ve become fascinated with finding and buying stuff that lasts long, even if it costs a bit extra. This post is my list of practical, buy-it-for-life common items that you might find helpful as well.

Beyond this list, how can you learn to always buy it for life? You can of course ask others or do a bit of trial and error – but the best advice I can give to head on over to the subreddit /r/buyitforlife.

/r/buyitforlife is exactly what it sounds like – it is a community which suggests items that will last you for life. I always search this subreddit for buy it for life options of anything I’m looking to purchase.

Now onto my tried, tested and true buy it for life items list:

1. Can Opener: I used to buy can openers from the dollar store and refresh them every year when they inevitably got worn out. I did once buy a more expensive brand from Bed, Bath and Beyond (for perhaps around $17), but this ended up lasting scarcely more than the dollar store variety. After checking on /r/buyitforlife, I landed on this great can-opener: E-Z-DUZ Deluxe Can Opener. It’s been over two years and still works like new. The construction is simple yet sturdy. Cans open easily, even compared to fancier can opener designs. True buy it for life item.

2. Cast Iron skillet. I have two cast-iron skillets in my kitchen. One is around 6 years old. The second is around 30+ years old, and belonged to my late father. I love my cast-iron skillets. Unlike other kitchen items, they get better and better with age, and there is nearly nothing which can ruin them. I’ve often carelessly let my skillets rust, but this is easily amenable with a strong brushing and a bit of greasing. I use them for everything: frying, cooking, and baking in the over. Bonus: they leech out iron into your food for extra iron supplementation. Everyone should have a cast-iron skillet in their home.
3. Wooden spoons. Another cooking item which gets better with age. My father had the same wooden spoons which he used for cooking for over 25 years, maybe more. They get worn down a bit over time, but as my father used to say, it just adds to the flavor!. What’s really great about them is that they don’t scratch surfaces or melt nor leak chemicals.4. ExOfficio Underwear. I originally bought some ExOfficio underwear for traveling purposes, on the recommendation of Tim Ferris. Since then, I’ve got three more and wear these underwear everyday. They are the best most comfortable underwear I’ve ever owned. They are lightweight, moisture-wicking and you can hand-clean them in like 30 second. Worth the cost. Cannot recommend them enough. True buy it for life underwear.

5. Reusable Razor. I just got the first one I saw on Amazon, and couldn’t be happier. You of course need to replace the blades, but these are inexpensive and very small. The closest buy it for life hair removal option out there. This one has had no issues with rust despite the fact that I keep it in the shower.

There you have it folks, my list of awesome buy it for life items. Do you have any suggestions? Comment below.