Forget the cheap disposables; they're never worth it. Invest instead in high quality items that will last forever.
Whenever my husband and I need to buy something new for our home, he goes into research mode. This means hours spent reading reviews and researching brands in an effort to find the highest quality, longest-lasting version. Often it drives me crazy; I wish he wouldn't spend so much time sifting through the Internet in order to make a decision about cookware, a toaster, a sleeping bag, or a water filtration system for camping.
But then I realize, one of us has to do it. Gone are the days when we could walk into a local store and buy the single available version of whatever we needed, and expect it to last a lifetime. Sadly, we live in disposable times, when everything from appliances to clothes to cars seems to fall apart prematurely. My husband's compulsion to research is a logical response to this.
I've just learned about a website, however, that could save him a lot of time. It's called Buy Me Once, and as its name suggests, it exists to connect shoppers to the best products they'd ever want to buy. Buy Me Once subjects every item on its site to a rigorous review that includes the following questions:
1. Do the materials and craftsmanship make this product more durable that its competitors?
2. Do customer and independent reviews confirm its durability?
3. Is it made ethically, and, if possible, made of sustainable materials?
4. Is the aftercare offered exceptional?
5. Is the design timeless?
From the website: "We choose the longest-lasting products in the world. No company can pay to be on the site. We work research first, money second. If we can’t make money from a BuyMeOnce item, we’ll still promote it."
The idea for Buy Me Once came from founder Tara Button's frustration with the plethora of crap in our lives. A former ad executive, she spent her days "pushing people to buy things they didn’t necessarily want or need." She was also an indebted, impulsive shopper. After receiving a Le Creuset Dutch oven as a gift, Button realized there was another way to approach materialism.
"I thought, If only all my possessions were like this, I’d never have to replace anything. In fact, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to trust everything we bought not to let us down and end up as landfill. Think of the environmental benefits! Buying for life became my new mantra, curing my impulsive shopping and giving me a more mindful approach to buying and my priorities in general."
Button quit her job writing ads and launched Buy Me Once in 2015. It has grown rapidly since then and was named one of 2017's most disruptive companies by Real Business.
What kinds of life-long purchases does the site recommend? Here are a few products that jumped out at me. Keep in mind, these items are not cheap; in fact some may be shockingly expensive, compared to their lesser-made counterparts, but these are built to last. The "buy me once" name is not a joke; it's entirely serious. And when you factor the price over years and number of uses, you realize how logical it is to shop in this way, provided you can save that money upfront. This is where I'll send my husband to do his research next time.
Leather Classic Briefcase, $790
The maker Saddleback has a rather morbid tagline that says, "They'll fight over it when you're dead." It offers a 100-year warranty and boasts extremely tough stitching, copper rivets, minimal pieces of leather to reduce weakness and seams, convertible backpack straps, and lots of handy pockets. View here.
L.L. Bean Women's Boot, $129
Made in Maine, the women's classic winter 'duck' boot by L.L. Bean is a classic guaranteed to last you a lifetime. It was originally designed in the 1920s, which proves it has stood the test of time, and it has sold out every winter since 2011.
Classic Vacuum Bottle, $25
This looks just like the thermos your grandpa had -- because it is! "Stanley made that thermos and they still do. For over 100 years they’ve manufactured goods built to last a lifetime." The thermos keeps drinks at their desired temperature for 32 hours, and it comes with a lifetime guarantee.
2-slot Classic Toaster, $198.99
I've thrown away so many toasters over the years that Ive probably spent close to $200 by now, which means I should've got a Dualit to start with! These beauties have been handcrafted in the UK since 1945, and some families have had theirs for more than 20 years. And look at this amazing fact: "Our favourite bit is that every part of this toaster is completely replaceable and recyclable, making it much cheaper to fix than replacing the whole thing!"
Copper Tumbler, $19.16
United by Blue is best known for its clothing and its commitment to cleaning waterways for every product sold; but apparently they make lovely cups, too. These are 100% copper, which is more durable than glass and fully recyclable. Stash them in a traveling bag, drop them on the floor, hand them to a kid, and they won't get damaged.