Posted by Tim Stobbs on September 18, 2009
Well after nine years of being married I can tell you all sorts of interesting things, but today I’m going to focus on one odd one. You see way back when I got married we got a tonne of gifts, so much so that we basically replaced most of the items in our kitchen at the time. We ended up with new glasses, plates, cutting boards and all sorts of items.
Now nine years later a number of those items are wearing out, like a few small chips in the first set of plates we got or a bit of wear in the coating of the one fry pan. Some have out right busted like the coffee thermos after literally pouring thousands of cups of coffee out of it. Yet with each item we are no longer just ‘replacing it’ blindly.
Instead we have started asking a series of questions:
- Did I like this?
- What did I use it for?
- Do I already own something that can do the job?
- Do I care if something is wearing out when it still works fine (ie: a chip in a plate)?
- What did I not like about this?
- Could I get something else that will do the job better or that will last longer next time?
These questions are very useful to find out I’m not replacing some items. For example, we decided not to replace a few of our plates with chips. Why? I have small kids I don’t want them wrecking a new set and we already own a second ‘good’ set we use for company. So as long as we don’t care it’s not a problem to keep using them.
On the other hand we have changed out some things to ensure the next set last longer. For example we had a set of plastic measuring cups that were losing their markings. I replaced them with a stainless steel set which should last longer than I will and gave the old ones to the boys as a bath toy. Another example, we replaced one fry pan with a non-stick coating with stainless steel and a copper bottom. I can say I’m never going back to non-stick coatings again even if the new fry pan costs a lot more upfront. I suspect I can now use my stainless steel one into my old age.
Basically we have now become thoughtful consumers. I don’t just blindly buy another one of what ever when it wears out or breaks. I think about the item in question and yes sometimes we do replace it, other times we keep it still, other times I upgrade to avoid replacing it again in the future. A little thought can often make your life easier with less stuff and getting good quality items that will last a very long time. It might cost more in the short haul, but after the decades roll past you will likely find yourself ahead financially as well.