walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

On How Long Things Last

As I have been contemplating the decluttering process, I am continually struck by how things last a whole lot longer than I want them to. My laptop still hasn't broken, but it also is increasingly obviously unable to do things that current hardware can do. I feel confident this will only get worse.

While I have some clothes I had to quit wearing out of the house because the wear was showing, generally speaking I get sick of things and donate them before they fall apart/become unwearable.

I haven't had to replace a book due to wear-out-from-rereading in over a decade, mostly because I replaced my mass market (used) paperback purchasing pattern with (used) hardback books, then hardback books, and then e-books. Now I have a bunch of kindle books that I cringe when I see them listed on my Manage My Kindle page.

I don't think I ever had a CD wear out (altho I've had kid-destroyed DVDs that I had to replace); I recently gave them all to my sister and her family to listen to and pass along as they please.

I'm not convinced kitchen equipment wears out. Mine doesn't seem to, anyway, altho I will admit that may be due to the lack of Teflon and similar coatings. Long ago, I had to replace those as the coatings inevitably degraded, but in a world of stainless steel, wear doesn't seem to happen.

And on and on and on.

This is sort of funny, because my personal frugality perspective is that I'm better off buying expensive things that last, but will be cheaper on a per use basis than cheaper things that break down/wear out. Which is to say, I _definitely_ brought this one on myself.

I'm now stuck trying to figure out how to find the appropriate middle ground, surely a First World Problem if there ever was one. In the meantime, I've decided to adjust my laptop expectations downward. I used to assume they would last about 3 years (the current one is about 4 years old), sort of like desktop turnover in my limited experience (when I'm done with them but they are still repairable/usable, I do pass them along to another person who can use it; if not, I do recycle responsibly). While I am loathe to reduce this expectation below 2 years, I'm thinking I should drop it to 2 years. When I tell the young people today that cars used to really fall apart after 3 years, and completely die as in more expensive to repair than to replace, after 5-7, they look at me in disbelief.

We have _definitely_ done this to ourselves, and it is actually kind of a Real Problem, if you think about how it works out in housing. We've had a generation or two of winterizing what was supposed to be summer-only housing, and it is leading to unnecessary deaths as a result of coastal storms. Things don't last forever, and sometimes, when they last longer than we expected them to, it is only a mixed blessing, at best.
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