We used to be people of repair and resourcefulness, taking pride in our ability to tinker with the longevity of our things. But nowadays? Not so much. We may try to recycle, but as soon as something breaks we’re looking for a replacement. Luckily, our ingenuity can match our laziness.
The subreddit r/BuyItForLife has 973k members and it’s dedicated to practical quality products that were made to last. Like a phone from 2006. Or a sewing machine from the early 20th century!
The person who founded this online community, u/Petrarch1603, got the inspiration for it from r/ShutUpandTakeMyMoney. “I noticed that sometimes [it featured] useful products that I was interested in buying. Unfortunately, I also noticed a lot of gimmicks and cheaply made products too,” they explained.
Now, r/BuyItForLife is twice the size of its predecessor. I guess people really appreciate pristine craftsmanship!
#1 Bought It In ’88 With Money My Grandmother Left Me. My Mother Was Upset That I Spent My Inheritance On Something As Ephemeral As A Bicycle. I’ve Ridden Thousands Of Miles On It, Including A Double Century In 2000. Now It’s My Townie Bike, For Shopping, Commuting, And Errands
Image credits: CPetersky
#2 Buy It For Multiple Lives! 1916 Singer 66, My Main Sewing Machine
Image credits: mcculloughpatr
Our loyal readers might remember our first piece on r/BuyItForLife. However, people have made plenty of cool posts on the subreddit since then so we felt like a follow-up was necessary too.
Plus, this time we reached out to the people running the sub and one of the moderators was kind enough to have a little chat with us. “The most popular items I see based on what’s posted are: Stanley Thermos, Darn Tough Socks, Kitchen Aid mixers, Red Wing boots, and pots and pans, particularly cast iron,” they told Bored Panda.
#3 Graphgear 500 Mechanical Pencil. The One On Top I’ve Used For 20 Years, The Other Is Brand New
Image credits: MayOverexplain
#4 Colman Snow-Lite Low Boy Cooler From The 60s. Gifted To Me From My Grandparents Who Picked It Up From A Thrift Store Nearly 20 Years Ago. Still Holds Ice For Nearly A Week!
Image credits: Ahobo1
We also asked the moderator what they think allows some of these items to persevere for as long as they do. “I’m not an expert by any means but I think there are a few factors,” they said.
“Most products are built to be as cheap as possible …. and poorly assembled (maybe partly due to planned obsolescence but mostly just due to the fact that people in general like spending less). The products that you see lasting longer are often made of higher quality material and care when built. But they’re also priced accordingly.”
#5 Rolleicord 6×6 Film Camera From The 60’s Still Going Strong And Some Examples Of The Pictures It Makes
Image credits: 8zil
#6 Was Told To Post My Grandparents Desk Here (228 Years Old)
Image credits: thebobrup
#7 My Great Uncle’s Watch That Lived Through Combat In Ww2. Wound It Up And It Still Works Perfectly
Image credits: polarbeargirl9
But choosing longer-lasting products can be tricky. The price doesn’t always tell the full story. A few years ago, The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) published an interesting study, carried out by the University of Southern Brittany, the Sircome agency, and the University of Southern Bohemia.
Its main goal was to see whether displaying a product’s lifespan would influence a consumer’s decision to purchase. In other words, would we choose the same products if we had this information?
#8 Oregano – Mom Got A Piece Of An Oregano Plant From Her Aunt When I Was A Kid. She Transplanted Some To One House, Then Another And Another, Then To My Place, And Again When I Moved. We Have Never Purchased Oregano In My Entire Life. It Even Pops Up In The Lawn, Makes Grass Cutting Smell Nice
Image credits: mariatoyou
#9 Here’s The Before And After Finished Product On My $5 Allen Edmond’s. These Bifl Shoes Were Destined For The Dumpster But I Was Able To Bring Them Back To Life. The Dye Color Is Uneven Between The Left And Right, But I’m Just Gonna Let It Bug Me For A While Until I Get Around To Fixing It
Image credits: chadlikemad
#10 These Russian Valenki Felted Wool Boots, Made Entirely Out Of Hardened Wool That Served Me So Well Here In Texas In Ver The Past Couple Days. No Soles, No Form, Basically Like Wearing Snow Proof 2 Inch Thick Hard Wool Socks. Had Them For 5 Years, No Sign Of Wear
Image credits: Nickadeamus36
#11 My Girlfriend Uses This Sewing Machine To Make Masks. Her Great-Grandmother Bought It New Back In 1925. It Still Works Perfectly
Image credits: archpope
The experiment involved 2,917 participants from 5 European countries (Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Spain and the Netherlands).
“We designed a fake shopping website, which consumers could use just as if it were Amazon or ASOS,” the researchers wrote. The participants, however, did not know the site was fake. “Once they had checked out their shopping basket, participants were directed to a questionnaire which gauged various socio-economic and psycho-social indicators.”
#12 Lunch Box From ‘89. Thermos From ‘97. New Old Stock. I’m So Excited
Image credits: ANCAP127
#13 Finally, All The Thrifting Has Paid Off
Image credits: L320Y
#14 Dr Martens 1460 (UK) Purchased 1992
Image credits: shalpin
#15 GF Gave Me This For My Birthday. I Expect To Be Using It For The Rest Of My Days. French Made, Le Creuset, Enameled Cast Iron Sauce Pan
Image credits: Synthdawg_2
The results showed that if shoppers had information on product lifespan, they would choose to buy longer-lasting items: on average, a product’s sales increased by 56% if its lifetime was longer than that of its competitors.
Of the products tested, purchases of suitcases (+128%) and printers (+70%) were influenced the most by this change.
#16 Bought A Set Of Silicone Resealable Bags 4 Years Ago And They’re Used Every Day And Still In Perfect Condition. Haven’t Thrown A Single Zip-Loc Away In All That Time!
Image credits: Ikbensterdam
#17 It’s Time To Switch My Ipod Classic (2006) For Spotify. Have Been Using It Daily For 15 Years But Spotify Is Just Too Convenient. Rest In Peace Little One
Image credits: Fluegelnuss420
#18 Bifg (Buy It For Generations): My Viking Husqvarna 21a, From Early 1960’s. Belonged To My Grandma. My Son Is The 4th Generation To Use This Machine… Spending Quality Father-Son Time Teaching Him How To Sew Useful And Beautiful Things That Will Also Last A Long Time
Image credits: 3LlamasInATrenchCoat
#19 My Grandmothers Wedgewood Oven. At Least 70 Yrs Old
Image credits: Cdl505
“Suitcases are the quintessential roaming product, giving them two characteristics which makes the consumer rank lifetime as a priority: the trials of transport make resilience a key factor, and any item used solely for travel will be brought out only occasionally. If it is used rarely, the consumer has every reason to hope it will last a long time,” the researchers explained.
“As for printers, they have one of the shortest lifetimes of all household electronic goods, and people buy them because they need them, not for pleasure – two more good reasons why we would want them to last.”
Sales of smartphones were among the least affected by displaying their lifetime (+41%).
#20 I Bought This Palette Knife Over 30 Years Ago And Have Created Countless Paintings With It
Image credits: Familiar_Big3322
#21 My Dads Levis Jacket From 1980! I’ve Been Wearing It For About A Year Now
Image credits: seanssy
#22 Staplers?? Huh. Here’s My Tried, Trusted, And Tantalizing Cadet Model 302. Ain’t She Pretty?
Image credits: enderofgalaxies
#23 I Restored A Neglected Old Wrench. It Wasn’t Ready To Retire
Image credits: Familiar_Big3322
80% of participants felt that the manufacturers were very to extremely responsible with regard to providing information about a product’s lifetime.
“All these findings argue for legislation on product lifetime,” the research team said. “There is no doubt that the reliability of the products purchased is important to consumers. The study showed that regulatory information would steer customers when purchasing products.”
#24 My Grandma Gave Me Her Gingher Scissors Today (In The Original Box!), She Used Them For Ages Before She Taught Me To Sew With Them About 15 Years Ago. Beautifully Sharp Now, Just As I Remember Them Being Years Ago
Image credits: emiluffy
#25 A Customer Of Mine Finally Decided To Upgrade… Motorola Razr, Purchased November 2006
Image credits: liveditlovedit
#26 Frye “Fulton” Leather Boots. Bought In 2010 For $350.00, Worn On Every Date, Family Holiday, And Special Occasion Since. Now, Luck Enough To Wear Them To Work
Image credits: MxCmrn
#27 Arkansas Traveler Tomatoes. Originally Purchased In 1970… 51 Years Ago. Buy Heirloom, Buy It Once
Image credits: topbunn
Such policy changes might reflect in r/BuyItForLife’s number of posts. I’m half-joking, of course, but the members of the subreddit can definitely give you valuable insight when choosing your next purchase.
“I think our community is great!” the representative of the mod team said. “Maybe I’m a little biased, I only moderate a few subs but frequent many more as a regular user and from my anecdotal experience, the BIFL community is among the nicest and most welcoming people I have interacted with on the internet.”
#28 These Cross Pens Were My Grandfathers From The 1960s. He Worked As A Test Fail Analysis Engineer For General Dynamics. These Pens Were Used To Try To Win The Space Race, And Now I Use Them Every Day As I Work To Follow In His Footsteps
Image credits: RVCA_rocker17
#29 Proudly Bought It With My Paper Route Money 50 Years Ago Because It Was The Heaviest One 🙂 Good Choice – Still Works Perfectly. Audition, Made In Hong Kong
Image credits: HippySol
#30 My 1965 Gillette Slim Adjustable – Built Like A Tank!
Image credits: UpsetProfessional_
#31 Barber Chair, 100 Years Old And Reconditioned!
Image credits: dmburke007
#32 Just Got Done Detailing My Grandpa’s 1971 Schwinn Racer! These Bikes Were Built For Life That’s For Sure!
Image credits: WillisTheApe
#33 Thrifted From Bulgaria Around 2 Decades Ago. Rail Road Worker Steel Toe Boots. Haven’t Moved An Inch Since The Day I Got Them
Image credits: TheVoidWithout
#34 This Camping Table Set Bought By My Grandparents In The -60s Just Saw Its Fourth Generation Of Users. The Tent Is On Generation Two
Image credits: Gahouf
#35 My Dad Bought A New Knife After 50 Years
Image credits: guitarbldr
#36 Any Love For Purdy Paint Brushes? Wash Them Out Well And They’ll Last Decades. I’ve Had This One For 15 Years. It’s Painted Three Apartments
Image credits: johnn11238
#37 Restoring The Wooden Beams Of My House And Found This. (More Like “Buy It For The Next 6 Generations”)
Image credits: zulangewach
#38 40 Years Of Laundry. My Parents Bought This In 1980 When They First Got Married. It’s Also Live A Life As A Pretend Boat And Turtle Shell When I Was Little. It’s In Great Condition And I’m So Happy To Be Giving It More Life
Image credits: Hollyinhd
#39 The Legendary 90’s Toyota Land Cruiser. 24 Years Old And Only Needs Routine Maintenance
Image credits: A12851
#40 Vorwerk Tiger 251. Built In 1982 And Still Sucks Harder Than Your Mother’s
Image credits: ScatLabs