Have you ever grown accustomed to a squeaky fan, only to realize how quiet the room is once the squeaking has stopped? In the same way, you might not realize how much trouble a certain item is causing you until you feel relief after switching it up. You might be numb to the annoyances in your daily routine—so how do you know when it’s time to replace your everyday items?
Ahead, we’re reviewing some of the red flags that let you know it’s time to upgrade.
1. It’s worn out.
Wear and tear is probably the most common indicator that it’s time to finally let go of the old and bring in the new. In some cases though, repairing what you have is worth it! Aside from needle and thread, our favorite fix-it material to have on hand is Sugru, a moldable, pliable glue that’s perfect for lending new life to worn-out cables and way more. We’re constantly inspired by their mission:
Instead of buying new stuff all the time, we at Sugru believe in using our imagination to fix, improve and reimagine the things we already have. If we can double the life of our stuff, we’ll halve what goes to landfill. –Sugru
2. It no longer serves its purpose well.
Ripped wallets and stretched-out card holders are more than a bad fashion statement, they’re a liability! (That is, unless you just love the adrenaline rush of realizing your credit card must’ve fallen out somewhere back at the restaurant. In which case, may we suggest skydiving instead?) If you use an item every day, you likely have a specific need it’s fulfilling—and when it no longer fulfills that duty, it’s time to retire it. RIP ripped wallet.
Unfortunately, stretched-out card pockets are nearly inevitable with traditional leather wallets, which get bigger (and looser) over time as your card load grows and changes. After years of perfecting the design thanks to thousands of real-world reviews and feedback, our Wally Bifold features MagLock™ pockets—it’s the most slim and secure leather wallet we can imagine.
3. It's costing you time and energy.
As we’ve talked about before, too much time is squandered due to bad design and misplaced items. Over the course of our lives, we’ll each spend ~5,000 hours searching for items that are missing—that’s more than six months! Find what slows you down in your daily routine, then try a few tweaks or a full-on upgrade.
Time is a valuable resource; if an item is costing you yours, consider alternatives. For example, think of all the things you could get done if you didn’t spend your mornings frantically searching for your keys! We create the Ferris KeyLoop and ModStation solve that exact problem: by giving your keys magnetic powers and a sleek, dedicated spot to stay. From keyrings to car troubles, it’s worth weighing the real value of your time and energy compared to the cost of replacing something in your life.
4. A better option is now available.
If your whatchamacallit just broke and you’re in the market for a replacement, there’s likely an updated option out there. A better design can make life more enjoyable and less hassled—and life is short, after all—might as well welcome smooth sailing where you can!
What do we mean by better design? Well, just like how you know when your old lightbulbs go dark to grab an energy efficient (and electric-bill slimming) LED bulb, your everyday essentials may have evolved since the last time you shopped around. Take our MagLock™ sunglasses for example: With magnets embedded in the temples, you can easily clip them to your shirt or stick 'em to your fridge. These handy tricks mean they're far less likely to drop or misplace than other sunglasses. And in timeless styles made with high-performance materials like bio-based Gnarlon™, they're built to outlast all those cheapies you’d otherwise be tempted to buy—and that helps keep junk out of landfills.
So, why are we talking about all of this?
Sure, we think our products are nice to have, but believe it or not, we don’t want you to just smash that buy button based on impulse. In the land of eco-conscious shopping, there is a mantra we love:
The most sustainable product is the one you already have.
Countless products claim to reduce your carbon footprint—and they truly might over the long haul—but overconsumption is simply not sustainable. If you already have a reusable water bottle that serves you well, you don't need to buy the latest and greatest model (even if it does come in plastic-free packaging).
With a constant stream of online encouragement to shop this and buy that, it can be tough to hear your own inner voice reminding you to be a thoughtful consumer. We're into the concept of "de-influencing yourself," and think a 30-day wait period is a savvy tip to keep from racking up needless products (and bills!). If you're tempted to make a purchase, see if you're still thinking about it weeks later; then do your due diligence, research your options, and go from there.
This approach can also lessen the "buy, try, return" habit that so many have, specifically in the United States. It may be wildly convenient to make a purchase and tell yourself you'll decide if you actually want to keep it once it arrives—but shipping things back and forth is wasteful and harmful to the environment, so try not to let a "Free Return" label be your excuse to turn a delivery truck into your personal shopper.
Passive consumerism isn't good for you or your bank account—and likely doesn't solve the real issue: You need an item that serves its purpose, that actually works the way you want it to, and that you enjoy using.
So heck, if your backpack is beyond mending or your measuring tape is bent out of shape—it's time to go get yourself a new one, preferably by biking or taking public transportation to a store near you instead of shopping online. Was that a little too much sustainability in one sentence? We're just saying that the mindful replacement of a necessary item beats falling for "sustainable" items you don't even need. Your wallet told us to tell you thanks.
Solving everyday frustrations is what Distil is all about, and we aim to do so with intention. From eco-certified tanneries to plastic-free packaging, we're serious about being good stewards of our planet. And as proud members of 1% for the Planet, we donate annually to non-profits who are making a difference in countless ways. Learn more about our efforts here, and find out what you can do to raise your own eco-consciousness here.