Technology doesn’t age gracefully. Bricked phones and crapped-out hard drives retire to your junk drawer only a few years after emerging from their shrink wrap. A precious few of our worldly wants, however, do improve with time and use. Objects like the ones here satisfy the Japanese tenet of wabi-sabi, which values well-worn imperfection over what’s shiny and new. They’ll only work better as you drag them along the rough road of life.
Levi’s suggests you buy the 1976 501 jeans two sizes larger than normal. Getting them to the right fit is your job. Wet ’em down, and the cotton will shrink as it dries around you.
The vibrations caused by strumming wood instruments, such as the Fender Zuma Concert Uke, make the timber resonate better. The more you practice, the longer the notes ring.
The Wolverine Original 1000 Mile boots will mold to your feet as you break them in, and a strip of leather between the kicks’ upper and outsole facilitates swapping worn-out treads.
Grado says the Mylar diaphragm (the part that vibrates to make music) on its SR225e headphones rocks best after 50 to 100 hours of listening, so be patient for optimal sound.
Thinner and lighter than cast iron, the Lodge carbon-steel skillet still gets just as seasoned. With each use, fatty acids in cooking oil bind together to build up a slippery surface.
Craftsmen don’t glaze the Adagio Dalian teapot. That way, its purple Chinese clay can soak up the oils, and thus the flavors, from the leaves of your favorite brews.
This article was originally published in the Summer 2018 Life/Death issue of Popular Science.