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Updated Nov 23, 2021 7:27 AM

Of all the consumer goods we buy, only about one percent of it is still in use six months later. That is a dismal statistic, especially when you consider how many of those products are made of plastic and metal that won’t get recycled, but rather will sit in a landfill or float out to join the great garbage patch in the sea. Think right now about the last 10 items you bought. How many of them do you still like and use? Better yet, think of all the things you’ve given to other people because you felt obligated to give them something.

We’re so used to discarding things—clothes, shoes, gadgets—after mere months of use because so many products are designed badly or manufactured cheaply. Fight back against that degradation by buying stuff that will actually last. Your grandparent’s cast iron pan could get passed down to you just like a parent’s 1980′s-era flannel could be—and you could be that parent or grandparents someday. You just have to buy things that will outlast you. Here are some ideas.

Work boots: Timberland Men’s Mid Waterproof Ankle Boot

We’re used to thinking of shoes (and clothes) as fairly disposable, but if you find a pair you love it’s painful to let them go. Enter: Timberland. Their leather is thick and tough, with a durable rubber sole that is both comfortable and treaded for added traction. Whether you’re hiking, on the job, or going about your day-to-day, these sturdy boots are an investment that can handle any task. With premium waterproof leather, seam-sealed construction, and speed lace hardware with rustproof lace hooks, your feet will stay dry and warm in any weather.

Cast iron pan: Lodge Pre-Seasoned Skillet


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The classic. The thing you want your grandmother to pass down to you. Get it today and every time you use it, the seasoning will just get more set, making it increasingly nonstick. Unlike a normal pan, cast iron pans have superior heat retention and no weak spots that produce uneven heating. While cast irons are a kitchen essential, seasoning them can be a stressful process—so this Lodge option comes pre-seasoned so you can get cooking right away. Use it to sear, saute, bake, broil, braise, fry or grill. From Dutch pancakes to cast iron pizzas, the possibilities are endless.

Noise-cancelling headphones: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Quality headphones are a staple item you can use every day—and this wireless, Bluetooth-connected and noise-canceling option from Bose has the durable design and powerful tech that will make them last for years to come. Whether you’re working from home or in the gym, this pick offers 11 levels of ANC, so you can tailor your auditory surroundings to your personal preferences. And with 20 hours of battery life, a crisp microphone system for calling, a super-comfortable padded design, and Alexa and Google Assistants, these headphones are ideal for everyone from audiophiles to commuters who want to tune out while on the train.

Fermentation kit: Masontops Complete Mason Jar Fermentation Kit


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A fermenting kit can add delicious elements to your kitchen, whether it’s a crispy pickle with a sandwich, kimchi in a noodle bowl, or sauerkraut with German sausage, it’s surprisingly easy to make these aged eats from home. One of the beauties of pickling is that there’s not a ton of prep upfront and then you pretty much just check the lid for a few days and voila: impressive homemade pickled delicacies. This is a perfect gift for the culinary-inclined and will last them years to come. Check online for recipes, then mix it up once you’ve mastered the basics.

Flannel button-down: L.L. Bean Men’s Scotch Plaid Flannel

L.L. Bean

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If you’ve been searching for years for the perfect vintage flannel at thrift shops, but let’s face it: you’re never going to find the flannel of your dreams. Know why? No one in their right mind would give up a worn-in, soft-as-a-lamb’s-bottom flannel shirt if it were still in wearable condition. Just buy this one and enjoy how it gets better with every wash. This L.L. Bean pick is designed with longer-staple cotton that is stronger and higher-quality and is brushed eight times on each side to create cozy softness right out of the box (and it’ll only get better from there).