How Often Do You Replace…?

Just curious. I see advice all the time on how often to replace things. Toothbrushes? They say at least every three to four months. Mascara? The recommendation is two to three months. Makeup brushes/applicators? Same: two to three months. Your mattress? You’ve got ten years. But your pillows? One to two years. Bath towels? Every two years. And spices? They say eight months to a year.

Of course, this is just a small list — there are replacement recommendations for pretty much everything.

I was thinking of this at Target the other night when I was buying toothbrushes. I’m pretty sure it’s been at least six months since the last time I bought some. I know that will gross some of you out. Honestly, I don’t think I regularly follow a single one of the recommendations I listed. Or if I do, it’s by accident.

The mascara I’m using I bought last June. I noticed it’s been drying out a bit, so I’ll probably replace it soon. I’ve got no idea when I last replaced my makeup brushes. Some of our bath towels are fine, but others we’ve had too long and I admit, they need to be replaced. But at two years? They were still going strong. I recently replaced the kids’ pillows (with these), and it had for sure been about 4-5 years since the last time. As for spices, I basically keep them forever. Apparently we have an unofficial no-expiration-date policy on spices at the Blair house.

One thing I’ve noticed is that since I do quite a bit of household shopping online, I have a much better idea of how often I actually replace things. A simple search of my past orders can tell me exactly when we last bought those particular towels (it was June of 2013 — no wonder they’re worn out). I suppose that before I had an easy-access index of my past purchases, I could convince myself I was replacing things more often. Hah!

Mostly I don’t worry about the guidelines and just keep living my life, but once in awhile I feel guilty. Or gross. Whenever I’m cleaning out our vacuum canister (which happens often), I see a note from Dyson that the reusable vacuum filters should be cleaned and dried each month. I don’t know why, but I always feel guilty when I read that — I only wash them maybe twice a year. Perhaps I feel guilty because we use our vacuum a lot and I know I could be taking better care of it, so I’m feeling irresponsible? Who knows.

What’s your take? Are you good at following recommended replacement guidelines? Is there anything in your house you always replace on time? Do any of you have reminders in place — like alerts on your phone or calendar — to help you keep to a replacement schedule? Are there some guidelines you follow and others you ignore? I’d love to hear.

P.S. — I’m in the market for a lightweight cordless vacuum I can keep in my bedroom. Any you’ve been loving these days?

62 thoughts on “How Often Do You Replace…?”

  1. It seems to me that many of those recommendations are based on manufacturers wanting to sell more product. We are a throw-away culture, not a culture of fix and reuse or use until worn out. It is very sad. Recently, our printer had a problem. But all of the small shops that used to fix these sorts of things have closed. The expectation is that we will just throw it out and not fix or re-use it. The same goes for most of what we buy.
    I hope that any towels you replace you will repurpose first into rags and then recycle them as textiles. For toothbrushes, check out bamboo ones like Brush with Bamboo. If your mattress and pillows are still comfortable (as mine are after 13 years), keep using them. Even if we must replace something, we can make choices that cause less harm to the earth.

    1. I totally agree Christie! I’ve got “use it up, wear it out…” so ingrained into my thinking, it sometimes seems silly or wasteful to replace something until it really becomes necessary.

      Even though I have a pretty tight budget, I really try to buy higher-quality things when I can, thinking (hoping) it will be a long time before they need replacement.

    2. For sure. Rags made from old bath towels are my favorite. We use them for all sorts of things. And I also like to keep a stack of older towels around for summer camps, and hair dyeing. : )

      Sorry to hear about your printer. There are lots of small appliances/objects we’ve had fixed over the years — like having cords replaced on irons, or lamps rewired. But we’ve never had a printer repaired. I wouldn’t even know where to go!

    3. I’ve repaired my own printers (at work; even though there’s a budget for new ones, I can’t bear to put those hulking things in a landfill!) by buying the necessary parts on-line and watching how-to videos on YouTube. It feels awesome!

  2. I’m inclined to think these “recommendations” are made by companies to spur more consumption. Environmentally, replacing things like towels and pillows that frequently is so bad! And I don’t think necessary…

    1. Totally. I think recommendations do sometimes come from manufacturers, but often I read this type of advice (like on toothbrushes and mascara) from medical professionals.

      Do you feel like any of the recommendations hold weight for you? Or do they all feel made up?

      1. I suppose the recommendations that have to do with cleanliness/hygiene do make more sense! But I definitely don’t replace my toothbrush that frequently, probably out of laziness. :)

        1. I only replace a toothbrush if the bristles are so messed up they don’t do their job anymore. I always keep denture cleaning tablets in the kitchen cupboard for cleaning out water bottles, and I’ve used them to clean toothbrushes too. Especially the kids since they don’t rinse them out and they cake up with toothpaste… they come up like new.
          I follow none of these recommendations (Not intentionally anyway! Like you, my mascara probably runs out within that time but if it didn’t I probably wouldn’t care.)

  3. None of us should feel “guilty” or “gross” about the rate in which we replace disposable items. There is a multitude of ways in which we berate and abuse ourselves on the daily, and shaming ourselves for not replacing items in a recommended timeframe is a waste of our energy. The only thing that needs to be disposed of in a timely manner is toxic thinking.

    1. Yeah. I really disagree with this. There are 7 billion people on this planet. We cannot proceed as if we have all the space in the world to discard objects. Our actions significantly impact the earth and the earth’s other residents. By 2050, there will be more trash in the oceans than fish. Every day sea life (whales/dolphins) are washed up on shore, dead because they ate pounds of garbage. Our consumption is one of the largest contributions to greenhouse gases, in the manufacture, but also in the disposal. Trash = methane, a more potent gas than CO2. I understand what you are saying. I am a business owner and a mother of three. I am busy. I don’t need anything more to worry about, but because I love my kids so much I have to be concerned about the earth they are inheriting. We can’t just bury our heads in the sand on this one

      1. I took Amy’s comment to mean that we shouldn’t feel guilty or gross for NOT following the replacement guidelines — for using things longer. So you’re actually basically in agreement. If you are using disposable items (which, sure, we should be minimizing to begin with), don’t feel you have to replace them as often as the manufacturer recommends, and don’t feel guilty about it.

        1. Or, you know, disregard what I just wrote, because I just realized that I misunderstood what I thought was Christie’s misunderstanding of Amy’s comment until I re-read it. I thought in “I really disagree with this”, “this” meant Amy’s comment, but in looking again it (I think?) meant the guidelines. Hoo boy, I think I need caffeine.

  4. I agree with the sentiments above. If it’s still serving me well, carry on.

    We’ve really like our cordless Dyson V6. We use it mostly for our large kitchen floor, but with a quick attachment switch it’s also great for fast carpet vacuums. I’d recommend finding one with several attachments included; they’ve all come in handy.

  5. I try to use my nose. It makes me happy to keep a mascara for 6 months instead of tossing it at 2 or 3. I replace my toothbrush after every dental cleaning, so that’s 6 months. Replacing makeup brushes after a few months is just wrong. About half of mine have synthetic bristles and can be cleaned with alcohol. I wash the others. They get cleaned about every two weeks. I plan to keep them for years.

    It’s really hard to wear out some textiles and clothing. I try to keep them as long as possible to keep them out of the landfill. Unfortunately, there is such a surplus of clothing that many donations to Good Will end up in the landfill.

    1. Can I just say I’m impressed you get your teeth cleaned every 6 months? I know that’s what’s recommended, but I don’t manage to go nearly that often.

      I didn’t realize until we lived in France, but apparently twice-yearly teeth cleaning is an American thing? Has anyone else heard that? In France, from what I could tell, people go to the dentist if they have a problem, but not for regular cleanings.

      And I hear you on the makeup brushes. They seem so cleanable! I know the worry is that they harbor bacteria. But I doubt they have more bacteria than say, my phone. : )

      1. I have religiously had my teeth cleaned every 6 months my entire adult life. Every visit the hygienist tells me I have no plaque. She picks a little, polishes my teeth, and then the dentist sees me for 5 minutes or less. Somehow, due to travel and grandbabies and my husband joining me in retirement from paid work, I let two years go between appts. I just went and, no plaque. I told the dentist I would come annually and she said “no one comes annually” and that all her patients are on an every 3, 4, or 6 month schedule. Talk about BS! If you ask me, this is not only American, but driven by what our insurance companies will pay. And they have been lobbied by the dental and medical associations. No wonder our health care system is broken. (Now I’m on a rant and Gabby you do that better than anyone.)

        As for spices, my grocery store sells every spice imaginable in bulk. I love buying only what I need for some recipes and refilling small spice jars for those I use regularly. I do think spices lose some of their fragrance and point over time.

        1. I disagree, respectfully. If you are fortunate enough to have been born with good teeth & have always cared for them well, this may work for you.
          For the last 30 years I have needed 3-month cleanings, plus gum surgery–poor heredity, years of neglect when I could not afford dental care, years of bulimia, tooth-grinding from stress all took their toll. I wouldn’t have teeth if it weren’t for the care I have received & all the flossing I do at home. Plus a night guard & 14 root canals.
          They aren’t pretty teeth, but I can chew with them.

        2. When I didn’t have dental insurance, I went without a cleaning for 2.5 years. I definitely had plaque buildup and became devoted to the 6-month cycle. I have good tooth. There are other people in my family with more meticulous brushing and flossing who have more cavities. It’s partly genetic and partly regular maintenance.

          1. i, too, have always gone every 6mo since i was a child. After i graduated from college, there was a time i didnt have insurance. I had gone 2.5 years between cleanings and i swore i would never do that again. That first cleaning after waiting so long was painful

      2. I’ve come to realize it’s a very American thing…BUT I’ve also noticed (at least here in Moldova), that most Americans above the age of 30 seem to have decent teeth (with exceptions, of course), but here most Moldovans over the age of 30 have teeth that appear to be rotting out. Also kids- which has been something a bit difficult for me. Most kids here that still have their baby teeth seem to have a lot of rotting teeth. I’m sure this is also a more complex issue- no fluoride in the water, no visits to the dentist, diet, etc., but I have to wonder if the lack of cleanings (they’ve never heard of the concept) is also at fault.

        1. I skipped the dentist for 3 years thinking my teeth were “perfect,” and I had so much plaque built up that my gums had started to recede (in my 20s!). Now I’m strict about everyone in the family going on time every 6 months. I hope we will all keep our natural set of teeth our whole lives, which is not some universal norm. Rotting teeth cause many other health problems, and fixing them seems more expensive than maintaining healthy teeth in the first place. But replacing towels every 2 years? We use our wedding gift towels from a decade ago, and they are just fine.

          1. When we lived in Peru for a year, we went to a local dentist to get our teeth cleaned because we were so used to every 6 months cleaning schedule. She raved about how beautiful our teeth were! She had never seen such tartar- and problem-free teeth in her practice before (and I get “bad” build-up as far as American dentists are concerned).

  6. My philosophy is if it can be cleaned, then I can use it until it wears out. I don’t wash things on the recommended timelines either, part laziness and part Californian habits of water conservation (we do shift our habits to stretch this, not just leave it dirty, eg. shower at night = wash sheets less often). Honestly, if you’re not getting sick and the thing still works as intended… why replace it just because of some arbitrary expiration date?

    The one that’s always harder for me to gauge is food best by etc dates. Milk is easy.. but what about orange juice? Do I really need to toss the peanut butter if it’s been in the fridge 6 months? I tended to keep things indefinitely unless they appeared spoiled, but in pregnancy haven’t been willing to risk the discomfort. We’ll see if I’m more willing to risk it as a momma….

    I have the dyson little car V6 version and the big guy. It’s super ugly, but I adore it. Had no idea I was supposed to wash the canisters on either dyson until I read this post…

    1. To be clear, I don’t wash the canister on my vacuum (though I’m sure it would look better if I did). I’m talking about the reusable filters. Mine has two filters, and they can both be cleaned with water in the sink and then air dried for 24 hours.

      Also, I really like your philosophy.

  7. Twice yearly teeth cleaning is standard in Denmark too. I get my next appointment when i am at the dentists which makes it easy to keep ud with.

    1. I try to do that with my haircuts — make the next appointment for 4 weeks out as I’m leaving the current appointment. But it tends to be trickier than I think it will be. I have a fairly unpredictable schedule, and about half the time, when the next appointment rolls around, there’s a conflict and I have to reschedule anyway. : )

      1. I have a gal at the office I go to who knows that I can barely keep the original appt. so we have a deal. The office usually sends a reminder text, which alerts me to the fact i will probably need to cancel. After that I call the front office and remind them to set me up with a new appt. “DONT STOP BUGGING ME UNTIL I GET A NEW ONE!” – they are wonderful about calling when a new spot opens up. Talk to the front office and let them know how to help you reschedule.

  8. I am naturally pessimistic, so of course I believe that a lot of those “replace by” dates are just to keep certain companies in business. Especially if you’re old enough to remember your parents, or grandparents household items lasting 20+ years! They literally make things to not last as long now, and it’s infuriating. I’d happily pay more if I knew item-X would last two or three times as long!

    So I tend to wait until an item is used up or worn out before replacing it. Except toothbrushes, those I try to be a little more diligent in replacing (especially after someone has had a cold). Make-up I rarely wear anymore, so I don’t have to concern myself with that – anything face/body products I do use tend to get used up within a reasonable timeframe.

  9. The Dyson cordless vacuum is my favorite household thing right now. We use it allllll the time. Good on all floor types too.

  10. The only things I religiously change are the batteries in our smoke detectors…May 1 and Oct 1.

    We put the used 9 volts in a bag to be used in something less important…Usually RC car remotes.

  11. Like others have mentioned, it is in the best financial interest of companies for you to have an arbitrary date set in your mind of when you should/must replace a product. It is however not in the best interest of the earth. Resources being consumed too rapidly. Landfills overflowing. Pollution of water.

    It’s better to purchase less and when you do, buy a well made item, treat it kindly, and try to make it last as long as possible, and then either pass it on to someone else if it still has some life left in it or transform it into another use.

    Anything that is fabric.. dish towels, bedding, jeans etc., could be kept until ready for the rag bag. I view items having stages. For example, use the brand new jeans for wearing out into the world. Last year’s jeans get worn around the house. And the oldest thread bare ones become the pair to wear for grunge work (painting a wall, digging a garden etc).

    Anything that comes in contact with eyes and mouth should be sterilized (peroxide for toothbrushes) or changed out on a regular basis. Microbes galore in that realm. Important to tell teens to not share makeup, especially mascara. Too easy to get a staph infection.

    In regards to mattresses I would just replace when you no longer get a good night’s sleep on it. And in regards to spices, flavor and aroma is certainly better if fresh, but if older just increase the amount used.

  12. Everyone loves Sharpies, right? Use one to write the month/year on the bottom of your new spice jar. And when you move, or notice they’re several years old, replace them. (Okay, maybe more often if you need) and a giant “YES!” to Amy and Chrsitie — Preach it ladies!!!

  13. The cordless Dyson stick vacuum is my FAVORITE household appliance. I hate vacuuming (but have two toddlers and an australian shepherd) and my big Dyson is amazing but on a daily basis I use the Dyson stick vacuum and I literally feel like it saves my life/house from complete chaos. Cannot recommend highly enough!

  14. As far as towels go, I say use them until you can’t, or if they begin to fray or whatever, turn them into cleaning cloths. I’ve had good quality (fairly cheap Costco) towels for YEARS and they still look and feel great.

    Cleaning your filters will lengthen the life of whatever they are attached to, so ya, go ahead and clean them according to the suggestions, it’s cleaning, not replacing right? And if they need additional cleaning after a storm (house vents) or a rigorous spring cleaning, then ya, scrub them up and feel good about how “Martha” you’ve just been!

    Pillows- they say 6 months, but depending on how well you take care of them, cleaning and what kind of case you put them in, they can last much longer. If you can’t manage to clean them in your home machine, lug them down to the laundromat and get those babies cleaned and sanitized and they should be just fine -until they get all lumpy or uncomfortable, then yes, ditch them and get a better night sleep.

    Makeup and spices. I think your nose is the best indicator of what needs to be replaced and how often. If you keep the containers clean, wipe the edges when you notice smears of foundation, etc. or dust from powders or spices, if you keep the containers clean and the lids tight, leave it to your nose.

    Now toothbrushes. My daughter is a RDH, and she’s persnickety about education and standards* for her patients. Most folks are completely unaware that even a small amount of gum disease can lead very quickly to heart disease, so a twice a year cleaning isn’t a way to get your money, it’s as necessary as your routine breast exam or any other regular check up. Your dental health should determine how often you need to go, but twice a year is the norm. If and I understand it is a huge *if* for a LOT of people, but if you have dental insurance GO to your cleanings! (Even the worst dental insurance pays 100% for cleanings!) A bonus is that almost all hygienists will sport you a brand new shiny toothbrush (for FREE!) hand picked by them for exactly what *you* need. (I’m an aggressive brusher, so I get super soft baby brushes -that cannot be found in a store- so I can stop damaging my enamel.) They usually toss in freebies like new floss, and toothpaste also. A good way to tell if you need a new brush, time table aside, is to just look at your bristles… are they beginning to fray or bend? Time for a new brush. If the bristles are still standing straight without any tips wonky – you’re probably good for a while.

    *Off Topic, however stuff you should know about your dental cleaning:
    An honest well educated RDH (Registered Dental Hygienist) should take a FULL hour to clean your teeth. You session should include a brief but thorough health history, BP, cancer screening (it feels like the world’s fastest mini head massage), checking your tongue and swiping the entire inside of your cheek and a very quick swipe around your gums, a check on your neck (lymph nodes), and a minute or so of conversation to ask you about any changes you may have had since your last visit. THEN the actual cleaning will begin with a check of how deep your “pockets” are, and they should be saying numbers so that *you* can hear them, “1,1, 2, 2, 2, 1, 4, 1,….” around each tooth. Then the scraping or whatever comes after that. After the cleaning is complete, you should get a polish, when the polish is complete your dentist should come in and take a quick 5 minutes to make sure the RDH didn’t miss anything or to check out any concerns the RHD has discovered. If your RHD isn’t taking an hour with you, you are in an office that *may* be trying to charge you for two visits instead of one, skimping, and or one that may not be the best at being thorough as they have been trained and licensed to perform.

  15. Re: dental cleaning: I envy you, plaqueless people! I need to have my teeth cleaned four times a year. Weird body chemistry maybe? Anyway, my wonderful hygienist knows how to scrape a bit, move on, come back, repeat. It is less painful and truly worth it for me. I faithfully change my (electric) toothbrush head as recommended. Not a fan of dental X-rays though. That I push off unless I have a problem.

    For other things, I take a common sense approach. If it’s not broken, don’t replace it. For spices, I use the smell test. If it doesn’t smell like it’s name, I replace it.

  16. Have you ever watched the YouTube video The Story of Stuff? It must be at least 10 years old but I still think about planned obsolescence and perceived obsolescence CONSTANTLY!

    Also I just recently found out that the little jar icon with “3m” or “6m” (m for months) on the back of cosmetics products is the supposed to be the toss date! I’ve had a lot of my makeup, especially eyeshadow pallets, for YEARS. Blew my mind and not. happening.

    1. Whaaaat? There’s a 3m or 6m on cosmetics jars? I had no idea. Mind blown. Thanks for the tip! (Though maybe I don’t want to know. Some of mine are soooo old. Hah!)

  17. I totally have some towels from shopko that have lasted since 2003. That’s when we got married and we’ve added 5 kids. That’s pretty darn good! I’ve accumulated others since then but those are still in rotation!

    1. Love that! As I mentioned, this “replacement” topic has been on my mind and I’ve been looking around at some of the objects I use regularly, and that I’ve owned for a long time. One of my oldest things still in regular use? My ironing board from college. I’m guessing it dates to 1994.

      Of course, I own other things that are older — some pottery, Grandma’s pearls, lots of old books, childhood memorabilia. But the ironing board is practical thing I bought as a single adult, and use all the time, and it’s still going strong. It makes me want to go room by room and see if I can find anything I’ve had longer than the ironing board that I use regularly.

  18. I replace my toothbrush heads when the bristles are clearly matted down and I can also usually tell if it’s still doing it’s job based on how clean my teeth feel after brushing. It’s almost definitely more than the recommended 3 months but probably less than every 6 months. I am really “bad” at replacing my mascara (the only makeup I usually wear)- the current tube I’ve been using since last July. If makeup is “supposed” to be used only for a couple of months, why do the containers have so much more that a person would use in a couple of months! But I do worry I’ll get an eye infection or something.

    Other things I don’t really replace- my pillow is at least 10 years old. I’ve tried buying new pillows but can’t find one that I like as well. My mattress is about as old as I am- so about 20 years. It’s probably not great, but I don’t think it’s super uncomfortable.

    My parents don’t replace things unless absolutely necessary- so they still have the microwave my dad received from his mom BEFORE he was married! It’s about 30 years old, but it still works just fine! My grandparents only recently replaced their 50-year-old microwave! It started to not work as well many years ago, but they had to replace it in the end after a flooded kitchen. Every time I think about either microwave, I remember that things just aren’t made the way they used to be!

  19. Planned obsolescence: a policy of producing consumer goods that rapidly become obsolete and so require replacing, achieved by frequent changes in design, termination of the supply of spare parts, and the use of nondurable materials.

  20. I agree with many of you that these “replacement” guidelines are there to sell more products which definitely creates more pollution (the manufacturing) and more landfill. I have towels that are 30 years old and I am just starting to replace them as they are starting to wear thin. If my pillow is comfortable I will not replace it but I will wash it fairly regularly. I suspect previous generations would never have replaced anything that still worked.

  21. I agree with the majority of people on here: these guidelines are set in place by the manufacturers to sell more product. And possibly to avoid legal ramifications if, say, someone gets sick using eye shadow past its “expiration date”?

    I like to think of myself as frugal rather than lazy. I will reuse something as long as possible, cleaning and/or repurposing rather than throwing away. Unfortunately, many of the products made today seem to be cheap and disposable, and the better products are more expensive. SIGH. For instance, I know we need to replace our mattress, but a good-quality one has a hefty price tag. And I think, people used to sleep on lumpy, horse hair contraptions! Why do I need to sleep on a cloud of chemicals?? A good feather pillow can be washed and doesn’t get lumpy like the fiber-filled varieties – that’s what I have.

    Toothbrushes… I just wait till our 6-month dental visit and use the new toothbrushes we get. HOWEVER, if you tend to brush hard, the bristles can wear our faster, which you can see just by looking at the brush head. I recently started getting bamboo brushes for my kids since they’re eco-friendly; we will donate the ones we get from the dentist and continue to buy the bamboo.

    We still have the towels we got when we were married in 2001. Some of them are a bit frayed and have holes, but what is this… a 5-star hotel? Sometimes I think about a lovely new collection of fluffy towels, but it’s not a priority for me. I have replaced some of them, and the old ones get used for rags or find a home in our camper, which we use during the warmer months.

    I have a minimal collection of makeup. Some of the eyeshadow is ancient, compared to disposal guidelines, but I’ve managed to survive. I think if something gets moisture – say, using a wet brush to apply shadow – there’s more of an issue of contamination. I suppose if you use a dry brush and/or are vigilant to keep your brushes clean, this just isn’t an issue.

    Filters: clean and reuse, if possible.

    I have the Electrolux Ergorapido 2-in-1 vacuum. It was inexpensive and I liked the fact that the unit comes apart into a little handheld vacuum. My only gripe: every once in a while I have to cut off the hair and stuff that gets caught around the rotating brush.

  22. Toothbrushes: We replace when the bristles get worn down or if we’ve been sick. I go to the dentist every six months (just there this week-still never had a cavity in my life) and my kids also go every six months (also no cavities-they are in their 20s). My husband thinks dentists charge too much money and only goes once per year. He does not have the great teeth that we do so I wonder how much is heredity and how much is his childhood of sparse dental care.

    Otherwise, our towels are old, our mattress is old. We did buy some new pillows last summer because ours were in horrible shape.

  23. I think that a lot of manufactures are making things so they don’t last as long. I can’t imagine replacing towels that often. Toothbrushes we do every few months when the bristles start to look sad. I clean out the filters in my vacuum when I think about it. the bedding and such… well I don’t know how often we switch those. I only get new pillows when my neck starts to hurt.

    oh well. I guess I’m not up to date on all my products

  24. I hardly ever follow recommendations! We all get new toothbrushes when someone throws up, which has been three times this year. I get new makeup and applicators when something gets used up or just beyond worn out… spices are eternal. Oddly, my husband and I are on our third new mattress in eight years because we’ve moved cross country several times and have just sold and bought new every time we’ve moved. I usually let things go until I can’t stand them anymore and then replace. I do love cleaning my vacuum though, there is something therapeutic about it to me.

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  25. I cannot imagine replacing towels every two years. What a massive expense! We bought new towels 4 years ago after having the previous set for 11 years. Four years in, they still look like new. I won’t replace those babies until they get holes or threadbare.
    The only things I replace often: toothbrushes (every 6 months) and running shoes (every 4-6 months).

  26. I love the Hoover Linx cordless vac. I prefer it over the Dyson. It’s quieter, more ergonomic, easily switches between hard floors and carpet, has a removable battery (I bought a 2nd one and now I can vacuum twice as long before recharging), and it costs less.

  27. In Europe repair cafes are becoming more common. You can bring in your broken appliance or worn clothes and volunteers will fix them, patch up holes etc for free or a nominal fee.

    1. I LOVE the idea of a repair café! I get great satisfaction out of keeping items in use as long as possible. We have sheets in our house that were passed down from my paternal grandmother – they are durable and soft.

      I do vacuum maintenance every 1-2 months because my vacuum gets used heavily and it just doesn’t work well when the filters are dirty. I’m following the vacuum recommendations in the comments because mine is on its last legs.

  28. Since I feel strongly about toothbrush replacement, we have a schedule. Santa puts one in the stocking, the Easter bunny brings one in the basket, when summer starts I make a ‘yay summer’ basket with water balloons, chalk and ….toothbrushes, and at back to school time we follow the german schultute tradition and surprise! There’s a toothbrush in there too. This way all the kids get a new toothbrush every few months and they actually look forward to it.

  29. Reading your post makes me realize that I have not changed the toothbrush since Christmas. Sometimes I eat bread after the expired date because there are still 1-2 slices left :p I always reuse things, old towel become rugs or rags.

  30. My mom is 93, and she still has three of the monogrammed towels that were given to her as a wedding gift when she was married at age 21. (Quality isn’t what it used to be.)

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