5 Everyday Things That Should Last a Lifetime

From a good-quality bag to a cast-iron pan, these durable buys are worth the splurge.

from Save a Fortune (Reader's Digest Association)
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    1. Cast-iron pan

    On a new cast-iron pan, the surface should be uniformly dull gray inside and out and uniformly rough in texture with small grains or "pores." Avoid pans with seams, cracks, or uneven sharp edges. Buy one that is all one piece—not one with a wooden handle. Avoid a ridged bottom; a flat surface conducts heat best.

    2. Kitchen knife

    If you buy a good chef's knife and care for it properly, you should never have to replace it. Avoid knives that have a serrated cutting edge or those that claim to "never need sharpening." Good knives do need sharpening. Buy one that you feel comfortable handling. Also buy a honing steel and use it regularly to keep your knife honed.

    3. Hand tools

    Good quality hand tools should last not just one lifetime, but for a couple of generations. Look for forged rather than cast metal, and plastic, fiberglass or metal handles rather than wood.

    4. Albums

    Look for a baby book, photo album, or scrapbook, with pages made from dye-free, pH-balanced archival paper. Affix your photos and memorabilia with picture corners or small mounting squares. Avoid plastic sheets, sticky-backed pages, and don't use regular tape.

    5. Leather bag

    A good-quality leather handbag or briefcase is actually inexpensive—if you amortize it over the lifetime of use. The most durable bags are made of top-grain leather. Leather described as full grain won't necessarily last longer. Look for small tight stitches made with heavy thread. Make sure clamps, hinges, or locks are nicely matched and work smoothly.

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    Your Comments

    • http://www.facebook.com/steve.smeltz Steve Smeltz

      cast iron is the only way to cook

    • Anonymous

      I have owned, and used, overpriced water-less cookware which was fun to use. Also have owned copper bottomed stainless steel which turns black with use. Now I mostly use cast iron. I have purchased cast iron encrusted because the last owner did not know how to “clean” it. The only way to clean this stuff is to throw it in the campfire or bake it in the oven on the highest heat. When it is red it will be clean. Nothing fancy here. It works and you won’t have to purchase another pot or pan as long as you live…Forget that other stuff. It is all a glorified waste of time no matter what you see them using on TV…

    • Elizabeth

      Avoid knives with a serrated edge? How do you propose we cut bread or steak?? :) I agree with the author, except for this one point. Get a high quality set of knives that meet your family’s needs. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/aarendal Albert Rendal

      A very good investment… :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/aarendal Albert Rendal

      A very good investment… :)

    • Jimschlup

      The outside edges of the cast-iron pan should be uniformly rough excluding the bottom and handle which should be as smooth as the cooking surface and interior sides of the pan. At least all those passed down from grandparents seem to be that way.