Fact or Fiction: Everything’s Old That’s New Again

The following is a staff writer post from Libby Balke. She’s an amazing writer, work-at-home mother of two, and has been married almost 8 years. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Libby or Crystal.

The linens I’ll sleep on tonight are nearly eight years old. The car I’ll use to drive my daughter to preschool in the morning was purchased four years ago next week. My favorite pair of jeans – the ones I still consider to be “brand new” – have been hanging in my closet since August 2010. There’s an old saying that everything’s old that’s new again – but in my household, I’m starting to wonder: at what point do our belongings start to feel old?

When Everything’s Old

When you feel like you live in a world where everything’s old, you may start to feel dissatisfied with what you already have. Sure, you may own that 13-year-old car, but when it feels old, clunky, and headed for the junk heap, you are more tempted to see the newer things your friends, family members, and colleagues have and feel jealous.

I’ve got a perfect example. For years, I’ve been perfectly happy with my ancient cell phone. In fact, I’ve felt downright proud that I was making do with a cell phone I got for free almost six years ago. But lately, I keep seeing all the new gadgets my friends have, which make my cell phone not only obsolete, but make me a certified Luddite. My phone feels old, even though it’s not serving me any differently than it was six years ago. Only my perspective has changed.

When Everything’s New Again

On the other hand, if you can change you perspective so that everything feels new again, you’re less likely to be compelled to keep up with the Joneses. An outdated wardrobe only feels old if you’re unhappy with it and unable to make use of it; ancient electronics or that big, bulky CRT television can feel like you just bought them if you’re satisfied with your purchase.

This is why people buy used cars – or, as I call them “new to you” cars – or purchase pre-existing homes. These people don’t think, “Man, I’m buying something that’s old/used/past its prime.” Of course not! If they did, they wouldn’t have made the purchase in the first place! Rather, they’re excited about the investment they just made. To them, it doesn’t matter that what they just bought is a year old, five years old, 20 years old; to them, it feels brand new.

Why It Matters

This is a case where perspective is everything. In my house, truth be known, just about everything is – if you’re talking just about age – fairly old. I’m not talking antique, but consider this: my husband and I still use the dishes, linens, towels, silverware, small appliances, etc., that we received at our wedding shower, which was eight years ago. Although there are times when I feel like I’ve been married forever, I don’t look at these material possessions as old. To me, they are just as useful today as when I first opened them years ago. They don’t feel old because they still serve a purpose; and as long as they serve a purpose, I hope I’ll be able to avoid a serious case of the “gimmies.”

How old do you have to own or use something before it starts to feel old?

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7 thoughts on “Fact or Fiction: Everything’s Old That’s New Again

  1. As I get older (66 y.o.), I tend to hold on to things until it wears out. One could even question if I hang on too long. My wife says my style is sort of stuck in the sixties. I am lucky that I can still replace those styles with newer 60’s looking clothes.
    krantcents recently posted..I am Wealthy, so What?My Profile

  2. We always buy good quality items and as a result, we rarely need to replace household goods. Doing your homework on purchases is always wise as sometimes paying more doesn’t always offer better value. Most of our wedding items from 13 years ago are still like new because we look after everything we buy and I think that is key.
    Bec recently posted..Take Life by the BallsMy Profile

  3. I think that the whole perspective comes with the kind of society we live in. The US is driven by corporations changing people’s perspectives about everything. That is the job of marketing departments, to turn a want into a need. As long as we are all aware of this we can control the urges we get to buy that newer cellphone when you just bought one last year. Its all a cycle.

  4. Hi Libby,
    I think my wife is going through the same thing with her cell phone. I have an iphone 3 which was provided to me for my job. She has an old flip phone and is beginning to get a little embarrassed when she takes it out. We are also trying to get out of debt but I found an article, I wish I remembered where that would allow my wife to get a new cell phone with a plan that is probably the same price as she is currently paying but would include a data plan. The problem is finding a cheap smart phone.
    Alan@escapingmydebt recently posted..Goals for 2013My Profile

    • Alan, your comment made me laugh – I’ve got an old flip phone, and one (if not the only) of the reasons I’m thinking about upgrading to a smartphone is because people ALWAYS comment when I pull my ancient phone out of my purse. It gets embarrassing!

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