Forty-five years ago, I needed a vacuum.
I was a newlywed and totally into the housekeeping thing. I grew up in a household that had an Electrolux, so that’s what I wanted. We had that vacuum for years.
But, wait, a new Electrolux cost $500…that was a lot of money in 1971! I could buy a portable Hoover vacuum cleaner at Lechmere for $29.95 but I knew, in my heart, I wanted the Electrolux. Why I stood firm on getting this vacuum, and making payments of $25 a month for a few years tells a lot about me! And it’s why this New York Times article “The Financial Benefits of Buying What You Love” (click here to read) jumped out at me.
I buy what I love and I’m pretty opinionated, and, for the most part, I agree with the writer at the Times…because it does pays off. And, I have to tell you, my Electrolux vacuum lasted for over 25 years and I have never, never had a vacuum that lasted as long or worked as well since. Another example would be the Cuisinart I bought in 1970. The first Cuisinarts were a few hundred dollars. That was also a lot of money for us at the time, but I loved to cook, and saved up so I could buy it! It, too, stood the test of time…it worked for 30 years! Was it worth the money? Absolutely!
Add to my “buy-what-you-love” list, many of my antiques – a rug I paid too much for or the cupboard I just had to have; and my Le Creuset Dutch Oven that was on my wedding registry. I still use it every Passover to make brisket!
Obviously, price is a factor, but I always consider very carefully three questions:
- How much do I love it?
- How much will it be used?
- Will it bring joy and happiness into my life or the lives of others?
This, ironically, also ties into the best-selling book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. In many ways, even though as a consumer you are acquiring things, you are at the same time, also carefully editing your choices. You are curating, very specifically, what you bring into your home and your life. If you make a commitment to only purchase things that bring you joy and that you will use, it will , in the long run, be financially beneficial.
I apply this belief in “buying what you love” to how we buy for Hammertown. We curate very carefully every item that goes in to our shops. I don’t want anything in our stores that we don’t care about. And it brings US joy when we hear about the items our customers bought from Hammertown years ago that still bring them joy: the comfortable sofa, that after 15 years, still offers them comfort; the antique table that still sits in their kitchen where family meals and conversations are shared; the vintage quilt on the end of a bed that makes their bedroom a special and beautiful haven.
So here’s my shopping mantra for 2016 — “Buy what you love and you’ll Love Where You Live”.