New Isn't Always Better

All the appliances in our house are older. Our dishwasher is original to the house - 32 years (knock on wood it keeps going!) Our stove, bought used is about 20 years old. While we definitely talk about replacing them, we also talk about the times we replaced other things with something new and were unhappy we did so.

The washer and dryer - a good sale. We had done some research, but apparently not enough. They do not perform the way we want - smaller items like washcloths don’t dry all the way in the dryer even though the rest of the towels do. The front loader washer hits the cabinet and therefore doesn’t open all the way. It is hard to get clothes in and out. Also, the plastic housing has cracked just from general use.

The refrigerator seems to work ok, but the seal around the door cracked after only a few years. Fortunately, it still seals the door. The material used to make the handles has turned yellow and doesn’t clean back to white. That 20 year old stove has an oven that does not cook well at lower temperatures. Forget making a turkey in it. We talk and talk about replacing that, but I just can’t get myself to buy something else that may not be what I want.

Recently, I decided I wanted a bluetooth radio for my car because I have a longer commute, and need to find a way to reduce the stress of my drive. In the morning, I spend 30 minutes switching from station to station to avoid commercials which just grate at my ears. If I could connect my phone, specifically my iHeart radio app, I could listen to that all the way. Our son did some research and found a good brand that would connect to my app. The information on line wasn’t too clear on exactly how it worked, but it said it would control your app.

After a four hour installation and set up, we played around with it only to find that it would control the app, if you had an iPhone, which I don’t. Ok, set back number one. We tried using an aux cord. That worked, but I couldn’t skip songs. Bluetooth works, but that means I have to have it on, and the set up each time I get in the car takes a few minutes.

My old radio did not tell me who the artist was or display the song title. This radio does, but not if I want to see the clock. It also doesn’’t show the radio station, unless I don’t want to see the clock. In other words, it was not what I hoped. After a few days of using it, I debated taking it back for a less expensive radio, or returning it all together. After some discussion, I decided the ability to play my phone was really helping improve my commute, so I did benefit from a new radio. The time to remove it, return it, find another, and install it, just wasn’t worth the price difference, so I decided to just keep it. Plus, not having the clock show is a benefit because I don’t feel rushed to get to work.

There are so many other things in our lives that we have bought new, when the old was really better. We still haven’t replaced our mattress for that reason (it is the older version that you can flip in all directions). It took us years to replace the patio furniture until the seats ripped. I need a new pair of tennis shoes - yes, need because my current ones are worn down and hurt my feet. Yet, the new versions are not as good so I will wait a bit longer.

New, fancy, shiny, advertised that you really need, but not always better. We have learned this lesson through the years. Thus we are cleaning our carpet again - a real deep clean this time, rather than replace it (also 25 years old). We will continue to fix appliances rather than replace with something new. This includes cars as well.

I’m thankful we at least know this lesson now, and can try to make more thoughtful decisions about what we buy; however, things still slip by us! In the meantime, we will try to keep repairing, cleaning and realizing what we have is probably good enough.