The 10 everyday items you only need to buy once in a lifetime

  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • Throw away less + save money + love the planet = win-win

    Throw away your clothes each new season? Ditch your pots and pans when you spring clean the kitchen? New sunnies every summer? You don’t need to shop less, you just need to shop smarter and more ethically to avoid adding to the throw away culture that’s leading to something of a crisis for our planet.

    Tara Button, author of A Life Less Throwaway (£12.99, HarperNonFiction) and founder of Buy Me Once, a new sustainability movement encouraging people to love things that last, talks us through how to throw away less (and save yourself a fortune in the long-run)

    ‘I was compelled to write A Life Less Throwaway after I turned my life around. I discovered that a constant churn of “just for now” or “this will do” items, left me cluttered, stressed and in debt whereas buying for life cured all these things. It also helps create a beautiful calm home where you can trust your items not to break on you and fixes that “so many clothes but nothing to wear” feeling. When you look around, you’ll see everything perfectly reflecting your deepest character and taste. I call this process Mindful Curation.’

    Throw away less by buying smarter – a five-step guide

    1. Learn to see where you’re being triggered to impulse buy. This includes adverts, pressure from others, feeling insecure and sales tactics.

    2. Step back and take time to get to know your true taste. Try on different shapes and colours to see what brings your body and colouring to life. Also make mood boards of colours textures and styling for home décor.

    3. Leave it 24 hours before making an unplanned purchase. Add to the wish list, not the cart.

    4. Always think long term when you buy, it will draw you to quality and the items most in line with your core character. Items worth taking care of!

    5. Find your local menders and fixers who can keep your items going as long as you do!

    Tara has also built a website, Buy Me Once, where people can search for the longest lasting products on the planet, from fashion and beauty to electricals and homewares. Here, Tara outlines her ten favourite items that you will never need to throw away, and how to take care of them.

    throw away

    The everlasting Elvis and Kresse purse

    A purse for every season

    Elvis and Kresse Purse

    Where others saw trash, Elvis and Kress saw a strong, sustainable attractive material they could make beautiful bags and wallets from. Their stunning pieces are made from retired fire hoses. Even better, they commit to repairing them for life. Tip – keep your purse in its own section of your handbag to protect it from rubbing and damage.

    The umbrella for life

    Davek umbrella

    The average person buys 1.1 umbrellas a year. Those “Oh balls it’s raining!” ones we pick up only need a stiff breeze to crumple like sad bats. Buy Me Once worked out that you could save around 700 pounds in your lifetime by getting a Davek. They’re made from titanium, self-righting and lifetime guaranteed. Just always check under your seat when leaving restaurants or public transport.

    The sofa of dreams

    Wesley Barrel sofa

    A well-made sofa can be your cosy companion for decades. Wesley Barrel offer a lifetime guarantee on their sofas and have many customers come back to reupholster their existing furniture rather than replace it. When choosing, Tara recommends looking for a high “rub count” on the fabric and getting your sofa sprayed with a non-toxic fabric protector.

    The Wesley Barrel sofa-for-life

    Sunglasses that last forever

    SunGod sunglasses

    Accidentally sitting on your designer sunnies can put a bit of a downer on any day. SunGod enables you to choose every aspect of your glasses – from the frames to the colour – and once you’ve bought them, they offer a lifetime guarantee, so even if YOU break them, they will repair or replace them for free! Just don’t put them down.

    Throw away this bag? Never.

    Saddleback leather book bag

    “They’ll fight over it when you’re dead” is the strapline of Saddleback, who make these long-lasting, beautifully designed bags. They boast the hardiest of leather and craftsmanship and are backed with a 100-year guarantee. Dampness or drying out can make the leather crack however so moisturise it monthly with conditioner.

    The forever coat

    Cecilia Hammarborg cocoon coat

    This coat is for life, not just for Christmas. Cecilia is a sustainable Swedish designer who uses entirely recycled fabrics. This coat is made of a warm blend of mohair and alpaca Italian wool and she has offered an exclusive lifetime guarantee to anyone who buys it through BuyMeOnce. Blot any stains with a tiny amount of detergent and get some cedar wood to repel moth balls.

    The Cecilia Hammarborg cocoon coat

    The necklace soulmate

    Joy Everley necklace

    Tara was so delighted to find a jeweller who both cares deeply about their jewellery being sustainable, and is ethically made. They also very kindly offer to fix any item bought through the BuyMeOnce website for life. So, if a clasp goes or a chain snaps, you have full peace of mind.

    Tights that won’t ladder

    Swedish Stockings

    There’s nothing more depressing than holey tights! We throw away billions of pairs each year. Swedish Stockings are cleaning up the whole industry by knitting their tights to be exceptionally ladder resistant and recycling them too once you’re finished with them. Top tip is to keep your nails filed smoothly (perhaps with a Crystal nail file which comes with a 25-year warranty.

    The frying pan that will go down in history

    Solidteknics frying pan

    Avoid flaky, scratchy wobbly pans and instead get one that will actually outlive you, from Solidteknics. These pans have a multi-century warranty and create a natural, ever-replenishable non-stick coating. Just pick your favourite great, great grandchild to live it to in your will! Tara recommends looking at YouTube videos that show you how to season your pan properly.

    A book to keep forever

    A Life Less Throwaway

    Books are forever. This one teaches you how you can transform your life by thinking differently about the way you shop. What’s more, buy your books digitally to keep them spotless indefinitely.

    Reading now

    Popular Life stories