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Purchases that turned out to be really, really great

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As some of you may have observed on other threads, I just bought my first home, and I've been thinking deeply about those types of purchases that turn out to have been such a great idea. The things that, as Marie Kondo would say, spark joy.

I bought a couch as a post-doc. Went to the local furniture store, sat on it, liked it, bought it. Inexpensive, as I recall--something like $600 or $800. I even debated not bringing it with me when I moved, but eventually took it. It is such a wonderful couch: wide enough to sleep on comfortably, wonderfully springy, comfy. I fricking love that thing. Last month I turned all the local furniture shops to buy a new couch for my new home office, and I could not find anything I like as much: twice the price, three times the price, and nothing had that glorious springiness of my local bargain basement furniture couch.

These don't need to be big purchases! Something like five years ago I bought a lampshade off Amazon, super-cheap, but it's got this wood effect layered with some black bird-shaped cut-outs. So when you turn it on you've got birds silhouetted against a tree-bark like background, and when you turn it off you can still see the bird shape in the cut-outs. Such a great lampshade! I fricking love that thing.

What are some purchases you made that turned out to be really, really great? Bonus points if they're unexpectedly nice home goods, since I've got this new home to furnish. But really, I want to hear about any successful purchases that exceeded expectations. I'm really sick of being disappointed with the things I buy and then making do because they're good enough and I hate shopping.

Often it's something I debated about because of the cost, and then have ended up getting so much good out of it that it paid for itself many times over.

I can think of the Italian songbook I bought when I moved to a new area with a large Italian population; I learned, played (and got tipped for) SO many songs from that thing, and they're still in my repertoire.

The old 1976 Encyclopedia Britannica set (the last before they went to the macro/micropedia nonsense); it was 65.00 at a library sale and I debated a whole day whether to spring for it or not; while the articles are often now outdated, they give a firm basis in the understanding of the topic as it was globally at the time; offer forgotten nuances to be researched further; and give an excellent basis for going on from now.

A dress I performed in for something like 20 years that I thought might be over the top as an expense when starting out.

Books bought while traveling that had to be shipped home so my luggage wouldn't be overweight--still worth every penny.

I did have a couch like the one you describe, ergative, as well; it lasted one large move and several smaller ones, but finally bit the dust after--hmmm....27 years, I think?

Oh, and the self-assembly bookcases bought around the same time that are still with me now--so they've made it to 42 years and counting, don't expect them to go anytime soon at all.


Occasionally I score a really great pair of wing-tip shoes at the thrift store. My latest pair has foam on the bottom, rather than a hard leather sole, and they're great for standing in while I teach. I put bright blue shoe laces on them, and they make me happy.

I need to remember to scour thrift stores more thoroughly. I have a thrifted Ikea Poang armchair in my office, and I love it, too.

My Ninja Foodi. The exact model isn't listed but you can get close.

I went to Target because my slow cooker finally died. Found a slow cooker for $20. Then for $40, there was one with a pressure cooker. For $80 I could get an air fryer. For $160 I could get a gizmo that did all three, but...

Anyway, $320 later it does All The Things. I can roast a whole chicken in an hour and it is so moist and crisp and tender. While the chicken rests I roast vegetables and we have a great meal.

My kitchen is small but I managed to find a spot in one of the cabinets for it. Gets used once or twice a week.


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