Remember incandescent light bulbs? What about cathode ray tube TVs, rotary phones, phone books, and typewriters? These once-common household products have gone from essential to irrelevant over the years. Innovation (or in the case of light bulbs and tube TV, regulation) has changed the look of the American home – and the way we spend money.
While cell phones and Netflix subscriptions are eating up more of our budgets, there are plenty of other household products you no longer need to spend money on. Here are seven household products you never need to buy again.
1. Home printers
Cheaply made, ink-hogging personal printers are going the way of the dodo. Sales of printers and printer supplies are down at companies like HP, as we transition to a paperless world and having the ability to print at home becomes less important than it once was. Many people can get away with running off the occasional copy at the office or heading to FedEx Office in a pinch. You’ll save money, space, and frustration if you ditch the printer.
2. Drip coffee maker
In an age of Keurig machines, French presses, and Chemex brewers, the humble Mr. Coffee is something of relic. Coffee snobs favor more refined brewing methods, like pour-over, while 25% of U.S. households now own convenient single-serve coffee machines, according to the Washington Post. Though Keurig sales have dipped recently, that’s because people are buying more coffee outside the home as the economy has improved. Though drip machines are still common in American kitchens, they’re no longer the essential household appliance they once were.
3. Alarm clock
Bedrooms of the future probably won’t be lit by the glowing face of an alarm clock. The sleep-interrupting device topped a 2014 list of endangered gadgets by Pixmania.com. Old-school alarm clocks are being replaced by smartphones, even though experts say there are plenty of good reasons to banish your device from your bedroom, including better sleep and less exposure to possibly harmful radiation.
“In order to get a good night’s sleep, you have to feel safe and not worried about anything. By having your phone close by at night, you’re subconsciously saying you wish to attend to that phone. The brain will monitor the situation and your sleep will be lighter and more likely to be disturbed,” sleep exert Dr. Neil Stanley told the Daily Mail.
Fast and cheap streaming entertainment is making cable obsolete. And now that you can get your HBO shows anywhere, there’s even less reason to spend $100 per month or more on a cable subscription. Services like Netflix, Playstation Vue, and Hulu will more than fill the void for most people and eliminate cable from the list of household products you need to buy.
Who needs a shelf of cookbooks when you have a world of recipes at your fingertips? Apps and websites have made cookbooks irrelevant for many home cooks. Avid cooks and foodies might disagree, but if you invest in an iPad stand and tablet cover to protect your screen from spills, you’ll never need to buy another cookbook again.
6. Desktop computer
Slick smartphones, tablets, and laptops have turned the desktop computer into the lumbering dinosaur of home technology. While you might still be using a desktop at the office (though they’re becoming less common there as well), they’re rare in today’s homes, with laptops making up 80% of the market for consumer computers, according to the Wall Street Journal. While desktops have their defenders – they’re more affordable, have ergonomic advantages, and are good for gaming and video editing – they’re among the household products most people no longer buy.
7. Answering machine
Even if you still have a landline (and there are good reasons to keep your old wall phone, especially if you live somewhere with spotty cell service), you probably don’t need a clunky answering machine to record messages. This old-school appliance was long-ago replaced by voicemail systems, which are themselves becoming obsolete. People who are still using answering machines may just be too lazy to upgrade.
“Why do I still have an answering machine, especially given that I’ll go days without checking it and even longer without it recording a message? Primarily because it’s been there for many years ago and I’d never given removing it a moment of thought,” Paul McNamara wrote in an article for Network World.
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