As I scooped a cup of flour from the canister a few weeks ago, I heard a snap and felt the weight fall from my hand. The stress of daily use had caused my plastic measuring cup to throw up its handle in surrender.
That measuring cup was a remnant from another time. A time in which I was a bargain hunter, shopping regularly at discount stores and sales racks. These days I shop much less and much more carefully, following these steps:
1) Ask myself, do I actually need to buy something? (Of course, ‘need’ is a tricky word. Very little is actually necessary to survival. What I’m really asking myself is whether the thing I’m considering buying will truly be of use.)
2) Take time to think about exactly what my goal is, rather than rushing right out to shop.
3) Consider what features will best meet that goal.
4) Look for a second-hand item if at all possible.
5) Look for the very best quality I can find.
The size of the purchase I’m considering doesn’t matter. I follow these steps whether I want to spend $1 or $100. So when my measuring cup snapped I thought, do I actually need to buy another? I use measuring cups just about every day, often more than once a day, and my supply has dwindled as one by one they snap to pieces so, yes, I think I need them. They will be of use to me.
What exactly is my goal? To measure dry goods, over and over and over.
What qualities will best meet that goal? Not plastic – something stronger, that will withstand heavy use. A handle long enough to comfortably reach the bottom of my canisters.
Can I find it second-hand? I’ve never found measuring cups at a thrift store. (Not to say it’s impossible, I’ve just never seen them myself.) How about ebay or Etsy? Bingo.
How’s the quality? Copper and stainless cups with brass handles attached in such a way that even I’d have trouble wearing them out.
Total cost with shipping: $18 for four cups. More than I would have spent if I’d headed to a big box store. Less than I would spend over time to keep replacing plastic cups. An investment made possible by the fact when I think twice, the answer to number one is most often no.