Things We No Longer Use

iStock_000020512114XSmallHere is another trip down memory lane. Here are things that I remember using that we no longer need to keep around the house or community. The lesson here is that things, many of which we think we need, and may actually do need at the time, become obsolete. Be careful where you spend your money! Of course you could always hang onto them until they become ‘collectibles’.


Who cooks at home anymore, many people eat out. Even if you do cook at home, have you ever worn an apron? They were used to protect clothing while cooking – to keep grease splatters and spills contained on the apron. Of course, many times they were for show as well.


OK, I confess, I do still use my iron, on occasion but I believe I am in the minority on this one. Most clothing comes out of the dryer wrinkle free. If that dress shirt needs ironing, off to the cleaners it goes!

Grease guns

When I learned to drive, Dad taught me that I should use a grease gun to lubricate the ball joints by clamping on the hose of a grease gun and pumping in some grease. Today’s cars apparently come factory sealed and no longer need to have the ball joints lubed.

Used oil pans

Dad also made me change my own oil. Granted, oil still needs to be changed, but most of us don’t do it ourselves anymore and so don’t need to collect the oil as it drips out of the car into some old pan for used oil.

Attic fans

Before air conditioning, attic fans pulled in volumes of cool night air through open windows in the summer time. The noise was horrific but the moving air was soooo nice. I’m sure some folks do still use an attic fan, especially in areas that aren’t hot and muggy in the summer, but we don’t.

Unfortunately, in a lot of places, folks are afraid to leave their windows open at night!

Record players

We still have ours, do you? Remember how horrible the sound was that came from them compared to the quality we now experience.

Pay phones

Cell phones have killed pay phones. It used to be somewhat comforting to know that you could drive up to a phone and call for help if you needed to do so. Now you have to carry a cell phone and hope for coverage so you can make that call. Pay phones have all but disappeared from the landscape.

Glass jars

When I was a kid, most preserved food stuffs either came in a can or a glass jar. We used to be able to collect the soda bottles and turn them in for a nickel apiece. While some foods are still packed in glass, most companies use plastic now.

Slide rules

Here is one that I’m kind of glad went away. I never did get the hang of using mine! They were replaced by scientific calculators.

Typewriters (whiteout)

You may not be old enough to remember typing class but I am. We had a red covered text book that contained nonsensical paragraphs to type along with actual essays. The teacher timed us to see how many words per minute we could type. Mistakes subtracted from your time. In order to pass the class we had to make at least 45 wpm – on a manual (not an electric) typewriter. When typewriters became unneeded, so did white out. YEAH!

Mimeograph machines

Mom taught fourth grade.  She used to use the mimeograph machine at work to make copies of pages the kids needed to have.  These machines used a specific type of blue ink that had a very unique smell.  Copiers replaced mimeographs.

Ice trays

Most new refrigerators come with ice makers. I’ve had an ice maker since 1998, but it broke last year. Since the frig/freezer is still working fine, I have been making ice ever since, but most folks don’t. What a pain!

Play pens

When my boys were babies, we had a play pen for them. It was a square 4 ft contraption, with a hard bottom, netting on the sides and a plastic or vinyl strip along the top. The bottom was about 3 inches off the ground and it folded up so you could take it along if you needed to do so. When moms needed to keep baby safe and occupied while she did something else, into the play pen the kid went, with plenty of toys with which to play.

So if you have some of the above things, hang onto them! As my Aunt M. used to say – “They might be worth money someday!”

What do you remember that is no longer used? What do you think will shortly be made obsolete?


Things We No Longer Use — 11 Comments

  1. Well, I guess we’re a bit old-fashioned because we still use a lot of these! Aprons – Because we almost NEVER go out to eat and when I cook I don’t like my clothes absorbing all the food smells. Irons – Because we almost NEVER use our dryer and instead hang clothes outside which means we do need to iron a few things. Attic fan – We were so thrilled to find out our house had an attic fan! We also put a fan in our window every evening and morning in the summer to pull in cool air and have hardly used our A/C this summer. Glass jars – Actually went out and bought some since we are attempting to can from our garden. Ice trays – Got our older fridge from Craigslist (but the efficiency is still really good) and didn’t want the ice maker since we rarely use ice.

  2. mmmm, I can still remember the smell of the ink from the mimeograph machines. I’ve told my son that. He probably thinks that’s what caused my loopiness (then again, I liked the smell of gasoline before it was unleaded too, go figure!). And typing class. We had a teacher who would use a yardstick to get us to type in cadence. What an odd fellow he was. But my first jobs were all typing jobs, and between the liquid whiteout and the sticky tape whiteout, I truly loved the advent of the PC! I do have to say,though, that learning to type on a manual typewriter, then an electric, and then a PC keyboard were all big adjustments! Fun post! Thanks for the memories. 🙂

  3. We still use aprons at home for cooking. It’s nice to have. We also use glass jars for making jams and stuff. It’s useful to have. I guess I’m too young to use slide rules lol.

  4. I wish there were more pay phones around when I travel abroad, and don’t have a local cellphone. And when there are payphones, fewer are cash ones, they all ask for a card. Landlines are pretty obsolete too, unless if you need one for internet.

  5. I kind of feel like Deb above. Maybe I’m old fashioned too but I guess I’m frugal in different ways. Of course some of these things are technically obsolete, like slide rules and mimeograph machines (and I miss the smell of those papers too!) but a lot of them are things that you just don’t use but some of the rest of us do. And some have different names like pack n plays or play yards for play pens, renamed but virtually the same thing. It just kind of rubbed me the wrong way when you said we don’t need to keep these things around our house or community. Maybe the title should have been Things “I” No Longer Use.

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