Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Heirloom Sharpie

Do you remember when your grandfather passed down his trusted Sharpie marker to you? You looked in awe at the worn patina of its steel shaft, hinting at the countless boxes marked up and posters made over the years. You took a good whiff of the noxious ink, thinking of how you would pass it to your grandchild one day.

Chances are, if your grandfather gave you an heirloom, it wasn’t a Sharpie, which are as disposable as they are indispensable.

Well no longer.

Sharpie now has a refillable, stainless steel-bodied model worthy of being passed down to future generations…for a mere $8.99 and $2.49 refill cartridge.

We’ve talked about heirloom design here before; it’s the idea that the stuff we bring into our lives is high enough quality to be handed down to future generations. This is all well and good for watches, pens and cast iron pans, but there are certain things we assume are inherently disposable like Sharpies.

The reason Sharpies are considered disposable is mostly attributable to its plastic constructions. Nothing says disposability like plastic. Unlike metal, wood or glass, plastic begs to be mistreated, broken and thrown away. While a very useful material, not everything has to be plastic. A website called Life without Plastic proves this, offering a range of products like food storage (pictured below) and toiletries made of non-plastic materials.


While a life only filled with heirloom quality/non-plastic items might take a lot of effort and money, exchanging a few items like your Sharpie and to-go containers with items that will last for years makes good economic and environmental sense.

Do you know of an heirloom quality item that replaces a commonly disposable item? Let us know in our comments section.

via Core77

  • Jenny

    I recently bought an heirloom quality vintage lint brush to replace the sticky tape disposable ones. It is a beautiful piece of wood with stiff bristles for brushing off lint. It looks gorgeous sitting on top of my dresser and I enjoy brushing my clothes with it.

  • basicbizdev

    A Mason Pearson hairbrush will last a lifetime and then some. It makes a wonderful gift. Tiffany Christmas ornaments (not as expensive as you might think) and people treasure them in their velvet cases and little blue boxes.

  • Gulliver

    I try to buy repairable tools. Generally these are also made in the USA. I recently had my Milwaukee heavy duty right angle drill repaired by the factory, and I can repair my water distiller (Mini Classic II) by buying a parts kit and repairing it myself. I have also bought parts for my vacuum — a “big vac” from the clean team — and repaired it myself. I used to be able to repair my Honda myself, but now it is too complicated.

    Basically any manufacturer that supplies parts or accepts items for repair is in the non-disposable class.

  • Marrena

    Probably get banned for this, but Betty’s barbell. 😀 😀 😀

    The lifewithoutplastic waterproof lunch tiffins are terrific. I have one that I take to work every day, and even soup travels well in it. I also have one of their steel cups for in the bathroom–don’t have to worry about it breaking and definitely heirloom quality.

    Disposable items are usually used in the kitchen and bathroom, so those don’t really approach heirloom quality, except for nice steel pots and pans and utensils rather than Teflon pans and plastic utensils. Bea Johnson has lots of ideas about this type of zero waste; I believe her new book is just coming out now.

    While certainly not heirloom quality, and not for the squeamish, using a Diva Cup/Moon Cup/Keeper along with Glad Rags can seriously cut down on a woman’s trash, having to go to the drugstore (along with added expense), and bathroom storage needs.

  • I have a refillable pen that is heirloom quality (sure is a lot better than quills) and a number of items from Life Without Plastic, like their reusable containers and water dispenser. Can’t forget the cast iron pan, pot and kettle. And there are always instruments to be handed down.

  • Kimberley

    Cross pens. I still use the same one that was gifted to me 38 years ago.