Your wallet is with you wherever you go, and if you take proper care of it, it could potentially last you for years. How can you make sure you maximize the lifespan of your wallet and get the most value for your money?
Set the Right Expectations
First, it’s important to set the right expectations. You know that your wallet is not going to last forever, but if you assume that it’s going to deteriorate in the next year, you’ll probably take worse care of it. If you understand that a high-quality, properly maintained wallet can last at least 10 years, if not longer, you’ll be much more motivated to take proper care of it.
Everything starts with the shopping process. Some wallets are strictly better than others; as you might imagine, if you pick up a cheap cloth or plastic wallet at a discount store, it’s probably going to fall apart by the time you get to the parking lot. But if you select a better, more durable wallet, it could last you a lifetime.
- Choose high quality leather. Leather wallets and metal wallets are among the best types of wallets you can buy for durability and longevity. Leather is a naturally resilient material capable of withstanding a great deal of abuse even under suboptimal conditions. Accordingly, most people benefit from choosing a leather wallet; just make sure you’re purchasing a wallet made from the highest grade of leather you can afford.
- Shop handmade. Handmade leather wallets tend to be far superior to mass manufactured ones, and for several reasons. Individual artisans who make wallets tend to be very skilled and passionate about their craft, so they pay close attention to the details and attempt to produce the highest quality products possible. Conversely, factories are usually incentivized only by profit, so they often cut corners at the expense of their customers.
- Select a slim option. Bigger, bulkier wallets may have lots of compartments and the ability to store more items, but if you’re interested in making your wallet last, it’s better to select a slimmer option. Slimmer wallets suffer less wear and tear over time, since they have a narrower profile and will be easier to take in and out of a pocket. Additionally, a slimmer wallet forces you to be more judicious about what you put in it.
- Prioritize neutral or natural colors. If you decide to buy a leather wallet, prioritize neutral or natural colors. While it’s natural for leather to fade over time, the fading will be less severe and less obvious if you choose a natural color.
Keep Only the Essentials
Some people use their wallets as a kind of miniature suitcase; they stuff everything they can into the wallet, knowing full well they won’t use most of these items in everyday life. Unfortunately, this can cause additional strain on your wallet and shorten its lifespan. It’s much better to practice minimalism and keep only the essential items in your wallet, such as your ID, your credit cards, and some cash.
For similar reasons, it’s important to organize your wallet wisely. Keep it balanced so it wears evenly and use each pocket or slot as intended. If you begin overstuffing certain pockets, or if your wallet is lopsided, it’s going to wear out much faster.
Clean and Condition Your Wallet Regularly
Leather should be cleaned and conditioned regularly. Roughly once a week, if you use your wallet regularly, you should gently remove any dust, dirt, grime, or debris from the item. It’s also a good idea to condition your leather wallet periodically, as leather has a tendency to dry out over time.
Address Any Spills Immediately
If you spill something on your wallet, or if it is exposed to something corrosive or damaging, it’s important to address the damage immediately. Use a paper towel to soak up any excess liquid and gently clean the area. Responding to this situation quickly can minimize the chances of staining.
Store Your Wallet Properly
You also need to think about how you store your wallet. For starters, it’s important to keep your leather away from direct sunlight and major sources of heat; if your wallet ever gets wet, you might be tempted to leave it out in the sun or apply heat to dry it out, but this is going to do more harm than good. When not carrying your wallet, make sure it’s stored in a cool, dry location where it won’t be exposed to sunlight.
Every consumer product has a finite life span and wallets are no exception. But if you’re willing to shop for the best quality wallet you can find and proactively take care of that wallet, you might be able to keep using it for more than a decade.