I prefer things I can fix myself. Granted, that limits me to clothing, woodwork, and a simple hinge or door knob, but I do what I can and I learn what I can. And while I won't, say, give up my car (if only!) because I don't know how to fix it (yet!), I can choose what I bring into other corners of my life. I'd rather use the cracked piece of pottery I picked up at an artisan fair ten years ago to hold my pencils than some plastic thingamabob hands never touched in a country I've never visited.
This kind of collecting makes for a slow life, and one in which I may spend months sitting on the floor before I manage to get a couch or a chair, but that's okay--it's a material-gathering meditation. It's about living in a space and filling it only with what your two hands (or an expert's two hands) have made or can fix.
I don't want to throw something away at the end of its life. After all, our usefulness, ideally, doesn't end with death. Perhaps that's an odd way to make a life. I don't know. But it makes for a life inhabited by purpose, by use, by beauty and peopled with artisans I haven't met but who would, no doubt, be up for a good cup of tea in one of my hand-thrown mugs.