9 Baby Boomer Life Skills That Are Basically Useless Today

By: Phoebe Hart | Last updated: Nov 18, 2023

Do you ever think about how different life was for our parents and grandparents? They have stories about walking to school barefoot in the snow, but can you imagine doing that today? As times change, so do the skills and habits once considered essential. 

So,  today we’ll look at some of the typical “boomer” things that may have been useful in the past but are now obsolete in our modern world.

Recalling Phone Numbers by Heart

With technology at our fingertips, memorizing phone numbers seems passé. Gone are the days of searching through a crumpled address book to find your best friend’s digits. For baby boomers, memorizing phone numbers or diligently recording them in a book was necessary.


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Although it may seem outdated, there’s still value in memorizing a few essential numbers. In an emergency or a lost phone situation, having important numbers ingrained in your memory could be a lifesaver.


Dialing Ancient Rotary Phones

Oh, how quickly technology has evolved! Today’s youngsters have no clue how rotary phones used to be. They’re so clunky compared to smartphones.


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It took forever to dial a number on this age-old device. So, it’s no wonder button phones gained instant popularity after their invention. Those with manicured hands wouldn’t dare stick their fingers into the dial holes—pens were a viable alternative for those individuals.

From Phonebook to Smartphone

Reducing clutter by listing client information alphabetically dates back to the 1950s. However, phone books are outdated because of the internet. 


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If you’re still clinging to a dusty old phone directory, it’s time to let go. Finding the necessary information can be tedious and time-consuming. Plus, the easiest way to find a phone number is to Google it.

Stitching Skills Were Commonplace

Sewing was a skill passed down through generations. In today’s world, it’s becoming increasingly rare. Fortunately, some professionals can create stylish garments for you with creativity and skill.


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Having some basic sewing knowledge is always an excellent idea. Even if you don’t want to become a master tailor, learning how to sew on a button or do basic hemming can be a practical and cost-effective skill.

From Snail Mail to Speedy Clicks

For baby boomers, receiving a surprise holiday card or birthday gift in the mail was a cherished tradition. However, with the advent of the digital age, sending heartfelt messages and gifts has become easier.

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Thanks to technology, we can now send personalized messages to our loved ones in just a few clicks, whether through email, social media, or video chat. Similarly, online shopping platforms like Amazon have made gift-giving a breeze with fast and reliable delivery services.


Navigating the Pre-GPS Era

Are you planning a summer getaway or road trip in the Gen Z and Alpha age? Baby boomers will tell you they relied on sprawling maps and trusty compasses to reach their destinations, with each fold marking a milestone.

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Today’s travelers have smartphones and built-in car navigation systems, offering instant location of gas stations and pit stops. No more guesswork or praying to stumble upon a refueling oasis—modern technology has your back.


Heavyweight Knowledge Trove

A complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica on display once signaled wealth, prestige, and a hub of knowledge. These hefty volumes housed a world of facts, offering a physical manifestation of knowledge on any subject imaginable.

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Boomers scoured these massive publications for information. These days, we simply ask Google and chatbots for answers, while encyclopedias collect dust as relics of a bygone era.


From Newspapers to Newsfeeds

Gone are the days when newspapers served as the primary news source, with newsboys shouting headlines from street corners to attract customers. The digital era has reshaped how we consume news, and print newspapers have faded in popularity.

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In a world where to-the-minute updates are a click away, purchasing news in print seems quaint. In fact, many news organizations have shifted their focus to online platforms, where they can reach a wider audience and provide real-time coverage of breaking news events.


Scrabble Battles: Dictionary Style

The rise of the internet has dethroned print dictionaries. Though some educational institutions still advocate their use, online searches are faster and more convenient. However, a tangible dictionary comes in handy, especially during a heated game of Scrabble with Grandpa. A physical dictionary can help settle word disputes and prevent rule-bending without digital devices that Grandpa may not trust. 

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Plus, let’s be honest: there’s something satisfying about slamming a physical dictionary shut after finding that perfect word to crush your opponent in Scrabble.