Monday, February 27, 2012

"Use The Good Stuff"

I follow the philosophy of, "USE the good stuff.  Use it now. What are you saving it for?  Get rid of your mismatched plastic plates from college and use the china you inherited from Grandma.  You're a grownup.  You can do that."

But sometimes we end up with more of the "good stuff" than we can actually use.

Tonight's post will be brief.  I recently spoke to a woman whose elderly mother cherished, but almost never used, her own wedding china and crystal, and the china and crystal she inherited from her mother, and the set she inherited from her grandmother.  She used these things less than one hundred times in her long life: for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

The very last time this lovely lady's cherished dishes were used was at the reception given by her daughter at her mother's home after her mother's funeral.

And now the daughter wonders what to do with all these things she has, in her turn, inherited.

Think of the cubic feet taken up by generations of china, "good towels," and "good linens."  Things "too good to use."  Think of the extra square feet in the house you bought, the extra dollars on the mortgage you pay, the extra cubic feet of space lost to relax in, the extra expense of cabinet work or china cabinets to house these collections, and the extra utilities consumed in heating and cooling these storage shelves decade after decade, while you follow the tradition of using the "good stuff" only on major holidays and use yet another set of "casual" dishes for daily meals.

Wouldn't it make more sense to keep one favorite dinner seating -- perhaps up to eight people, no more?
Few people entertain huge numbers of people on a regular basis these days.  If you have an occasion where you simply must have dessert cups and wine glasses for fifty, rent plates and glassware!

Meanwhile, scout out children, nieces, cousins and nephews of marriageable age.  Talk about how the various sets of china and crystal have been in the family for generations, and wouldn't it be nicer to have a complete set of granny's lovely old dishes, and keep them in the family, than to hope their wedding guests purchase some of the new china and crystal they chose for their wedding registry, and then inevitably have to fill in the missing bits at great expense?

If you have a family which passes on a lot of these things, imagine how much clutter you could eliminate from your home if you matched up ancient china sets, cleaned them properly, and passed then on to the next generation.