When Mom and I consolidated households, we had far too many of most items. Some had to go– whether to storage or the donation bin or the trash. In sorting through the piles, I was struck by how many things we both had an excess of. She and I both had multiple sets of dishes and multiple sets of silverware. In general these kinds of things were sorted into the good set and the everyday set. And typically, we use the everyday set 360 days of the year and the good set perhaps just on a handful of holidays and special occasions.
When I looked at our silverware, it was clear to me that my most-likely-from-IKEA sets were heading to the donation pile at best, and that we should choose one of those belonging to Mom. And then there was the question of which. In assessing our choices, it did not take me long to settle on the good silverware. So the good set became our everyday set. And that has struck me as a good choice many times since.
Often in life, we go with the everyday rather than the special. And yet, these days, I find myself focused more on enjoying the best that we can, for the time that remains to enjoy it.
Given a year remaining of life, or of memory, why not bring out the good china? Every day is special once we recognize that a finite number remain.
January 10, 2015 at 9:21 pm
Another simple truth, clearly illustrated. Keep going.
January 10, 2015 at 10:55 pm
This is so true. My grandmother used to save things “for good.” When she passed away, we found that some things were still in their original packaging — never used at all. I inherited her circa-1933 gold-painted china. Although it is precious and irreplaceable, we have used it every Thanksgiving and many Christmases for the last 35 years along with other pieces inherited from my husband’s grandparents. It’s a way of setting our table with echoes of the past.
January 11, 2015 at 11:04 am
It’s ironic, I was having a similar conversation with my mom last night. She has these pair of diamond earrings that my dad gave her that stay tucked away in a drawer. I told her that she should wear them, if they get lost they get lost, at least she would enjoy them while she has a pair.
January 11, 2015 at 1:03 pm
One of my big reasons for a non-material mindset was being tasked at 17 with my parent’s post-divorce household (I got to keep any proceeds from the sale of any items).
The amount of sheer STUFF that was sold, or just plain given or thrown away saddened me so much.
My diaries, my photo albums – these are sacrosanct. But the rest? Just stuff. Not what made me happy in this life.
I dread the day we have to clear MIL’s home. She is one for trinkets and clutter – perhaps once of a sentimental nature; now the origins behind it all long forgotten…
Not the path for me.
January 11, 2015 at 1:08 pm
I hear you. Cleaning out my parents’ house was one of the worst experiences for me, and one that has made me determined to keep my own material goods to a minimum.
January 11, 2015 at 1:03 pm
*clearing my parent’s post-divorce household
January 12, 2015 at 6:38 am
Good choice! The most heart-breaking thing about downsizing my mom was all the lovely things she had packed away to use for special occasions that never happened – like a snazzy picnic basket tricked out with all the trimmings, special cooking tools and “good pajamas”. Many of those things are mine now and I use them often in her honor.
January 19, 2015 at 8:51 am
Let us all use the good silverware, good jewelry, good everything now! That’s a nice thought to start the week : )
I can no longer go to flea markets or antique shops — a former favorite pastime — since cleaning out my parents’ house.
That dusty, recognizable smell of antiques and saved treasure actually makes me a bit queasy.
My parents were not hoarders, but had accumulated a mountain of things while living in the same house 50 years — and about 25 percent of those things came from cleaning out the homes of other relatives.
I never felt crushed by the random assortment of things in my own house, but I look at each item — and the whole — differently now.