Friday, September 27, 2013

Using The "Good Stuff"!

Once upon a time, I had plain stoneware type dishes (shatter proof and family approved). I also had my mother's china and some holiday place settings for "special occasions". Fast forward through a decade or so of international travel and this household now owns a full set of Polish pottery (including bake ware). I also own German pottery from a potter established in 1400, Italian ceramics, and more holiday dishes than I care to admit.

 Some time quite a ways back, I packed up my stoneware dishes and carried them off to the local thrift store.  I have, for a long time now, used my Polish pottery (costing thirty bucks a plate) as our "regular dishes".  I have also been known to pull my mother's china out for Sunday dinner in front of the football, and dips are regularly served in other collectibles.  In other words, somewhere along the line I decided that if it was worth spending money on, it was worth using-and not just at Thanksgiving or Christmas.  In other words, I used the "good stuff" for every day.

Some might say that I was off my rocker.  Two teenagers and friends did my dishes,, with most everything going into the dishwasher. Food was occasionally eaten in the living room or on the patio, and a very few pieces have "bitten the dust" along the way.  On the other hand, setting the table was always a joy, and there were competitions as well as serious discussions on which dishes to use, how to place them and what else to use  on the table.  We all have grown to appreciate said dishes, and there is a continuous discussion as to who gets what!

This is not just about the china of life. It's about using the things that you love, and eliminating the others.  I am not talking about downsizing here, nor about simple living. I am a stuff person, to the point that I am sorry I got rid of what I did when I started my move.  What it is about is that I use the stuff that I have and get rid of the stuff I do not, for the most part. Here's the important thing-I do both with no regard to the cost.  There are things I use every day that were very expensive, and things that cost a few dollars. In both cases they are well used and well loved.

We all have some things that are mementos or delicate, and remain on a shelf or behind glass(hopefully, rather than locked in a closet). Still, I would suggest that the things we own should be used, and used well.  Otherwise, they probably don't belong in our lives.  Certainly some things will be used seasonally, and that is to be expected, just as some things will be dedicated to certain sports of activities. I have a velvet cocktail dress that gets worn a couple times a year, and an expensive picnic cooler that gets used only on road trips. Still, they get used whenever I have the occasion.  The good Christmas china gets used not just on Christmas day, but throughout the season, whether there are two or four or fifteen.

The things we buy and own are an extension of us.This does not mean we are necessarily materialistic. Sure, we want to share them with other people, but for most of us, we got them because WE liked them at the time.  I certainly did anyway (yes the china was my mom's but I like the pattern-if I hated it it would be part of another discussion).  So why should I put it away and bring it out only when OTHER people are here to see it.  I say, use it for the people who like it most.

The perfume I use cost a $100 dollars at it's cheapest.  I don't just put it on when I am going"out". I adore the scent and as such it is part my daily routine, just as my gold earrings are. It matters not if no one will stop by, or if my clothing consists of shorts, flip flops and a grateful dead shirt. The perfume and gold earrings will be there. The same is true of the cashmere sweater that I love.  While I certainly will take it off before cleaning the house and working in the yard, it is not saved for church-and-go-meeting times of my life.

Using the good stuff is not about the money, nor is about being spendthrift. At twenty to thirty dollars a plate, the Polish and German pottery certainly added up (understatement of the day), and one can get perfume for a variety of prices. On the other hand, my Christmas dishes were purchased at-wait for it-Target.  My Easter dishes were purchased at a thrift store, and I've recently decided I needed a set of cream dishes to pull my pottery and ceramic pieces together-all different patterns and all bought for no more than a dollar at thrift stores and garage sales.

So I would say, go ahead, dust off the good stuff and put it to good use.  Enjoy what you have, as often as possible.

One final thought. While I've been writing here about possessions and stuff, this applies to the intangibles (and even the consumables of life). The things we care about should be a regular part of our lives-every day, not just on special days.

Finally, I have to give a customer review.  I have sprayed the casserole below with olive oil, over cooked lasagna and burned barbecue sauce.  Never have I ever had to use more than a sponge to clean Polish pottery. Just saying....


  1. I had a bag of smooth stones sitting on a dresser in the spare room. For about five years. Just tonight, I took five of them out of the bag and put them on the hardware floor. The cat played with them for 15 minutes! So I guess it wasn't foolish to save them after all.

    1. Never foolish to save it, in my opinion!

  2. Agreed! I love using my "good" dishes, got rid of all the practical ugly ones when we downsized.I also love to get dressed most days even if I am "just home." I have a closet full of Chico's from working days, and well, why not! ? Art,beauty,pretty dishes, silky clothes, fragrant perfume, all these can add to the quality of your days! I don't buy MORE of what i already have, I have just learned,a t this age, time to SAVOR and USE all the beauty!

  3. Yep, make use of all those good things-all the time!

  4. A great post . . . what are we saving that good stuff for,anyway? Our heirs? Ha! They probably won't even appreciate what it is, anyway. Btw, have I told you that I love your new look?!?


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