Using All The Best Things!

“Start living now. Stop saving the good china for that special occasion. Stop withholding your love until that special person materializes. Every day you are alive is a special occasion. Every minute, every breath, is a gift from God.”Mary Manin Morrissey

While I was at university I went to a babysitting job. The family owned and ran the canteen at my college, and worked long hours. They were incredibly proud of their new brick home, and invited me in as if I had arrived at Buckingham Palace.

Over the white shag-pile carpet lay thick plastic runners. Plastic slipcovers encased every piece of furniture in the lounge. It was the height of summer so I was offered a seat on a towel, placed on top of the plastic-covered and uncomfortable sofa. I drank my cold drink from a plastic cup and ate my cake off a chipped old plate, while admiring the china cabinet full of beautiful glassware and a pretty dinner service. It felt like a home no-one lived in. Or a home that they were care-taking for someone else.

All the ‘good’ things – the china, the furniture, the carpet – were being saved for a special occasion.

I wonder if they ever got used at all?

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One thing I learned a long time ago is that life is short, and often unpredictable. Beautiful things are meant to be used, rather than languishing at the back of a cupboard or covered over.

If you have an expensive bottle of perfume, give yourself the pleasure of using it while it is still fresh.

Drink your tea from that beautiful cup.

Wear that gorgeous necklace of your Nan’s.

Be careful with precious things, but use them anyway. It is a natural law that some things will break or be damaged over time. That’s okay too. Don’t let fear stop you enjoying these things.

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Serve dinner on the good plates, or create a reason to bring the special things out more often than just at Christmas or Thanksgiving. My grandmother used to bring out all the good china, silverware and glassware when we went there for dinner on a Saturday night. She’d decorate the dinner table with a lace tablecloth and blooms from the garden, light candles, and make the table look like the Queen herself was coming to dinner. Even though it was only us. And sometimes, because we were little, we were in our pyjamas…

Buy yourself flowers for no reason other than the glorious experience of being alive and able to appreciate beauty.

Let yourself live, surrounded by the things that give you pleasure and that make you happy.

Conversely, if it stresses you out to use the good china for fear you might break it – maybe sell it or give it away, and find yourself something you feel comfortable to use every day. Go find the perfect coffee mug, the pretty plates and bowls that can go straight in the dishwasher, the couch you can sink into at the end of the day.

Choose quality over quantity.

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One of my favourite forms of recycling is buying from second-hand and thrift shops, garage sales and antique centres. It’s amazing what kinds of treasures you might find and give a new lease of life. Clothes, books, furniture, homewares, trinkets and jewels…

This week, ask yourself if you are truly using and appreciating what you have. If not now, when?

You deserve to live in your life now. Don’t save things for that mystical unnamed time in the future. Memories are made in the moment, and that’s where life is lived too. That mystical future moment might never come.

Make life a beautiful journey. Don’t keep your dreams and cherished possessions locked away in the cupboard. Live, and surround yourself with what soothes and uplifts you. The everyday deserves beauty and magic as much as a special occasion.

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12 thoughts on “Using All The Best Things!

  1. thank you nicole, i have a few incomplete dansk sterling silverware settings stored away in a cupboard that never gets used. my first husband (when we were living in our art studio) accidently threw away two teaspoons and then i caught another friend banging one of the tablespoons on a mayonnaise jar rather irreverently and damaged and dinged it. so i vowed to only use it when i thought people would respect the quality and beauty of these items. so i have stored them for over 20 years and no one uses them. i will go retrieve them now and put them in the silverware drawer. they are mine and i am going to claim them. if my husband of today manages to screw them up or damage them i will just laugh…..(well maybe i will cringe a little), but at least they will be enjoyed by me!

  2. Yay! My parents keep everything nice for “another day” and I have always struggled with it. My husband too. All are Virgos, so it is SUPER nice to hear this straight from a Virgo’s mouth (keyboard). There is hope! I’ve made good strides in getting my husband to eat candy when he purchases it, not squirrel it away, but I can’t seem to do anything about the five unopened bags of nice socks and t-shirts that he refuses to use and has had since we’ve been together.

    Come to think of it, there are actually home videos of my mom telling me and my brother to put our cookies away for later, and my brother dutifully wraps his up and puts it on the table. Four year old me just backs away, looking suspiciously at the camera, and then stuffs the entire cookie in mouth.

  3. So very true. I take it one step further. My feelings about housework are very ambivalent. I take heart reading trusims that say people come to visit you and to see you, not how clean the house is.
    No-one will say on my deathbed “how nice and clean she kept her house”, LOL

  4. My mother taught me this – she burnt her beautiful candles, drank out of beautiful cups every day, used her best soap and wore her best clothes to work. My grandmother also taught me this, as she saved everything for later. It is a wonderful lesson xo

  5. I’ve been putting it into practice with our wedding crockery – 21 years now, and I’ve only broken half of it 🙂 At least it had a story other than being hidden in the dark and taken out for Christmas. I’m off to concentrate on my cup of tea now 🙂

  6. LOL. Reminded me, so close to Dia de los Muertos of my mother who had linen tablecloths never used, afraid of red wine stains. Wine glasses shown, not used. Died alone in Cuba, all her treasures intact. Never used.

    Whenever I see 5 glasses in a thrift store my thought is–at least they had fun!

    Thanks for the memories!

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