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What is too good to actually use?

(42 Posts)
Jane10 Wed 22-Oct-14 09:18:35

When clearing my MIL`s flat after she died it was so sad to see the items carefully kept for a special occasion or for "best" but never actually used. e.g. she had beautiful bedding, duvet covers sheets etc still in their wrapping for "just in case" guests who never came to stay (and never would as she lived in a one bedroom retirement flat). There was china and crystal that was "too good" for her to use. What a shame. It was so sad to see. We resolved to use all our "good stuff" although somehow I seem to have a lot of clothes for special occasions that never come! Is it just me and MIL?

Charleygirl Wed 22-Oct-14 09:31:20

I could not agree more. I have a sideboard full of my mother's china, crystal and cutlery. I will not use any of it and I have no idea what to do with it. I doubt if the china (tea sets) would even be bought if I took it to a charity shop. Her dinner service got broken over the years so it is only 2-3 tea services left. I use mugs!

hildajenniJ Wed 22-Oct-14 09:36:59

I have a set of "Haddon Hall" bone china tea service bought for us as a wedding present. I might have used odd pieces of it now and then, but it always goes back into the "good" cupboard. I don't know why I don't use it. We also have loads of cut crystal glasses, we will never use those!
I don't have any good clothes, I wear everything as fashion changes so much. I dread to think what will happen when we come to downsize!!

sunseeker Wed 22-Oct-14 10:04:20

I have a bone chine tea service bought for us as an engagement present - I think I have used it twice! It is now almost 50 years old - if I keep it much longer it will be an antique!!!(like me)grin

Grannyknot Wed 22-Oct-14 10:06:38

jane10 that is so sad.

I use everything I own. But then my crockery and stuff is mostly John Lewis standard fare with the odd special plate or mug or serving dish that I fancied, thrown in.

When I realised I was never going to wear the dress that I bought for my son's wedding again - on to ebay it went.

annsixty Wed 22-Oct-14 10:28:14

Re the items not needed by Charity shops,I was told by a friend recently she had contacted one when clearing her Mum's house about a cupboard full of the design I think called "Old country Roses" dark red roses on white and she was told they could sell her some as they had so much and it just didn't sell.Seems so sad and she was pleased her Mum never knew.

Gracesgran Wed 22-Oct-14 10:28:37

One of the reasons some of the better known china companies went out of business in, I seem to remember, the 90s was that people setting up home together were no longer buying "best" and "everyday" china. They had one set which they used.

I try to only keep what I use (except for fabric for sewing and craft items where I am a hoarder) and have done this for the last twenty odd years.

When my grandmother died we all got new blankets as she had so many still in their packaging and, although I try to encourage mum to use or get rid of things I can't push the point as hanging on to "stuff" makes her feel safe.

I feel that often people hoard because of fear of the future and of course that fear, which we don't even notice when we are young, gets worse as we get older.

janerowena Wed 22-Oct-14 10:39:47

I use everything now, after seeing what my grandmother had kept aside. My china and silver are used every Sunday, dbh's favourites are used every Saturday when he cooks. Beautiful cotton lace tablecloths have become window dressings. Life's too short not to use things you love, and that are beautiful.

harrigran Wed 22-Oct-14 10:42:39

My mother used every item of china on a day to day basis and didn't own a mug. She also used all the linen even starched table linen. Now I am more like my GM who hoarded things for best. I have a tea, coffee and dinner service bought for our silver wedding anniversary that may have been used twice.

Stansgran Wed 22-Oct-14 11:02:44

I went out and bought myself "best" china (black and white jasper conran)because my mother's and grandmother's inherited stuff all had to be hand washed as they had gold rims. I use my best most of the time as I thought the inherited stuff blighted any festivities by not being able to sit down and socialise afterwards.

petallus Wed 22-Oct-14 12:01:25

Last year we inherited a bone china full dinner set in a pattern which I would never have bought myself. If I could have refused it without causing offence, I would have done.

I have forced myself to use some of it, the small plates and the cereal bowls. The ornate soup bowls and saucers, the serving bowls and the cute little salt and peppar cellars are in the loft. In due time they will be thrown away because I know my children won't want them.

I found it quite difficult to use just the plates and bowls because of 'spoiling the set' if they got broken.

I don't think anybody has those kind of formal dinner parties any more do they?

Jane10 Wed 22-Oct-14 13:01:11

For my mum`s 80th birthday tea party I got out her "best" tea things. They were so good that the last time they were used was for my christening almost 60 years ago. Obviously the birth of my brother and sister didn't count as special occasions worthy of getting out the good tea set!! Seriously though, I still have it carefully wrapped up in a box at the back of a cupboard. Don't know what will happen to it after I`m gone.
On a lighter note I should say I`m typing this in full evening dress and wearing my, rarely seen, tiara!wink

whenim64 Wed 22-Oct-14 13:48:04

I occasionally use the china tea service I inherited from my grandmother - had afternoon tea with a friend a couple of weeks ago.

I don't know if anyone has noticed but there's a growing trend of tea shops using individual sets of china and in a couple of local patisseries/chocolatiers they sell matching cups, saucers and teaplates containing chocolates, dressed up in cellophane for gifts.

ffinnochio Wed 22-Oct-14 13:50:13

William Morris
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

I like this quote, and on the whole it suits my take on 'stuff'.

If you think an old tea set is beautiful, then keep it. If not, pass it on.

I don't keep hoards of things for sentimental value - just a few that represents the person who gave it to me, or as a memory of the situation in which it was given.

I still use some of my mother's bed linen and towels, because they are useful, and I have one jug that means the world to me, although it's not pretty in the slightest.

Ana Wed 22-Oct-14 13:50:42

That's the spirit Jane10! Hope you're going to keep them on to nip down to the supermarket later! grin

Nonu Wed 22-Oct-14 13:57:59

JANE won"t go to the s/market herself , she sends one of her lackys.

Am I right JANE ?


Coolgran65 Wed 22-Oct-14 14:03:03

My day to day stuff is Asda, it's ok and it matches.
I have a beautiful display of Old Country Roses in a beautiful dresser which is made up of my own and what was my mother's. It gets used every Christmas.
I sold all the useless trinkety pieces on eBay and retain all the useful pieces which sets a table, and more, for 8 persons.

That's it, I shall in future use it every Sunday for family dinner. None of the younger ones will want it.

Eloethan Wed 22-Oct-14 15:30:29

My mum has a beautiful crockery set inherited from my dad's side of the family. It is locked away in her dining room in an equally beautiful sideboard and never sees the light of day. When friends come round, she roots around for cups and saucers that match.

The sideboard forms part of a very good quality dining set, which is never used because mum no longer cooks, and eats her Meals on Wheels lunches in the kitchen. When I suggest that she sells the dining set and converts the dining room (which, again, is no longer in use) into another small sitting room (she has a very large sitting room which she complains about heating in the winter) she looks aghast at me. I don't believe in saving things "for best" if that means they are locked away and never seen or used.

J52 Wed 22-Oct-14 15:38:53

Like many I have the China dinner/tea/coffee service, all wedding presents. They are unused because they are hand wash only. We used to use them for Christmas.

I have sorted the crystal glass dilemma. We use them all the time,drinks seem to taste better! If one gets broken I replace it with anything similar gleaned from charity/ junk/ antiques shops. I have a really pretty, eclectic mix, with no worries about breakages. X

Ariadne Wed 22-Oct-14 15:38:57

I was quite ruthless, I thought, when we moved, and sent an inherited Limoges tea service and a couple of others off to auction. But then I kept a fine porcelain German coffee set. Why? Have I used it?

I also have two shelves full of antique glassware - it is exquisite, but so fine that you couldn't use it! (We tried once and broke two champagne flutes just while drying them!) I do like looking at it, so it comes under the "consider to be beautiful" heading.

And what about the cut glass engraved retirement / leaving gifts that DH and I acquired....they're tucked away too.

I do use the old silver cutlery for a big dinner, because there are 16 place settings. But then the knives have to be washed by hand.

J52 Wed 22-Oct-14 15:44:00

Just a thought to anyone wanting to get rid of Royal Albert Country Rose. A few years ago I went to a tea shop in Exmouth that only used that design. It was clearly not all new or of the same vintage. Maybe if they are still in business they would buy it. Just a thought. X

Gracesgran Wed 22-Oct-14 16:19:13

China is becoming more eclectic for many especially as afternoon tea had become so popular. You can easily buy and antique, vintage or retro china in a trio - plate, saucer and cup. The idea is to by different trios not matching ones; as I say, eclectic smile

Nelliemoser Wed 22-Oct-14 16:22:26

No! It's ot just you I have loads of stuff after clearing out my parents house in 2002/3. The prize is a Royal Doulton Cascade afternoon tea set in a lovely shade of green. Do I ever get it out? No!

Purpledaffodil Wed 22-Oct-14 16:23:23

When my aunt went into a home, I was given her lovely China teaset which had been a wedding present in 1930. I do love it, but it comes under the "consider to be beautiful" heading as I have never used it. Other than that I have plain white bone china for everyday and most other occasions and a set which reminds me of Hyacinth Bucket's ' Royal Doulton with hand painted periwinkles' which is for very special occasions. For some strange reason it came with a dishwasher many years ago???
I do think it is important to use nice things though. Aforementioned aunt had silver wedding presents still with gift cards 40 years later!
Good idea re crystal glass J52 I have virtually a full set of everything my Mother bought me years ago. Drinks do taste better I agree, but washing it all by hand if you use a lot is a pain. However I can still hear DM bemoaning the fact that SiL who had been bought the same had put hers in the dishwasher and wrecked them! So I dare not! grin

J52 Wed 22-Oct-14 16:51:33

Purple: I agree about washing. DH and I use it even if there is only the two of us. Also, it's much easier to wash then greasy dinner plates.
The only problem is to watch the swan neck of the tap. Otherwise it's another hunting trip to the charity shops! X