Take a look around your house.  Now, take a real look…at the pictures on the walls, at the paint, at the rug, at your knick-knacks.  What did you see?  Does your house look tired?  Ignore messy, ignore dust (for the moment) and try to look beneath all of that to the actual items, themselves.

When we moved a couple years ago, we took down all the pictures on the walls and I took a close look at them for the first time in awhile.  I really looked at them.   I realized that my favorite Yosemite vintage poster replicas had faded substantially.  The colors that drew me in the first time I saw them weren’t there anymore.  

...not the same poster but you get the idea...

I have a quilt that I love and when I got out the pillow shams that I’ve rarely used and put them on the quilt, I discovered that the quilt was a shadow of its former self!  Terribly faded, I’m very sad to say.

Do you have things like this in your house?  Things that have seen better days but you haven’t gotten rid of them.  Perhaps that coffee mug was given to you by a friend, but its all chipped and scratched.  Possibly you have a sweater you wore on your first date with your wife and the moths have enjoyed it just as much as you have.

Is there a dead plant on your porch?  Is that ‘chandelier’ over your dining room table fake brass and frosted glass from 1975?  Do you have holey socks in your dresser?   Did you staple the straps together on your favorite pair of sandals (I did…).

On sale for $22 on Craigslist. Just let it go...

We need to free ourselves from these things.  Toss the holey socks – unless you plan on darning them!  I actually own one of those wooden dowel things that are used to darn socks…I don’t know quite what I thought I’d be doing with it.  Never used it.  But I still have it.

If you have a fake brass and frosted glass light fixture anywhere in your house, then here’s a website for you!  http://www.lampsplus.com  We’ve purchased many lamps from LampsPlus.  They have great sales and lamps in all styles.  You can visit a store near you but if they don’t have what you want you can order it online.  You can even order it online while you’re standing in the store if you’d like help from a salesrep in choosing the right lamp.

If you have pictures that look the worse for wear but you can’t bear to get rid of them, try putting them inside the door to the basement or behind a closet door or in the garage (my dad put some very fun posters up in the garage – he liked them but they didn’t go with the decor in the house – and, no, they weren’t calendar-girls from ABC Tool Supply!)

What about bathtowels?  I went to a relative’s house once and their towels were old, thin and very frayed along the edges.  So I bought them new towels for Christmas!  Next time I went to their house, there were the OLD towels…  Don’t save towels for special occasions.  Don’t save candles, either!

Years ago, Rick and I went to a unique house near where we live.  It looked like a castle – quirky- and overlooked a big creek.  It had been there since 1927.  They were having an open house, led by a tourguide.  The tourguide opened up the closets to show that the woman who used to live there had saved gift boxes (all nicely stacked) and tons of candles – she never burned them, put them all in the closet for a special occasion!  She died before that special occasion ever came around.  Two closets full of boxes and candles.  I’ll never forget that.  Candles are to be used!  Now, the house has been really fixed up and is available for vacation rentals.   http://www.howdencastle.com/

Howden Castle

And use the good china!  Use your wine glasses.  Don’t worry about breakage unless its your great-great-great-great-grandmothers china, then…maybe worry.  I think I have 7 of everything now.  I broke 2 things just this last week!  At least 1 thing breaks out of every set I have.  But, at least I use it.  I bought Corel dishes when my kids were little because, by golly, kids are greasy-fingered mess-makers!  Didn’t break a dish for 20 years, then I broke one.  What a nightmare that was!  Corel doesn’t break often but when it does break, it breaks into hundreds, no, MILLIONS of tiny little pieces sharp as needles!  Everywhere!  For days I was finding another piece or two.

If you are worried about replacing your dishes, then check out http://www.replacements.com/  They have a huge warehouse full of dishes of every style imaginable.  You can register the pattern(s) you have and they’ll send you an email about the inventory they have and special sales for your pattern(s) periodically.   If you don’t know the pattern, they’ll help you identify it.  If you are in their area, you can even visit their warehouse.  They are located in McLeansville, North Carolina.

I love Federal Glass.    I had one that was my grandmother’s and then, over the years, picked up a couple more items that I saw and liked – small dishes or bowls with starburst edging – and voila!  I had a collection without ever intending to…and I’m not asking for more of these, I just like having a few. 

pretty...

The other two patterns are these:  Palm Tree everyday dishes and some fabulous Starbust 1950’s dishes that were my parents’.  I only had a veggie serving bowl and a pitcher, then I discovered eBay and also found some dinner plates at a couple antique stores…they are darn expensive!  When I found out just how expensive, I put them away until we move to a place where I can display them safely.  Its not like me to collect something pricey!    These are very rare and I won’t be able to find replacements easily, nor cheaply.

I wish I could find a cheap replacement style of these...

Sorry, bit if a digression there…point is this:  Don’t wait for a rainy day.  Use the good stuff.  Enjoy it while you can.  AND when its usefulness is over, don’t mourn, don’t grieve, just be thankful to have good memories of it.   I know, its not easy.  Its hard for me, too.  But hoarding the good stuff is a little bit selfish, don’t you think?  And do you really want strangers looking at your pile of  good stuff and marveling at how you never used it?  Or, conversely, marveling at all the junk you accumulated because you couldn’t bear to get rid of it?

What’s in your house that you should get rid of?  Replace?  Fix?  Think of one thing and attack it with fervor!  Then…think of another thing….and another…and another…

We were at the house of someone who had a house in Carmel.  With all the dust, odd additions and cobwebs, it was a strange house.  In the bathroom was a collection of Avon perfume bottles – the kind people used to collect ages ago (does anyone still do that?  Is it a worthwhile hobby?) on  small knick-knack shelves.  Covered in dust…ugh…  Have you ever been to a restaurant with lots of stuff on the walls and on the ceiling?  Canoes, anchors, pedal cars, fake grapes, steering wheels, whatever.  I hate eating where there’s stuff hanging from the ceiling (other than lamps) because they are always so dusty, I just picture it falling into my food, blech.

If you have a collection of stuff you can’t be bothered to dust, then get rid of it.  Or, at the very least, put it in a cabinet that helps keep dust from accumulating!  A curio cabinet, maybe… 

only $500 on eBay! But you could find something cheaper, I'm sure!

This is garage sale weather!  Or have a trading party with your friends, a white elephant sale at church, donate the items to a worthy cause – maybe your local hospital has a neighborhood thrift shop.  We’re having a garage sale and donating the proceeds to a local family that could use the financial help. 

Sell stuff on eBay, Craigslist or even get rid of it in Freecycle   http://www.freecycle.org/  We donated some desks and cabinets to InnVision – an organization that provides support to people who are trying to get their lives back together after battling drugs and alcohol – that way.  

Take a look around your house 😉

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