new life for old china

June 19, 2021

 




In case you were like me in 2020 and did quite of bit of clearing out clutter but still don't know what to do with the inherited china sets that no one wants, I'll tell you what I did. First, I came to terms with the fact that my life is much different than the lifestyle and entertaining style of the generations before me. Secondly, my home is not a storage warehouse nor is it a museum. These realizations allowed me to give myself some grace for what was to come next. 


The back story: I am a lucky girl and inherited three sets of fine china. They are beautiful and memories galore are attached to their loveliness; beloved family members long gone, homes I've loved that I'll never enter again, and HUGE noisy family gatherings I will never enjoy again. 


The problem: There were too many pieces that were taking up too much space. I resented the space they were using and the maintenance they required. Family members were not interested in them.


The solution: I donated all the pieces I never used; the bread and butter plates, cups and saucers, fruit cups, relish dishes, gravy boats and other matching serving pieces I don't need. I kept only the dinner plates and salad plates and one set of cream soup coupes that were too gorgeous to part with. I also kept one cut glass sugar and creamer set, one silver gravy boat and one crystal butter plate and some platters. I don't need duplicates nor do I need specialty dishes for celery and another for pineapple. Seriously. Years ago when my mother was explaining the use of certain pieces, my eyes almost rolled out of my head when she showed me her pineapple tidbit plate. She explained that when she was married, pineapple was exotic and quite the thing to share with guests during cocktails. Love the charming story to (tid)bits, but it doesn't mean I need to save it.


The outcome: Now I can store my inherited pieces in a small area where I can easily retrieve them making it more likely that I'll use them. If you have china sets in boxes in the basement, think about doing what I did. It's not likely your kids will want the stuff anyway (but you can ask) and I'll bet you'll use the plates once again if you don't have to store and maintain an entire set with outdated pieces.


I'll also set your mind at ease. Those oddball pieces you think on one will ever need or use if you donate them? Don't worry friend, crafty folks transform old china pieces into candle holders, nightlights, planters, chandeliers, even bird feeders. Let someone else use them and love them in a new way! I myself am a crafty girl and while transforming them is something I could have done, I knew I would not. Giving them up meant someone else could breath new life into them and love them once again. I think my mother, aunt and grandmother would be happy knowing how much I love and treasure what I saved, and definitely think they would smile seeing an old teacup used as a bird feeder. 


This worked for me and maybe it's something that will work for you too. Tell me what you think! Could you break up a set of china?


I always like to credit any image I slurp from the web but couldn't find a source for the teacup wreath above. If anyone is knows, please let me know and I'll edit my post.


Cynthia Nouri/Sasha Nicholas

The Brooklyn Teacup



A little blog business: 

If you are an email subscriber, you will now be receiving blog posts by email with MailChimp. It will look a little different but work the same. In the process of transferring, I had to remove several hundred subscribers who were not verified. MailChimp's verification is a one-step process and very easy. If you would like to receive Knitionary posts by email, please subscribe here. Your privacy is important to me; MailChimp and/or Knitionary will never share your email address or other information. If you receive two emails, I apologize. It means I didn't do it right and I'll correct it ASAP!

If you'd like to make a comment, please click here or scroll down. I reply to each comment and my response will appear directly below your comment. If you would like a personal reply, please know that I use the Blogger platform and they do not give me your contact information when you comment. If you would like a personal reply you can contact me using the contact form on the right side at the very end of my website. Recently the comments have been going into my junk file but now I'm checking it daily. Please contact me again if I didn't respond and you require a response.


You Might Also Like

19 comments

  1. Love your blog! I took some of my mom’s mismatched vintage tea cups when she moved into a retirement home at 92. Have used them for serving fresh fruit, dessert or coffee/tea when entertaining. They look so elegant!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Karen. I love mismatched cups too! It's so charming and adds a bit of love to what you are eating or sipping!

      Delete
  2. Love the blog. Soooo well put. Even as I was reading it it inspired me to attack another set of serving pieces and I am one of the people who has already done a lot of purging. It is a long process and emotional but you put it in such positive terms. Well done.
    Sue ❤️

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh great. That’s the response I was hoping for. Parting with things like china is emotional for us, true, and it’s interesting to think what our children will have a difficult time parting with. xo Kristen

      Delete
  3. I used my husbands mother’s China to make a table top. Now we can still enjoy the memories while using her China in a different way. 🥰

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As in a mosaic? I LOVE that so much!!! What a fabulous idea.

      Delete
  4. After reading this I feel much better about giving away a lot of my mother’s china, crystal and furniture that nobody else in the family wanted. It broke my heart at the time but when you downsize some things have to go. I wonder why younger families don’t value these things anymore?


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you feel better about giving away things. My kids tell me that they love nice things and want a little of it, but not a lot. They want smaller houses and less maintenance so they will have more time to do the things they enjoy. I totally get that. Most of my treasures are attached to my own childhood memories that my children don't share. I wonder what they will treasure when they are our age?

      My husband and I have not downsized yet, but I'm preparing for that day. I don't want to be slammed with decisions all at once. Doing it a little at a time when I have the time has been best for me.

      I like to think that people are enjoying your things and my things right now. Not everyone was lucky enough to inherit what we did!

      Thank you for commenting and I hope you have a great week!

      Delete
  5. I love your blog Kristen - thanks so much. My husband and I are in the same place - planning to downsize, haven't done it yet, trying to clear out a little at a time. You are absolutely right: we do not entertain the way we used to. Life is more low key and informal....and I like it that way, but do love pulling out my pretty things. You have given me some great ideas and have made me feel more comfortable parting with Great Aunt Bert's pickle dish, etc... thanks so much for the inspiration! Missy V.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww thank you so much. It's still difficult letting go, tidying up, moving on, whatever we call it, and whether we do it slowly or all at once, it's hard. Donating things that meant something to someone we loved, or even meant something to us at one time, seems wrong at first. I have come to terms with it all and it's freeing, but it was a process.

      Delete
  6. Amen to all of that. We downsized recently and for the most part we're fine with it. One thing, though. Certain kitchen utensils simply cannot be replaced in terms of price or quality or sturdiness. I wish we had kept those. (On the other hand most appliances are much better so there is comfort in that). Chloe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's true that some of my items from our wedding gifts from 47 yeas ago, like our Revere Ware pots, are still the best. Lots of disposable junk being sold now. It's sad.

      Delete
  7. You encourage and inspire and I appreciate your positive attitude. As I write, I have two boxes of china in the garage, my mother's and my mother in law's. I like your idea. Their options are running out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well thank you! I know what you mean, options are running out on those old sets of china! LOL.

      Delete
  8. So very happy to read this latest post about heirloom/fancy china. I too need to find new happy homes for what I have (and maybe keeping a few/functional items). My questions is-- who did you find to donate the china to?? The local thrift store(s)? And are they willing to take large, rather fragile china dishes??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that you are thinking of the china as moving on to new happy homes. As for donating, I have been able to give my things to a charity shop in town. I pop into the shop whenever I walk by just to see what they have and they seem to have a pretty good turnover. They usually have a fancy set, whole or partial, and next time it will be gone, so I guess they are selling. Perhaps there are professional vintage china shoppers out there who are looking for this sort of thing. I don't know if Goodwill will take china, but I would guess so. I would just call around.

      Delete
  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  10. My mother in law had given me some mismatched china cups. I kept my fave even tho it looked like it had been repaired and sold the others. I have a set of 12 place settings for china. Don't really use it but I should. My sons won't ever want it and it's not attached to any memories but I'll keep it for now. I slowly plug along but I do get attached to my things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's me too. I plug along slowly, room by room, closet by closet. And like the Golden Gate Bridge needing to be painted just as the last rail is finished, my house needs attention again. As long as you don't give yourself harsh expectations, plugging along is a great way to go.

      Delete

You make my day when you make a comment!

Pin