My client was dismayed! Her 1934, delicately painted, fine bone china afternoon tea set was worthless…not because it was poor quality but because she had failed to use it. We were de-cluttering her attic and she decided the tea set inherited from her Uncle could be sold, but upon inspection, the antiques expert advised that it was full of star cracks and would disintegrate once filled with hot beverages. To stay useable, fine bone china needs to be used. By storing it for “good” she had denied herself years of pleasure using it and several hundred dollars from ultimately selling it. The saying “Use it or lose it” is applicable to more than fitness; it can also apply to our possessions.
We have expensive dinner sets, wine glasses and cutlery, which we “save” for special occasions.  For twenty years I hung on to a set of glasses that were a wedding gift. Several years ago the ordinary kitchen glasses needed replacement and I decided not to purchase new ones but to commission the “special set” for everyday use. The whole family commented how nice they were to drink from.
Using “special” items we already own, rather than making another purchase, saves more than our hip pocket.  The environmental cost of purchasing duplicate items for “good” and for “everyday” is worth considering. And then there is the issue of space. A recent survey by the Australia Institute revealed that one in eight Australian families have moved house in order to accommodate their “superfluous stuff”.  Although retailers may wince, one simple step towards de-cluttering your cupboards could be to start using your “special” items for everyday and in doing so make every day more special.
Using quality items means simple pleasures are enhanced. A cup of tea is nicer from a fine cup than a cheap clunky mug. Of course there is always a risk that in using it, it may be damaged, broken or become worn, but you will have had the enjoyment of its use on a daily basis. So I have now resolved to use the special for everyday; as the ad says “because I’m worth it”.  So what beautiful items are lurking in your cupboards that are crying out to be used?

Sue Blake is a Professional Organiser who seeks to give ideas and inspiration to help others become better organised. for more information go to

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