Friday, 18 November 2011

Being Polite and Acquiring Ugly Things

Fighting the clutter is a constant battle for many of us, no matter how regularly we do the big clean out, the ‘stuff’ just continues to creep in. The new stuff isn’t what I have trouble getting rid of though, it’s the older stuff that has been hanging around for years, not being used but can’t be disposed of because of the obligational attachment. Case in point is a dinner set that has been passed down to me. It has been sitting in the same box in the top of my wardrobe for the last 6 years, in fact this week was the first time I have even looked at it since I first received it. The whole set is in excellent condition but it is a brown floral 70’s nightmare and I quite simply can’t imagine myself ever using it.

plateAlmost this ugly Image Source

It was a compliment for me to be the one chosen to receive it as the original owner took great pride in her taste and always bought the very best she could afford, so I didn’t feel right saying that I wouldn’t use it. Instead I was gracious, took the box of treasures and looked for some where to stash it in the hope that I would make use of it one day. So far that day has not come. I don’t like the fact that I have something sitting in a box going to waste when there may very well be someone who would be able to make use of it and dare I say, like it. But I hang onto it because of the guilt I feel every time I think about getting rid of it, I would hate to offend someone like that so instead I take the easy way out. The lame way out.

One lone box cramping my style (and limited space) is one thing, but on closer inspection we seem to have a whole range of stuff that neither one of us has voluntarily brought into the house. Stuff that just like the dinner set, we don’t use and most likely never will. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for holding onto treasured items that have sentimental value, these items maintain a connection with someone special and in these instances, it makes no difference whether the item is aesthetically pleasing or not, we just need them in our life. I treasure a set of jailbird salt and pepper shakers that sit in their own cage at my parent’s house because they were something my Gran use to get out of the special cabinet and let me hold when she was dusting. I don’t think they ever even held any salt and pepper, and are not exactly in keeping with my other decor, but I love them regardless.

bird salt and pepper shakersImage Source

But what of all the other ugly statues, daggy glassware and tacky candle holders that don’t give us that connection? Would the person who gifted them to us be any happier with us leaving them in a box in a cupboard than passing them onto a local op-shop for someone else to enjoy? I know I would rather the latter, I would hate the thought of something I loved being left ignored and untouched, for the sake of being polite. I am certain that the original owners of these items would feel the same.

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