Sew Paradise

Use the Good Stuff – have more, buy nothing

Thirty Days to using the special things you already have without buying moreChances are, you’re a lot like me. You have closets and shelves and cupboards jammed with stuff. Good stuff. Good china, your grandma’s tea set, that expensive wool coat you bought long ago, a couple of fancy dresses. A few more fancy purses. Jewelry hidden in your jewelry box for years.

My in-laws are preparing to move from their home of 42 years to an assisted living apartment or condo – half the size, zero storage space. They have an entire basement full of stuff. I’m not even sure how big their basement is, I’ve only seen less than half of it in the 25 years I’ve been with their son, and that part is jammed to the ceiling with stuff. I have heard there’s this green mod designer couch in their attic from the 1960s. Ugly color but famous designer.

I’m on my way down the same road if I keep my lifestyle up. And why? My kids won’t love me more with more stuff. I won’t impress anyone with the things I have, or what I wear.

And I already have great stuff. So do you.

Most moms, after having kids, (whether they work or not), adopt this “I’m to busy to…” attitude. You know. Take a shower, fix your hair, get dressed in something nice, use the good dishes, break out a fancy purse. And even if you’re not a mom, that fancy china is packed away in your upper cupboard, getting used maybe twice, three times a year.

I’m challenging you to use the good stuff. Every day.

Go into the back of your closet and find your nicest outfit. The one you saved for a special occasion – a wedding, or a party. I’ll use an example: I have a fancy dress (two in fact.)  It’s my little black dress. I could easily wear this dress to my office, under a jacket, with tall heeled boots. It will take it from ‘super glam’ with heels and sparkly jewelry, to work. I could even wear this dress to my child’s Christmas concert next week. In a pinch, I can dress it down with a denim jacket and flat boots and wear it to the kid’s museum.

I also have sparkly jewelry. So do you. Wear it! With a tee shirt, jeans and flats.

And that china? Let’s all pledge to go back to Sunday dinners. Think back to Grandma’s house, the table set with fancy china, pretty tablecloth. Grandma never kept the good stuff put away (she learned this lesson), and there it was, every Sunday. Of course she admonished you to be careful with it. So maybe if you have little ones (like I do), you put out placemats, and they get the plastic plates. Put out candles and turn the dining room lights down low. Little kids love this! (Mine sing Happy Birthday when I light them which tells you how often we have candles!)

You might just eat scrambled eggs at your Sunday dinner, but make it fancy scrambled eggs – cut up your toast into triangles, add ‘stir ins’ to your eggs (salsa, ketchup, chives). Put it in the nice bowl and serve it with the fine silver servingware.

Invite your friends over for coffee and use your grandma’s tea set. Even better, serve herbal tea in your little girl’s tea set and invite her and her friends for ‘real tea parties.’

Life’s too short to keep 42 years of good stuff packed away in closets and shelves. Join me. I’ll be blogging about my Use the Good Stuff journey! Subscribe at right to get updates. Follow the Use the Good Stuff on Pinterest too, for more photos of using the good stuff.


By paradise

I'm Ann. I've been sewing since I was 9. My first project was a denim wrap skirt. Thrifting is a way of life for me - both eco-chic and financially savvy.

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