The Good China

Two years ago, my mother-in-law gave me her china. I belive it belonged to her mother, although the style suggests probably not her grandmother before that. It really is a beautiful set. Simple and elegant, and not at all gaudy. The spear of wheat speaks to my love of the earth and the things that grow in it.

The china had been living in my mother-in-law’s basement, wrapped in newspaper and stored in a RubberMaid tote. When she brought it to me, I unwrapped a few pieces, exclaimed over how lovely it was, then wrapped it back up and put it in my own basement. I then proptly forgot about it. In recent months, everytime I’m in the basement doing laundry I look around at all of the stuff we have stored there. Most of it is used rarely, if ever. I find myself thinking about where things came from and why we kept them, and if they were truly necessary.

After passing over this container several times and trying torecall what was in there, I finally opened it up and rediscovered my beautiful dishes. It seemed such a shame for something so lovely to be packed away out of sight and out of mind, especially when the dishes in the cubbard held no sentimental value at all and I didn’t even particularly like them. My recent quest has been to cull the house of everything that we do not truly love and enjoy or use. I truly love this china, but it was not being used and enjoyed. The dishes in my cubbard were being used, but not loved and enjoyed. So I decided it was time to get out the good china.

We now eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks on our good china. It makes me happy to look at it and use it. It’s not so obscure a pattern that pieces wouldn’t be replaceable if broken, although I am careful with it and have kids plates that the children use for lunches and snacks. I donated my current dishes set to Good Will, and assigned the now empty tote to hold wool sweaters for my longies business, which had been overflowing their container and threatining to take over the entire basement. To me, simplifying doesn’t always mean using the plainest, simplest things. It means keeping and using what you find beautiful and brings you joy, and passing on the rest.