decluttering · Humor · organization · photography · Uncategorized

Use It or Lose It


My Grandma used her stuff. Her nice dishes, crappy dishes, heirloom thingies, left over grocery bags, whatever it was, she used it. And if she didn’t have a use for it, she’d say, “Hey, I have something for you.” And then it was your job to use it.

I was retold all this over the holidays when my Aunt Maxine told me to pick out some of Grandma’s old dishes. “I don’t need all this and I want to get rid of some clutter.” I guess we know her New Years Resolution.

I picked up a pretty, yet oddly shaped dish, and asked, “I wonder what Grandma used this for?”

“Oh who knows,” my dad said, “but I’ll tell you one thing. It was definitely used.” It was glass and sparkling and pretty and I imagined she might have put candy in it during the holidays. Or maybe buttons in it when one came loose from one of her kids trousers. Or perhaps it was used to hold pennies for a rainy day.

I went home with a couple treasures and decided I would use them just like Grandma would like me to.

For Christmas, my mother-in-law got me a spice rack. It’s pretty and spins and came filled with spices! Til now, I just kept them all pushed into a cabinet or messily lined up on the counter. The ones I used most often were tossed into a little green basket. It’s a crappy system, so the spice rack was more than appreciated.

I decided to take the unopened spices and put them away for now. I then went through my spices and filled up the rack. You wouldn’t believe all the duplicates I had. 2 cinnamon, 2 basil, 3 oregano, 2 cumin, and 4 black pepper! Why, we haven’t had pepper in this house for 6 months, and now I know it’s because it was way in the back hiding behind the dill. Damn dill.

Also found in the back was a set of light bulb shaped salt and pepper shakers.

What a 'bright' idea!
What a ‘bright’ idea!

My husband was given these by his surrogate grandmother, Martha. She bought them when we bought our home and he was going to school to be an electrician. He loved them! I loved them! But they didn’t exactly go with the Italian theme of my kitchen, so up they went in the cabinet.

When I pulled them out, they made me smile. I remembered how we laughed when he opened them. And I remember how stubborn I was about wanting my house to look a certain way. And then I thought about Grandma. Grandma would totally use these. Or she’d find someone to gift them to. They’re too cool to be hidden in a cabinet. So I cleaned’em up and filled’em up with salt and the newly found pepper.

That night at dinner, Steven picked them up and laughed. “I always loved these!”  The smile on his face made me feel all warm and cozy inside.

So I made my first New Years Resolution. If I love it, use it! Use it all up and then some. Use it til it’s useless and then use it for something else. And if you don’t love it, find someone who might. Sounds easy enough, right?

How about all of you? Do you have something nice you never use? Or perhaps had something nice you never used? Is your New Years Resolution to get rid of more crap and only keep the things that give you joy? Tell me all about it.


8 thoughts on “Use It or Lose It

  1. This is a great maxim for happy living, Rachel. Smart grandma! All Halloween season, my dear wife Karen had a neatly shaped glass vase I’d never seen before filled with candy corn out on the counter. Mid-December, I poured out the remaining few and washed it, putting the empty vessel back on the counter. A couple days later, we wondered together what … And then Karen remembered those 19 Crimes wine corks that were collecting in the junk drawer. Perfect match! I think this is our example of your Use It theory. Happy New Year, my friend.

  2. Might be the best piece you’ve ever posted (and you’ve posted some great ones), but this is a 12 on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being stupendous. It’s also a great reminder: use it.

  3. I love this, thank you. I have some lovely things just gathering dust at the back of a cupboard, I need to get them out and use them, otherwise what’s the point in having them!

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