How many of you have a beautiful 12 piece place setting of china, crystal, and/or flatware that sits unused in your china buffet?  How many of you have more than one of the aforementioned collections?  Most of the clients I work with on downsizing have multiple china and glassware sets (one from their wedding, one from a relative) that are brought out once a year (maybe).  Inevitably the client will say to me “I don’t know what to do with this! My kids don’t want any of it and I don’t have room in my new home.”

China, Crystal, and Silver

China, crystal, and silver are items most of our children have no need for.  Either they have their own place settings already or, like my kids,  prefer the minimalist life of having only everyday dishes/glassware. 

Use Your Beautiful Items

My suggestion is one I have adapted in my own life; use your beautiful things each day. Most of my clients initially look shocked at my suggestion of daily use of these items, but many of them come around to the idea that they CAN use these lovely items for themselves.  My own china now rests in my kitchen next to a few chipped everyday dishes that I keep for microwaving.  I no longer have my box of 6 wine glasses purchased for $12.00; those were donated when I downsized.  Instead, I use my beautiful crystal, china, and flatware from my wedding 33 years ago.  Please note that this wonderful bit of advice was given to me by a small antique store owner many years ago.  This practical shop owner told me china and crystal have very little value in the resale market, a fact that remains true to this day.  This brings us back around to the fact that using your place settings for yourself is a terrific idea.  After all, aren’t you worth it?  

Like china and crystal, using some of the beautiful serve-ware, bowls, and vases in our daily life also makes sense.  How many times have you used an old margarine tub for paperclips or cotton balls while a Wedgewood bowl sits in your dining room cupboard collecting dust?  I am SO guilty of this! 

Protecting China and Crystal

Of course, china and fine crystal are more delicate and if you use your dishwasher, select the “china” setting.  Avoid touching dishes when loading and wait until the dishes are dry and cool before handling. If you use your sterling or silverplate flatware daily, keep them separated in the dishwasher as they can discolor when mixed.   Using your fine dishes and glassware may mean they fade or chip over time, but isn’t the joy of using them worth that small price?  Enjoy your treasures!