“Too” Stuff

February 3, 2012

Yesterday I referred to the “too” stuff taking up space in our homes.  My prime example of what could be a “too” item in this house is my mother’s Madame Alexander dolls.  Previously, they lived in a cedar chest in my grandmother’s house, and once or twice a month I would ask to play with them, and they would come out of hiding and be played with.  Antiques even when I used them, my grandmother would make clothes and I would play—carefully—before they would eventually get put back away, nestled among the quilts and other items stored away in the chest.  When it came time to sort the dolls, I was thrilled to be able to take some; they had such happy memories for me of Saturdays at Grandma’s house.

Admittedly, a few were worse for wear from excessive love, so I took the worst of the lot into a doll hospital to have repaired.  (As an aside, isn’t it amazing that such a place even exists?  How unbelievably, abundantly, materially blessed are we, that we have people running “doll hospitals!”)  I still remember picking them up, once the work was done, and commenting to the owner of the shop that I looked forward to seeing my (soon-to-be-born) daughter playing with them as I had.

She was horrified.  “Oh, no!” she exclaimed.  “These are not to be played with!”

I didn’t fight her.  But I wondered, if they were never played with, how on earth would my daughter develop an appreciation and an enjoyment of them?  If she never had any happy memories of playing with her grandmother’s dolls, why would she have any interest in owning them later?  I suppose an argument could be made for that:  I’d be simplifying her life if she didn’t have these dolls to take care of.  As it is, though, they live in a drawer in her bedroom, and yes, she does play with them, carefully, on occasion.  Don’t tell the owner of the doll hospital.

It’s the same reason I sometimes use my grandmother’s cranberry glassware, or her deep green parfait glasses, or her tablecloths, or any of the other items I elected to keep.  I use them, think of her, and smile; and in the process, we are making memories for my children, using these things.  (My daughter adores “the beautiful dishes.”)  I can’t think of an item in this house that is “too special” to use.  I have lots of items in this home that are becoming more special, through use.

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4 Responses to ““Too” Stuff”

  1. cawhittle Says:

    I love the table, chairs, & china cabinet that were my grandparents’, which we use all the time. I wear the necklace of my grandmother’s which I kept after my she died. We used out china, which we got for our wedding, when we had friends over for dinner the other night. And I broke one of our pieces of stemware when I was washing it, but I’d rather use it and have a piece break now and then than have it sit in the cabinet gathering dust. I totally agree with what you said in this post!


  2. Thanks!! My mom has a comment about “do you own your stuff, or does your stuff own you?” When I think about people getting all worked up about “you might break it!!” I think they’ve crossed the line to “stuff owning them.”

  3. Sarah Says:

    I love this one. My mom has always made beautiful baby quilts for friends’ babies, and frequently people will put them up and not let their babies use them. Mom says, “then what’s the point of me making them if no one uses them?!”
    We, too, use the old parfait dishes on occassion, and the kids get a kick out of using the special dishes I used when I was a kid.


  4. […] even after I wrote an entire post devoted to the idea of “too” stuff, how everything in our house gets used, how we don’t have anything “too” nice or […]

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