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Arranging linens, silver and ironstone…


As I was preparing for Christmas day, I realized what a mess the cabinets, drawers and shelves where I keep my tableware, serving pieces and linens were.  After a few years of buying, making and using things for photo shoots and then shoving them in no particular order behind a closed door, it was hard to find anything.  Linens were balled up, unorganized.  Serving pieces were stacked, balanced and piled haphazardly.  It not only looks messy, but it’s very inefficient.  I had to hunt and dig for things.

I started purging and organizing this fall and have continued with a drawer here, a cabinet there.  After experiencing the frustration while setting the table for Christmas, I was motivated to deal with it.  I also needed to clean out the hutch in the living room, since a buyer is coming for it on Sunday.  So, I started with the corner cabinets and buffet in the dining room.

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Any arrangement I had once made in the cabinets had been mostly lost as I shuffled new things in and old things out.  I decided to clear out the silver and put that in the bottom cabinet and fill the open shelves with ironstone.

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I boxed up the linens I rarely used, but wanted to keep, into a plastic tub.  This made room for the silver to be stored where the linens were.

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As I was cleaning things out, I was reminded of why I was doing this.  I found my set of Dresden Angels stacked in a buffet drawer.  My mom put these out every year at Christmas and I always loved their pointed wings, delicate hands and the fact they each played a different instrument.  I could have put them out this year, but I forgot they were there.  Probably put away in haste one year.  One of the wings was broken, since they were stacked and not wrapped.

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I wrapped them in bubble and put them with my Christmas decorations in the basement, so I can use them next year.  I also got rid of a bunch of stuff, so I can have space for the things I use regularly by getting rid of the things I don’t like and never use.  Hopefully there won’t be many more Dresden Angel moments as I continue organizing the house.

And here’s what the cabinets look like now…

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Much cleaner and they put my ironstone on display, which is my very favorite thing.

I have a date with my ironing board and a can of starch to get all of the napkins and place mats ready for their next use.  I made space in the large buffet drawer for all of the linens I wanted to keep handy and I’m going to bundle each set with a simple length of twine.  No more hunting and it looks pretty in the drawer.

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I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…getting rid of things has been so liberating.  I feel like it’s freeing the house up to let the things I really love shine.

I remember reading a home feature in a magazine a few years ago.  The woman being featured lived in a small apartment and she talked about pairing down to just her very favorite things and how that’s made her love her home even more.  I thought that was crazy!  More stuff means you always have what you need on hand.  I often played the “what if” game when I was organizing and cleaning things out.  What if I need it?  What if the person who gave it to me finds out and is offended?  What if I change my mind and want it later?  I would talk myself into keeping something I didn’t want or need because of those what ifs.  Well, I’m done with that!  I’m trying to be done with it, anyway.  I’m sure I’ll have to hone this skill.  I’ve been doing pretty well pairing down, though, and have been getting rid of a lot of things that aren’t right in my house for any number of reasons.

And it’s liberating!

The guest room, kitchen, master closet, home office and my office (yes, again) are next on my organizing list.

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  1. I always go through my house regularly and get rid of clutter, unnecessary, unused, unloved things. When I was growing up, our house was full of stuff…My mom just could not get rid of. All these little figurines, extra plates, glasses , oh my the glasses of all kinds. I was responsible for dusting all of them every week.
    I promised myself then I would never keep anything just because those what ifs my mom had :)

  2. Sally says:

    I’m wondering if you have any tips for getting old stains out of vintage linens? I have alot of nice linen napkins and table linens from my Grandmother but many of them have yellow to brown stains and I don’t know how to get them out without hurting the fabric.

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