Slow living

Stop saving the best

I’ve enjoyed following Gillie Dunn’s posts about using your fancy things every single day. I grew up in a household that was filled with special occasion items: the fancy china, the dressy clothes, the beautiful fine jewellery, the cut-glass crystal ware, and so forth. These items would be displayed in cabinets, jewellery boxes, etc., but were rarely used. When I visit my parents, I still encounter the special occasion items that are carefully stored and are used very, very rarely. It’s hard to get that type of coding out of our DNA, but I’ve been working carefully over the past few years to ensure that I actually enjoy and use all the items in my home. I don’t need any special occasions: I am special enough. Some people may argue that items will cease to be special if they are used daily; perhaps, but I’m more interested in actually using and enjoying my possessions and to honour them by doing so.

Dunn discusses her epiphany. She used to store special items, including a special candle that she had received as a gift. The candle was so beautiful and expensive that she kept it in storage; sadly, when she came across the candle after several months, she found that the candle had warped and lost much of its scent. All that beauty had been wasted because she kept saving it for a special occasion that never arose. Dunn has since been on a mission to use her special items every day, and she’s been posting a weekly challenge on her Instagram for people to do the same, focusing on jewellery one week, skincare another week, and so on.

I’ve been working on not saving items for special occasions for a few years now. I started with my clothes. Why have a closet of nice clothes but choose to wear only sweatpants, t-shirts, or “comfortable” (often meaning a little the worse for wear) at home? I’m not judging people who do this; I simply know that this is not for me. I always want to look my best and well put together on a daily basis, even if the only people seeing me are my cats (never wear anything that panics the cat). This means that regardless of whether I’m going out or working from home, I always wear my best clothes and jewellery, simply because I enjoy doing so and am worth it. I wear makeup even if (or especially when) I don’t feel well – again, I do this for me, and not to conform to any societal expectations or standards. I’m not wearing ball gowns or cocktail dresses on a daily basis, as they don’t exactly fit the occasion, but there would certainly be nothing wrong with doing so if I wanted to. What is the use of saving something if you never or rarely ever use it and enjoy it? To me, at least, this is money wasted.

I’ve done some brutal decluttering over the past few years. I no longer have any “special occasion” houshehold items. If I don’t use something, I don’t keep it. So, for example, this means no special dinner services; if I don’t use the items on a regular basis, I don’t keesp them. It’s not a question of cost; the cost is already sunk if you don’t use the items. On the few occasions I buy something new, I use it as soon as I get my hands on it. Items have value to me if I use them, so when I buy anything, I always do so with the intention of using it. So, for example, I have quite a few items of jewellery. Some people are content to wear the same pieces of jewellery every day, but I like a little more variety. I have a short gold necklace and a gold bracelet that I never remove, but otherwise wear different pieces of jewellery every day (I like layering rings, bracelets, and necklaces, although not to excess). I never buy any jewellery that is meant to be “saved for a special occasion.” I always keep the “cost per wear or use” mantra running through my head when I make purchases.

Some might argue that using your nice things daily means that they will run down more quickly, could break, wear out, etc. So what, I say? At least I had the time to enjoy the items I own. I can look at the beautiful diamond ring on my hand while I sit in front of my laptop with only the cats for company and admire its shape and shine. Why not revel in the nice things we have, rather than save them only for other people’s enjoyment? If they break or wear out, take the time to thank them for all the joy they brought you. We are all worthy enough to use an enjoy our fancy things.

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