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Take Better Care of Your Possessions

My husband is a professional appraiser and furniture restorer. I am a professional antiques dealer and a "nosey parker", LOL. So I am often in his workshop being "nosey" while he is working to repair a piece of what was once lovely furniture. It struck me one day that we have become a very careless society. Often the pieces that come in for repair suffer from just plain careless handling and neglect. How many hundreds of dollars could be saved if folks took better care of their possessions .

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I recall how my grandmother and HER mother always took care to gently fold their precious hand knit sweaters into the pages of scented tissue that were always kept in their drawers " so the moths won't have a hearty lunch". And I remember how the dining table was ALWAYS wiped down after every meal with a lightly oiled cloth kept in a tin in the sideboard. Doors were never slammed and chairs were never dragged across the floor. The good china was stacked with little doilies between the plates to prevent chipping and the silver lived in its own drawer lined with green felt.

Now, I am a realist and I know we live much differently than my grandmothers did, but I still believe if we gave a thought now and then as to how hard we worked to earn the money to buy our things AND how expensive they are to repair and replace, we could all save a huge amount of money. One thing is for sure, I am more than grateful to my grandmothers for caring for their lovely things the way they did. Now I have the pleasure of enjoying them and I hope I can be as good a steward of them so that they may be passed to my own daughter when she sets up house.

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By PlumCottage from on the Beach in New Jersey

An antique chair being restored.
 

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September 20, 20122 found this helpful

People call me a pack rat cause I don't throw out but reuse and restore. When in high school, I was the only girl is mechanical art and woods and you had a semester learning why we should do and what NOT to do. Add a frugal husband who's dad showed him how to fix everything. A loose rung in a wooden chair... pop a toothpick in until you get the glue out and fix correctly... just an example.

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We are fortunate to have many reuse/restore stores in our rural community as well as Habitat Restores.

The good smelling drawers with scented paper, I have been buying that and using as well. Good sweaters get their own Rubbermaid container with cover, but folded nicely. I have same kind of containers with my grandma's stuff in from 100 years ago. And the clothing is still beautiful.

The furniture was sometimes made of many kinds of wood, yet all looked wonderful when stained, etc. So I also make the wood in my house like the former owners did. It is a 3 story 100 year old house. Leaded windows, built in leaded china cupboards...x6 x 8 feet and huge drawers...xcall built into the wall. When redoing it, we found 5 different kinds of wood, so the local hardware store owner mixed colors for me so all would look the same when done. And yet, adding on 400 square feet, we were able to make the new look old.

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The oil cloth used for the dining room table most likely had a linseed oil. Sort of like Old English oil, which is what I use.

When the old house had some cracking in the plaster walls, we used old fashioned oil cloth wall paper, new from the factory. Beautiful. Figure that should be at least 30 years of wear. We are on year 18 now. Looks great.

I separate the china with small pieces of fabric, and my silverware (about 80 years old at least) is also in the case lined with anti-tarnish fabric (which can be bought at fabric stores!).

I also teach my grandchildren how to sew, canning from the garden (doing apples right now, finished pears). And as I do, I pass on the stories of being a child growing up and staying at grandma's, learning to do all these important things of live.

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I am 57.

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September 22, 20123 found this helpful

We have become so much more of a disposable society. I can see the difference just in my lifetime. We are now raised to be merely consumers. The problem is, with the economy the way it is now and more people out of work, we can no longer afford to throw things away and continually buy new.

Younger generations no longer know how to reuse, repurpose, and fix things. It's hard to teach them to take care of their possessions when they are bombarded by messages that new is better, modern is trendy, spending is the way to go, etc.

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September 23, 20120 found this helpful

I totally understand! I often find clothing in Thrift stores with just a button missing, donated by someone who just doesn't care enough or doesn't know how to do simple repairs. I too am teaching the grand kids to can food! They are amazed that not everything comes from the supermarket

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September 23, 20192 found this helpful

THANK YOU FOR SUCH A WONDERFUL ARTICLE, I AM 82 AND STILL HAVE A PIECE OF FABRIC THAT I MADE INTO A TOP FOR MY YOUNGEST, NOW 60 I AM GOING TO MAKE A NEEDLE CASE OUT OF IT FOR HER.. I LOVE THINGS OF BEAUTY, PINK, ROSES, DOLLS, CATS, WOOL. FABRICS, SEWING COTTONS AND RIBBON WHICH I MAKE INTO ROSETTES FOT PRIZES AT CAT SHOWS, I STILL JUDGE CATS BUT ONLY SITTING DOWN, WHEN I GET MY NEW HIP I WILL BE DANGEROUS AGAIN.

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I TREASURE MY 'POSSESSIONS' BUT GET CRITICISED FOR 'HOARDING' SOME PEOPLE JUST DON'T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COLLECTING AND HOARDING. I AM SO HAPPY THAT YOU ARE TEACHING YOUR GRAND CJILDREN THE FUNDAMENTALS OF LIFE, THEY WILL GROW UP TO BE GOOD HUSBANDS , WIVES AND PARENTS, BLESSINGS TO ALL OF YOU.

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Anonymous
September 14, 20200 found this helpful

I so enjoyed reading your post about taking care of your possessions! As one of five girls, we ALL inherited many treasures from the past. Two of the things that I love the most are the mahogany double bed that was in my bedroom as a child that my parents started housekeeping with when first married and an electrified kerosene lamp that we couldnt touch when we were children. When bringing the bed to our home, I found my paternal great grandfathers name on the back put there by the furniture company. I did not remember that it had belonged to him. I just knew I had slept on that bed for years. The lamp belonged to my maternal grandmother who had died years before my birth. It is so vogue to paint furniture these days but it really sickens me to see paint put on ornate antique furniture. Im not saying that I never painted any furniture because I have. BUT, I came to my senses and took every bit of paint OFF of the two pieces that I did paint many years ago and returned them to the original wood.

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