I’m not really sure what got into me over the weekend, but I went on an organizational tear. I started with my clothes, and weeded out three bags for Goodwill & one for textile recycling. After a short – ahem – discussion with Robert about his pint glass collection, I moved on to the kitchen cabinets. I boxed up anything that we haven’t used in the past six months to a year I fairly ruthlessly, until I got to the Fiestaware. I loosely followed what I called on Instagram “the William Morris Rule” (more on that below).
The following list is completely for my own benefit, to remind me where things came from and in case I need to try to track replacements down. All you really need to take away from this is, not all of our dishes are white, I swear!
- Everyday dishes – Eight Wave dinnerware plates & eight bowls from West Elm, two Hand-painted Dotted bowls from West Elm, and seven Threshold Ashwood Blue salad plates from Target. I wish we had more of the dotted bowls, and I would like to replace the salad plate that broke.
- Lenox Butterfly Meadow Salad Set & six dinner plates – The salad set was wedding shower present from my Aunt Susan & cousin Allison, and I collected the dinner plates over a few trips to HomeGoods.
- Four Jade Moon bowls – Part of the dinnerware set we bought from Target when we were first married. The dinner plates were too big for our current microwave and several had chipped/broken over the years, so I had already pared these down about a year go. We do use the bowls for prep a lot, and they are also nice for soup.
- Rice Bowls – I’m not sure if that’s the right name for them, but this set of bowls, spoons & chopsticks was gift from Robert’s grandmother, and we use them a lot when we make beef & broccoli or if we get take-out Chinese food.
- Hall’s Jewel Tea Company Autumn Leaf platters & serving bowls – I inherited a couple of severing bowls from my paternal grandma, and I added on to the set from eBay before last Thanksgiving.
- Yellow & Blue dishes – I may add a photo of these to the post later, since I forgot to take one showing their pattern, but I inherited these from my maternal grandma. I think there are six bowls, nine salad/desert plates, six teacups & saucers, and six or eight dinner plates.
- Two glass sundae dishes – Inherited from my maternal grandma (they look like this).
- Assorted platters and serving bowls.
- A smattering of Bodum Pavina glasses.
- Eight seeded glass tumblers from West Elm.
- Nineteen Impressions Highball glasses (12 used at Thanksgiving, plus seven of mine after one broke).
The mug cabinet is usually the hardest one for me, but for some reason that was pretty easy this time. Maybe because I’d gone through it recently, and pulled out some to hold supplies in the art room? I mainly focused on weeding out travel mugs and paring down the plastic cups we use while working outside. I didn’t really leave any space for Tervis tumblers, but those are usually in use or on the drying mat anyhow, so it probably doesn’t matter. I might use a few more of the mugs in the art room if we end up adding on to our Starbucks city mugs (do they make these anymore? also, I apparently forgot to buy the Charlotte mug) or buying more diner mugs.
This time the hardest thing was our Fiestaware. My parents always had a set of these plates, and they remind me of summer dinners, usually on the back porch and accompanied by blue handled silverware & watermelon. I inherited a few plates from my maternal grandmother and if I remember correctly, my mom has added colors over the years for birthdays & Christmas. I couldn’t decide whether to part with a few of the colors, even though red makes me angry/anxious, and I’ve never really been a pink or purple person.
When I posted about my indecision on Instagram it spurred a nice conversation with my Aunt Patsy, and then later my sister commented asking me to save any castoffs for her. Suddenly it was easier to part with Scarlet, Plum, Lemongrass, and Rose (I think that is what the pink is called). I kept the colors Periwinkle, Persimmon, Sea Mist, and Yellow -which are the colors I remember using at my parents’ house – as well as Peacock & Shamrock. I’d like to try to add Sunflower, Cobalt, Lapis & Turquoise, and maybe some of the retired colors (Cinnabar, Heather, Evergreen & Flamingo) if I have room and can find them on eBay or Amazon.
The William Morris Rule
It’s not really a rule so much as it is a guideline or a good reminder, but in my mind it’s a rule. A few years ago I started reading the blog Pancakes & French Fries*, and when she started a 31 Days project, which she dubbed The William Morris Project, it resonated with me. Especially posts like this one explaining the reasoning behind the project and this one (side eye to the corner of our living room that always gets relegated as the Goodwill pile).
Something about the end of my 20s is turning me into the kind of person who longs to have an organized house. I don’t know if that comes with age, or if it’s related to the fact that friends & family are moving, clearing out storage units, and organizing estate sales. I may never have an organized junk drawer (isn’t that an oxymoron anyway?) or a capsule wardrobe, and the bathroom closet might always be a disaster, but lately something is driving me to simplify. I’ve always somewhat enjoyed organizing, but I’ve never been very diligent about weeding out things we aren’t using and making it stick. Maybe it’s because I form sentimental attachments to just about everything. I set out with high hopes of this being the time that everything is going to magically stay organized, but life doesn’t seem to work that way.
My sister, Jess, would routinely go through her bedroom when we were growing up, and often rearrange the furniture while she was at it. My mom & I would kind of look on in awe. (Or was it horror?) I distinctly remember my mom going through the castoffs when Jess was done, just to make sure. Not to say my mom & I are pack rats, but I think the two of us have a definite genetic predisposition to holding on to certain things we’re attached to or that could be useful later. Having gotten to know Robert’s family over the past few years, he and I are in big trouble if we don’t start
Over the years I think my mom and I have gotten better about letting go of sentimental items, but Jess is definitely still the queen of minimalism in our family. Also the queen of pockets & zippers – my mom’s term for Jess’ love of backpacks, bags, and purses – and packing in a carry-on.
*Jules now blogs as Mrs. Kendall.