What are you saving it for? ‘Someday’ may never come.

Closet with clothesWhen my mother-in- law passed away over a year ago, my husband and I took on the emotionally taxing task of clearing out her closet. She didn’t buy a lot of new clothes for herself, preferring to spend her money on gifts for others; so the clothing she kept over the years was well-worn…except for one item. We found it tucked away at the very back on the closet. It was on a hanger and covered with the type of opaque plastic bag you would get from the store when you bought a new suit. I was intrigued. When I uncovered it, I found a brand new, luxuriously thick, white robe. The store tags were still on. This was clearly a gift she had received, because she would never splurge that way on herself.

Coming across this robe made me incredibly sad. If anyone deserved to wear this beautiful robe, it was this incredibly generous, kind woman. And yet she never had the chance to enjoy it. But she had it for a while. I couldn’t help but wonder – what was she saving it for? It still brings tears to my eyes.

It reminded me of the time my husband and I bought new dishes for her as a gift. She packed them away and continued to eat off her mismatched, chipped dishes. (Although I think she brought them out to serve Christmas dinner one year).

Use up your good things. Don’t save them for company; or for a special occasion. Or for when you think you might earn the right to enjoy them. You deserve better than that. I know my mother-in-law did.

Why wait until your current undies are completely worn out before you wear the new ones you have tucked away? Delight in wearing them now rather than postponing and perhaps missing the chance. The hilarious and wise Loretta LaRoche says, “Life is short, wear your party pants” (referring to the pretty panties we tend to save for a special occasion).

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

― Hunter S. Thompson

Perhaps you are not using your new things because you are waiting for the items you currently use to be completely spent – you are being frugal. But consider that not using your new things is just as wasteful as throwing good things away. Use the good stuff today. Otherwise, someday when your children are cleaning out your things after you’re gone, they’ll come across your beautiful but unused things and feel incredibly sad too.

What are you postponing for ‘someday’? How do you feel about using it now, instead? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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This post has 10 comments

  • Helen G says:

    Love the quote from Hunter, I am trying so hard to do that.
    It takes a bit to change your mind set, but I try not to have anything that is so good I won’t use it. I too think of what my children will have to deal with when I pass and hopefully that will not be one of them. I am still working on the clutter though.

  • Louise says:

    My mother was like your mother-in-law. When she got something new it got put away, and only used ‘for good’. A new quilt went on the seldom used spare bed, where no one got to enjoy it. The ‘good’ dishes came out once a year.
    I tried to talk her out of her ways, but I never had any luck.
    Me? I use my good stuff, enjoy it, and if I have to replace it, then I know I really enjoyed it.

  • Susan says:

    Reminds me of an episode of “All in the Family” when Edith is going through the linen chest. She finds something that she was “saving for good.” And then follows by saying, “But I never had no good.”

    Always reminds me to enjoy the things we have and not save them for “good.”

  • gayla says:

    greetings, what a wonderful post! thanks for sharing. You have inspired me to declutter my home and especially to use my good things. 🙂 I have no one to pass my special things on to, so I either give them now or use them now. Thanks for your inspiration. Gayla

  • Gail says:

    I use my mother’s beautiful silver tea pot when I have tea. I KNOW that my lovely Mom would be delighted to know that I love and appreciate what she left me.

  • Arlene says:

    My dear Mom was the same way. When she and my Dad moved from their home in NJ (they had been there over 25 years), they had to throw out a lot of the lovely things they had received from friends that my Mom was saving for “good company” that never came. And when my Mom passed away a couple of years ago, we found several beautiful items that had been rarely used. I know I have the same tendencies, and I am trying to change. An episode of NEAT really spoke to me. You were decluttering a kitchen and told the couple to get rid of their chipped dishes because they (the family) were worthy to use the good dishes!

  • Evelyn says:

    Hi Hellen –
    Reading about your dear mother-in-law and her closet, with her brand new, luxuriously rich, white robe with the price tags still attached, brought tears to my eyes too. And all of the above comments of your readers were also emotional – they speak of how fortunate they were, as I was, to have parents who loved unconditionally
    – hence the above reactions and yours. I know what I’m saying is off-topic to your
    article here and I apologize for that.
    2ndly, all the above comments were helpful to me, putting things
    in a very helpful perspective. I liked Arlene’s comments about her chipped dishes and family being worthy to use the good ones – relevant to me and something I will need to work on. And I could relate to Gail’s comment about her mother’s beautiful silver tea pot.

  • Elisa says:

    I heard it is bad for your health to use cracked or chipped dishes because they used lead in making those items. The finished keep the lead in but when it is chipped or cracked, the small amount of lead could get into your body. Lead poisoning attack your brain and nervous system.

  • Clare says:

    Lovely post. Thank you for inspiring and sharing. I agree with you, I live in the now and I also believe things should be enjoyed in the present. Who says our children want our clutter? Mine doesn’t, she’s traditional and I’m Mid-century. Lol. I passed this post to some friends and Hunter’s quote to my health freak husband. Lo

    Cheers