Do You Save Your Things For Special Occasions? (And Why You Shouldn’t)

Growing up, we had a cabinet at home that displayed china plates and tea sets that were never used (or maybe used once a year). If we received gifts from relatives overseas, whether they were toiletries or chocolates, we’d save them and stash it somewhere, sometimes even past its best condition and quality. I’m not sure why we did it. Was it because we liked the thought that we have something special on the shelf? Or was it because we never knew when we’d have that item again?

Stack of speckled bowls and plates

“There are exactly as many special occasions in life as we choose to celebrate.” –  Robert Breault

I bet it’s not just our family. There are a lot of people who save the best items for special occasions. It may be those fancy clothes, jewellery, or dinnerware. It could also be the expensive bottles of fine wine. However, this thinking shifted when I started to adopt minimalism. Whenever I bought stuff, I made sure that I would use them. My two most often questions when buying are 1.) where do I put this in the house, and 2.) will I use this? That’s why we don’t usually have “special occasion items” at home (except, of course, Christmas decorations). Keyword is “usually”, because we’re not perfect either, but we try our best. Here are some reasons why I think you should start using your precious stuff instead of storing them.

  1. I’m pretty sure that when the special occasion comes, people won’t remember the beautiful plates or that gorgeous pair of earrings. They would remember the company and the conversations they’ve had.
  1. If we put too much meaning on a thing, you probably won’t find an occasion special enough to use it. Instead of putting a lot of significance on material things, perhaps you can divert that energy towards people and relationships that matter. 
  1. Things are meant to be used. You are wasting precious resources if you keep them stashed somewhere.
  1. It may be too late if you keep on waiting. Life is short and impermanent, so start using those best teacups for your morning tea.
  1. If you fear like you might break the thing, or you may never have that thing again (just like my thinking before), isn’t it better that you were able to use it instead of just letting it sit in a cupboard? Also, that’s just the reality of life. Things break, and sometimes it’s okay to let go of stuff to make room for better things.
  1. Yes, you deserve to use that thing everyday. Instead of building up your expectations, why not enjoy these pretty things in your daily life? Isn’t being alive special enough?

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