Figuring Out Who I Am By Looking At the Things I’m Getting Rid Of


Day three of reorganizing my house led me into the dining room. My house was built in the early 1950s and I live in one of those homes with a floor plan that practically forces you to walk through the dining room to get to the kitchen. I strongly dislike that aspect of our house.

Before my son was born we almost never ate dinner in the dining room. Sometimes we celebrated Christmas Eve in there, but otherwise the room was used as a holding place. Since my son’s arrival we use the dining room a little bit more. My parents and in-laws often eat in there with us, because our tiny kitchen table can only fit three comfortably, but the primary use for that room is to sort mail, place packages waiting to make their way up and down stairs and as a holding spot for the next day’s activities. Winter coats, diaper bags and other odds and ends usually make their way onto the dining room table in preparation for the morning.

As I dug through the platters and fine china in our dining room I couldn’t help but laugh. There was a time when I would wander the aisles at Macy’s dreaming of throwing dinner parties and inviting friends over for cocktails. In all the years we’ve lived in the house we’ve thrown a handful of parties and most of them didn’t involve using more than three or four serving dishes. How many serving platters does one girl need? Last week for my son’s birthday we used the simplest of bowls and served food on paper plates and plastic cups.

While I admire the Martha Stewart’s of the world I’m not the type to throw an elaborate party. I actually get quite nervous before we have people over. Do I have enough food? Will the guests like each other? Can I make rounds with everyone who visits and still have a good time?

As I looked down at the platters and bowls in my china cabinet I realized that many of the things inside of it do not reflect the person I am. I found a large, round silver platter that would be perfect for serving warm appetizers. The plate was huge and as I held it in my hands all I could think was “wow I would have to cook an awful lot of food to fill this platter.” It looked like something that belonged on a buffet platter in 1950.

I’m not getting rid of all of my china or the majority of interestingly shaped platters I bought from Macy’s so long ago, but I am reflecting on the person I thought I wanted to be.

I want to serve food on pretty dishes that aren’t stuffy and old fashioned. I have a few I absolutely love. One looks like a giant leaf and one has beautiful flowers painted in navy and gold. The rest can find more appropriate homes.

I want to keep a special area in my hutch for paper plates. You read that correctly, paper plates, for those occasions when we’ll have twenty people over to celebrate and I don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen for hours after everyone goes home.

I want to live a relaxed life. A life where I’m not afraid that people will scratch the dinnerware. I want a life that says I think about the environment 90% of the time, but sometimes I want to serve food on paper plates to make my life easier.

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