Monday, September 10, 2012

Q4U: What do you do with Uncle Elmer’s curio cabinet?


You rub your back as you straighten up and assess your placement of the curio cabinet. You’ve chosen yet another location in the house, but it still doesn’t look right, and you wonder what you’re going to do with it. Maybe your husband was right and you never should have taken it in the first place. You’ve had it in the dining room filled with dust collectors knick-knacks. You’ve had it in the den filled with books. You’ve thought about using it as an overflow pantry, but it has an odd odor inside. Now you’re wondering about in the hallway for linens.

If it was pretty, or at least sturdy, you’d have an easier time figuring out some use for it. But even if you painted and distressed it, it still wouldn’t have a shabby chic or cottage look. Nothing can hide the scrap-wood-and-odd-hardware-pieces-thrown-together look. Your mother wouldn’t go for that anyway, since she had it refinished when it was at her house. You frown and swipe some loose hair off your forehead. It really is a funny thing, although you aren’t laughing. Your mother eventually decided she didn’t want it. She bought a newer, more attractive curio cabinet for her depression glass. No one in the extended family wanted it. Your brother’s wife didn’t want it. But your mother passed it on to you with the story of the craftsmanship of her great-uncle Elmer (who died long before you were born and now no one has any actual memory of). And now, even though you had never heard of Uncle Elmer before then, your mother wants you to use and cherish his curio cabinet.

What do you do?

  1. Dust it off and fill it with the breakables your mother gave you as well. Then pour some lemonade and invite her over so she can see how you treasure the cabinet.
  2. Accidentally bump into it on your way to the kitchen in the dark of the night, causing irreparable damage.
  3. Load it in your van and head to the donation drop-off at the thrift store, praying for strength and grace all the way. Later, you explain to your mother that it just wasn’t working for you and bite your tongue when she chastises you for getting rid of a family heirloom.
  4. Let your husband chop it up into kindling and burn it in the fireplace. He’s wanted to do that since it came into the house anyway.







What’s your choice? Is there another option?


(On the blog, we’ll be discussing stuff for the next couple of days. Tomorrow is a tongue-in-cheek list of ten things to get rid of when you clean out, and Wednesday is a follow-up about love and relationships and Uncle Elmer’s curio cabinet.)




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12 comments:

  1. I am very adamant about not allowing our home to be filled with "heirlooms" that are neither useful or beautiful. (And I've had plenty of experience--my clan had a LOT of stuff!) I have been very honest with my parents about this, and encouraged them to consider selling these items and providing for their retirement, or gifting the items to a friend who would actually enjoy them. Just my notion, though. :)

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    1. That's an excellent option, Angie -- sell and then save the money for retirement. But I doubt Uncle Elmer's curio cabinet would bring in much cash!

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  2. I would offer it back to the person who gave it. If they didn't want it, I would offer it to the next closest family members. After that, it would be either at the curb for the junkers or off to the neighborhood relief thrift store. :-)

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    1. Wise words, Stephanie, although an offer back probably wouldn't be received well. But who said life and relationships would be easy anyway? Thanks for commenting!

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  3. I've written posts about this on my blog as well, when I was writing my decluttering series. I think it depends greatly upon the relationship with the family as well. We strive for no clutter, and everything needs to be useful in our home since it's quite small (around 800-900 square feet and we moved from a 1600+ square feet double wide!).

    However, I'm not a decorator and we're on a budget, so if it were useful, then I would use it regardless of if it were eye-pleasing or not. But, if it was just taking up space then I would probably find a tactful way to remind my mother of my lack of space, and our desire for simplicity, and ask if she'd like to make room for it in her home or pass it on for another relative to enjoy.

    My husband's family is not usually so understanding though, so that would be a tougher situation.

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    1. Thanks for your input, Crystal. I always enjoy your comments! It seems that so many of life's decisions depend on who's involved. Keeps us on our toes!

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  4. Ours is a game storage cabinet. It also stores school/office supplies. Threw a couple pictures on a shelf along with a candle. Basket on top for mail. Works well for us.

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    1. Sounds like you found a great solution. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Oh I would probably attempt to kindly offer it to other family members, if no one took it, off to the donation center. Then if a big deal was made of it, I could simply say, "well you did not want it either!" ....I mean it's the truth, right? I tend to not be very sensitive in these types of situations though...
    Thanks for linking up with WIP!

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    1. I love your honesty, Mary Beth. You're right -- it is the truth. I don't think you would be insensitive, but some people just don't receive the truth very well. It's a difficult situation, hence the Q4U! Thanks for commenting and for the link-up.

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  6. Perhaps use it in the yard as a unique planter or in the garage for storage? Otherwise, get rid of it.

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    1. It's been in the garage for a while, but I finally figured out to use it as a bookshelf for older books. Hadn't thought of a planter. Great idea, Val!

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