Some people think owning old items, especially those that aren’t family heirlooms, is creepy.
“Who knows who wore that slip?” (I guess if the slip was a dead relative’s it’d be creepy to some people regardless.)
“Some woman who’s probably dead used that tablecloth.”
My favorite is the fear of using old dishes and silverware because “Who knows where it’s been?”
I respond to such silliness by pointing out that the bras we try on at the store had someone else’s boobs in them, probably, also trying them on. If anyone has ever eaten out, or visited someone’s home, chances are that person has used dishes and forks that were in other people’s hands and mouths, maybe thousands of mouths. If you’ve slept in a hotel bed, it’s the same thing with the sheets and towels. At least when I bring a home an old pillowcase, I know I washed it before I used it.
That said, old things are weird, creepy, useful, purposeless (now anyway), and well-loved much of the time. They are, usually, well-made and beautiful in some respect. Even if I find an “ugly” table like this one,
that I don’t like the looks of, I know that it’s made of real wood, not particle board. It’s sturdy and will most likely survive after being hit by a tornado. For some people who are crafty, they may even see another life for this table, maybe like this.
Plus, items that are now seemingly useless can have a new life doing new things. I use a creamer and relish tray for my make-up. Ashtrays can hold anything: candy, paperclips, or earrings. I use a beautiful cookie jar for sewing notions. It could hold crayons, hair accessories, or be a flower vase. Most of us don’t use items like this for their original purposes anymore, but they can still be lovely additions in our homes.
Many people are taking old dishes and vases and making pretty bird-baths like this:
using just epoxy from a craft store and a metal pipe or wood stake (available at any hardware store).
Do those clip-on earrings hurt your ears so you never bother to look at them even though you think they’re pretty? Cut those nasty clips off with a pair of wire cutters and epoxy on posts (available at any craft store). You can also do this with pretty old buttons. You don’t have to be crafty to do this. Who cares if it’s messy on the back of the earring or button? No one’s going to see it!
In the coming columns, I’ll be posting notes on items I have in my home, clothes I wear/make/rehab that are old; DIY on reusing stuff you might find at a thrift store or a relative’s house; some tips about wearing old accessories if you have a modern wardrobe. I’ll also be explaining why some old things cost what they do and what went into making them. Maybe I’ll delve into why some items like hats, gloves and corsets went out of fashion, and who still wears them.