Day 92: China – What To Sell And What To Keep

9,200 things gone, only 800 to go

Was it me, who, just a few weeks ago, complained that I was running out of things to declutter? Whose house was I in?

This house, the one I’m taking inventory in, is a different place altogether. Putting a number on things is like turning a light on cockroaches. The clutter comes scuttling out of every crack and corner.

Honestly, revisiting the kitchen feels like I’m decluttering there for the first time.  I found 31 things: candles, drinking glasses, mugs, pens, pencils, old forms etc. in the first few minutes of going through the cupboards.

I only made it as far as the overhead cupboards and the kid’s art cupboard before reaching my daily goal of 100 things and finding myself  in a stalemate with my china.

I have three china patterns, two sets (87 and 36 pieces) and one stack of 8 dinner plates. At the beginning of the project, I planned to sell one set and keep the other but, today, I can’t remember which was which. That should be a clue to just how essential any of it is.

I use several pieces of the 87 piece set at Christmas so I decided to keep it but (a quick search on ebay revealed that) the set I don’t use is more valuable. Then I found that random stack of plates and threw in the towel.

This is where my china is now:

It was humbling putting it back in the cupboard. I’m not planning on keeping it all, I just couldn’t crack the code of what to keep and what to sell.

As usual, writing it down has cleared things up a bit. I really enjoy using a few pieces from each pattern. I think the key to my happiness might be to break up the sets.

“Don’t Do It!” I can hear the china collectors chanting from around the world.

Would you? Could you? Should I, break up a china pattern?

Here’s the kitchen inventory that I’ve completed so far:

China – I could open a store!

8 Royal Albert Moss Rose dinner plates

87 piece set P.T. Bavaria China – that’s right nearly enough to qualify for an entire decluttering day!

3 silver things – I’m not sure what they are, I’ll have to ask my mother

36 piece “blossom time” tea set

1 Royal Albert “Dundee Thistle” plate

Cupboard Above Coffee Maker

1 cleaning kit for the coffee maker

1 coffee maker manual

1 bodum

1 travel mug – I tossed 4 travel mug lids, I have no idea where the mugs went

12 everyday coffee mugs

2 special mugs for tea

Stationery Drawer

7 multi colour Sharpies

2 pencils

1 ball point pen

1 calligraphy pen

1 eraser

7 current school notices

1 clipboard

1 paper stack for notes

Kid’s Art Cupboard

thought I’d save you (and me) some numbers

Dinnerware Cupboard

Pattern #1 – Everyday

5 dinner plates

4 salad plates

4 cereal bowls

4 pasta dishes

Pattern #2 – Everyday

8 dinner plates

7 salad plates

8 pasta dishes

2 serving bowls

5 custard cups

Pattern #3 – Fancy

6 fancy mugs with saucers

4 fancy dessert bowls

4 fancy dessert plates

5 fancy dinner plates

2 tea pots – for entertaining

1 gravy boat

Glasses Cupboard

3 beer glasses

3 beer mugs

2 small wine glasses

2 high ball glasses

1 glass shaker cup – for when I actually take my Greens drink

11 adult water glasses

6 child size drinking glasses

1 mortar and pestle

1 olive oil/balsamic vinegar bottle

1 shot glass full of toothpicks

1 cream

1 sugar

This cupboard makes me happy. To me, this is the perfect ratio of white space to things.

What I tossed today: 63 things from the kids art cupboard, 31 things from the kitchen cupboards. So I’m short a couple of things, I’ll make it up tomorrow with the china!


12 thoughts on “Day 92: China – What To Sell And What To Keep

  1. I think china breeds in cupboards… maybe not the good china, but certainly the novelty mugs, random saucers, plastic cups, glasses of non-useful sizes or shapes…

    Only 800 items to go? You’re amazing!

    I tried tackling my overgrown, this-house-sat-unused-for-seven-months yard using the 100 Weeds 100 Days principle, but I realized I’d have to yank at least 400 weeds per day to make any visible difference. Next time you come over, promise not to look at my back yard.

  2. I say separate or get rid of it all lol! I think I’m one of the biggest advocates against fancy dishes haha! We got a “nice” set for our wedding–a set from Target where you had to buy each piece separately. After only 4 years of marriage, we got rid of them. They were heavy, and I was sick of moving them house to house. Just think–would you want to pack & move all of these items? That’s what also helps me get rid of things–if I had to leave in a hurry, I want the least amount of stuff to pack up as possible!

    Good luck! I can’t wait to see what you decide to do!

  3. Can you come declutter my house next? It’s a tough call to decide between keeping the pattern you prefer vs. the pattern that has more value.

    Looking at your everyday dinnerware brought to mind an ongoing debate in our household. When we married almost two decades ago, we registered for and received an eight-piece set of Denby dinnerware including casserole dishes and all the accessories. As time has gone by, we’ve lost several plates and bowls to breakage, so we’re down to six plates and six bowls. The pattern is now discontinued and so we have to pay top dollar to buy replacement pieces (appx. $25/plate) and we could benefit from increasing from eight to 12 plates, bowls, etc. Hubby wants to sell it all off and buy a whole new set of less expensive dinnerware. I like what we have and think that it’s worth paying to have quality pieces, albeit fewer of them. So, the debate continues…

    • Hi Colleen,
      When I finish decluttering I’m going to need a good long nap. I’m sure I’ll get to your house if I ever wake up. Squirrel and I had the same dinnerware debate in reverse. He wanted the Denby. Oh, Squirrel! I enjoy using it though but I’m sure my pattern is also discontinued. Oh, Denby! Since starting the project, however, I am a total convert to buying fewer, better quality things. Good luck with the debate.

  4. China is hard. I know for some people it’s a sentimental thing, but I inherited a full set of BRAND NEW 30 year old china from my grannie and even though there is no sentimentality about it for me, I would feel bad letting it go at this point. It’s not taking up too much space though, so I don’t feel too bad about it. I think if you can break up the china and sell the pieces you don’t love individually, then go for it. If it were me, I wouldn’t feel like I had to own the entire set just to use and enjoy a few special pieces.

    ps. your cupboards look amazing. 🙂

    • Thanks Erin! It’s a tough call but, for some reason, owning the complete set keeps me from using the useful pieces. For some reason, it seems like a burden to get out the china. Maybe I’ll put the pieces I love into my regular rotation, give it six months, and see how I feel about getting rid of the remainders. Thanks for the comment! I think I’m getting closer to a solution.

  5. Wow that is a LOT of plates. I don’t think I’m normal as I don’t have any emotional attachment to plates (or any other crockery for that matter). I reduced my dinnerware to a 12 place service ie 12 dinner plates, 12 side plates and 12 bowls. I’ve also got a few extra bowls for pasta / rice / soup. There are always plenty of plates in the cupboard to use.
    You could always get a pad of little sticky notes and stick one on each plate. At the end of 12 months see which ones still have a sticky note stuck on and you’ll know which ones you haven’t used. If you haven’t used it even once in 12 months (not even for those special occasions) then let it go because do you REALLY love it?
    Now if I could just apply that logic to the contents of my loft then I’ll be laughing!

    Good luck, you are so close to your goal even I’ve got butterfiles for you.

    • Ohhh, I like that idea. I have fluorescent sticky notes. Hard to miss those! I took a day off inventory today to clean toilets and deal with paperwork. Glamourous, isn’t it? But I quite enjoyed getting back to the simple things. I’d have butterflies too if I wasn’t so exhausted. I’ll have to think of a really good way to celebrate on Day 100.

  6. I vote for breaking up the set and putting the things you love into active rotation. If they break, they break, and you’ll have gotten some real enjoyment out of them along the way.

    As for the reducing the value of a set by breaking it up – before you started this project, you weren’t going to sell any of your china, right? This project is a lifestyle one, not an income one, so do what you want to do. And if you make money along the way, awesome.

    • You are dead on. I’m going to get out my favourite pieces now! I offered it to my family and there were no takers, so I’ve let go of some of the guilt over breaking up the set. And you’re right the real money here is in the things I’m not buying because I never want to have to declutter them!

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