Stuff II: The Saga Continues by Devon Miller-Duggan


I got rolling with the pre-renovation packing and may have packed away too much. We’ll see how I do for the next few months without my nice studio pottery serving bowls. I’m fairly sure I’ll be happy to see them come back out. But there are a number of difficult items—things that were given to me lovingly, but that are not “us,” “us” being not merely my husband and me, but also my daughter and son-in-law. We’re not completely integrating the spaces, but there is a bit of a move to make the common spaces more common, and the couple of pieces of Victoriana definitely do not belong. That’d be fine, if I weren’t a person to whom the visual mattered less (or who was less bougie, as my daughters delight in reminding me). I have a pretty high tolerance for mixing periods and styles—I sometimes even do it on purpose, either because it amuses me (every knob on my kitchen cabinets is different) or because I’ve always liked the way European households often manage to mix heritage pieces and Ikea sort of casually (so…because I still wish I lived in Europe?). But the beautiful Limoges bowl with flowers and gilt, which my aunt loved and gave me because she thought I’d love it as much as she did, while still quite beautiful, just sounds a vaguely plaintive note in my living room. So what to do with it? That’s where the whole “stuff” question gets really noisome. I have quite a few things that fit into the awkward category of Too-Nice-for-Goodwill-But-Tough-to-Unload. Millenials famously do not want “brown” furniture unless it’s mid-Century modern, and even that is, I gather, losing its cachet. So the Empire card table my husband came with but I never liked, my mother-in-law’s faux-Chippendale secretary (whose spot is about to be taken up with a new powder room), her Welsh cupboard (which will NOT go in the renovated kitchen)—what the heck do I do with it. Some of it I have listed on FB Marketplace (where I narrowly averted being scammed by someone who pretended to want the charming pine dresser that was in my childhood bedroom), but really, no one wants the Belleek cup-and-saucer my MIL brought back as her obligatory souvenir from Ireland, and even if I wanted to give it to Goodwill (my MIL was famously open in her dislike of my existence—but that’s what you get when your in-laws are basically a Eugene O’Neill play), it’s too delicate. And too pretty. I just don’t want it, and it turns out, neither does my husband. If you do (it’s the scallop-shell pattern), feel free to let me know—I’ll pack it right up and put it in the USPS to you. Ditto the Belleek creamer and sugar bowl (odd pattern with Bacchus’s head and many grapes). Seriously, let me know.

3 thoughts on “Stuff II: The Saga Continues by Devon Miller-Duggan

  1. Wonderful line! “my MIL was famously open in her dislike of my existence—but that’s what you get when your in-laws are basically a Eugene O’Neill play” but I’ll pass on the crockery, thanks.

  2. I very much enjoyed reading this; you expressed so many of my thoughts so well. Now, to figure out some solutions….

    • Oof, solutions. Our current “plan” is to put off dealing with the fancy stuff and have a super-fancy yard sale once we’ve recovered from the renovation phase. So we’ve shuffled the problem along for a bit longer. The furniture is going to Habitat Resale, who employ veterans to come fetch your stuff–it costs, but I’m okay with others having nice things cheap and very okay with vets getting work. Good luck with yours.

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