We’re going to mix things up a little today. Let me introduce Claire Tompkins of Clutter Coach. Claire has graciously agreed to write a guest post about how to organize your fabulous and useful vintage silver collection.
Any photos suggesting a less-than-optimal organizational system should be attributed to me. I have been looking for an elegant and functional solution to this problem myself.
Keep Your Vintage Silver Handy
An organizing client once asked me, “why can’t all my drawers have those silverware containers inside so I can put the spoon-shaped things in the spoon section, the forky things in the fork section and the knives in the knife-shaped section?”
Life would be so much easier!
What he wanted was to have a foolproof way to put things away. A dead simple way, so that he wouldn’t have to spend a lot of time on it and would hardly have to think about it.
Before you start devising your silver organizing system…
Sort your pieces by type and purpose instead of by set. Why? This is how you discover that you have three martini spoons when you thought you only had one.
Now, I’m not saying that you don’t want three of them.
If you’re a collector, you’ll treasure and appreciate the differences between them. However, it might be that you just forgot you had three. Maybe one came from Aunt Liz along with five other boxes of heirlooms and it got lost in the shuffle. One might be a wedding gift you never got around to returning (oops!)
The good news is that if you decide you only want one of those martini spoons, you can sell the others and buy some pieces that you really do want! Another good reason is to create your own personal inventory of silver. It’s useful if you are completing a collection and for insurance records as well.
Okay, on to organizing it.
Here’s a basic tenet of organizing your stuff: have a place for everything that makes sense and is as easy as possible to use, so that you actually put things away. It makes sense to put things you use a lot in places that are close by and handy. Conversely, items that are seldom used can go on the top shelf or in the back of a cabinet.
If you take Silver Magpies’ advice, you’ll clean your everyday silver in the dishwasher every day and using it more, so you’ll want to store it close at hand.
For some, this means the cabinet closest to the dishwasher; just unload and stack. Others prefer keeping items close to where they’ll be used, such as a dining room sideboard. Choose any storage spot that’s along your meal service path and where other meal service items are already living.
You may have special pieces that you only bring out for the holidays.
Those make more sense to store in spots that are hard to get to. This is a great way to make use of odd, out of the way locations such as the back of the cabinet above your head. If you need a ladder and long arms to get to it, that’s the right spot. I worked with a couple who were avid collectors and they devised a clever way to make space where there had been none. They built a narrow shelf that ran along the wall about 10 inches below the ceiling and outfitted it with a library ladder on wheels. This could be a great way to display pieces that you rarely use but love to look at.
If you have a large collection and not enough display space, try the Smithsonian technique.
Museums keep the majority of their collections in storage and rotate them into the public areas for exhibits. You can do that too. Make a seasonal trek to your attic and pick out a new selection of goodies to flaunt. It’s a fun way to redecorate and you get to appreciate your things anew when you haven’t seen them for awhile.
Hi, I’m Claire Tompkins and I help people manage their possessions and their time so they have more time and energy to enjoy life. Organizing doesn’t have to be complicated and laborious. A little bit can go a long way. If your finding life a little overwhelming, try my brain dump service. For the next few weeks, I’m giving away a limited number of sessions. Read more on my blog
Read my blog here: www.cluttercoachblog.com
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Home and office organizer
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Silver is for more than just special occasions, make Every Day Best