Five Tips for Filling Your Cupboards with Character

It was only four years ago that I found myself adding matching plate after matching mug to my wedding registry, with not a care as to how I would feel about my collection years later. It actually only took me about a year of wedded bliss to become completely bored of my lackluster dishes and glassware that filled the insides of my cabinets and populated my table at dinner parties. I felt torn between the desire to start collecting a more interesting collection of housewares, and the obligation to cherish and adore the gifts from friends and family on our wedding day.

I finally got over my angst about hurting the feelings of family members and my guilt over frivolously replacing dishes that were "perfectly fine." So here we are, four years later, and finally happy with our cupboards fill of unique screen-printed drinking glasses, folk designed plates, and colorful mugs. I've found the hunt for a varied housewares collection to be much more fulfilling than the blasé collection I started with at day one. And a nice little bonus? We don't have to guess whose mug is whose, because each one is unique.

Here are some tips for embarking on your own housewares collecting adventure:

  • Don't be afraid to get rid of your current collection! Starting from scratch can be quite refreshing, and there's always somewhere you can donate your old housewares — or even sell them.
  • Be sure not to rush yourself. If you decide you want all new dishes and glasses, hang on to your old ones until you've collected new things you love.
  • Be picky! This is your dream collection. Don't just buy something because it's on clearance or because it's a steal at the thrift store. Think to yourself, "Tomorrow, will I regret not having purchased this?" If the answer is an honest "yes", then I would say, go for it!
  • Become a regular thrifter. I've found most of my new collection at local thrift stores. After I cleaned them vigorously, they made quite the charming addition to my quirky family of dishes. Also, if I find something new that I can't live without, it's not difficult to relinquish the inexpensive older items to make room for the new ones.
  • Don't forget online resources! I love searching eBay, Etsy, and Craigslist for unique items. It can be quite an addicting and time-sucking activity, however, so fine-tuning your search is a good way to go.


Images: Amanda Johnson