In 1997, I purchased a beautifully hand embroidered tablecloth and matching napkins overseas. It is made of fine white cloth and took a beautiful lady around 100 hours to hand stitch the intricate patterns from her wicker chair high in the mountains of Cyprus. It was made with love and she carefully packaged it up for me to take home. At the time I purchased it for my mum who always hosted our family Christmas lunch. The baton, and the tablecloth, was passed to me about 10 years ago and I truly love hosting Christmas as I love the whole planning process and the cooking. But when it comes to that tablecloth that is white, over 2 metres in length and wrinkles if you look at it the wrong way, that is a very different story. And heaven help the person that spills something on it during lunch….thankfully they can’t hear what I am yelling under my breath!
I hate ironing and avoid it wherever possible. You will never see a pure linen shirt in my wardrobe because if I go to the effort of ironing a shirt I want it to look ironed for more than five minutes!
Anyway, back on track. I will continue to use that tablecloth and will continue to groan about washing and ironing it, but it has become part of our Christmas story. That said, only the tablecloth has remained and it is now paired with some cute christmassy disposable paper serviettes!
So how do we decide what stays and what goes?
Revisit the criteria you created during Week 1 of our challenge to assist you in making decisions about your table linen and give yourself a limit.
Consider your lifestyle and ask yourself the following questions:
- When was the last time (other than Christmas lunch) that you set the table with your finest linens?
- How many Christmas tablecloths do you really need for your one dining table and one Christmas dinner?
- Do you love washing and ironing the tablecloth and napkins that you reserve for special occasions or does the thought of that make you think twice or even three times about using it at all?
- Have you changed the shape or size of your table but hung onto the linens?
- Do you have a couple of solid colours or simple patterns that can fit with your tablescape or theme for special occasions?
What do I do with the keepers?
Rotate through them so they are all used and don’t have too high a stack so they all come tumbling over when you want the green one 3 from the bottom for tonight’s dinner party!
If you have side board or buffet unit next to your dining table, assign a drawer or two for your table linen. That means that they have a home where they are used and are conveniently at hand when you need them.
What do I do with the ones that no longer have a purpose for me?
- Sell or Swap:
o Swap with your friends or family.
o Facebook Marketplace
o Garage Sale
- Donate options:
o Charity shops such as the Salvos or Vinnies
o Green Shed (Mitchell or Mugga Lane)
o GIVIT (check what is needed in your area right now)
o Your local community organisation or church – they may like some for community morning teas and events.
If they are well worn, have holes or stains etc. consider using them as rags before you place them in the bin.
Some suggestions for future purchases
If you are in need of a new tablecloth in the future, select neutral tones that will meet your needs across multiple events. For example, I have a red (suitable for everyday, birthdays and even Christmas), a blue (again, multi-purpose), a white, and a floral. This seems to work well for me and covers all of our standard events. I also have the special Christmas cloth and a couple of small tablecloths that have sentimental value that I use on occasion.
The other important rule to remember is one-in, one-out. Once you have done all of this hard word to declutter, we want to maintain it.
How did you go? Feel free to share your successes, challenges and tips on our Facebook page.