I recently bought a lovely set of new linen with a gift certificate, but had no place to put it because the linen closet was full of old linen. Aside from several antiquated but still serviceable sets and a few newer ones I’d purchased over the years, I still had the lovely, 50-year-old, pink-striped percale blanket covers left over from a wedding set. The sheets and pillowcases had long since disintegrated and gone to Linen Heaven but the blanket covers were in perfect condition. With two new white sheets, they were as good as new.
I had three sets of Israeli linen that didn’t quite fit our wider American mattresses. I had a beautiful, green flowered set given to me by a daughter-in-law who doesn’t like green flowers. I do, although I did not like the wide ruffles on the pillowcases. They tickled my face and made me dream of mosquitos. I cut them off (but I haven’t yet shared that with my daughter-in-law) and voilà, another perfectly fine set of linen.
In short, I had a bulging linen closet and no place for new bedtime additions. So I mercilessly removed anything that wasn’t in perfect shape, or size, or to my liking, leaving only as many sets as I have beds. The closet was still full.
Then there’s the matter of vases. I have a long one, a short one, a crystal one, and a fluted one, but not one that’s the correct size and shape for my usual Shabbos flowers. So I end up using a water jug or juice jar, which does the job nicely. Once, while searching for an oversized vase for a particularly oversized, ornate bouquet of flowers my grandchildren had bought for a particularly hefty birthday, I went to see if my neighbor had something fitting. When she heard what I wanted, she ran to take down an absolutely superb, large blue-and-white porcelain Chinese vase.
“Take it,” she begged. “I have no room for it.”
Neither did I, but when she absolutely insisted, I took it anyway. It held my birthday bouquet for two weeks and was then set atop a tall hutch in a place of honor in the living room for all to see. I never used it again but wouldn’t dream of parting with it. It’s a treasure, both because of its giver and its beauty. But I still need a less ornate vase for more conventionally sized bouquets. It’s just that I have no more vase-space in my closets.
(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 630)
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