Saving the Good Towels

I am a saver.  I save money.  I save materials.  I save foods and containers and toys.  I re-use and re-purpose things as much as possible.  If I am given something nice, I save it rather than use it up.  I am one of those people who saves the good towels for guests.

I have two lovely towel sets in a rich pewter grey with Battenberg lace trim that are carefully folded and stored in a breathable bag in the back of my linen closet.  I don’t use them, because I want them to stay nice for guests that may come. Nevermind that I don’t invite anyone to come stay with me and that I don’t really have a guest room, nor an extra bed.

I have beautiful crystal wine glasses and champagne flutes to joyously toast with friends.  They’re safely tucked away in my curio cabinet.  I take them out just three to four times a year to wash them and put them back in the cabinet.  I don’t want to risk breaking one.  It doesn’t matter than I never have friends over for a drink.

I have sweaters and tops and shoes that collect more dust than compliments, waiting for the right special occasion.  They stay in the closet so they won’t get a snag or a stain or a scuff before the perfect moment to wear them.  It’s not important that I don’t go out anywhere.

What am I saving them for?  I know that the ideal circumstance will not come up, so why won’t I use and enjoy these items?  I’m not going to invite people to stay with me – I’m a terrible host.  I don’t ask friends over for drinks – my son is always here with me.  I won’t have a reason to wear a fancy outfit – I turn down invitation to everything.  So why not just use these items now?

This idea is counterintuitive for someone, like me, who claims to be frugal.  I have useable items of good quality, and yet they remain unused.  This is a waste of money.  Although many of the things I save were originally gifts, there is still a perceived value to them.  I saved a sweater for my son when he was young, waiting for the right event to put him in it.  It was an expensive sweater that I got from a second-hand store with the tags still on it.  I found it on just the right day, when there was an extra sale.  I scored a beautiful sweater for 87% off the retail price!  When I finally found the “right” occasion to put it on him, he had outgrown the sweater.  Is there any value in it at that point?

What is it that makes us save things for another time or another person?  Are we always waiting – hoping – for something better?  Are we waiting – hoping – for someone better?  Why do I continue to use the old towels that are fraying at the edges when I have new towels right next to them?  It would cost me nothing to wrap myself in their softness.  I sometimes drink my wine from an old jelly jar.  How much lovelier it could feel to hold that cut crystal with its resonant sound.  How long will I admire the delicate drape and dancing colors of the blouse in the back of my closet before I choose to wear it?

I don’t think the saving has much to do with other people or different times.  I believe it has more to do with devaluing ourselves.  It’s nice that I value my friends enough to want to share nice towels and fine crystal with them.  Why do I not value myself enough to allow the same luxuries?  Is everyone else more deserving than I?  At some point, we need to stop putting comparitive values on ourselves and look at the intrinsic value. 

Why do we not see that we deserve the good towels?

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