Two years ago, when Dapper Husband was only “Dapper Fiancé,” I was introduced to the idea of minimalism. Perhaps it was all in the timing. I had just started cohabitating with someone for the first time in my adult life. We combined two homes worth things into one. While we didn’t necessarily have a ton of possessions, we had more than we needed, used or loved. After stumbling upon the minimalist movement, I immediately started to declutter our new home.
Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom. —The Minimalists
However, there was a problem: we were about to get married and our very traditional family members would not be forgoing the time-honored gift giving practices associated with all the wedding events. The mere suggestion that they take the money they would spend on gifts and give it to a charity would probably be deemed offensive by at least half of them. In a way, when you refuse to accept gifts, you are robbing the person of the opportunity to give. Meanwhile, I was filled with the anxiety around the anticipation that my hard work decluttering was about to be rendered a net zero.
So what’s a budding minimalist to do?
It might come as no surprise, but dapper fiancé was not particularly concerned with the wedding registry. With his laissez faire attitude, it was an easy job convincing him to support my plan: we would only ask for nicer versions of things we already own. If we received any of them, we would responsibly find a new home for the old.
We concentrated on items in the kitchen. Instead of an entire kitchen set, perhaps a single good quality pot or pan to replace the non-stick version I had been using since I graduated college. We determined we needed about four and with each one being a generous gift unto itself that’s four people who now could pick something from our list.
With our small wedding (around 100 guests or less), we nearly finished off the list with dishes. We had been using the dishes I so proudly picked out when I got my first apartment. Unfortunately, there had been some growing pains: cracks, chips or just lost souls along the way. Plus, they got hot in the microwave! So, we picked a nice set of porcelain dinnerware. When the wedding was done, we had a completely new set of dishes.
Add in a few other odds and ends such as fluffy towels and cute storage baskets and we had a great registry. Which I define as:
- Items at every price point
- Easy to order
- All things we would actually use
Saying Good Bye
The final step in this process was saying good bye to the items being replaced. It would be easy to declare we should save the new dishes for guests or special occasions. Or the new towels to be left hanging in the guest bathroom visually showing off their soft, fluffy cotton without ever being touched.
I can’t just throw things away without feeling guilty, but it can be very rewarding when I find my gently used items a new home. Everything from the kitchen (all those pots, pans and dishes) was donated to the local women’s shelter. We took old towels to the animal shelter. Any other odds and ends ended up at Goodwill.
In case you have a guest list far longer than 100 or you are already in love with your dinnerware or cookware, I’ve put together this list of ideas for common things that can be upgraded around the home. It also makes a great starting place for holiday or birthday presents.
If you’ve found yourself the grateful recipient of other people’s generosity and yet, you shy away from the idea of owning everything, please leave a comment below and share how you managed.
I hope you have a beautiful day and thank you for visiting!