How to Use ‘Sunday Best’ for Every Day

Dear Alison,

I have some beautiful things in my cupboard, often given to me as gifts, but I keep saving them ‘for a special occasion.’ These stay in my cupboards gathering dust while I use second rate versions of the same thing for every day. I find excuses why I shouldn’t use the good quality ones. This doesn’t seem right. I’ll be dead and I still won’t have used them! What to do?

A reader, Ohio, USA


My reply:

Ah yes! I have my nice set of heavy, good quality cutlery given to me as a wedding present. Comes out only rarely and I often think about replacing our everyday, mismatched set with them but haven’t so far. I did, about a year ago, grit my teeth and pull out the crystal glasses (also a wedding present) and we use those daily now. I told myself for years they would end up breaking so not to bother but so far, fingers crossed, no smashes. Every time I use those glasses, it makes me feel good. I love the thin, delicate glass, the way they ‘ting’ and sparkle when the light catches. I wonder why I didn’t bring them out earlier.

I’ve read how people explain why we do this as somehow subconsciously believing we don’t deserve good things. I think that’s possible but I also think it is due to several other things – anxiety, heritage and inertia. We worry these things will get damaged. Or we grew up with relatives who kept things for ‘best.’ The thing is, in those days, they had special days that were signified as days to get out the ‘best’ – clothes, dinner service, use the formal room. These days were regular, often weekly events, so the ‘best’ often got used. We don’t have lives like that anymore so our ‘best’ never comes out. And then there’s inertia. I don’t get my cutlery out because it’s an effort. It’s in a case that is difficult to open and all the cutlery clanks around and makes a noise. I need to get my act together and get it better organized. It’s easier to let things be and use our scruffy cutlery that is easily accessible in the drawer.

When I have brought out the good stuff to replace the everyday things, I’ve had to summon some energy. It wasn’t easy. Sometimes getting over our anxieties, out of a rut, needs a burst of effort and focus. But it’s generally worth it. And like my glasses makes me feel good far in excess of the effort it took me to use them every day in the first place.

Kind regards,


If you’d like to ask me a question, please email me alison at alisongolden dot com or fill in the form below. I’d be happy to help if I can!

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