The hutch is the piece that we are keeping.
I really like this set, but it is a bit too big for the room it is in. I am sure we could probably get a bit of money for it if we tried to sell it, but it's one of those "antique" sets. It's one of those solid wood sets that was probably built about 80-100 years ago, but they're so common that they are not worth a lot of money unless they have an awesome back story. Mine has a lot of good memories attached to it (sharing holiday dinners with family and friends, not all of whom are still living), and I am sure it is infused with a lot of memories from its prior owners as well.
We bought a replacement table and chairs last year, and it has all been sitting in its boxes behind our current table, waiting for us to clear the old one out of the way. The new set has a sort of 50s styling to it - much more light and open than the current one. I am looking forward to the change.
While we occasionally made a point of clearing off the table, over the years the buffet had become a gathering spot for everything that otherwise didn't have a home. As we were cleaning it out on Thursday, we stumbled upon quite a number of "so that's where that thing has been hiding!" items. atara noted this morning that a lot of the things we found on and in the buffet were broken. We had put them aside with the intention of fixing them, and then forgotten them, either never having needed them again, or replacing them.
"Hey, they have left-handed, flanged widgets. Didn't we have one of these?"
"It broke or something, didn't it? We must have thrown it out..."
In the very bottom drawer was a full set of mismatched dishes and cutlery. We are keeping about half a dozen of them, but we are donating or giving away the rest. On the one hand I am a little sad about that because these are the dishes that mom and dad gave me when I moved out into my first basement suite. They are all stragglers and remains from various sets of dishes we used when I was growing up. Having said that, they've been sitting in a drawer since the turn of the century. Other than the gravy boat, we have not used any of them.
A couple of the bits of cutlery we kept were a butter knife and an odd little spoon. I am planning to use it as a sugar spoon, but I have no idea of its original purpose. I puzzled over it again this morning as I was washing the dishes; it looks like a soup spoon, but it's smaller than a teaspoon. I washed the strange spoon, and the butter knife and put them in the other sink next for rinsing along side our regular cutlery, and as I saw the two sets juxtaposed, I noticed that they were in better shape than our much newer set.
This is not to say that our newer set is in bad shape - in fact it is remarkably good shape for its age since it has only ever been hand-washed. Hand washing is much more gentle on your dishes than machine washing. If you like the patterns or lustre on your dishes, don't put them in an automatic dish washer.
Still, this spoon and knife are at least 35 years old, and probably approaching 40. I remember using this set when I was in my teens. They look new. It occurred to me that they probably languished in a drawer when mom and dad had them too, since they also didn't know what to do with them. Well, if we ever have friends over for dinner with our new dining room set, and if that dinner includes butter and tea, then I know where I we have a nice butter knife and sugar spoon.