My Mom always taught my sister and me to take care of our things. Her oft made statements included, “Keep them looking new,” “Once you wash that dress it won’t look as good as it did when you bought it, “Take your nice clothes off before you ruin them.”
My thirty year old pots and pans look brand new. My plates, flatware, etc. are pristine. My containers of makeup look good til the very end. I can’t help myself! It was instilled in me.
Now, my Aunt Pinkie gave a very unusual gift to me when I got my first house. She mailed a box of rags to me. I scavenged some pretty cool chenille fabric for shabby chic pillows, but the worn out wash clothes, towels and other fabrics were a bit of a mystery. Then I had my first catastrophe…a brand new bottle of Pace Picante Sauce hit my saltillo tile floor. I had a nasty, tomatoey mess that was sure to stain my new kitchen towels. In steps Aunt Pinkie’s gift to save the day.
Over the past twenty years of owning those rags, I have used them for tons of clean ups, but also things like packing material, dog towels, shoe cleaners, car cleaners, etc. I keep a large drawer of rags of all types and sizes. If one gets ruined, it gets tossed. Soon a worn out kitchen dishcloth or towel will replace it. My household will always include a collection of rags at the ready.
Aunt Pinkie was an amazing homemaker (although she worked outside the house as a teacher). Her own home was clean and comfortable. She always had a fresh-made treat on hand. She sewed, did crafts, and enjoyed life. She gave me my first sewing machine, which had been a present she received for her wedding.
I should have known that if Aunt Pinkie gave me something for my house, it would be the best, most indispensable gift. She was and is my home keeping inspiration. She, along her sister, my Aunt Eva, and my Grandma Price, greatly influenced my love of cooking.
I am not advocating that you give a box of rags as a housewarming or bridal gift, but I am advocating that you keep a collection handy for your next cleaning emergency. Make sure your family knows where and what they are so that your nice kitchen and bathroom linens are kept in perfect, like new condition!