Contemporary Thrifting with Amy

Great Grandmother’s Dishes

cupThe line to get in the landfill is getting long. Great grandmother’s dish sets are in demand. Get out the shovels. A lot of things are coming around again, but maybe not as expected.

Easy to look around and conclude the obvious concerning thrifting. Thrifting is “in” now. Kitchen item quantity, availability and living conditions are determining thrift trend factors. China and boomers are also major factors.

In the early ’90s, China was at the door, came in and soon flooded the market with affordable items. Tired of your dishes, just buy more, discard the old. Recently visiting Goodwill, I was really shocked at the humungous amount of dinner plates stacked seemingly floor to ceiling all the way down the aisle. Shaking off the shock, I realized cookie jars were also in large supply, along with all kitchen items, and majority made in China.

The downsizing boomer has also been a quantity thrift factor for the past 15 years. The younger family members have little need or room for hand-me-downs, thus adding to thrift shop inventory.

Now for style and trend. The modern-midcentury influence leaned toward minimalist, hard-edge shapes and solid colors, where black and turquoise were good dancing partners. Today, we see a change toward textures and patterns as wallpaper and flowing curtains enter the scene.

As far as thrifting, I see purchases of single items, not sets. The big family formal gatherings on Sundays at the dinner table are much less frequent these days. Smaller and casual are more the norm.

Predictions for the next generation, let’s go. There’s a slam dunk here, totally unexpected. You thought I was joking about wanting great grandma’s dishes back from the landfill. Those frail, lightweight dishes can’t go in the dishwasher and are small for today’s use.

This vintage cup is from an English W.H. Grindley dish pattern called “Ivory.” I’m not a big woman, but I can’t even get my finger through the cup handle. To me, that’s pretty shocking. Very impractical compared to today’s big, heavy dinnerware.

Even more shocking was a survey response. When asking designers about next-generation kitchen trends, many said nostalgia.