What to Do with the Silver


Since I’m the only granddaughter my recently deceased grandma had, she had been planning on passing her silver to me for years and decades – pretty much since I was born. I’d known about this kind of peripherally, but it was still a surprise when mom mentioned it to me when we went out for the funeral. Then she surprised me more by saying I wasn’t obligated to take it. I could chose something else instead.

My initial inclination was to do just that. But then I talked it over with my wife and we went down all the pros and cons and really figured out why we didn’t want the silver – then we why did. Not just because grandma had wanted me to have it – although that was a big reason – but because we wanted to use it, and to have something to pass on ourselves decades down the line.

We are not Stuff people. We routinely purge our belongings and have only kept a few things of sentimental value over the years, although the chances of those surviving the next move are small. I don’t believe in Stuff – it actually makes me really uncomfortable – but for some reason the silver struck a chord. It would just be nice to have something from the family that we could say this belonged to your great-grandmother and that will last for years and years and be useful, too.

That was the other important thing: we wouldn’t allow the silver to be shoved to the back of a closet and forgotten. I’m not sure how to actually make this work aside from striving to use them once a week or more. I’m hoping they will remind the both of us to sit down and eat a proper meal together more often – something we have sadly neglected in the last few years.

According to the internet, using silver regularly keeps the tarnish away, too. I’ll be interested to see if this is true.

But first! We must actually de-tarnish them. Also according to the internet, the easiest way to do so is as follows:

Gather some aluminum, be it foil or a pan
If foil, line the bottom of a pan or sink with it
Sprinkle baking soda and salt, 1-2tbsp of each, across the foil or pan
Fill pan/sink with really hot water – I used a mixture of boiling and hot tap water
Let sit for 5-15min
Rub dry/clean with a clean cloth that you don’t mind getting tarnish all over


Some of the pieces were more tarnished than others, so some needed five minutes while others I had in the bath for a full half hour. I don’t think leaving them in longer would have hurt, but I didn’t want to risk it.

And this is how they turned out:


So shiny! Especially that one third in from the right.

Now we just have to figure out how to store them… I don’t think I’m ready to switch out our stainless in the cutlery drawer. But where?

If you have silver, inherited or otherwise, what do you do with it?



Filed under happy things, helpful tips

7 responses to “What to Do with the Silver

  1. Well, mine was silver plate but we use it every day~.

  2. I inherited my grandmother’s silver, too. She kept hers in a small wooden chest made just for keeping silver. I hardly ever use it (only when I use our good china) but the chest works wonders to keep tarnish away. It’s something a bit like this: http://www.amazon.com/Reed-Barton-Bristol-Flatware-Chest/dp/B0006LSCIA

  3. I inherited silver plate and it’s in a box at my mom’s house. We use it occasionally when she has big family dinners. I also inherited my grandma’s china, and it has been in a box (also at my mom’s house) for about 10 years. It’s very floral and colorful, but I actually really love it. I’m determined to start using it more now that we’re (mostly) living in Colorado. I’ve never wanted to risk moving it to another state! Your polished pieces look fantastic! I hope that you enjoy putting them to use!

  4. My grandmother also gave me her silver when she downsized to her townhouse. My mom bought me yardage of silver cloth and I made pocket-rolls for the silverware… where it lives rolled up in the bottom of a drawer, as yet unused. I guess I think of it as something I’ll do someday, when I’m a real grownup. Maybe I should let the Bear (almost two years old now) polish it for me — I bet she’d love that.

  5. If its for use everyday, just store it as you would store cutlery!

    I think the fact that your Grandmother wanted you to have this is gorgeous. Even if you are not ‘stuff’ peeps, the history behind the silver that is unique to you and your predecessors makes it special… 🙂

  6. Fat Girl Dancing

    Enjoy your new silver!! 🙂

    I’ve got an incomplete set of fancy dishes from my great-great aunt that has totally been in the “back of the closet and forgotten” realm, moved all the way to Arizona and back, not sure what to do with it.

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