Noritake Arroyo China

I am getting rid of some things that are hard to get rid of, and I think it would help to tell you the stories of those things. Today I am getting rid of a large incomplete set of Noritake Arroyo china. It looks like this:

(image from

What I find charming about it is that from a distance it’s a fairly subdued pattern of light grey and darker grey squares on white, with a silver rim; but as you get closer, you can see there are little pictures in the squares. I saw this at Goodwill about twenty years ago, when Paul and I were living very close to the edge, money-wise.  I immediately had Feelings about the dishes and wanted them badly, but they were $100—absolutely out of the question. For months, MONTHS, every time I went to Goodwill (usually two or three times a week), I looked at them. They went down to $75. Then they went down to $50. And then they were $25 and I had $20 of birthday money to spend, and I bought them, and I was so happy.

And we have moved these dishes three times, and I have gradually added more pieces from eBay and other Goodwills—and we don’t use them. They have a silver rim so they can’t go through the dishwasher. We have my grandmother’s dishes for special occasions. We just don’t use them. It is time to let them go to someone else.

But this is a perfect example of wishing there was a way to find the person who wants them. There is definitely someone out there who collects Noritake Arroyo, which is hard to find, and would TREASURE my hodgepodge set as an addition to their own set. There IS! But where? And how to get these to them? Selling is a great way to unite searchers with treasures, but it’s a huge pain: describing items accurately, taking pictures, posting auctions—UG. And shipping would be a disaster: tremendously expensive, a tremendous hassle, and very likely to end in breakage; I’m not willing to do it. Money from the sale is of near-zero interest to me, but I don’t want a lot of work and hassle and shipping expenses, either. I tried a local antiques consignment shop, figuring that was a nice compromise of low-hassle/low-money, but they were not interested.

So I’ve been holding on to them as if I think I will one day run into someone within 20 miles who loves these same dishes, and that’s just not going to happen, so I’m going to bring the box to Goodwill.

39 thoughts on “Noritake Arroyo China

  1. Kathy

    Since you love them would you consider just using them and running them through the dishwasher rather than giving them to Goodwill? At least they’d get used even if the silver wore off.

  2. Alyson

    If it makes a difference, my mom has lenox china with a silver rim and she’s put it through the dishwasher FOR YEARS. With soap, but you could do no soap and that would be much less abrasive. Clearly we of the comments aren’t helpful in the going to goodwill bit, at least thus far.

    They might be nice, too, for one of your children, you do have 5 and only 1 can get your grandmother’s stuff. Or, although you may be in the slump where you don’t know any of the right people BUT back in the day when i was single and wild and free I would lament that you move out on your own and no one gives you anything and then you get married and HAVE ALL THE STUFF but everyone wants to give it to you NOW. the short version is do you know someone recently setting up house (alone, with roommates, whatevs) or has been living alone for awhile and may continue that may appreciate nice dishes? I would have. I bet my still single at 60 cousin would have enjoyed someone thinking of her – hey, i have some nice dishes, unmarried lady who likely needs but will have to purchase because no one is going to give them to you, would you be interested? (Absolutely does not have to be a female person, however, 40 years ago when unmarried cousin was still unmarried no one would give fancy dishes to a man! Niw, anyone who hints they want to throw dinner parties is fair game.

    1. Libby

      There are brick and mortar stores that sell things on ebay FOR you. You just drop it off – they do the research to price it, they take the pictures and describe it, they take care of the nightmare of the packing and shipping! They take a percentage of the final sale price – the higher it is, the lower the percentage. I took in an incomplete set of dishes, and it took 4 months for them to sell (they just relist the 30 day buy-it-now auction) but it went to someone who collected that pattern, someone else made the effort, and I got some money! (Turns out mine were really collectable and sold for $800!)

  3. jen(melty)

    I love those. And I would just use the hell out of them because I enjoy them, and run them through the dishwasher and not care if the silver wears off.

    1. Squirrel Bait

      Agreed. Maybe it’s a lesson in putting something special out there in the world and allowing yourself to assume it will be found and appreciated by the right person. (Like perhaps the previous owner did when dropping those same dishes off at Goodwill twenty years ago!)

    2. emmegebe

      Seconding! I came here to say this exactly. I remind myself how delighted I’ve been to find treasures at a thrift store, and imagine someone else will be equally thrilled to come across my lovely-but-not-for-me-anymore donation.

      Also, I remind myself that moving out things that don’t suit me anymore makes room in my life for new pleasing things.

  4. Maria

    There is a FB group for Noritake collectors. You could just take a few pics with your phone and upload them to FB. And for shipping, I’m willing to pay a little more to take fragile items to a shipping place and have them do the work. Most offer insurance and I also like supporting a small local business.

    I do love the story of how you came to have your set though; it was totally meant to be for you to have the set!

    1. Anna

      Also, do you know about Replacements, Inc? They collect and sell all kinds of china, including this pattern.
      I second the idea of going to a shipping place. They should have a box called a dishpack, which is just what it sounds like. You (or they) use it to pack dishes.

      Or, stick to your guns and take them to Goodwill. When I see sets of china at my favorite thrift store it pleases me greatly to think of someone being able to set a pretty table inexpensively.

      1. Libby

        No one I know has *ever* heard back from after emailing about selling to them!

        1. Nuclear Kitty

          I’ve sold to them multiple times, you can also call and have them run a check on the pattern over the phone. If it isn’t in demand, it’s worth squat, but you never know.

          (Caveat: I live close enough to drop the items off if their price is worth it.)

          1. yasmara

            I’ve had dishes in my dining room for almost a year to sell to them…I actually tried last Fall/Winter & they said it was too close to the holidays & they weren’t accepting anything. This is a good reminder to get my butt in gear & sell to them this summer (we live 90 minutes away). Also, waving from NC @NuclearKitty!

  5. Tessie

    I love the idea of sharing the story of items before giving them away. I would happily subscribe to an entire blog on that topic.

  6. Jessemy

    Way to go decluttering!

    Once, I took a photo of a butcher block I’d gotten attached to. My dad had written a message on the bottom with a wood burner. It was much easier to pass it along after I had honored his thoughtfulness.

    1. Jessemy

      I just remember where I got the idea to acknowledge something before throwing it away/giving it away. It was an interview with Jane Lynch. She throws away all her cards/correspondence, but first she kisses it and says thank you. Or something like that. A few years later, I read KonMari and she suggested thanking the item. Same idea!

      This post reminds me of those techniques!

  7. Gigi

    I third running them through the dishwasher. My nice dishes have a silver rim and I ALWAYS run them through the dishwasher. If you love them, use them. But if you aren’t going to use them, give them away.

  8. Suzanne

    I empathize SO HARD with this. The giving away of a treasured thing — even if it is the right thing to do — is so difficult.

    But! I am thinking about the 20-Years-Ago-Swistle, and thinking about the young woman who right now — right this very second — is searching and searching for The Right China at a good price. And just think how happy she will be to see your china show up at Goodwill!!

    Oh!! And perhaps, if she doesn’t use them so much they wear right to pieces, perhaps she will go through this same parting-with-a-beloved-possession experience in 20 years, and HER future doppelgänger will be so delighted to find them in Goodwill THEN!

    Okay, I felt very sad whilst reading the post but now, thinking about the future of Joy Giving these dishes will have, I feel comforted.

  9. Salome Ellen

    Have you heard of They buy and sell used and retired silver and China. It’s worth a check; somebody may be looking for this!

  10. Alison

    I know those feels, Swistle. I don’t have much that’s worth much in resale, and I always give stuff to thrift stores or friends. I would do so probably even if something is maybe worth a bit. It’s more
    Important that it’s Out Of My House than to deal with the sale. I see that on declutter boards too, like Reddit’s Declutter sub where people feel guilty for not reselling but we shouldn’t. It’s a balance of our own time + anxiety + stress vs. potential gain. No one can make that decision for another person. Or give the potential valuable item to another person and let them try to make some money off it. :)

    Good decluttering story! I would happily hear 1000 of these kinds of stories.

    PS: I saw something, maybe on declutter on reddit or somewhere else, about not holding onto things for the life you wish you had. It was incredible. I could easily see myself having held onto plates like this wanting to be a Fancy Plate Person or a Dinner Party Having Person. But I’m not That Person, and if I ever wanted to be That Person, my regular dishes would be just fine for entertaining! Seriously, decluttering is the best.

    PPS: Did you see the article about parents’ and grandparents’ generations of STUFF that kids and grandkids don’t want? It’s not just a few pieces, like I have some hand me down furniture I still use and love. It’s like houses and storage units worth of stuff that’s mostly not worth money anymore, like china and collectibles and furniture. And the decline in estate liquidation and such. I’ll try to post the link! EXCELLENT decluttering motivation, which I am always interested in.

      1. Nuclear Kitty

        I loved that article when I read it as well, I’ve been helping my parents clean out to downsize, and it’s nice to know I’m not alone. We have an enormous generation of baby boomer houses to declutter and nobody wants it. The amazing amount of THINGS laying around is infuriating. I hope I don’t saddle my children when such a job.
        And no, I don’t want the stuff either.

        sigh, sorry, it’s just overwhelming.

        1. yasmara

          My parents have told us (me + 2 brothers) that they will basically never downsize. One brother lives in FL. The other brother is local to my parents (MN) but completely unequipped emotionally or practically for the task of going through my parents’ house/stuff. They are relatively young (in their 60’s) and in relatively good health, but I am already dreading this task & I know it will fall on me as the oldest & only daughter.

          1. WL

            My MIL once sent a long list of items to her 2 children and me (the DIL). We were to go through this list and put initials on what we wanted. There was exactly one piece of furniture that both SIL and I wanted….that’s it (and she can have it, I’m flexible like that!) We just don’t want or need stuff. And I am NOT sentimental. MIL lives in a very large home. I already dread the day.

  11. Celeste

    Take it to Goodwill with a free heart. It will be discovered by someone who never knew it was exactly what she wanted all this time.

  12. michelleJ

    Oh I KNOW. I can not care about getting money for something either, but still want to know that a Something had gone to the Right Person, and it can be hard to even trust that agoodwill will provide the Right Connection. You just want to know for yourself.
    Looking forward to either an update or a second item being honored!

  13. juliloquy

    I wonder why so many commentors are trying to talk you out of the decision you have made. Goodwill is an awesome choice for this set. Congratulations!

    1. Tracy

      I immediately thought of this as a possible reason to dissuade from donating to goodwill…

      (scroll down to see a beautiful set of dishes dumpster-bound outside of a Goodwill store).

      This is hopefully a very atypical occurrence! But if your local Goodwill is stuffed to the gills, maybe choose another location for this donation.

      I’m personally fine with whatever decision Swistle makes!

  14. Ruby

    Whenever I have to donate something I really loved, I find it helpful to think of all the different scenarios in which people might end up finding and loving it. Maybe a newlywed couple who wanted Nice China for their new home but didn’t think they’d be able to afford a brand-new set. Maybe someone whose parents had the same set when they were growing up, so they feel nostalgic about it. Maybe someone just like you who will see it at the store and fall in love with the pattern! It’s a fun mental exercise, at least.

  15. Melanie

    You will earn some money if you give them to Goodwill and itemize deductions. I would make a list of the items, donate them, get prices from ebay (for sold items – not listed ones), total it up and write it off.

    Or – I would use them. I put everything in the dishwasher. My motto with kitchenware is – only the strong survive. If you can’t make it through the dishwasher, then you are dead to me and might as well go out on the battlefield.

    I would NOT save them for the kids – unless you would give them to a college-bound kid to use in an apartment. That seems like it would be in a few years and seems like a reasonable time to hold onto them.

  16. Jenny

    Our local symphony has an “upscale resale” fundraiser where you can give your china/ crystal/ silver/ Rembrandt/ whatever and they sell it. If it doesn’t sell, they store it and try again the following year. I like this arrangement!

  17. girlonfire

    Do you have a network in your area? If you don’t care about getting money for them, you might try to post them on freecycle and someone who is interested will come pick them up! I do this all the time for things that I’m getting rid of because I’m too lazy to truck it to Goodwill. :)

  18. Lis

    I had some random China I didn’t want so I listed it on ebay specifying local pick-up only. Anyway someone paid me $40 for it because it was the same pattern his wife has been collecting for years and it was from the 1950s and he was happy and I was happy it went to a good home.

  19. Slim

    I’ve heard that what wears the metal decoration off china is not the dishwasher’s wash cycle, but its rinse cycle.

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