The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Sharon at Mom of 6.
For those of us devoting to de-cluttering on a regular basis, we might feel that we have pared down the items that stock our kitchen drawers and cabinets to just the things we use every day. But if you are like me, you might walk into your kitchen one day and realize that it is stocked with far too many kiddie-type items like melamine plates that are non-breakable, plastic cups that were once picked up on a visit to an amusement park, and toddler spoons that change color when the food they touch is too hot… and we find ourselves wondering “When did it get like this?” And “Why is it still like this when my kids are long past their toddler years”?
At some point, the wedding china got stored away where it wouldn’t be broken, and by default wouldn’t be used. The nice matching flatware we once owned has become a smaller mis-matched set and is supplemented with basic pieces I’ve picked up at Target. And all of our glass “glassware” is stored way up high on a shelf I can’t reach which is why I keep using that cup that says “ESPN Wide World of Sports” on it. Were my cabinets cluttered and overstocked? No. But they also didn’t contain items that I loved and were proud to use at dinner time either. It was time to re-examine my kitchen basics and make some changes!
1. Use the Good Dishes
A few years ago, I attended a memorial service for a co-worker’s sister who had passed away unexpectedly in her early 30’s. This woman had two young children and a loving husband, and I remember my co-worker telling me that her sister had just that past weekend made a holiday dinner and had served it on her “good wedding dishes”, using them for the first time ever, even though she had been married for more than 5 years. And I remember my co-worker, in all of her grief, looking me in the eye and telling me “Don’t wait to use your good dishes.”
And yet- when the kids arrived I (of course!) put my wedding china away for safe keeping. But my kids are at the point now where they aren’t any more likely to break these dishes than I am, so it’s time to start using them!
However, they are still a bit too fragile for the every day- and I know that if I am loading and unloading them in the dishwasher constantly- they will get chipped. So what I decided to do was to invest in a set of inexpensive plain white dishes– the kind that are used by catering businesses. They are beautiful- fit every occasion, and if they are ever broken or chipped….. oh well.
And the kids old melamine plates that served us well for so many years? They have been donated. Hopefully another family will feed their young kids on them now!
2. Have Enough of the Right Glasses
A few weeks ago I realized that one of the reasons I needed to run the dishwasher so often is that we were always out of glasses! Yes- with 6 kids in the house I preach quite often that they should re-use the same glass all day long and just put it into the dishwasher after dinner… but somehow that NEVER happens. And then dinner rolls around, and I realize that I actually need to wash glasses in order to be able to serve dinner! Noooooooo!
So I decided a to buy a few sets of inexpensive glassware at the store to build our supply. And to create room for them in our cabinet, I gathered up all of those plastic cups that we have accumulated for free over the years, narrowed down our collection to only a dozen of these cups, and moved them onto a higher shelf for now. I’ll get them down and we’ll use them during the summer when kids take glasses outside…. but for now- I am enjoying using our beautiful new glasses.
3. There’s More Wiggle Room with Flatware
I am not sure exactly what happens to our spoons and forks… but somehow the supply dwindles each year. There have been those times that they kids have dropped them while dining outside and they have fallen through the slats of the deck… but other than that- where do they go? Off with the missing socks from the laundry? Hmmm….
I believe that if you stick with a super-basic style of flatware (I hesitate to call it a pattern, because really- I look for ones with almost no pattern), it doesn’t matter if the flatware matches each other perfectly when the table is set with plates and glasses that match one another. So I will purchase a pack of a dozen spoons in a basic style and add it to the kitchen drawer. Much better than running out at mealtime!
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What’s the state of your kitchen basics these days? Do you love what you own or do you cringe when guests come to dinner? Is it time to re-examine your kitchen basics?
If you get a chance, I hope you’ll stop by to see me at MomOf6 – a place where I write about organizing your home, using a family calendar, creating household routines, hosting at-home birthday parties, and making meals that kids will actually eat!