How many plates do I need?

by | Aug 6, 2020 | CCFT W3, Kitchen, Organisation | 0 comments

As a professional organiser and declutter coach, a common question I get is “How much of X do I need to keep?” This will be different for different families but the important thing to “Stop, focus and notice” how you use things.

Stop, Focus, Notice

Let’s use crockery as an example. How many plates, bowls and side plates does a family need?
We stopped and focused and asked ourselves these questions:

  • How many people are in our family?
  • How often do more than our family eat in our home?
  • How often do we want to wash our dishes?

The answers for our family are: there are four people, 95% of the time it’s just the four of us (or less) home to have a meal and we aim to wash the dishes in the dishwasher once a day.

What did we notice?

No More Plastic

The first way we reduced our crockery was getting rid of the plastic bowls and plates. Our children are eight and six years old. They no longer need to use plastic bowls and plates and they were overflowing out of our crockery drawer. About 18 months ago we got rid of our plastic crockery and our children eat off of the same plates and bowls that we do.

Our children are responsible enough to understand that bowls will break if they drop them. We chose to get the Ikea OFTAST chip resistant crockery. You can purchase the pieces separately if we need to replace any due to accidental breakages. We have the 25cm plates, 15cm bowls and 19cm side plates which are all only 70 cents each.

The dishwasher was over flowing with crockery

We like to have friends over for dinner so we purchased 20 plates, 20 bowls, 20 side plates. We used to keep all of them in the crockery drawer. Unfortunately this would lead to us getting lazy. We would keep using more bowls without doing the dishes. Then we would have 20 plates and bowls to wash that wouldn’t fit in the dishwasher so they would pile up on the sink, looking messy and we would argue over who had to wash them.

New Strategy

Our new strategy is that we only keep 8 plates, 8 bowls and 8 side plates in our crockery drawer. That should get us through breakfast, lunch and tea for our family of four most days. Yes, some days we might need to quickly wash a plate before dinner but I’d much prefer to wash one plate just before I serve tea than have 20 dirty ones piled up. We still have the other 12 plates for when guests visit but we store them in a cupboard in the carport. They are there when we need them but not accessible everyday, because they don’t need to be.

How many ceramic and plastic plates do you have in your cupboard?

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