The Dish on Our Dishes

posted by Andrea | 06/20/2013

our dishes

Over the last few years, I’ve received numerous emails with questions about our dishes, serving pieces, tablecloths, etc. and how I store all these items in our kitchen.

A few of the more recent questions asked:

How many sets and types of dishes do you have and where do you store them? I see you have some of your dishes in a drawer, but just wondering where you store other dishes and serving pieces.

I know you like to purge, but you also like to entertain… so when you entertain, do you find yourself using your basic everyday dishes or do you have “special occasion dishes” such as appetizer plates, sherbet bowls, bar-ware, etc.?

How do you store your tablecloths, napkins, place-mats, and other “special occasion” pieces? Also, how many of these pieces do you have and how often do you use them?

These are all really good questions, and I responded to each of the emails individually – however, I started thinking that this topic might be a really good blog post too. After all, kitchens are a huge source of “what if I need it” clutter… and one of the main areas I’m asked about when working with clients.

Even in my own kitchen, it’s a constant maintenance game to prevent excess clutter from making it’s way into our space — I’m sure you can relate! So I’ve shared my answers to these questions below, but if you have more questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer :)

.

DISHES

I have 3 full sets of dishes (each of them is service for 12). I realize that might sound like a lot — but I really love dishes!

SET #1 = Every Day Dishes

Our every day dishes are completely white (big shocker) with a nice detail around the edge.

I purchased this set from JCPenny’s about 5 years ago — and I think the entire set (3 different size plates, 3 different size bowls, and coffee cups) was less than $50.

We LOVE theses dishes and they work well for any occasion because I can easily pair them with different colored napkins or other festive pieces for a totally different look. They also stack really nicely.

We keep our every day dishes in our “dish drawer” which is conveniently located right next to the dishwasher, right across from the refrigerator and sink, under the island within 3 steps of the kitchen table.

SET #2 = China

Our China was a wedding gift from my grandma. She wanted to give every grandchild a full set of China, crystal stemware, and sterling silver flatware.

So before we got married, I picked out the pattern I wanted (Noritake Stoneleigh) which is also plain white with a thin silver rim. I have all the serving pieces and “extras” and these pieces have really come in handy since I don’t have any serving pieces with our every day dishes.

I store our China in my red hutch — the white really pops against the red background — and I LOVE that we have this special gift from my grandma, who has since passed away.

We honestly  don’t use our China that often, but it’s definitely nice to have 2 sets of dishes for larger parties — or just when we want to make the table look a little fancier :) I don’t think white China can go out of style so someday, I hope to pass them down to my children or grandchildren.

SET #3 = Christmas Dishes

You’ll never believe where I got my Christmas dishes… or how much I paid for them!!

I got them 6 years ago, the week after Christmas, from Walgreens, for a grand total of $9.00 (for the entire 12 place settings!) They are simple white dishes with green/red Holly Berries around the rim.

I really like them, but I’ve contemplated just selling them because we really don’t need Christmas dishes. Even though we do a fair amount of entertaining around the holidays, my plain white every day dishes and plain white china look extremely festive if I pair them with a red table cloth and holiday napkins.

For now, we store our Christmas dishes in a paper box in the back corner of one of our kitchen cabinets. It’s easy enough to access when we want to haul the dishes out for the season, but not in the way the rest of the year.

We’ll see how long I hang onto them — but at the time, I just couldn’t resist the price!

.

SERVING PIECES

As I mentioned above, I don’t have any special serving pieces with our every day dishes or my Christmas dishes, but we do have several larger bowls and platters with our China — and since everything is white, we just use those if we need serving dishes.

When it’s just Dave and I, we don’t use serving pieces anyway (just scoop straight from the pan)! I also have a bunch of mixing bowls that I use daily for different kitchen tasks. Since some of them are quite colorful; I use these bowls if I need to bring food to a potluck or other group function. This way, I get 2 uses out of the same pieces!

I have 3 cake stands, a punch bowl, and about 5 decorative serving platters that I keep on the top shelf of our pantry (the punch bowl is in the basement right now). I honestly don’t use them very often, but since we don’t need that space for anything else right now, I’m just keeping them up there.

Other than this, we really don’t have much in the line of “serving pieces” because I can usually make do with something else if need be.

We also don’t have special “bar ware”. We do have a set of really nice wine glasses (from my Grandma for our wedding gift) but that’s it. We’re not big into fancy alcoholic drinks, and we’ve never had anyone complain about drinking something out of our every day glasses (or a plastic cup!)

.

TABLECLOTHS, NAPKINS, PLACE MATS, etc.

This is one area I used to struggle with — big time!

I was gifted a whole bunch of REALLY nice and really expensive tablecloths from a friend, just about a year after we were married. They were lovely, just my style, but way too big for our farm table (and still way too big for our current table).

I kept them and tried to use them numerous times, but they looked awful on our too-small table, and Dave doesn’t really like eating with a tablecloth anyway :)

I eventually sold or gave away almost all of them, keeping just a few of the smaller tablecloths. I have one for Christmas, and 2 more for “every day” but that’s it. I also got rid of all our place mats because we never, ever used them.

As for napkins, we almost always use cloth napkins (except when we’re eating something really messy).

We keep the cloth napkins in a wicker basket on top of the red hutch right next to our table. I also keep the table cloths in the top drawer of that cabinet.

OK, so I think that’s everything — at least for those commonly asked questions.

Thanks to a hefty 5-month-long kitchen renovation last year, we have a TON of extra storage space in our kitchen and dining area… so I’ve been able to justify keeping a few additional items, even if we don’t use them all the time. However, in our previous (and much smaller) kitchens, I was much more ruthless because we just didn’t have the space.

There’s nothing wrong with keeping things, as long as you have a place to put them — so keep that in mind as you decide what should and should not take up the prime real estate in your kitchen!

Do you have any other questions about our dishes, how we store kitchen items, or anything else in our kitchen? Leave them in the comments and I’ll answer as many as I can.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Filed under: HomeKitchensOrganizingStorage

 
 

35 comments

  1. Roxanne

    06/20/2013

    My husband was ruthless when we registered for our wedding- he didn’t want multiple sets of “fancy” and “everyday” dishes so we just got one set (service for 12) that can be dressed up or down with accessories and drink ware, depending on the occasion. Granted, that’s still mostly hypothetical since we haven’t been able to host more than 2 people at a time in our current (tiny) apartment :-)

    But here’s my question- where does everybody sit when they come to your house for a meal/gathering? Does your table expand to accommodate everybody?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Well, I guess that just depends on what the occasion is and how many people are over. Often, we just expand our table and sit in the dining area. If we have 10 or more people, we’ll bring extra chairs into the living room and sit in a circle with trays on our laps.

    If we have 20 or more, we’ll go outside… or if the weather isn’t cooperating, we’ll go to our outbuilding (a heating living area / extra garage) and eat out there. We have a refrigerator, microwave, and “kitchen supplies” out there too so it’s not a huge hassle to move the party outside.

    Our house isn’t huge, but it is pretty good for entertaining — which is one of the requirements we had when looking for a house a few years ago.

    [Reply]

  2. Harmony

    06/20/2013

    You mentioned your farm table and I just realized its not in your kitchen anymore! Did you get rid of it? I plan to get my husband to build us a table similar to it when we move someday. I love your farm table!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Our farm table has just been moved to our outbuilding — which has a family room and dining area on one side. I like the white table in our new kitchen because I think the stain of the dark wood floors and the slightly less dark wood table don’t look all that fabulous together. But yes, I still LOVE our farm table and I have no plans of getting rid of it any time soon!

    [Reply]

    Harmony Reply:

    That makes sense! The table you have in there looks wonderful. I’m glad the farm table still has a home in your home too. :)

    [Reply]

  3. Pat Bernard

    06/20/2013

    Dishes—-an addiction my Mother had.
    She had at least 6 full sets plus numerous single place settings she could not leave at the store……

    [Reply]

  4. Melissa

    06/20/2013

    Thanks for all the useful information! You mentioned that you don’t use placemats. Is your table wood? Do you use anything underneath your dishes?

    I don’t like placemats, but my table is wood so I feel like they’re necessary.

    I’d love your thoughts! Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    We have 2 solid wood tables and one painted wood table but I still never used placemats for plates. What are you concerned about – scratches or heat? If I bring extremely hot pans from the stove or oven to the table, I will put them on a hot pad — but that’s about it.

    [Reply]

    Melissa Reply:

    I’m more concerned about the water glasses on the table. So do you use coasters?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Nope — and I’ve never had an issue. We don’t use coasters on our all-wood tables in the living room either — but I guess that’s because I figure if they DO get “ruined” I can just sand them down a re-stain or re-paint them. But honestly, in the 7 years we’ve been married, we’ve never used placemats or coasters and we have had no issues.

    [Reply]

    Amanda Reply:

    My dining table, coffee table and end tables were all hand made by my uncle. He put some kind of finish on them and we never get rings on our wood. He told me he “aunt sally-proofed” them (his wife, who always ends up making rings on other pieces since she hates coasters). We don’t use table clothes except for special occasions. Werarely use pplacemats either. We just wipe up the table after dinner and its fine. The table is almost 20yrs old and was at my parents home previously, and it still looks as good as when my uncle built it.

    [Reply]

  5. Michelle

    06/20/2013

    I’ve recently moved to an “all white” dish theme (heads up for your future additional children .. if there’s only one colour of plate, there’s no fighting over who gets which one! lol!)

    Which leads me to my question … what does Nora eat off off?

    I started each of my four off of plastic/melamine but after too many years of that, I finally decided white Corelle was safe enough (and economical enough!) to get rid of all the plastic!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yeah, we love our all-white dishes (but I’m a fan of all things white).

    It has been quite a challenge to get Nora to eat anything at all — but we’re slowly making progress. Because of this, we really had no need for children’s dishes. We currently either feed her from our plates (scooping up food and putting the spoon directly in her mouth) or we put the food on her high chair tray. Her high chair has a separate, removable try that can be washed in the sink or dishwasher — so it serves as a huge “plate”!

    [Reply]

  6. Thrifty Mom In Boise

    06/20/2013

    I have the same set up with my dishes. Everyday white Corelle with serving pieces. I like to mix and match with other colored pieces, mostly vintage Pyrex and my handmade cloth napkins. My china I inherited from my grandmother when she passed away in 1999. It is white with a thin silver rim and I love it. It serves 12. I also have Christmas china and I love the pattern. I purchased it several years ago at Kmart when it was 90% off right before Christmas. I was able to get all the serving pieces and salt & pepper shakers the following year at a big discount too. Such fun!!

    [Reply]

  7. Ree Klein

    06/20/2013

    Wow, I never would have expected you to have all those dishes! The gift from your Grandma is very special and even more so now that she’s gone. Nora will love to get them one day I’m sure!

    I have always had very small kitchens so until recently, I only had four dinner plates (but eight salad plates). When we had guests over I had to use different sized plates – I gave the small ones to the ladies and the four bigger ones went to the men.

    No one complained to me about it…the company and the food was still good!

    [Reply]

    Melissa Reply:

    Your comment about feeding people on different sized plates made me think back to college. I had a wonderful neighbor in the apartment directly next door to mine whose parents owned a farm and would bring her a lot of produce when they came to visit. One time we used that produce to cook up a super huge dinner that required both of our kitchens and we had over 36 people show up (free food in college is very popular! lol). Not only were people eating on every size plate imaginable (she only had place settings for 2 and I had settings for 4), we ran out of plates and bowls entirely so there were people using round cake pans, mixing bowls, even a sturdy plastic lid to a tuperware container as dishes. Like you said no body complained and it was a very fun time! :) We ran out of space for people to eat in both apartments so we set up blankets on the lawn as picnic space. The doors to the kitchens opened up to the lawn area so it was perfect really. It’s honestly one of my favorite memories of entertaining a lot of people.

    [Reply]

  8. Cherie

    06/20/2013

    the idea of using cloth napkins and old T shirts instead of paper towel was priceless for our family! I am so appreciative of your ideas and advice. Thanks

    [Reply]

  9. Lizanne

    06/20/2013

    Thanks for this post…it came at just the right time for me, as I’ve been trying to figure out how how to store the same things. I have my grandmother’s dishes and ‘Christmas’ china in a cabinet, along with some teapots, wine decanter, and some other various pieces. I don’t think our wedding china will also fit in this cabinet, so I need to figure out how to rearrange things. Not easy in an apartment…I’m jealous of your drawers!
    One question…I have considered keeping some rarely used items in their original boxes, mostly for safety, or even saving the original boxes for future moving or storage. This creates a lot of clutter and further storage issues. I also have a set of those quilted china storage bags. Any thoughts?

    [Reply]

    Kris Reply:

    I have been struggling with the same issue of saving original boxes. I live in a small apartment, and though I have a lot of great storage areas in such a limited space, it’s kind of frustrating to have the majority of an entire closet filled with original boxes for items I use on a regular basis (Blu-ray player, boombox, microwave, Scentsy warmers, etc.). I know I’ll be moving at some point in the near future and am worried some of these items will get broken if not put in snug-fitting boxes (I had a few things get broken when I moved to my current apartment, and I think that fuels my worry). I’ve considered breaking them down flat for more space-saving storage and just re-taping them when I need them next. Do you keep original boxes? If so, how do you store them?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    This is a tough issue — and I totally understand where you are coming from! In our first house, I saved many boxes for breakable items (like dishes) because we had a huge empty basement and I knew we would be moving within 5-7 years. However, now that we’re at our farmhouse (with no intention of moving for a very long time) I got rid of all the boxes.
    So, I guess my answer would be –>Keep the boxes if you know you’ll be moving soon AND if you have the space. Otherwise, trash the boxes and wrap everything in sheets, blankets, towels, etc. when you move!

    [Reply]

    Kris Reply:

    Thanks for the advice — Motivation to get rid of some of those lingering cardboard boxes!! :)

    [Reply]

  10. Melissa

    06/20/2013

    I love your idea of using a drawer for every day dishes! I don’t think I would have thought of that.

    We have a small kitchen in our condo so the number that fit is really just a setting for 8 plus a few serving pieces and additional pasta bowls that don’t match our daily dish set but we use them so much I can’t see getting rid of them.

    The thing I have a lot of is glass liquid measuring cups. We have three. One is a one cup size and two 4 cup sized ones. I use them all, so they aren’t clutter. I frequently use the bigger ones for making up a batch of instant mashed potatoes because then I can measure the water, put it in the microwave and just stir in the milk and the potato flakes right in the measuring cup once the water is hot.

    [Reply]

  11. Kalyn Brooke

    06/20/2013

    The only set of dishes I have is a set from Corelle that I received for my wedding 6 years ago – they are white with a black band, kind of like your China set. I really liked them then, but am wanting to go more colorful now – perhaps a green or yellow.

    Funny how tastes change!

    [Reply]

  12. Linda Dowdy

    06/20/2013

    I take my regular dishes out of the cabinet the day after Thanksgiving. I put my Christmas dishes In their place. New Year’s Day I reverse the process.

    [Reply]

    jan Reply:

    love that idea! how fun to have Christmas dishes all through the season.

    [Reply]

  13. Julia

    06/20/2013

    I have the same china pattern from my wedding 14 years ago. The fact that it was around for you to find and love validates my feeling that it is a timeless pattern. Never gets used, but timeless none the less!! LOL

    [Reply]

  14. Amanda

    06/20/2013

    I have 2 sets of dishes – both service for 12. Our everyday dishes are very plain white square dishes that we registered for and received as shower/wedding gifts. They came from target. We got a spare box that I saved and they’re in our basement storage (we were planning to have kids, and I figured having a few spare dishes around wasn’t a big deal be cause we had the space). Then I have china (also shower/wedding gifts) – it’s Murray Hill by Lennox – it’s still being sold now. It’s an ivory with a simply silver pattern around the edge. I still love it 6yrs later. It’s classic. We store the china in a cedar chest that lives in a little cove in our dining room. The chest itself was a gift my mother received (for either her 16th or 18th birthday, I can’t remember).

    We also store our table clothes, placemats, cloth napkins (we only use for special occasions) and a couple of serving pieces in there. I also have red and silver chargers I can use to dress up our everyday dishes if I need to (and they’re stored in the cedar chest as well). Since all of our spare stuff fits into the chest, I don’t worry that we probably have more table clothes than we need and a few nice serving pieces that we rarely use. I wouldn’t put other stuff in the chest, so I feel ok about having a few extra things. Plus the various colors and patterns allow me to make my table match the event I’m hosting

    [Reply]

  15. Pyper

    06/21/2013

    What else do you keep in your hutch? I have extra dishes/serving pieces on top, and tablecloths, my silver, and other arcing stuff on bottom. (Which I guess is technically a china cabinet and not a hutch.) I know I need to purge it!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Pyper, our hutch is actually somewhat empty :)
    I have the dishes, glasses, and serving pieces in the top of the hutch, then tablecloths in drawer, and the bottom is almost empty. I have another set of silverware down there and a few really big bowls. Room to grow I guess :)

    [Reply]

  16. Pyper

    06/21/2013

    That was supposed to say other “serving” stuff!

    [Reply]

  17. Lori

    06/21/2013

    Do you remember the brand of your everyday white dishes? It’s really not typical to find a set with so many sizes of bowls! Very useful. Wish I could find a set like that.

    [Reply]

  18. Christina Neumann

    06/22/2013

    I love dishes! I have a set of white from crate and barrel, lots of Fiesta ware, a vintage set of Franciscan ware, ( I’ve given half of this away already) and probably will do the rest, a set of very rare Tepco in Pine cone and needles pattern, and a set of white with a gold and navy band. These were a gift and its incomplete but I use them at Christmas and thanksgiving.
    I love the red hutch? Can I ask where you got it?

    [Reply]

  19. Kelsey

    06/24/2013

    New(er) to your site and love “poking around.”

    As newlyweds, we probably have a shortage of dishes rather than an abundance. :) Our biggest clutter battle is with space-stealing appliances and kitchen doodads. Any tips for prioritizing/paring down excess pans, tools, and appliances?

    (sorry for the complete topic shift!)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Oh boy Kelsey — this is a tricky one. I’ve actually gotten rid of SO many kitchen gadgets because I just don’t need them (and I cook/bake a lot). I sold many of them on Craigslist and even returned some that we simply kept in the boxes after our wedding! However, now that we have tons more space in our kitchen (we renovated it last summer) I actually have empty cabinets!

    All of this to say that I really don’t have any great solutions for you :( If you can part with anything, do it. If you can figure out how to get multiple uses out of a single product, great! Maybe you can get creative with your storage and store some kitchen gadgets in another part of the house for a few months — if you don’t use them during that time, it’s probably OK to part with them!

    [Reply]

  20. Debbie

    07/24/2013

    I love to entertain and because of it have lots of serving pieces. Your post is timely because I just bought a new glass for our dining room and am about to go through all of my dishes to reorganize the storage. I have three very similar sets of dishes and them some colorful accents to match party themes. Thanks for your great blog. It is one of my favorites.

    [Reply]

Leave a comment

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.