When you have a large family the dishes can quickly get out of control. How do you have enough to make it through the day without constantly having to wash, but also not get overwhelmed by dirty dishes? Here is how I manage our minimalist dinnerware for our family of eight.
Choose Minimalist Dinnerware Designs
My best tip for minimalist dishes is to have just one set that you love. I do not own Christmas plates, Easter plates, special occasion china or mismatched sets. When you have one set of dinnerware, pick something that is appropriate for all occasions.
My favorite brand is Duralex because their glass is very sturdy and I am a complete klutz. A few years ago my mother in law gifted me some Duralex tumblers and they have lasted a long time.
My mother recently gifted me Duralex plates and I absolutely love them. The clear glass is sturdy, doesn’t chip, and looks streamlined whether we’re having sit down family dinner, a birthday party with guests, or simply grabbing a quick bite before heading out the door.
Whatever you pick, do have enough of each item. Because we are a large family, I like to have at least 12 pieces that match. If you are a smaller family you could probably get by with fewer.
Be Realistic About YOUR Needs
Is a set of wooden coasters as minimalist as I could be? No, definitely not, but we use them and like them, so they stay. Sometimes owning the least amount of something is not the most important thing.
In addition to my durable dinner dishes, I also like to have a set of plastic dishes for my kids and when we have guests. I also have 12 of each of these plastic cups, bowls, and plates from Ikea. (They are not all pictured because, let’s be real, they’re never all clean at the same time.)
This means that even if we have an equally large family over to visit we don’t every have to buy disposable dishes in order to accommodate everyone. Not everybody hosts large groups regularly. However, I have found that not producing waste from our frequent get-togethers is worth having a few extra pieces in a set.
Another zero waste item I keep is reusable plastic sporks. These are great for packed lunches and camping, and they even fit inside the plastic containers I use for all our leftovers.
Do you want to avoid using disposable dishes? Don’t like to hand wash your plates between dinner and dessert? Plan for that. You can be streamlined without suffering.
Another place I am realistic is with silverware. I used to have one of those nice holders that separate the spoons, forks, and knives into nice stacks. But honestly, I hated it. Don’t be afraid to quit what you’re “supposed” to do to find something that works for you.
We buy our silverware in bulk from a restaurant supply store. (Why IS it that spoons always disappear?!?). It goes straight from the dishwasher into the wire basket. Boom. Done. No finicky sorting.
When you have to run your dishwasher a couple times a day, it’s worth it to be able to unload it while waiting for leftovers to reheat in the microwave.
We also used to have one of those fancy knife blocks. Do you know how hard those things are to clean? And anything that sits out on a kitchen counter is going to get sticky eventually. The only knives we use are a paring knife, chopping knife, and bread knife. So that’s all we keep.
Being minimalist means making a life that you love. That may mean you have 24 plates like I do. That may mean you ditch the partitioned silverware holder or the fancy knife block. Keep the things that work for you, and don’t be afraid to let the rest go.
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