How To Declutter Dishes
Today's mission is to declutter dishes. We'll focus during this task on everyday items, like plates, bowls, and saucers.
This task is designed to be done while working on the Kitchen Cabinet & Drawer Organization Challenge
, which is part of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge here on the site.
To make sure you understand what this task does, and does not encompass, don't worry about glasses, cups and coffee mugs
today. Those will be done tomorrow.
We've already worked on silverware
in an earlier mission, and in a later mission we'll focus on decluttering fine china
, so again, don't focus on those today.
But we will be doing both adult dishes and kids dishes in today's mission, so make sure you look in both types of cabinets or drawers in your home when working through today's task.
In addition, to the extent you've got special occasion dishes, like for specific holidays or similar things, these are also included in today's task, although if you have that many dishes you may need to focus on one set at a time instead of trying to tackle it all at once.
How Many Sets Of Dishes Should I Keep?
One of the first questions I hear when we do this mission is, how many sets of dishes should I keep, and how many place settings?
I get really uncomfortable answering questions like this because the answer is, "it depends." It depends on so many different factors, in fact, that stating a rule of thumb is really not very easy to do.
So instead of giving a hard and fast rule, with lots of exceptions and caveats, I'm going to instead lay out the things you should consider when deciding how many dishes your household needs. Hopefully this will help you find the balance between too many and too few.
- How many sets do you currently have? How many place settings do you have for each of those sets?
- How much room do you have for storage of these dishes, both inside your kitchen and outside the kitchen, such as in your dining room?
- How many people regularly eat meals in your home, and how many meals per day do you serve?
- How often do have guests that you entertain and serve food?
- How often do you want to wash dishes? (Remember to keep your kitchen clean you realistically need to wash dishes every night, or at least load your dishwasher every night, so how many dishes can you fit in your dishwasher may be a better question to ask instead of how often do you want to wash dishes.)
- Do you want all your dishes to match, or do you like or at least not mind mismatched sets?
- Do you need microwave safe and dishwasher safe dishes? Do you avoid using your dishes that don't have these features in everyday use?
Using all of these criteria you can make a determination about how many dishes you believe you'll really use regularly, and how many are excess and therefore clutter in your kitchen.
Once you've decided how many to keep, winnow it down to that
amount. Keep only the best of the best, your favorites, and the ones you use regularly. Then, get rid of the others so you can have more space in your kitchen cabinets and drawers.
A Few Additional Tips To Make You Feel More Comfortable With Your Decisions
If you are uncomfortable or waffling back and forth with the decisions you've made you can always try it out without it being permanent. You can give yourself a trial period with the smaller number of dishes, with the ones you're pretty sure you want to get rid of packed up and away safely somewhere else for a time, such as six months.
If you find out you've winnowed it down too much, no harm done. Get in your box and bring some of them back out. If, on the other hand, you don't miss them, and instead continue to enjoy the emptier cabinets, then you can with more confidence get rid of that box of excess dishes after the time period has ended.
In addition I understand wanting to keep dish sets together. It makes sense if you have 8 place settings of everything to not split it up, in case you want to pass it on later, or sell it. Full sets are much more appreciated than partial sets. BUT remember that you don't have to keep all 8 place settings in your kitchen cabinets. Instead, if you've determined that 6 place settings of one set makes more sense for you then pack up the other two place settings and store them somewhere for later. You can have the daily benefit of less cluttered cabinets without actually splitting up the set permanently.
Special Note About Kids & Holiday Dishes
When you've got young kids you probably will acquire some kid-friendly dishes that they can use so they don't break your better stuff, or because they like them.
There's no problem with that, but as they get older and you transition them to the adult dishes make sure you get rid of the kid stuff once it is no longer needed.
Similarly, if you have holiday dishes and you have room for them, use them each year, and enjoy them, go ahead and keep them. If they meet all these criteria they aren't clutter. But seriously consider whether they actually meet all these criteria or if it is time to let them go. When it feels more like drudgery to get them out and use them than the beginning of the festive season it is most likely going to make you feel better to get them out of your home.
Finally, dishes are often associated with strong memories and emotions. If you feel like emotions are holding you back from decluttering some of them make sure to read my article about 6 emotions chaining you to clutter, and how to break free
. Hopefully that can help you make decisions based not on these emotions, but instead what is best for you and your home.
Below I've got some photos from readers who've already done this mission to get you inspired and ready to tackle your own dishes!Top photo courtesy of a reader, Maggie
Removing Dish Clutter From Your Kitchen Makes A Huge Difference
Dishes take up a lot of room, so getting rid of excess that aren't needed or loved, but instead of clutter, can make a big difference in your kitchen.
You can see that from these before and after photos submitted by a reader, Jennifer, when she decluttered her dishes cabinet.
Are You Ready To Declutter Your Home?
I hope seeing these pictures, and reading these instructions, has inspired you to get rid of your dishes clutter.
When you begin to declutter the feeling you get is contagious, so if you're loving the results you're getting I would encourage you to keep going.
I've got a whole series of 15 minute decluttering missions
(eventually 365 of them!) that you can do.
Just pick and choose the ones you want to do, that will make a big impact in your home. But if you want someone else to tell you the order you can also grab the 15 minute daily decluttering mission calendars
and follow along as we all get our homes clutter free together!
Once you've decluttered excess dishes, make sure to also declutter serving dishes
In addition, if you've got dishes that are really more part of a collection, instead of for everyday use, check out these tips for decluttering collections and collectibles
for more tips for deciding which should stay or which should go from your home.
Related Pages You May EnjoyGetting Clutter Free 15 Minutes At A Time Hall Of FameGetting Rid Of Kitchen Clutter Hall Of FameGo From How To Declutter Dishes To Home Page