Some of you may remember that six months ago I got rid of most of our dishes, see The Dreaded Dishes. This is the follow up.
I love it. Not just a little. A lot. It is working fabulously!
A couple of my kids still think it's weird and swear they aren't going to do it this way in their own homes. What do I care? My kitchen stays clean (almost always).
To answer a few questions/address a few issues --
* I haven't parted with the china yet. Or some stonewear. Or some crystal tea sets. Or some dessert dishes of my grandma's. But they are packed up high, in cupboards too difficult to reach to be convenient. And since I got rid of a lot, there is plenty of space for them. And I have used some of them. I pulled out the crystal tea sets for the Oscars last year, along with wine glasses. My family felt spoiled! It was fun. I also used the dessert dishes when we had some young women over around Christmas. It isn't any fun to own these things if I don't use them.
* I absolutely think you can get 2 and 4-year olds started on this! Kids love to play in warm, sudsy water. Get a stool and put them to work.
* Our dishes were rather eclectic to begin with, so we all have a different plate. Most of us have different bowls and cups. Some of us even have different silverware. And for anything questionable -- Sharpies! I had planned to take everyone shopping to get their own complete, matching set once we were fully converted. Guess I better follow through on that soon.
When I wrote my first post on the dishes, I didn't have a plan for the dinner prep stuff. I've got that worked out. There are seven of us in our home. There are seven days in a week. Each person is in charge of dinner one day a week. People are too hit and miss on Friday (everyone here and there), so Fridays are fend-for-yourself. That means I don't have a night to cook dinner. Instead, I do the dinner dishes. If you cook something and it's just for you, then you wash the pan and whatever else you used. If you cook for more than yourself, I wash them. This encourages my kids to be more polite and giving to each other, but still allows them the freedom to choose. Also, if someone knowingly uses someone else's dishes, the offender is assigned dinner dishes for a week.
Although I am more likely to stay on top of the dinner dishes than anyone else, sometimes I don't feel well and don't do them the same night. Sometimes it's a few days. If someone wants the pot before I get it done, they know how to wash it. If they ask, I'll usually wash it. But things don't back up too often. And if they do, I run the dishwasher. I run it once a week, regardless; dishwashers need to be run or they stink. If I don't get behind and use it for that, then I'll wash everyone's dishes and the dinner dishes in the dishwasher on Sunday.
It only takes a minute or two to wash all of my own dishes by hand and usually less than five minutes to do all the dinner dishes. I can feel with my own hands that they are clean. I don't usually fill the sink, unless I'm washing a bunch of things. I wet the dish and use a few drops of soap directly on the dish. Then I scrub it with a brush, rinse, and dry. (I think we've gone through two bottles of dish soap and two of dishwasher detergent in the last six months.) We have two brushes and a couple of scrapers to wash with. I've never understood using cloths or sponges; they just end up stinking and getting nasty. The brushes really don't. Once in a while I run them through the dishwasher on the top rack. I have a draining rack next to the sink that I leave there all the time, unless we have company.
I had to teach my kids that paper towels are for messes and the dishtowel hanging on the fridge is for clean things. Not everyone complies, but most do. There has been some confusion about which silverware is whose. It seems to get worked out. No one is starving. And I sometimes have paper plates and cups, but not always.
As I mentioned above, since I got rid of so much stuff we have lots of extra space in our cupboards. Each person has their own spot in the cupboard to store their stuff. With a nametag and everything. They even have a little basket for their silverware.
I did run into one problem. McDonald's was giving out Coke glasses for a while. My husband is a McDonald's fan and a Coke fan. Suddenly I noticed one in his cupboard, one in the drying rack, and found one still wrapped in the car. We had a conversation and I asked him which glass he was going to get rid of in trade for the Coke glass. And what was he going to do with the other ones. He looked at me sheepishly and admitted he hadn't noticed that he was collecting again. (Our deal is that he can collect only one thing, since he has hoarding tendencies. He has chosen DVDs. He has to pay for them from his budget and store them in his room.) He ended up convincing a couple of the kids that they wanted one. They each had to give up a cup in exchange. He took the leftover cup to work.
I have a suspicion that a few other things have sneaked into the cupboards. We'll do another check before too long. Until we do, as long as it fits in their space and my kitchen stays clean, I can live with it.