Organizing dishes: Break out the china!

Do you have some fancy pants china in your kitchen cabinets? Does anyone in your family know it’s there? In other words, do you ever use it?

too precious to use?

too precious to use?

One of the cardinal rules of organizing a kitchen is to use your real estate wisely because most of us don’t have expansive kitchens. So if you are not using that china on a monthly basis, I’ll bet you can find a more practical place to store it to make room in your cabinets for the things you do use every day and each week.

Not-so-prime Real Estate

Move the china to harder to reach cabinets above the fridge, the stove, or even in the dining room.

Garage/Storage space

If you only use china for the winter holidays, why not keep it in the garage with the other seasonal decorations? Even if you use it twice a year, this is a viable option.

Use it!

Now let’s get real about whether or not you even want to use your fancy china. Are you afraid you’ll break it? Don’t let that keep you from using it. In fact, don’t let that keep you from using anything you own. You are worth it and life is short.

Please don’t tell me you aren’t using it because you are saving it for your grandkids because your grandkids can use it now! Save them a trip to IKEA–go ahead and give it to them today.

I have a few pieces from different china patterns that I love and those pieces stand up very well to everyday use. It’s a comfort to me to know they don’t contain lead like most dinnerware being produced now (in China). I put goldfish crackers in the little bowls for my kids. I serve ice cream in them. I put them in the dishwasher and if they ever do break I can get other pieces pretty easily because unfortunately, the world is full of un-used, well-made china and crystal.

My last question is, do you love your china pattern? If you don’t, let’s talk about letting it go.

selling online

Replacements.com is the most likely non-auction site to buy pieces of your pattern. However, it isn’t all sunshine and flowers. You still have to package it and mail in it and they pay you just a small percentage.

When I get china from clients I check with my buddies at iSoldit on eBay in Pasadena and they let me know if it’s worth passing the set on to them to sell. The store takes care of the packaging and the eBay hassles. But again, you won’t get a lot of cash for your china this way. In fact, in 80% of cases with my clients, the store has deemed the pattern “not worth it”.

So, is your pattern worth it? Check for your pattern on Craigs List and on eBay to get an idea of how rare it is and how much it’s going for.

look for the stamp

look for the stamp

Find the stamp on the bottom of your pieces to determine the maker and pattern name of your stuff. In general, serving pieces are worth more than plates and bowls.

Another option for selling china or crystal is Etsy.com. I only recommend selling items there if you already have a shop going. It’s like eBay–definitely an option, but not worth learning the ropes just to make $40.

donate it

I’m sorry to report that selling your china isn’t going to make you a huge wad of cash. And unless you have some really vintage stuff in mint condition it’s probably time to take it to the thrift shop. Let a hipster take it home and prove to their friends how eclectic they are! You can also donate it to a church or shelter if you want to spend some time finding a specific home for it. But for a one-stop solution, I recommend the Goodwill every time.

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Dishes and Laundry: Where is the Type A love?

dirty dishesNo matter how much you eat out and no matter how many items you send to the dry-cleaners, there will never, ever be a shortage of dishes and laundry.

Some people can find a little smidge of joy in washing the dishes or clothes.  Some people can find a sense of order in putting them away.  But, seldom do you find the homemaker who exclaims, “I love laundry.”  Or “I love doing dishes!”

I’m not trying to love the chores. But, I’ve been thinking of ways to find some joy in the processes since, face it, the processes are going to be with me until I die.  My man is never going to stay on top of the laundry or the dishes up to my standards. Sure, they will eventually get done if he is left in charge.  But, I will yell and throw things because of the back log.  And that isn’t pretty.  I’d rather wash the piles myself.  And that, believe it or not, is where the joy starts.

Once I realize that I am doing to laundry because I, Nonnahs, don’t want the pile-up and I’m doing the dishes because I can’t stand to wake up to a sink of filth and stinky, crusty plates, then I can at least let go of the anger toward the task. Instead of feeling frustrated that someone else isn’t doing this for me, I feel productive that I am making my house feel more comfortable– for ME. This is something nice I am doing for myself.

(There are those of you reading this who could give a wooden nickel if your sink is clean.  To you, I apologize.  I know there are motivating factors that someone could point out to help you get through the daily cleaning grind. That would be a different article altogether. This entry is for people who lean toward order and probably fold their towels. And their napkins. And maybe even their underwear.)

Another thing for Type A people to keep in mind when trying to enjoy our menial household chores is that they don’t have to be done before we play. I am so guilty of this Work Before Play mentality. Are you? It is a specifically American phenomenon and it is very detrimental to one’s happiness. If I can’t change my bad attitude, then I would be better served to change activities. A clutter-free bedroom is not worth spraying my roommate with venom!

More joyful ideas: The chemicals in dish soap and laundry detergent often smell yummy. Take a minute to smell them.  Buy a flavor you really like. When the sheets come out of the dryer, take a minute to pretend you are in a commercial and rub their softness on your cheek.  It’s stupid enough to be funny. But once you smile, your attitude –POOF–has improved.

Put on some good music, a book, or podcast while you are folding, scrubbing, or loading.  That is simple but very effective.

And of course, the best cure in the world for overcoming the washing blues is to enlist a helper. It can’t be just any helper though. It must be a willing helper with whom you could chat while working. A resentful helper is poisonous and should be fired immediately.

Once you can find joy in doing the dishes, you have arrived my friend.  The Buddhist monks got nothin’ on you!  Once you can smile while you fold laundry, why then you are ready to tackle changing a poopy diaper in public with grace.  (And for that you may need to actually talk to a monk, because I am not your girl.)

Organized within an inch of its life

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