Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thrifty Table Settings


When you eat lots of home cooked meals your dishes show some wear and tear after awhile. Add to that a house full of kids that unload the dishwasher, occasionally cook or rinse off the dirties and you can easily break a dish a week. AND if you consider the fact that your family might have six people in it, like ours, you're using 18 plates a day....well, are you following my train of thought? We could be buying a new 12 piece place setting every month just so we have enough to eat off of.

So one day I decided enough was enough. I bought one set of cream colored dishes and one set of clear glasses and every time a dish broke and I needed a replacement I bought just a few more clear glasses and cream colored dishes. Sometimes I'd find them on sale or at a liquidators and other times I'd find them at the dollar store or yard sales. And the cool thing was that they didn't have to be the same style. The only thing they had to have in common is that they were cream colored or that the glasses were clear. Sizes didn't matter, shapes didn't matter...in fact it sort of enhanced my collection and gave my dinner table some character. And a simple white or cream is always easy to find.
So pretty soon I had this creative collection of plates, mugs, and juice glasses that looked like it was an intentional thing...like something out of those beautiful spreads of mismatched dishware in Country Living magazine.

Ta Da!

Problem solved.

So no more throwing out the three red plates from the old set so I can replace them with the pile of dishes from the new blue set. And the new neutral color scheme goes with every tablecloth, napkin and holiday that comes up.

That saves me money and works for me!

For more great works for me Wednesday tips, go HERE.

25 comments:

Meghan said...

I do this too. All white plates and clear glasses. It's always chic and matches everything.

Vanessa said...

Hi Gayle
I've followed your blog for well over a year you've encouraged me to be thrifty, get creative with my meals, and to start my own blog. Come visit me some time! BTW I have had a set of white dishes for years, and I absolutely love them!!!

Sonja said...

I have old and new Fiesta dishes and none of them are the same color. Every year my MIL has gotten me a new set and always a different color, for Christmas. I love your idea, I may start replacing my broken ones this way as I am kinda tired of looking at a table with an identity crisis.

Beth said...

Love this. We have this in white, but not the clear glasses. You may have started something!

The Queen Bee said...

I'm reading this thinking DUH??? Why didn't I think of that! Thanks for the great tip! Off to the thrift store today!

Teeter said...

What a great idea. I think I may have to go with this. And your right, they don't have to look the same. The magazines I have seen all show tables made up with different looking dishes and they are gorgeous.

Beth said...

Such a great idea. The only reason I had enough plates for all our guests at Thanksgiving dinner was because my father-in-law was sick and couldn't make it. I think I'll be making a thrift store run soon!

Kelli said...

Great solution to a problem that will always exist!!!

Trish said...

It took me till I had our seventh child to figure this little strategy out. And it works for me too! :)
I find the plates at the thrift store for a buck or less nearly every time I go in there.

Elder Family said...

This is such a great idea that I've never considered. My dishes are already cream, and we've broken a few. They were an expensive set that I got as a wedding gift and really couldn't afford to replace. Thanks for sharing! Now I have a plan.

Sadie said...

I bought multiple sets of Corelle dishes (just so we had enough - i think we bought 3 4-piece settings for our family of 7) and they are darn near unbreakable. I think we have only lost one mug out of this current set! I absolutely refuse to buy "regular" plates because they break far too easily when little ones drop them in the sink!

As for bowls, mine don't all match but that is because I just snag any vintage pyrex bowls that I find on the cheap - I have complete mixing bowl sets in 2 lines and then pieces from other lines as well - they are soooooo much more durable than modern bowls and I have only ever lost one bowl (when my son dropped a slippery BBQ sauce covered bowl outside on the concrete). I figure if they have lasted 50+ years in who knows what condition and are showing up in the thrift stores with hardly a scratch to show for it, then that is proof enough that they should be able to last years with my kids! ;)

Now glasses... well.. we only have 2 glasses at the moment. I need to go to Ikea and get some more 50c glasses because THOSE are what always end up getting broken around here.

Susan said...

I love cream dishes. I want some really bad but can't seem to get rid of my perfectly good had it since the wedding dishes that I really really don't like anymore. But someday I will have all cream dishes. And I love the eclectic look too.

Milehimama said...

I do the same thing! As an accent, my small/salad plates are blue glass. So I know anything white or blue will "go". I can easily coordinate tablecloth, napkins, etc. (I have fear of white cloth napkins, even if it's just a few times a year at holiday meals. I much prefer colored - and navy is a great color with kids!)

We invited 23 people for Thanksgiving, and I got plain white plates at the dollar store.

Gina @ MoneywiseMoms said...

I did this with my glasses years ago but never thought about it with plates. Brilliant! And you're right, over time it will look like it's on purpose.

But now I don't want to ditch 6 (because 2 broke) green plates in order to start in with white...now what? :)

Beth said...

I love, LOVE this idea!!! While this sounds wasteful (and also said with some tongue-in-cheek) I keep wishing MORE of my dishes would break so I could do this! They are Correllware, so they seem to be made of steal. BUmmer :)

Maria said...

You are brilliant!!! I am so following this blog...your ideas inspire me to be a bit more frugal at home! Thanks so much.

Candi said...

Great idea! I love the look, sort of a shabby chic look. I'm heading out to Goodwill tomorrow to check out the selection! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi living here in Lebanon we have been able to get hold of Melamine tableware. I always thought it was really ugly but I have seen some nice ones in the shops. My kids are frequently breaking things so I have decided to give the Melamine stuff a try.....
I have always liked cream or white - very elegant!!

jewelermaryd said...

Great Idea Gayle! Will do! Man alive, do we go through dishes...

Amy L said...

I LOVE that idea. :)

Rona's Home Page said...

I love all of those white dishes.

Sandwiches - triangles or rectangles? Please stop by my blog with your answer!

ButterYum said...

What a great idea!

:)
ButterYum

PS - my teenage son can easily eat an entire bowl of cereal in one afternoon!

Wendy said...

What a great idea!! I've been collecting melamine plates and plastic cups & bowls for several years. Our kids are still too little to know how to be gentle with 'the good stuff.' When we're all old enough, I'll certainly give your great idea a try!!

Rebecca said...

We mix and match transferware (Blue Willow etc.) in blues and pinks. It looks intentional, and we can pick up pieces at thrift shops. My mom is always finding pieces for us for a quarter or a dollar.

Janet said...

I do white corelle, both square and round and keep my eyes opened for single pieces here and there. But, I did splurge on 4 rectangle white corelle dishes and we use them for all kinds of salads, sand. cut in half etc. I chose corelle because I'm so prone to break things.....I have even broken a few corelle plates!!!