Pre-blog, we depended on paper plates.
Lots of ’em.
When I forgot to get them at the store, Hubby would start to panic.
We used them for survival. Their purpose wasn’t to keep us from doing dishes, it was to allow us to eat when all non-paper plates were dirty.
Which was a regular occurrence.
Once I started doing the dishes every night and putting them away every morning, we didn’t use paper plates anymore. We didn’t need them. Clean plates were always available. Even after I decluttered a lot of them.
For almost five years, I didn’t buy paper plates other than for specific occasions like birthday parties.
In May, though, I bought some. When I noticed that there was a Costco coupon for a big ol’ pack, I couldn’t resist.
I rationalized getting paper plates because I knew ONE thing that’s hard about the gloriously routine-free summer is we create more dirty dishes. When five people eat three meals a day at home and insist on using PLATES at each meal, the dishwasher gets full faster. This often means I need to run it twice.
Need to? Yes.
Remember to? Not usually.
So I bought the 276 pack of paper plates and declared they would only be used for one meal a day.
That pack would provide 55 plates-that-need-washing free meals. In 100 days.
Our summer’s over . . . and we have TWO LEFT!!!!
It worked. Really. We (obviously) didn’t use them every day. My kids rarely thought about them because they’re so used to using real plates. I’d keep an eye on the dishwasher and pull the paper plates out when it looked like it would make the difference between being able to fit everything in the dishwasher that night.
Part of me is sad that we broke our streak of going five years without needing to use paper plates.
But honestly, the fact that we didn’t NEED to use them (like in an every-other-dish-in-the-entire-house-is-dirty-so-it’s-either-use-a-paper-plate-or-eat-off-the-table kind of way) makes it okay in my head.
We used them to keep the kitchen under control. I’m all about doing whatever works.
P.S. We haven’t used a single paper plate since school started.
I’ve been known to serve sandwiches and chips by piling them up all on a plate and pouring the chips out in a bowl, and then handing out napkins or paper towels depending on what I ran out of.
It’s lunch. If they bring sandwiches from home, they don’t eat lunch off a plate at school, after all.
Good point, Sarah. And very resourceful.
Nony, I can see how that helped you this summer. I would say that was a great plan to help keep chaos in the kitchen to a minimum.
Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore says
I know you might be a bit disappointed that you had to use them at all, but a win is a win!
Davonne Parks says
Love this post and your blog!! We used to have paper plates for “emergencies” too. We bought paper plates again this summer because our dishwasher broke and I decided that only needing to hand wash things like pans and silverware seemed like a good way to simplify until we got a new dishwasher 🙂 Plates are small, you wouldn’t think it matters but it really made a huge difference!
Kristy K. James says
I love how your kids are so used to using real plates they didn’t always remember to grab a paper one. 🙂
I’m with everyone else. Whatever it takes – so long as it’s legal and moral – to keep your house under control. There are always going to be times when life is busier and less structured than usual, and if we can’t adapt and tweak our routines… Yeah. I don’t even want to think about that, lol. 😀
priest's wife @byzcathwife says
“Whatever it takes- as long as it is legal and moral…” YEEEEEES! This is why I give paper diapers to my firneds who cloth diaper their infants….a mega pack to get through the first 3 months of nights- so mama doesn’t wake up when the baby goes just peepee….this is priceless (survival- like paper plates)
Paula Bristow says
My kids love it when we eat off of Wax Paper! Usually it is a sandwich, or our favorite to eat off of wax paper…homemade hamburgers and fries. They literally get giddy. It’s hilarious! But I grew up doing it…why not?
I gave myself a six month grace period (last several weeks of pregnancy through the EBF months) to use paper and have been firmly telling my inner environmentalist to just “can it!”
I alao do the paper towel for lunch thing. Or, my favorite, shove their sandwiches at them and shove the whole crew outside to make their messes! 😉
priest's wife @byzcathwife says
I like to use coffee filters (the kind with the flat bottom)
I saves time, of course, to have paper plates handy.
We are really used to the fact the no clean plates means we have to pull some out of the dishwasher and… gasp… hand wash them! Ouch!
My friends use to call this a first world problem.
We use paper plates for pizza night and picnics. I have also been known to use paper towels for chips and popcorn. My kitchen is so much cleaner by running the dishwasher every night, but it is nice to have a break from cooking and washing dishes.
Christy M says
We also use them when the dishwasher is being run so I can avoid having a bunch of plates stacked up in the sink. We use them for lunch in the summer and pizza night too!
Colleen P says
Our apartment is too small to hold a dishwasher, so paper plates have been known to save our sanity on occasion even when clean dishes are available.
To every thing there is a season. Even paper plates!
Great!! I’m going to have hubby pick some up again too. Theater is going to start and I don’t want to have all the dishes lying around either. Better to have some fast meals with easy clean up…
Paper napkins are great for pizza night too… if the pizza is store bought with those hard crusts.