How To Cut Down On Dishes

Even before we were a large family dishes have always been an issue. I swear I can clean the entire kitchen and turn my back for only a second and once again they’re piled high to the sky. I’ve tried every technique under the sun and constantly think about how to cut down on dishes, but nothing seems to work (especially since I cook everyday).

When we knew we were going to adopt three more kids I knew that I had better come up with a plan to manage the increase of dishes. I made two decisions.


  1. We were going to use paper for all of our plates and bowls (sorry environment).
  2. I was going to buy color coded cups for each child.

So, six months ago I put this plan into action. (I don’t like to write about things when I first implement them, but instead wait to see how it all turns out). On average I run the dishwasher one to two times a day. (remember large family) The loads include all of the pots and pans associated with cooking breakfast and dinner. On the weekend we run it three times because I also cook lunch. I know that sounds like a lot, but trust me it would be so much more if we included real plates and bowls. There are seven of us which would mean an additional dishwasher load for every meal. For us going paper solves this problem.

What has been the most exciting for me was that my cup plan actually worked! The kids know that they can only use their color coded cup. If the cup is dirty they have to clean it before they can get a drink. I spent a lot of time researching different cups because of the large age range of my kids. I knew I wanted them to look identical, have a reusable straw and I also needed a wide range of colors.

I wound up choosing the COPCO brand of cups. Overall they have been exactly what I wanted. The kids knock them over all the time and NO SPILLS. YAY! The only downside has been that a few of the cups I put in the dishwasher lost the inner seal on the lid. They still open and close fine, but they can get occasionally stuck and hard for the kids to open. Like I said, small complaint overall very happy.

I know that my plan to cut down on dishes isn’t very earth friendly. I decided the reusable cups are going to have to balance out the paper plates.

As moms we are constantly forced to make compromises concerning decisions for our family. The key is to find what works best for your schedule and lifestyle. If anyone else has tricks of how to cut down on dishes please send them my way.

MeLisa also blogs about family life and more at

Here is a link to the COPCO cups and also a link to the paper plate holders I use.

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One Comment on “How To Cut Down On Dishes

  1. I decided to copycat my sister and get these cups a few months ago. Possibly the best $20 bucks I ever spent. We may have had as many as 30 sippy cups before this. Yet we could never find one when we needed one. They were spilling (no sippy cups aren’t leak proof) in the backs of our cars, hidden under the kids beds, you name it! Now the kids each have 2 cups. One of them chose pink, the other chose blue. One cup is always on the table, I’m mean and only let them have water 90% of the water, so I only throw their cups in the dishwasher every week or so. This has DRASTICALLY cut down on dishes, the cups are NEVER lost now, and my house is cleaner for it. GO COPCO!

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