purging my dish collection

I have so many beautiful dishes that I rarely get out to use.  I used to have even more from my early days of blogging, when I couldn’t go down the aisle of a store without my cart making a detour towards the dish section. 

I have sold off a great deal of them over time, and I’m now down to the ones I just can’t part with, and the basics, with some changes for each season. I thought my obsession with dishes had passed, but lately the urge to buy a few more is raising it’s ugly head again. So far, I’ve been able to resist the urge, mostly because they are not on sale yet, and I rarely buy anything unless I can get it on sale.

Before caving to the urge to purchase more dishes, I decided another purge was needed. Other than the dishes currently in use, all my extra dishes are kept in this wall to wall credenza in my dining room, consisting of three separate cabinets.

I started by taking everything out of the first cabinet where I keep the spring and summer dishes. I sorted them into coordinating themes and colors, and soon the table was covered. Believe it or not, everything on the table came out of just one cabinet.

Once I had everything sorted, I decided to go through each group individually to evaluate its sentimental value to me, and whether or not I could part with it. I started with the lemon themed dishes, which actually consists of a lemon plate that I use mostly for decor and pretty lemon napkins.

I also had some lemon themed paper plates and napkins. The Springfield Extravaganza Flea always has a vendor with a large, inexpensive array of paper plates and napkins, that I find equally hard to resist. These paper goods go nicely with four melamine green plates I have.

The green melamine dinner plates also coordinate well with these bright and cheerful chili pepper salad pates, red bowls, and colorful striped napkins. I found these chili pepper plates and napkins on clearance at Pier 1 several years ago and only have service for two.

I have a collection of red, white, and blue dishes that are perfect for celebrating both Memorial Day and the 4th of July.

The red and blue dishes also work well for the traditional summer barbecue theme with a plastic tablecloth in a red handkerchief pattern, and red and white checkered paper napkins.

For most all of these combinations, I use my traditional White Nantucket dinner plates that I bought years ago, (and are still available) at World Market. This is my “go to” dinner plate for winter, spring, and summer. I tend to buy a basic, solid color dinner plate, such as these, and then change up the look over and over again with different colored or patterned salad plates. These days, I rarely buy more than four place settings of the salad plates.

Back to the green melamine plates – I have some pretty geranium paper napkins that would mix nicely with a faux red geranium arrangement I have, and create a lovely summer table.

And lastly, in this cabinet were four aqua melamine dinner plates that were purchased at the same time as the green melamine plates, along with coordinating polka dot salad plates.

The dinnerware I’m currently using for very early spring are my white Nantucket dinner plates and bee plates I found at Cracker Barrel, when dining with my Mom a few years ago. Dishes seem to find me wherever I go, and I certainly know better than to ever set foot in Home Goods.

These plates say “spring” and coordinate nicely with bright yellow faux or early blooming forsythia branches.

In case you’re wondering if I am parting with any dishes in this purge – the answer is “yes”. These two green dinner plates, and six turkey salad plates are going into the yard sale box.

Followed by four turquoise salad plates, some very old Christmas glasses, and a set of plastic hobnail drinking glasses.

Lastly, I rounded up all the paper plates, which went in with the dishes.

And the collection of paper napkins were corralled in a basket and tucked away, but within easy reach.

Can you believe it, I didn’t even show you my fall and winter dishes, which is a much smaller collection by far.

Through all of this, I did figure out why dishes are such a weakness for me. I love decorating and all that it involves. I realized, that for me, setting a pretty table is like decorating a very small room. Playing with all the colors, textures, and patterns of the dishes and napkins is “fun” on a smaller scale, and definitely more affordable than decorating a whole room.

The secret to dealing with any addiction is understanding it . . . at least that’s what I’m telling myself. The other helpful thing would be to just stay out of the stores. But in the meantime, I need to work on entertaining my friends and family more . . . to share meals, fellowship, and all these pretty dishes.

Which set of dishes are your favorite?

14 thoughts on “purging my dish collection

  1. Goodness that is an unbelievable selection! I have lots of plates which I use everyday and have done for over twenty years and they are white. Plain white, good quality. Not just for best but for everyday. I then dress things up with the food I serve or the napkins and flowers. I cannot imagine having all these. Hope your yard sale goes well!

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    1. Actually Doris, it is much less than I had. I became hooked on tablescaping years ago in my early days of blogging. Some of the big bloggers who were known for their beautiful tablescapes, had shelving units set up in their basements that were full to overflowing. One lady had 5 styles of green glassware, and that was when I started to question when is enough, enough, myself, and my buying. I haven’t bought any or even had the urge for at least 5 years until now. Cleaning those cabinets and looking the issue in the face, has made me realize I don’t need any more.
      I do have open shelving in my kitchen where I keep my dishes and glasses, so it is always fun to change them out and enjoy what they add to the kitchen decor. And I do actually use them. but I can think of some more than might end up in the garage sale, even as I type this, or maybe I’ll take them to work so we can use them their.

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    1. I’m trying not to just have pretty things, but use them and enjoy them. I usually buy the pretty plates and napkins at the flea market so I can take them to work when I take in baked goods. Everyone appreciates the extra effort of baked goods on pretty plates.

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  2. What a collection you have! I’d be hard-pressed to jettison any of them. My own dish collections are relatively simple. I have a nice china set with a floral pattern and an everyday china set with an ivy pattern plus smaller collections of Christmas and cat plates gifted to me years ago. My everyday china has seen better days and I’m seriously thinking of replacing it but I haven’t even ventured into any stores to shop, much less the even more dangerous on-line venues.

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    1. I have an open cabinet where my dishes and glasses are, so that helps to keep them looking nice, festive, and neat.
      I actually bought a couple cute white salad plates this spring that had lemons on them. The edges looked just like the fluted edge of a paper plate, which is what drew me to them. But, guilt set in, and I returned them.

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  3. I love all of the ones you said you are keeping! I wish I had room for a huge collection, but there’s only the two of us and we rarely have company.
    We use white ironstone all the time, with a few little miscellaneous colored condiment containers and other simple little pretty dishes on occasion. I had a few pretty serving type dishes, but donated them after a purge a couple of years ago. I miss them now.

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    1. It is really just me, so it is hard to justify having so many dishes. You wouldn’t believe all the sets I got rid of a few years back.
      When I had my kitchen cabinet doors replaced, I didn’t put doors on the cabinet where I keep the dishes and glasses. Having so many pretty dishes, all except for the solid white ones, I change them out for every season. The open cabinet makes the dishes part of the decor and really pretties up the kitchen. I do enjoy not only using them, but seeing them too on the open white shelving.
      I don’t have storage for all of them in the kitchen, which is why they are kept in the dining room. And it is fun to pull out something pretty when entertaining company or just entertaining myself. Life is too short not to make everything within your power pretty and enjoyable.

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  4. The lemon themed dishes are my favourites Cindy, but you do have a wonderful collection altogether! I have my old British blue Denby set and a flowery Villeroy and Boch set which I use every day because it is too pretty to hide away for special occasions. 😉 I have a few old teaplates and unusual cake plates too. Hope the sale goes well. Now you will have space for something new… 😃🙃😜

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    1. The lemon ones do seem to be the most popular. I must admit I bought some darling lemon salad plates, but returned them because I felt so guilty. I’m trying really hard not to add to my collection. I really don’t need another dish, but every year, there are so many cute new ones, it is hard to resist. I just need to learn contentment, and I thought I had. But this old addiction is raising its ugly head again.

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