For the Love of Decluttering Dishes

I used to shop at Target on a weekly basis and aimlessly walk through the home goods aisles. The kitchenware would always catch my eye. You know the aisle right, the one that they change out every season. The colors are bright and you can’t turn away. I would undoubtedly grab something, excited to add it to my growing collection at home.

Does this sound familiar? Do you do this as well? Do you find that your cabinets are bursting with a variety of plates, bowls, mini bowls, and serving dishes?


When I started decluttering, one of the first categories I tackled was my kitchen dishes. I had at least 81 items that I remember (I’m sure there was actually more). Here is what I had in my kitchen:

Number Item
12 Dinner Plates
12 Salad Plates
12 Cereal Bowls
12 Rice Bowls
8 Mini Bowls
6 Kids Divided Plates
6 Kids Plastic Bowls
2 Vegetable Bowls
2 Serving Trays
2 Glass Salad Bowls
2 Veggie Trays
1 Chip and Dip Bowl
1 Serving Bowl
1 Appetizer Plate
1 Tiered Dessert Tray
1 Glass Candy Dish

Declutter Step 1: True To Yourself

My husband and I really aren’t the entertaining type. We call ordering pizza a party and make it a night - no specialty ware needed there. With that in mind, we got rid of most of our serveware. The few things I have kept I put to use so they aren’t collecting dust in the back of a cabinet.

Number Item Usage
1 Appetizer Plate Currently houses our seasoning jars
1 Serving Bowl Currently use as our fruit bowl on the counter
1 Serving Tray I use once in awhile for fun

Bowl of fruit

Spices on appetizer plate with serving tray in background

Declutter Step 2: Take Away Half

Next, I looked at our everyday dishes. We never owned fine china so I didn’t need to declutter there. And since we aren’t much for entertaining, we knew we didn’t need much.

We never used our dinner plates - always opting for the more appropriate portion size of the salad plate. So we decided we could cut our dishware in half and still be good.

We decided to craigslist our 12 dinner plates and 12 rice bowls. Ours kids were old enough to use regular plates, so we sent the divided plates and plastic bowls to Goodwill. Here is what we had left:

Number Item
12 Salad Plates
12 Cereal Bowls
6 Mini Bowls

After simplifying our dishware, we decided that 12 plates and bowls weren’t necessary. We decluttered a little more here. And of course, after decluttering, we accidently broke a few items. Here is what we have today:

Number Item Usage
9 Salad Plates 5 in use, 4 stored away for when we have company
6 Cereal Bowls 5 in use, 1 is being used by our mint plant
3 Mini Bowls All 3 stored away right now (we probably don’t need them)

Stack of 2 bowls, 5 plages

(Few bowls missing from picture: in use for breakfast)

Mint plant in bowl

(Our Mint Plant)

After decluttering, we now have a total of 21 dishes in our home!

Decluttering Step 3: Trade In for Multi Use

My husband and I are challenging ourselves with a buy Nothing New Year (2017). We do have a few exceptions: underwear and socks, athletic shoes, home remodel projects, and tires for our van. But if I wasn’t limited to this list, I would be considering one final step in decluttering our dishware. Maybe in 2018 I’ll make this jump!

Ikea plate/bowl

How about a plate/bowl! This is the ultimate 2-in-1 dish deal! Instead of having 6 bowls and 9 plates. I could have 10 plate/bowls - enough for 2 family meals or invite another family of 5 over for dinner and be good.

I would decrease my number from 15 to 10 and they could all stack together, taking up half the cabinet space.

Here is a plate/bowl option that I love:

IKEA: Deep Plate/Bowl (just $0.99)

If I did this, my total number of dishes could go from 81 down to 13. Sounds good to me! Less to clean and less to store in my future tiny house kitchen.