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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Solving three problems at once and saving!

4.5 ounces of strawberries
A bowl is a bowl
I never thought much about the size plate or bowl I used, I just used what I had and had always used. But, I solved several problems at once. I had identified the problems separately, but at last I found one solution to my problems.

Things I want
1--run dishwasher less
2--get more days' dishes in the dishwasher
3--spend less on food

One day, I was at a garage sale and phoned a friend to confirm she wanted more of the Corelle she bought years ago. Her family had expanded by 10 grandchildren. Yes, she did want two whole sets for only $18. The woman took my money and boxed up the dishes. I saw a set of six little Corelle bowls and asked the price. "Free." This made my day.

Months go by
I used the tiny bowls occasionally. Finally, it dawned on me that if I used the tiny bowls, more dishes would fit in the dishwasher, possibly stretching the time between necessary running of the dishwasher. The cereal bowl I used for fruit was down-sized to the tiny, free bowl.

When I need a plate for a sandwich, I now use a salad plate. Sure, it is a little crowded making a sandwich on that size plate. When I need a salad plate, I use the saucer for the cup when I eat crackers and cheese. The little bowls now hold fruit for eating. Of course, if I am eating a meal or a bowl of soup or cereal, I do use a plate or soup/cereal bowl.

Other options
I have three small sets of antique glass bowls--berry bowls or dessert bowls. I never had used them because I did not want to break them. Well, they were just special. Not anymore. They are all the size of the bowl with the strawberries.

$ Savings
When I use the dishwasher less often yet for more meals, I save water, electricity, and dishwasher gel.

Added bonus
I know the experts say to use a smaller plate when you are trying to lose weight. That is not my goal when I use a smaller bowl or plate. Getting more in the dishwasher is the goal. I am tired of having dishes to wash by hand when they won't all go in the dishwasher. PERIOD.

I will eat the same sandwich on a salad plate that I will eat on a dinner plate. But, if by some smallish, remotest chance I eat less, weight loss should ensue. Yay for me.  However, I will eat the same apple or orange cut into the small bowl. I know where my kitchen and the goodies and second helpings of everything reside. And, I will get more if I wish. That is all about willpower or lack thereof. Using a small bowl probably will not deter me from eating too much.

By the way
Don't suggest I forego a plate when assembling a sandwich. I don't prepare sandwiches on the counter. I don't use paper plates or paper towels or paper napkins. Slicing tomato on the counter or a cloth napkin is not happening here. Carrying a sandwich in my hands anywhere just results in a trail of crumbs or filling. Not me. You may, if you please.

It works
Dishes were washed last Tuesday. Sunday morning, I washed four days of dishes. Most fit into the dishwasher. If I had not used a smaller version of everything I usually do, I could not have fit them in and I would have had to run the dishwasher last Friday or Saturday.

Small savings add up
Someone else can figure the difference is cost in former and present dish washing habits. However, I do know that using the dishwasher 91 times per year as opposed to 121 times should be a number worth considering. Does anyone know or want to figure the dollar difference there is in those two usage numbers? What is the cost in electricity, water, dishwashing liquid, and cost of dishwasher to wash dishes one time? Then multiply that by the 30 times I won't use the dishwasher if I go the frugal route of dishwashing--using smaller dishes. The savings will be 25% of what I would normally spend.

My motive
To be honest, I was not trying to save money or save anything else. I just did not want to have to do dishes so often. Laziness aka herniated discs fueled the desire to wash dishes less often. I know I need the exercise, but the back does not approve and complains. When I was much younger, washing dishes by hand was just a repetitive, mindless chore. I dreamed and planned. I thought about how cute the children's little mugs were, how I really liked the stainless steel flatware Mama gave me for a gift, how I enjoyed using the little silver spoon my grandmother gave me. Dish washing was pleasant. Now, dish washing is just painful.

Environmental savings
As a bonus the environment will suffer less. I use less electricity, water, and dishwasher liquid. When the environment is less stressed, less money will be spent on the solution. Okay, there is the money angle and environment angle. Who would have thought that my dishwashing life would be measured out in small bowls?

Your turn
Do you hate to wash dishes in the sink or dishwasher? Do you want to stress the environment less? Can you use smaller dishes to have less impact on your wallet and the environment? Who has done that math problem about the cost of usage?


  1. One thing that we do in our household is cut and prepare our sandwiches (and everything else) on a bamboo cutting board, and then transfer to small individual plates. We are a vegetarian/vegan household, so we seem to cut up lots of veggies. We actually have two bamboo cutting boards so that my husband can cook and chop right along with me. A quick rinse of each bamboo cutting board and were done. Each one was only a couple of dollars. Well worth it.

    I also have stared using some smaller fancy serving pieces/dishes. As I have purged out the stuff I no longer want, I am coming across some beautiful items that make cooking, serving and eating a joy. And yes, more fits in the dishwasher, by using the smaller dishes. We have to eat smaller meals more often so this works great for our family.

    It is amazing that as we get rid of stuff, the real gems seem to shine through. Kathy

  2. I am always upgrading to nicer pieces of dishware. Corelle was not an upgrade, just a downgrade for convenience. It makes life more pleasant. Making life more pleasure is especially good when it simplifies my life. Oh, I have many little serving pieces that I love, so this is not a minimalist speaking. Thanks for your input.


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