A few years ago, after busily setting the table as I was finishing up meal preparations and trying to distract hungry little ones, I began to wonder why I was doing all of the work at meal time! I have children old enough to help, I thought to myself. Maybe not with the cooking, yet. But certainly with setting the table! So I assigned certain days and meals for each child to be responsible for the table setting. The idea was fabulous…the implementation needed a little tweaking, though.
I found that when the child was ready to do their duty by setting the table, they needed me to get the plates, cups, and bowls down from the upper level kitchen cabinets (those not able to be reached by young helpers). I was glad for the table-setting training for the kids, but I wasn’t satisfied because I was still so involved in the whole process.
A few days later, while in a friend’s home, I noticed that she had recently rearranged her kitchen. She had brilliantly placed all the kid-friendly tableware in a lower kitchen drawer! Bingo! I went home and made some changes. My kitchen has simple two-door cabinets with one shelf in them so I found some nice rectangular wicker baskets at a second-hand store and made them compartments for the plastic items on the lower shelf, putting the glass plates and bowls on the higher shelf. All the items necessary for table setting in one cabinet!
Now, the kids can set the table on their own… without any assistance from Mom! And they can also put away most of the clean dishes! They simply set the plastic cups, bowls or plates in their proper basket (no serious stacking/organizing required) and set the glass plates/bowls on the shelf.
Sometimes I wonder why it takes me as long as it does to simplify things…to make things more manageable. The writer of this blog may be the only person who was helped by this genius idea, but if even one other person has an a-ha moment, I’ll be pleased that I shared!
P.S. I also attached a cute little drawing of the proper place-setting on the inside of that cabinet. It shows where to put the cup, napkin and silverware in relation to the plate. It is not being used effectively, to date, but someday I’ll have five offspring who can set a table for a king… or for a very special queen (me!).