The Plates

While it is true I regularly use the party plates my mom pressured me into buying, I still buy paper plates on rare occasions. For example, this past Christmas most of the Mister’s family came to visit. His dad and one sister plus husband, to be specific. I have to be specific because that brings the total body count to twelve, and one night we were hosting his brother/wife, sister/husband, us and the boys and we don’t have enough plates what are we going to do?!

What are we going to do?!?!

You know how you have people coming over and something happens that falls outside your expectations for the night (like having more people than plates) and suddenly every rational braincell you’ve ever possessed sticks to the steam shooting out your ears and leaves you with synapses that can only shoot blanks?

That happened.

I ran out before everyone came over and bought super cheap, plain paper plates and plastic utensils and used them to eat molten polenta with chicken and sauce. The heat went through the plates and marked the table.

In my panic over People v. Plates, I forgot the 40-50 plates we already owned. This sounds silly, forgetting that you own enough plates to open a small restaurant, but it’s true. I completely forgot their existence.

And that’s because they sure as heck weren’t in the cupboard. They were with my mom, neatly stacked in her cabinets, waiting for the moment I could fit more than a monofilament in mine without causing a ceramic avalanche.

As I was writing yesterday’s post, I truly and with all sincerity, said to myself, “I wish I could store our party plates at home. It would be so convenient.”

Oh, honey.

You could try storing the two serving bowls you forgot you had with the other serving bowls. You could donate the baby plates and bowls you never use. You could move the teas you never drink to the beverage cabinet. (Maybe then you’ll remember to detox your kidneys with peaches and dandelions?) Then you can wipe everything down, put things back, and see if you have enough room to store your precious party plates.

Well what do you know. Will wonders never cease?

This post was part of The William Morris Project, a weekly series that details the steps I am taking to create an intentional home. You can see more of my goals and completed projects here. To learn more about this project, start here.

Now it’s your turn! Feel free to share how you have lived according to the William Morris quote, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Made a plan? Cleaned a drawer? Bought a sofa? Tell us about it with a link or comment. A few guidelines:

                1. Please link to a specific post, not a general blog address.
                2. Your post must relate to your efforts to create an intentional home. I have a delete button, and I’m not afraid to use it.
                3. No links to giveaways, please.
                4. Let’s use this weekly link up as an opportunity to gather inspiration and motivation. Click links. Discover new people. Say hi and good job. I know I will.

Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. says

    you know, there are a whole load of things I love about these William Morris posts, not least the way that you are totally open about your clutter problems. It makes me feel so much better about the overwhelming amount of stuff I have lying around. And every week I get a little nudge to tidy. I’m hoping that the nudges will amount to a kick in the pants soon!

  2. says

    You never cease to make me smile while reading your posts! I’m in the process to cleaning things out of cabinets as well. I’m going shelf by shelf, and finding the most absurd things that we haven’t touched in years. Thankfully we are going to have a garage sale in a few weeks and I hope to get rid of a lot of things then. Otherwise, to Freecycle it will go!

    Thanks for hosting. WM has really started to change my perspective about the way I live!!

    • says

      That’s great to hear, Tiffany! I will not show pictures of our garage until after the garage sale. It’s so, so bad. You can barely move in there, and most of it is WM stuff that I’ve tossed in there. Sometimes I want to call Salvation Army and just get it over with.

  3. says

    It really is the little things, isn’t it? The other day I loudly complained about having to always reach around X for Y in our cabinets and how we never even use Y…and then I thought duh, I *can* rearrange things and solve that problem. Five minutes later the problem was obsolete. Captain Obvious moments always make me feel like a genius, ha!

  4. says

    Woohoo, congrats! So exciting. Seriously. I can’t even imagine having my party plates in the house, let alone in a cupboard. I think this calls for celebration!

  5. Cydney says

    I enjoy your blog so much although I am well passed you in age and stage of life. It struck me today that I hope you are being as kind and encouraging to yourself as you are to your children. You are doing a lot of good and important work at home as well as on the internet! Thank you!

  6. says

    I didn’t comment yesterday, but I really, truly, love your party plates. I’m going to be circling the Target clearance aisle now.

    • says

      These were less than a dollar each! I think they were too “fiesta” for people, but all the crazy colors work for me. There are two other patterns, but my mom has those. There’s a lot of red in them, and I’m not a fan of red.

  7. says

    Very nice. I have no post to show today because having read Nester’s blog yesterday, just about everything I own is strewn about in piles awaiting its new fate. It’s madness around here. I don’t even know how it’s going to work out. I guess we’ll see next week. ;0

      • says

        What’s this? Someone is having a birthday? Are you having a party? Everyone keeps telling me I have to have one for my 40th. I’m not convinced.

        • says

          Absolutely, you should celebrate your 40th! Pull out the fancy china for it! Or, better yet, let your hubby take care of all that. My husband threw a party for my 40th at a relative’s lake house and it was the best! Low key, lots of sun, food and fun. And I didn’t have to do a thing! This year I’m sure I’ll be spending my birthday at the baseball field. 😉

          • says

            We’ll see. Andrea already said she was forcing me to have one, but she hasn’t seen how stubborn I can be. 😉

            Back to your original comment, I read Nester’s post, too. I’m DYING to see what it all means. What is she getting rid of?

      • says

        Sure, Leilani! In fact, I’ll just prop my feet up on my new crate/coffee table and y’all can make the coffee and serve it to me! Watch, now no one will show up.

  8. Susan G says

    Genius! What I love best is that you can make plate storage so darn entertaining! :) Thanks for the smiles.

  9. says

    I know that those are not my cabinets nor my party plates, but I am so happy for you, Jules.:) I get a rush when people clean out little nooks and crannies and get rid of stuff. (insert Joker laughter) I’m glad I am not the only one who worries about my cabinets caving in from too much ceramic. I have three sets of plates weighing down things in my kitchen as we speak. EEK!

    • says

      Thanks, Leilani! It’s amazing how satisfying little projects can be. And I’m so short, I really don’t understand why I thought having everyday bowls on a second shelf was a good idea.

  10. says

    Mmmmm…cupboards – what’s it like to have cupboards? 😉
    The party dishes are just lovely…ready to be used for something fabulous this November 30?

  11. says

    I really like that bright, colorful image with the party plates and decorations. And who knows, maybe now you might be inspired to do more unofficial celebrations with your boys, now that the party plates are in da house!

  12. says

    When I was single and in my early twenties, my parents bought me a lot of nice dishes. Birthdays, graduations, they’d add a few more pieces. Too many, I thought. Seriously, what did I need with two dozen soup plates? Now that I finally found a piece of furniture to store them all (Craigslist, naturally), I am so grateful. We had 13 people for Thanksgiving and had place settings for all. We use them for everyday, too, and I’ve found they’re much sturdier than the heavy stoneware plates we registered for when we were married (all chipped after about 5 years). Also, soup plates are so versatile–we use them for soup (duh), salad, dessert, pasta, risotto…

    • says

      So true. I don’t know the final count on plates–maybe 24 or 36?–but it is so handy. All I need to do now I slowly pick up coordinating bowls and desert plates. Maybe Anthro bowls when they go on clearance?

  13. says

    It is so easy to have things slip out of whack like this without even realizing it. But you are reigning things in!

  14. says

    Party panic is the worst. Been there, done that. Glad you were able to fit all your plates. Don’t worry though there will be other things to fret about;)

    • says

      In yesterday’s post people had some great ideas for getting party plates dirt cheap. Some scour thrift stores, some buy over time (that’s what I’m going to be doing for dessert plates and bowls), and some buy the $1 a piece clear ones from Bed Bath and Beyond.

  15. says

    I know this is going to sound insane, but I just want to say thank you. Because among our move and packing and quitting work and all the craziness, I STILL stop myself every week and think “hmmm I really should get on that William Morris stuff” and it forces me to sit down, focus, and accomplish something very specific.

    Also, I love your dishes, especially the fun bowls on the bottom.

    • says

      Not insane! That’s nice to hear and makes me happy. :)

      p.s. The fun bowls are from Anthropologie. My sister in-law buys me two every time I host the holidays. They’re $5 each, but they go on super clearance when they bring out the new colors. You probably know all this, but I figure I should put it out there in case anyone was wondering about them.

  16. says

    My spare party plates are actually housed in my kitchen–and I forgot them last Christmas, too. They’re in the cabinet over the fridge I never open and can’t reach. Discovered them on a recent cleaning day–thought I’d given them to Goodwill after I moved. Which, I think, means I *should* give them to Goodwill! Progress…

  17. says

    As usual, you crack me up Jules! I am forever buying plates – small plates, big plates, dinner plates, cute plates, colorful plates. I too have this ridiculous fear that I will have more guests than plates. I buy most of them at the thrift store which allows me to rationalize that “well, they were only $.50 each so how I can I not buy them?” Right now, I’m hunting and foraging for a set of white dishes for my college-aged daughter’s apartment next year. I’m collecting big plates, dessert plates, little plates – well, you get the idea. They’re all white, but all different manufacturers and sizes. They’ve been sanitized and are neatly stacked in my dining room – sometimes I go in that room just to look at them. :-)

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