Today I want to talk about how I store and organize my children's dishes. Because let's be honest- I'm outnumbered. Their dishes are the ones that get used more often than my "adult versions" right now. So for starters, if you don't know about them yet, I am completely in love with these dishes from IKEA. They have plates, bowls, cups, and utensils. They are the holy grail of dishes for toddlers: they are microwave and dishwasher safe, they are pretty much indestructible, they are good sizes, they come in lots of colors, and they are CHEAP.
I have two main goals when I am thinking about organizing something for my kids: giving them independence and giving them choices. The many colors of dishes take care of the choices for me already- they love picking out their plate, cup, and utensils each time.
To allow them more independence in getting out and putting away their dishes, I put all of the main ones they use regularly in a low cabinet. It is the only one in the entire kitchen with no child lock on the door, and they pretty much have free reign over the contents (sidenote: these dishes are also great toys...). Any time we have a meal, they are responsible for getting out the appropriate dishes for themselves. Because the dishes are all within reach, they can easily see and pick out their own things. They are also responsible for putting clean dishes away, and they have naturally kept all of the similar items grouped together:
Yes, I promise you, this is how I looked when I opened the door to take a picture! I keep all of the utensils in an old coffee container with the label pulled off:
It is the perfect size!
I keep all of the other feeding/eating supplies for the kids that I don't want them to have access to and/or don't use very often in a higher cabinet that they can't reach (yet). It is pretty crammed full but I have a small kitchen and I don't use these things (especially the ones on the higher shelves) very often, so it works.
The things on the bottom shelf of this cabinet are things I pull out quite a bit but don't want to the kids to see and be able to reach. See the pouches? I am so happy about the way they are organized. I wrote an entire post about them here. I use a number of reusable sandwich and snack bags, and I take my lunch to work in a lunch bag almost every day as well. Those are kept organized with a pot lid holder.
As they get older and eating habits change, I am constantly adapting my storage system as well. For now (the girls are 2.5 years old), this system works quite well for all of us! How do you keep up with all the bits and pieces for your children's eating? Leave a comment below!