Common house dishes and such
From: Lynn Nadeau (
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 16:11:01 -0700 (MST)
>Do people equip their common house 
>with enough plates and cutlery for everyone or do people have to bring 
>their own ?

In the States, dishes are so abundant. They can be had very cheaply 
second-hand. Other sources are members who are moving, and extras members 
may have from inheritance. So even without a substantial investment, it's 
easy to have plenty on hand in the common house. Same with utensils. 
Members gave us whole sets of cups and glasses and silverware.

We took advice not to get (or accept) heavy restaurant-type china. It 
helps also if what you have stacks well. We chose to use the "Corelle" 
dishes made by Corning Glassworks- they are a sort of opaque glass which 
looks like white china, they stack in little space, and come clean very 
easily. Patterns vary, but all stack just the same.

Many of us had some Corelle dishes at home, and when we pooled them found 
that we were missing very little. We bought some soup bowls at a factory 
outlet store to have enough. 

When we were ready to stock the common house kitchen we issued a call for 
everyone to bring to the common house everything they'd been saving "to 
use in the common house some day", especially kitchen things. That day 
the dining tables were heaped with offerings, grouped by owner.

A committee of three or four made the rounds. "Let's have three spatulas: 
which are the best three?" In one category after another we "shopped" 
among the offerings. We put together a best set of spoons, forks and 
knives for 30, and a back up set for 30 more. Measuring cups, serving 
bowls, carrot peelers, dish towels. When we were done, people took back 
the remaining items, to dispose of in another way. A bit of negotiating, 
"But you really should have this!" but not much. This process worked well 
for us. 

Lynn Nadeau, RoseWind Cohousing
Port Townsend Washington (Victorian seaport, music, art, nature)

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