Re: ? re: commonHouse kitchen/pantry etc
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 4 Sep 2015 09:18:05 -0700 (PDT)
> On Sep 2, 2015, at 8:33 AM, Ruth Hirsch <partner-in-healing [at] 
>> wrote:
> We know we want to have a two sided serving area (we grew from twelve 
> households to eighteen.

One key you have found — serving on two side of the counter.

The two other things I find hasten the waiting is 

(1) cooks or helpers watching over the serving line to be sure the serving 
spoons don’t walk away or disappear into the soup, or one person is having 
difficulty serving themselves. It’s hard to deal with this but a parent taking 
an inordinate amount of time asking a child what they want and explaining all 
the dishes. Someone can ask them to step back to discuss the dishes or tell the 
waiting line that it is okay to step around them.

(2) Choosing tableware. People take a lot of time finding the right spoon. Our 
table wear is now placed on a microwave above a short person’s eye level. This 
can take far more time than it should require. One meal sets the tables with 
tableware, glasses, and water. Having grown up setting the table every night, I 
felt  like I had died and gone to heaven when I discovered buffet dining. At 
one point n my own household, I had box from Pottery Barn intended for picnics. 
It had a handle, a place for napkins, forks, spoons, and knives. It sat in the 
middle of the table. Putting one of those next to the water pitchers would also 
speed service.

On storage:

We discovered that purchasing serving and mixing bowls and pans saved tons of 
space. Donated things rarely fit together. Graduated bowls and pans also makes 
it easier to choose the best size.

One thing I have found at home and finds resistance in the commonhouse is to 
allot so much space for each kind of item and edit when things go beyond that. 
Will I ever use more than one shelf of books on writing? One shelf of cookbooks 
(I rarely use any of them — but decoration is important too.) Do you really 
need all those pans and lids that don’t match. 

In the common house do we really need four shelves of jigsaw puzzles? It would 
take us 2-3 years to work all those puzzles even once  and new ones are often 
contributed. Games — do we really need 3 shelves of games? When we have a game 
night people usually bring their own favorite games, not choose from the 
shelves. However, all the small vases and candles used for the occasional 
special meal are probably worth storing.

But does anyone really borrow any of the VHS tapes and DVDs in the office?

Thinking like this instead of just accepting all donations and never getting 
rid of things can reduce the need for space and give you more space for things 
that contribute to social events.

One way we edit is to put out all the puzzles (games, movies, etc.) out on the 
dining room tables and people choose which ones they want to keep. The rest are 
taken to the charity shop. Unfortunately we keep too much but it does help. 

Sharon Villines, Washington, DC

"Focus means saying no to the 100 good ideas out there. Innovation is saying no 
to 1,000 things." Steve Jobs

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