For every additional person in a household, over the count of two, there is an exponential increase in the number of cups to wash unless strategies are applied. I have in the past purchased inexpensive plastic cups and let the kids decorate them with permanent marker. Simply writing names or having personal cups was not useful because screening for this was a low priority for too many people when choosing a clean cup from the cupboard. Plus, they like to share their fun, special cups. Creative designs, however, helped identify cups decently when they were young and home most of the time. (Visitors’ eyes would become wide when they learned our kids could draw on the ” dishes.”) Later, we tried having them each choose a location in the kitchen to place their cup when not in use. It seemed to help for a while, but the cups often needed to be moved due to kitchen activity, someone else’s cup ended up close enough for confusion, or I just couldn’t stand the cluttered effect.
My latest solution is to assign an individual coaster to each person. These are lined up in one location, by age order, temporarily identified by a name card until everyone becomes more familiar with the system. If they have a mug or water bottle to keep track of as well, it can just go in line with their coaster. My coasters of choice are thirsty coasters. I found mine in Taiwan, but a search on the web lead me to the good looking site that I have linked to. I’m glad to find it, as I would like to get some for gifts sometime. These coasters absorb condensation so well that everything remains quite dry.
I have enough of these coasters to be able to lengthen the line up for visitors. The method also has portability for studying or reading at other locations since I did label the back of each coaster. I can identify who is and isn’t keeping track of cups. Increase of maintainable order brings me soothing comfort, and therefore more peace to the household in general.