Help a Reader — Switching to Corelle

by Katy on January 14, 2012 · 24 comments

In today’s blog post, I ask you to help out Renee, who is wanting to switch over to her dishes without resorting to buying new. Here’s her question:

“In an effort to simply my life I’m thinking about switching out all my dishes for Corelle (or any other unbreakables – are there other brands like that?). They are lighter, take up less space, and most importantly I want my toddler to start help setting the table. I’ve been to a few thrift stores, but haven’t found a set, and don’t totally want to go mismatched. Any ideas of how to make this swap work in a non-consumer way? Do I just need to be more patient and keep at it at the thrift stores and on Craigslist?”

My suggestion is for Renne to put the word out among her family and friends, maybe even post something on her Facebook wall,(this question was originally posted in the Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group, and garnered a lot of response.)

Do you have a suggestion for how Renne can get ahold of enough Corelle dishes? Please share your ideas and resources in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura's Last Ditch--Adventures in Thrift Land January 14, 2012 at 10:42 am

If she can’t find them from friends and family, or thrift stores and garage sales, she could look on eBay or Etsy, and try to find ones from local sellers. Usually these dishes don’t sell for much, but the shipping can eat you alive.


Megg January 14, 2012 at 10:49 am

You could try


Lisa January 14, 2012 at 11:07 am

Look around online and check out the different patterns. When you find one you like, acquire pieces as you find them. Especially if the pattern is older/vintage, check ebay, etsy, and places that more antique stores than thrift stores (they will still be fairly cheap). Church thrift stores or (excuse my bluntness) thrift stores close to areas where lots of older people live are better for vintage housewares in larger sets. Estate sales are best of all: find a couple of companies in your area and get on their email lists. You can save them up until you have enough (which shouldn’t take long), or you can swap them out with your current dishes (esp if you choose a pattern that sort of complements them) You start your toddler helping to set the table using unbreakable things in the meantime. Hope that helps!


Renee in CA January 14, 2012 at 11:24 am

I have Corelle and just love it. Takes up much less cupboard space. I really like having the luncheon size plates and small bowls which you can get in plain white. For some reason I’m not a fan of the square patterns. I have seen whole boxes on Craigslist. You can checkout nearby areas as well if you’re willing to travel. There are Corelle outlets in the outlet malls. Garage sales are probably the cheapest for used. I had to buy a few pieces on eBay, and as mentioned, pricey shipping.


Heidi January 14, 2012 at 11:30 am

I grew up with Corelle, and while I love it, I just have to say that, while it is resistant to chips and breaking, it is NOT unbreakable. And when it does break, it breaks into lots of tiny, really sharp shards. I remember many times having to clear out of the kitchen while every last piece was gathered up.

Just had to pass along the warning. Good luck finding a good source!


Renee in CA January 14, 2012 at 11:39 am

Very true. I have seen a plate almost turn to dust. Not that it’s any worse than the heavier pottery though.


Jo January 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I second this – Corelle explodes when it breaks. Not a good choice for children.

What Renee might be thinking about is melamine dishes. They are sturdier than plastic (won’t bend), lightweight and easy to wash. Not sure if they are dishwasher safe, though, and they do scratch after using for awhile.


Jo January 14, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Renee, you might want to check out this article on melamine as well, when making your decision. There is a link to read about other types of dishes and cookware as well.


Ann January 14, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I agree about the shattering. We had Corelle for years and it is resistant to breakage but when it does break it shatters and the pieces are deadly. I switched to basic ceramic (or whatever they are called!) dishes and they are very sturdy, and at least if something breaks it breaks into one or two pieces that are easy to find and clean up instead of having to worry about little shreds getting stuck in little feet 🙂


Heather January 15, 2012 at 6:23 pm

I agree! Thought it was unbreakable, and was horrified when a plate shattered into a zillion pieces!


Lilypad January 16, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I haven’t had Corelle since I was a kid in the 70’s. Right now, we have IKEA’s 365+ brand dishes. A few have chipped but only in a very benign fashion. This is where stupid granite countertops (it’s a rental, I would never choose them) come in to play, because if you hit a plate on it in just the right way, the plate chips or breaks. I never had that problem with my old laminate countertops…


Kelli January 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Patience and persistence –what you are looking for will eventually show up at the thrift store, as long as you are checking regularly. I have been quick to “settle” for an item I’m looking for–only to have it appear in a week or two. Just keep looking–it will turn up!


Anne January 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Don’t forget, check FreeCycle, they have great things being recycled and it’s free!


Annie January 14, 2012 at 2:02 pm

I’ve found Corelle at garage sales, flea markets, thrift stores and on craigslist. I inherited a vintage pattern (white with a gray/silver long stem rose) and used those, but gradually switched to all white. If you want to build a patterned set, I’d suggest choosing one with a white background (rather than the almond color). That way, you could do it all second hand by mixing it with plain white, which goes with everything. As you find more and more of the patterned pieces, you can let go of the plain white pieces.

I love Corelle and would never have any other kind for my every day dishes. I love that I can pick up 4 plates at a time out of the dishwasher with just one hand and not have trouble with my weak wrists, while just two of a heavy stoneware style are too heavy. I also love how they don’t need as much stacking space in the cabinet since they are so thin.

Good luck!


Miss Roman Apartment January 14, 2012 at 2:22 pm

You will probably have to pay a bit more, but for instant gratification on nearly new Corelle I would check ebay. I used to collect depression glassware and pre-ebay it would have taken years of searching swap meets to amass what I was able to find on ebay in one month.

Also, for older patterns try


Rebecca B. A. R. January 14, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I would go ahead and pick up a pattern that I liked (even if only a few dishes) when I saw it at the thrift store. I would then take a picture of it and email/facebook it to all my family and friends and ask them to pick up the same pattern/ or call me and let me know about it first before they pick it up, when they are out and about. If it is vintage, you may even find someone who has it and will just give it to you, too.


Rebecca B. A. R. January 14, 2012 at 2:31 pm

BTW, I have Corelle and I love it! Even though it might break, I think that it is good to teach a child how to be careful with delicate things.


Carla January 14, 2012 at 6:34 pm

When we went from mismatched to matched plates a few years back, I started by choosing about 6 plates I had that were the same and I liked and gave away the rest. Every time I have been to a thrift store or garage sale or church sale etc. I always always check the dish table. I have since built my set to almost a full set (more of some than others) by picking up a plate here, a set of cups and saucers there, a cream pitcher over there. I once saw two serving bowls, but the price was way high so I let them go (but I still pine…). All this to say, you can build a set of dishes by choosing a design you like and that you start with a good base. We do have some extras that don’t match for when we need extras.

Also, I have 3 kids and they have helped to set the table since they were 2 and a bit. Yep, they carry dishes, bowls, etc. They have rarely broken something, but the adults have also broken our share. I think kids can learn to be extra careful with dishes, and I find that they actually like the challenge, they feel more grown up or something when given such a responsibility. So, you don’t necessarily have to buy something different for kids. In fact, I cleaned a pantry shelf to put (ceramic) dishes, bowls and cups that the kids can access themselves when they want to set up a snack or something, which has worked great. And ceramics always (almost) break cleanly in 2 pieces or so. And, there is always the next garage sale…


Ruthie January 14, 2012 at 7:48 pm

We have Corelle. My husband wanted it since he had it as a kid, and although I don’t find it as pretty as vintage Pyrex, I have to admit it is very resilient and light. It’s worth it!

We got a whole set at a estate sale for $20.


Alyssa January 15, 2012 at 8:16 am

Post some sort of “wanted” ad, whether online or locally. There are people who would love to pare down on stuff that may be very happy to unload their extra Corelle dishes.


Rachel C January 16, 2012 at 6:38 am

I’ve had Corelle for years – ever since the kids were little. Yes, when a piece breaks, it breaks into lots of sharp little pieces, but that has been a rarity. It’s great because I can put it in the microwave, too.
When my oldest son moved out of the house, I gave him my “old” set of Corelle (which is now around 25 years old) – thus justifying the purchase of a new set for me (my pattern preferences have changed over the years). Then when my middle child went away to college, I found him a decent set at an estate sale for $10. It seems to be a rather elusive pattern, but I have had fun searching for extra pieces at thrift stores and garage sales.
I also have a Corelle outlet store nearby, so I can pick up additional pieces for my set. All in all, having Corelle has probably saved me a lot of money over the years because it holds up so well – even though I bought it new.


ellen January 16, 2012 at 6:59 am

What about a request on freecycle?
I was just at my local GW on sat, and saw part of a set…. didnt’ look at the price as I was not looking for any.. it was the older white with the green flowers around the edge…


Elaine in Ark January 16, 2012 at 10:22 am

I have Corelle, too, and I love it. A couple of pieces have broken, but none in the last 7 years or so. I have arthritis in my thumb joints, and I had to get rid of my stoneware, which I LOVED. But I dropped pieces of it, and some of them broke. They also chipped quite a bit, but that’s mostly because I kept dropping other dishes on them.

My parents had melamine dishes, in the 70’s. It was really horrible back then. It’s probably much nicer now.


Madeline January 25, 2012 at 10:52 am

I have this odd thing–I LOVE mis matched dishes! I LOVE setting my table with all kinds of dishes and silverware, and mixed up colored cloth napkins.Just so festive! Even at holidays and for company.I get a lot of compliments too.. and it sure makes life easy when your dishes just don’t match!! Plus I can buy odd fun plates at thrift stores.

Good luck finding just what you need.. usually as soon as you start telling people, the items you want will start to turn up! When my crock pot broke and I mentioned having to get a new one, THREE came out of the woodwork.. freebies (I only took 1!) — who knew how many un-used crock pots are sitting in cupboards all over america!!


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