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How I Solved the Problem of Water Cups All Over the Counters

I walked into the kitchen and, once again, there were cups all over the counter. Whose water glasses are these? No one ever knows. See, the problem is, they get a cup, drink the water, then two hours later when they come back for more, they can’t remember which cup or glass is theirs, so they grab a new one.

Can anyone else relate?

This was becoming a serious problem in our house. We were going through so many cups and glasses every day and frankly, not only was I tired of extra dishes to wash and put away, but I was tired of seeing them all over the counter too. So, about two years ago I decided something had to change.

counter with cups all over it and a text overlay that says, "How We Solved the Problem of Water Cups All Over the Counters"

How to Solve the Problem of Kids Using Too Many Cups & Glasses

This system has worked SO well for our family that I thought I’d share it with you as well, in case you find yourself with this same issue.

Step 1 – Have a Designated Water Station

I purchased a black cart with two shelves at Ikea for around $30 and placed my Berkely water filter on top of it.

water bottle cart

Step 2 – Get Everyone Their Own Special Cup or Water Bottle

Initially, I got a pack of multi-colored plastic cups from IKEA. They were cheap and came with 6 colors. The problem with that was that they didn’t have a lid so they were spilling sometimes, we couldn’t take them with us, and I started wanting to move away from plastic.

So then I went in search of a stainless steel water bottle for each of the kids and that’s where I truly hit the sweet spot with this method! Each of my kids got a new water bottle from Zak!. Not only that, but they featured fun characters that they love (like Mickey Mouse, Minecraft, Harry Potter, Bluey, ect.)

My kids were super excited to use their new water bottles!

Step 3 – Establish Rules

My rules for the kids with the water bottles were easy. If you are drinking water, you use YOUR water bottle. The eliminated them ever using any other cups (yay!). Since every bottle I got was different, it was easy for them to remember which bottle was theirs.

Since I had purchased the cart, I also made a rule that they should keep their water bottle on the cart. So now, my kids just head to the water cart any time they need a drink. They can fill their bottle there (when needed), take a quick drink, and then put it right back onto the cart for later.

Water bottles that are currently being used are on the middle shelf. The bottle shelf is for spare bottles (ones friends can use, or extras my kids can use if their water bottle is being washed or is broken.).

Step 4 – Plan to Get New Bottles Once Every Year or Two

These bottles get used heavily at our house. Over time they have been dropped, resulting in broken tops and dents, and somehow my kids have managed to lose some of the straws. I decided it makes sense for us to plan on getting a new bottle for each kid every year or two.

We get them new Zak! bottles as part of their Christmas gifts. They always get excited when they get new bottles because of the characters on them. Zak! has over 20 different kids character bottles to choose from!

Check out the bottles they are getting this year:

Zak water bottles
Zac water bottles on a water station cart

Can you guess which kid gets which bottle?

If you too suffer from too many cups being used in your home, I hope this helps! It has definitely been a game-changer at our home!

Water Bottles

Check out some of my favorite water bottles

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Maria Egan

Monday 18th of December 2023

You found a very clever way to keep the water bottles so organized and out of the way. I bet everyone enjoyed getting their own cute bottle.