7 Smart Tips for Storing Your Fine China

published Nov 30, 2015
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(Image credit: Rachel Joy Barehl)

Now that Thanksgiving is over, you might be able to hang up your hostess apron for a little while (unless, of course, your home is the December holiday headquarters as well). That also means you can return the fine china to its home in storage. But this year, instead of using that same old cardboard box and a few pieces of newspaper, it’s time to really protect your plates and make sure they are safely stored until they next grace the table. Here are seven tips to keep in mind.

(Image credit: Jennifer Hunter)

1. Wrap everything.

We’re hoping this isn’t new information, but your dinnerware is best protected when each individual piece is wrapped. That means anything with a lid or saucer should have those pieces wrapped individually as well. Whether you choose bubble wrap or butcher paper is up to you. For storage in your home, paper should suffice. Bubble wrap is more important for anything that might get moved around. So if you’re planning to relocate between now and the next time you use your fine china, go ahead and wrap in bubble wrap.

2. Turn plates & bowls on their sides.

It might seem counterintuitive, but storing plates and bowls on their sides is actually the safest way to store them. The edges of the plates are usually stronger than the centers, and there’s less pressure on them if they drop. The same holds true for many bowls as well, but you’ll want to use extra packing material around them so they aren’t jostled in the box.

3. Ditch the newspaper.

Yes, it is the most convenient option if you get the newspaper delivered to your home, but it can mean more cleanup time when you unpack your dishes to use them. And if you don’t get the paper delivered, it’s just as easy to order some packing paper as it is to pick up the Sunday Times. This becomes especially important if you have heirloom-quality china.

(Image credit: aprilandrandy | Flickr )

4. Use cardboard dividers.

When it comes to storing glassware, mugs, and even some bowls, cardboard dividers can be your best friend. Just that little extra bit of structure can prevent the stems of your stemware and the handles of your mugs from breaking. Don’t forget that your pieces should be wrapped before going into their individual divider, so make sure you’ve purchased the appropriate size.

5. Label everything.

Just like with moving, it can be difficult to remember just what you packed in each box, so create an inventory list of what is in each box or bin and tape it to the outside. That way if you just want your dessert plates and your coffee service from your dinnerware, you’ll be able get your hands on them quickly, even if they are in different boxes.

6. Opt for medium or small plastic bins.

The general rule for moving or packing items for storage is that the heavier the item, the smaller the box it should go in. Follow this rule when packing up your place settings as well — china, while delicate, can become heavy quickly. This is also the year you should upgrade your storage from a cardboard box to a plastic bin. Not only will it stay protected in the event of water damage, but it will also last for years to come.

(Image credit: Elizabeth Passarella)

7. Upgrade to specialty storage.

If you have fine china that has been passed down from family members, and might just be your ticket to fortune on “Antiques Roadshow,” you may want to consider upgrading to more specialized china storage. Hagerty USA is highly rated and makes storage pieces for just about every plate, platter, and bowl you can imagine.