Following a few storage tips for china is a great first step toward keeping these items organized.
To be honest, I don’t use my china or crystal very often. I always say that life is too short so why not live it up? I do fall short, though, when it comes to actually using my china and crystal for more than just holiday dinners. These beautiful pieces, including many heirlooms from my husband’s family and mine spend most of their time in my buffet server or china closet.
Since they spend most of their time there, I have quite a few storage tips for china, crystal and glassware.
Although, many of my clients aren’t begging frequently for storage tips for china, keeping this area organized will save you time and stress down the road. Improper storage of china, crystal and other glassware can result in breakage and can certainly cause angst when you can’t find a piece you are searching for.
Here are some general rules to follow for storing these items:
Storage Tips for China
The most important rule of storage for china is to do it carefully, to avoid chips and scratches. These items can be fragile and should be handled with care.
Here are some general rules of thumb:
- Don’t crowd items together. Instead, leave plenty of room between items so they don’t clink together.
- Always lift items off a stack, don’t slide them, since this can cause scratching.
- Stack smaller items at top, not at the bottom, and make sure the stacks don’t go too high (no more than 10 or so plates in a stack, maximum, and less may be better)
- If an item has been repaired keep it at the top of the stack, not lower where there will be more weight on it
- Because stacked items can easily scratch each other use something to place between each dish in the stack, such as a paper plate, paper towel, coffee filters, or felt plate dividers
- Cups, bowls and mugs should be stored rim side up, to prevent chipping of this most fragile area
- Mugs may be stored on hooks to make more room within your shelves, but only if they’re not antique and have not had their handles repaired
- If you must stack bowls together, to protect the rims place something around entire rim as cushion, but ideally mugs, cups and bowls should not be stacked at all, but instead placed next together on shelves, with enough room between each so the sides don’t touch
- To create more shelf space for these unstackable items you can use coated wire racks to add shelving between the shelves to double your shelving space
- Be careful when storing china items with lids, since these can slide off and fall, especially on high shelves if you store the lid directly on the item itself
Storage Tips for Crystal and Glassware
Similar rules apply to the care and storage of glassware and crystal. These items are quite fragile, so they must be handled with great care to keep them safe and looking their best.
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Here are some general rules to keep in mind:
- The thinner the glass or crystal the more delicate it is
- The thin protruding shapes from the glassware, such as the stems, handles and spouts are the most fragile parts of all
- If your glassware or crystal is chipped it is dangerous and should not be used for food or drink consumption
- Do not crowd the glassware together since it may increase dangers of scratching or breaking
- Your stemware should be stored upright, on its base, and not stacked, if placed on a shelf, or held upside down in a stemware rack (such as the one shown on the right)
- If you can’t display your crystal, I suggest using special stemware storage chests, designed for champagne flutes, wine glasses, or other special stemware to keep them clean and safe between uses
Long-Term Storage For China And Glassware
If you’ve got to keep your china and crystal in a longer-term storage area (like an attic or basement, for example), make sure you follow these rules to keep it safe and ready for use later once you can store it somewhere more handy:
- Don’t store it in areas with dramatic fluctuations in temperature or humidity (such as the garage or attic) – this can lead to tiny cracks in the glaze that can eventually lead to breakage
- Pad the bottom of your boxes with bubble wrap, soft cloth or white tissue paper
- Wrap each piece of china separately in either bubble wrap or white packing paper (not newspaper because the ink may rub off onto the china)
- Stack only 4-5 plates in any one box
- Have repaired plates on top of stacks, not the bottom to help prevent rebreakage
- Do not stack storage boxes on top of one another, and don’t stack heavy things on top of these boxes
- Label your boxes clearly, and put a warning on the top of the box not to stack anything else on top
- You may want to consider using china storage containers (such as the one shown above), which are designed specifically to have padded sides and bottoms, and to keep your glassware and china from clinking and breaking as it is stored
How about you? Do you use your china and crystal for more than holiday dinners? Do you have any creative storage tips for china or crystal? Tell us about it in the comments. We’d love to hear!
For great ideas and tips on food storage, check out our post HERE