How to Store China Dishes: Definitive Guide


China dishes are used for special occasions. Breaking them will surely cause your heart to shatter into a thousand pieces because of their appearance, quality, and steep price tags. Even when not in use, these fine tableware pieces should be kept out of harm’s way. And now you may be wondering about the steps on how to store china dishes.

China dishes should be individually wrapped when storing. They should be placed in boxes with cardboard dividers for extra cushioning. The boxes should then be kept in a place with minimal traffic and a constant temperature. Fine china may also be stored in special china storage containers.

Exclusive materials, superb craftsmanship, high-temperature firing, delicate designs and accents — these are some of the things that make china dishes complete standouts.

No matter the important event, from weddings, anniversaries, Thanksgiving to Christmas, chinaware can make the moment extra special and unforgettable.

No matter if you have just invested your hard-earned cash in fine china or been given a set, keep on reading. Below are some tips and tricks on making sure that your china dishes are safe while not in use.

Wrap Every Piece of China Before Storing

Prior to putting in storage china dishes, there is one very important step that you need to take first. It’s none other than wrapping them in either packing paper or bubble wrap.

But don’t just wrap chinaware in packing paper or bubble wrap — wrap the pieces individually!

Wrapping china dishes in packing paper or bubble wrap keeps them from knocking against one another and, ultimately, prevents them from ending up chipped or cracked.

It’s true that chinaware is more durable than most dinnerware, including especially cheap ones. But they are far from being invincible.

Just a quick tip: When using packing paper, crumple it up first. It tends to do a better job when crumpled up. Also, since packing paper is cheap, use multiple sheets when wrapping each china dish.

Here are some other options besides packing paper and bubble wrap:

  • Manila paper
  • Butcher paper
  • Bond paper
  • Napkin
  • Kitchen towel
  • Paper towel
  • Small laundry bags

You may be wondering why newspaper is nowhere to be found on the list above. Well, that’s because using newspaper is not really a good idea, despite it being a popular alternative to packing paper.

Is it okay to wrap fine china in newspaper?

Wrapping chinaware in newspaper should be avoided. The ink of the newspaper will come off sooner or later and leave a nasty stain on china. While the stain is not permanent, removing it can take up time and energy. The need to remove ink stains can also increase the risk of damaging china pieces.

There is no denying that newspaper is cheap and easily accessible, which can make it seem like it makes for the perfect wrapping material for china dishes.

Unfortunately, newspaper should be the last resort.

While its ink will not leave a permanent stain on your fine china, the task of keeping chinaware free of newspaper ink can make stressful (but special or once in a lifetime only) events that call for showing off china dishes and other pieces even more stressful.

The good news is that it’s perfectly fine to use newspaper as extra cushioning. We will talk more about this important matter in a few — so don’t stop reading now.

Store Them Sideways

Believe it or not, it’s a much better idea to place china dishes in corrugated boxes sideways than horizontally.

It’s for the fact that the edges of chinaware (and other tableware, too) are stronger than their centers.

Just in case you drop the box containing china dishes, the fragile centers can be kept from getting all the impact.

While it can protect expensive china better, placing each dish in a corrugated box on its side can be challenging.

Fret not because there is a simple trick to go about this. And it’s none other than placing the box on its side and then putting one china dish after the other horizontally.

Once all the luxurious dishes are in, fill any remaining space with folded bubble wrap or crumpled or balled-up packing paper. Foam or packing peanuts can also come to the rescue.

As soon as any remaining space in the box is filled with the packing solution of your choice, slowly and carefully position the box upright.

Can you hear a jostling when you pick up the corrugated box? Then put it down and add more cushioning.

Go for Small or Medium Boxes

The heavier the china pieces, the smaller the box should be — this is a general rule of thumb that you should memorize by heart if you want to make sure your china dishes will be there when the next important event strikes.

A couple of reasons exist why larger and heavier china dishes should go in a small or medium box:

  • It’s physics 101 — heavy items, such as massive chinaware, are more likely to come bursting through the bottom of a large box. Even if your china dishes are wrapped individually in bubble wrap or packing paper, it’s likely for them to end up damaged if they take a heart-attack-inducing plunge to the floor.
  • A small- or medium-sized box is easier to take from one place to the other. It’s not enough that you store china in boxes the right way — it’s also a must that you are able to carry the boxes properly. Besides, it is easier to load small or medium boxes, which means placing china dishes in them is simpler, too.

Refrain from cramming a lot of china dishes into one box to make sure that the box will be able to support the weight of your prized possessions. It’s better to store your chinaware in several small boxes than one gigantic box.

Earlier, it was mentioned that china is best stored in a box sideways.

If you cannot abide by this rule for any reason, just remember to keep the stacks small.

Never put more than 10 china dishes on top of one another. The weight and pressure can quickly add up, and the pieces under the stack are at high risk of becoming cracked or shattered.

By the way, it’s of utmost importance to keep each china dish from coming into contact with one another while being stored and during storage. This is when the next tip really shines.

Count on Cardboard Dividers

Whether you have wrapped each of your china dishes in bubble wrap or crumpled up packing paper (or any one of the suggestions earlier), it’s still a good idea to separate every one of them with a cardboard divider.

Thanks to cardboard dividers, you can have peace of mind that your precious chinaware won’t knock against one another, especially while carrying the corrugated box to its designated storage area or while moving from one house to the next.

Needless to say, cardboard dividers can help lower the risk of your china dishes dividing into small pieces.

Here’s a quick tip: Instead of opting for ordinary cardboard, go for corrugated fiberboard.

Put simply, corrugated fiberboard is the material that a corrugated box is made of.

So, in other words, there is no need for you to head to the nearest school and office supplies or arts and crafts store just to get your hands on corrugated fiberboard. \All you have to do is reach for an empty corrugated box and cut away.

The corrugation adds structural strength and durability to the material, thus allowing the fiberboard to carry out its job better. As dividers for your beloved china dishes, corrugated fiberboard is king.

Can I skip wrapping china dishes when using dividers?

The use of cardboard dividers is best paired with wrapping china in bubble wrap or packing paper. Cardboard dividers provide extra protection and by no means should be the main and sole form of protection. If the china plates are wrapped well, skipping the use of cardboard dividers is possible.

You have to take good care of china when using it. Similarly, you have to take good care of it when not in use.

When it comes to storing chinaware, it’s a must that you do everything and anything necessary to keep them around for generations, even if it means carrying out many different steps to keeping it out of harm’s way while it’s stored and waiting for the next special occasion to happen.

As they always say, better safe than sorry.

Pick a Spot With Minimal Traffic

Just because your china dishes are safely wrapped and cushioned inside boxes doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be impervious to anything that can leave them chipped, cracked or smashed into smithereens.

It’s still of utmost importance that you place the corrugated boxes housing them in the right places.

Accidents tend to happen when you least expect them. What’s more, they can strike even if you’re careful.

This is why it’s not enough that you are careful when it comes to storing chinaware — you need to be EXTREMELY careful. And a huge part of being exceptionally careful is having foresight.

Boxes containing fine china should be stored where there’s very little to no traffic. By keeping them where it’s less likely for clumsy kids and curious pets to run into them, your dear china dishes are out of danger.

Here are some of the places in your home where you may store your chinaware:

  • Under the bed in the guest room
  • In the corner cabinet in the kitchen
  • An empty corner in the linen closet
  • On an unused shelf in the pantry
  • In the storage closet under the stairs

Here’s a fast tip: Place boxes containing china dishes as close to the ground as possible. This eliminates the risk of them crashing to the floor and compromising the safety of their valuable contents.

When deciding where you should store china-containing boxes in your home, make sure that your prized possessions won’t be subjected to extreme temperatures or sudden temperature changes.

Otherwise, they may crack and wind up marred and pretty much useless. Needless to say, look for an area in your home where the temperature is stable.

Label the Boxes With China

It’s a wonderful idea to store your chinaware in different boxes, according to the types. And, as suggested earlier, it’s a great idea to store them in small- or medium-sized boxes instead of packing them all in one large box.

While following this tip can help keep your china dishes safe and sound, unfortunately, it can make it hard for you to find a particular piece of china should the time come when you need to take it out of storage.

Fret not because there is a simple solution to this china organizing dilemma. And it’s none other than by labeling everything.

Create a list of what is stored in each box and tape it to the outside. See to it that you tape it where you can take a look at it trouble-free, without the need to turn the box or take it out of storage.

You can label based on categories such as:

  • Pieces (dinner plate, salad plate, cup, saucer, etc.)
  • Design
  • Occasion
  • Manufacturer or brand name

Labeling can help you stay organized, reduce stress and frustration, and minimize the risk of damaging fine china.

Get Your Hands on China Storage Cases

Last but not least, if you want your expensive china dishes to get the five-star treatment they deserve, consider using china storage cases or containers.

Just like what the name says, these products are storage solutions for keeping chinaware safeguarded in between some of the most important moments of your life.

Especially if your china dishes have been passed from generations and are thus priceless and irreplaceable, it’s a wonderful idea to make sure that they are stored like they’re some of the most precious things on the planet.

Here are some of the best special storage cases for china available online:

  • Woffit China Storage Set. This six-piece set makes it trouble-free to store chinaware according to types. The purchase includes 48 felt protectors for china dishes. The set includes one case for cups, one case for wine glasses, and four cases for china dishes of varying sizes.

Woffit China Storage Set

  • StorageLAB China Storage Set. The set is made up of one cup/mug holder and four plate holders in different sizes. The presence of labeling windows helps you stay neat and organized.

StorageLAB China Storage Set

  • Holdn’ Storage Five-Piece Set. Thanks to quilted microfiber, these china storage cases can fend off cracks and chips (and also keep at bay dust and moisture) in a stylish manner. There is a labeling window on each container, which is perfect for making sure that you know exactly what’s stored in every case.

Holdn’ Storage Five-Piece Set

Take your time when shopping for china storage containers online if you want to protect your china dishes (and other pieces) effectively and in style.

Just Before You Attempt to Store Your Fine China

China dishes are nothing like ordinary dinnerware.

Their exorbitant price tags, unparalleled quality and delicate designs make them worthy of receiving first-class treatment from you and everybody else using them.

It’s not just while they are on the table when they should be treated right, but also when they’re not in use.

This is when the sheer importance of storing china dishes properly comes in.

If you take good care of your china dishes, they can be passed from one generation to the next.

On the other hand, if you fail to give them the love and attention they need, your money will end up down the drain (or the heart of the person who gave them to you will surely break).

Follow the tips and tricks on how to store china dishes mentioned above, and you can be certain that your expensive and beautiful plates will be able to grace one important occasion after the other.

Photo credit: ©canva.com

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