Knowing how to store china properly is important if you want to protect your heirlooms and investments. You can improve on the classic cardboard box and newspaper. Fine china is delicate, and storing china well will keep it in good shape for generations.
Ensure China Is Clean and Dust-Free First
When storing china, you should first clean it thoroughly and give it a good dusting. Acids from grime can damage the surface of your china, and dust can get into crevices. This is especially problematic with china that is unglazed or that has repairs, but it's important to make sure all china is clean before storage.
Individually Wrap Stored China
Always wrap pieces of china individually, rather than stacking things together to wrap them. This prevents the items from scratching one another or clinking together and chipping. This is especially important for delicate items like bone china tea sets. The additional wrapping takes up more space, but it is essential protection.
Store China Plates and Bowls on Their Sides
Although the rims of bowls and plates are fragile, the shape of these items makes them sturdiest when packed on their sides. The key is to make sure the wrapping protects the delicate edges. Then support the plates or bowls from underneath and nest them together on their sides inside a larger container.
Don't Use Newspaper When Storing China
While it may be tempting to grab the newspaper to wrap china, this isn't a good idea. Newspaper has ink on it, and the ink can transfer onto delicate china during storage. Instead, choose plain acid-free tissue paper or foam wrap. Avoid anything with color that might spread to your fine china.
Use Plastic Bins Instead of Cardboard Boxes
Instead of storing china in cardboard boxes, opt for plastic bins. These bins are sturdier than cardboard, and they offer better protection when stacked in a storage room or storage unit. They are also clear, allowing you to see the contents. When storing china, it's ideal to choose several small or medium-sized bins. This keeps the bins from getting too heavy.
Label Bins of China Clearly
Even if you're using a clear bin, you should label the stored china clearly so you can find it later. Include details on the label about which specific pieces are in the bin. That way, when you're preparing for a holiday meal or other special event, you can find exactly what you need.
Try a Glass-Front Cabinet to Reduce Dust
Packing china away is not the only way to store it. You can also store your china in a sideboard, cabinet, or china hutch. The key here is to make sure the cabinet has doors to prevent dust from accumulating on the china and potentially damaging it. A protective cabinet can also keep stored china safe from accidental bumps that can occur on open shelves.
Use Dividers to Protect Stacked China
If you are stacking china in a cabinet, be sure to use dividers between the individual pieces. A piece of thin foam, a few sheets of tissue paper, or even an old cloth napkin can help keep one piece from scratching another in the stack. You should limit stacks to fewer than 10 pieces so the weight does not become too much on the bottom items.
Don't Store Cups Upside Down
While it may be tempting to store cups upside down to keep the dust out, the rim of a china teacup is actually the most vulnerable spot. Instead, store them upright. If you know the china is sturdy and has had not repairs to handles, you can hang the cups from hooks. However, the handle is another vulnerable part, so only do this if you're certain the cup is sturdy enough.
Consider Specialized Storage Products
If you have an especially valuable set of china or a set you treasure because of sentimental value, consider investing in specialized china storage. Quilted fabric storage boxes sell for between $50 and $200 per set. The highly rated China Storage Set from Amazon, for instance, sells for about $60 and include dividers and spots for labels. You can find similar sets at most home stores.