How to Organize, Display & Store China, Glassware & Crystal Dishes

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how to organize, display & properly store china, glassware & crystal dishes

China, crystal dishes, and glassware usually come in sets. They have very pretty patterns or prints and because of their fragile material, they are only to be used for special occasions.

You may have received a set as a wedding present or have inherited some from your relatives. Or maybe you just bought a set for yourself because they are really pretty!

No matter how many sets you have, you must know how to organize, store, or properly display your china, crystal dishes, and glassware. After all, they are made of a special and fragile material.

Fortunately, the rules of thumb when storing, displaying, and organizing them are quite similar. So if you do not know where to start when it comes to owning such delicate pieces, do not worry. We have gathered a couple tips for you that will help you out whether you are organizing, displaying, or storing them.

Organizing tips

The right organization system can do wonders, especially when you have multiple sets of china, crystal dishes, or glassware. So here are some tips that you should consider for organization.

1. Organize by pattern.

If your sets of china, glassware, or crystal come in different patterns and you have multiple sets for each kind, organizing them by the pattern is a good idea.

This way, if you have something specific in mind to use for a certain occasion, you get to have everything you need in one space. Hence, it is an organization system that you can use for easy retrieval.

Organize by pattern
Image from Pender and Peony

2. Organize by function.

If there are times that you are sick of everything being too matchy, you can mix things up by organizing everything you own by their function.

Have all the plates together, the bowls together, the cups together – you get the point.

Organize by function
Image from On Sutton Place

3. Create zones for glassware.

We use different glasses for different drinks. We have china tea cups for tea, mugs for coffee, and stemmed glassware for liquor.

So if you are an all-around drinker, it is best to create zones for your glassware. This way, you know where to reach every time you need a drink.

Create zones for glassware.
Image from The Crowned Goat

Displaying tips

China, glassware, and crystal dishes are always pretty. They double up as a decorative element in the dining room. So, it is most likely that you would want to keep them on display.

Here are some tips and tricks to consider when it comes to displaying these fragile items.

1. Place a gap between items.

Whether it is china, glassware, or crystal dishes, you have to make sure that you leave plenty of room between items so you do not clink them together. If you crowd these items together, they can easily get chipped or create scratches.

2. Display with the rim side up.

When it comes to bowls, mugs, or cups, you should display them with the rim side up. This is because the rim is the most fragile part of these items.

display with the rim side up
Image from Live Auctioneers

3. Leave the lids on.

If you have items that come with lids, display them as is. It is the best way to keep the lids in place because they are made to fit their containers. Separating the lids will mean you have to find another storage space or run the risk of losing them.

Leave the lids on
Image from Topic Tea

4. Double up shelf space.

If you have tall shelves and you need more space for all your china, glassware, or crystal, you should double up your shelf space. This can be made possible by adding another floating shelf in the middle, or by simply purchasing wire racks.

5. Get a stemware rack.

If you have a lot of wine glasses, champagne flutes, or other stemware, consider investing in a stemware rack. You can place the racks under your kitchen shelves and hang your stemware upside down from there.

6. Larger items should be at the bottom.

When displaying your china, glassware, and crystal dishes in a china cabinet or shelf, balance and proportion are important. Placing the heavier or larger items on the bottom shelves will create that balanced look.

Larger items at the bottom
Image from Isle

7. Display china on the wall.

If you want to display your china on the wall of your dining room, use the set that you consider decorative. Therefore, this is the set that you think is too pretty to use.

This is because, if you put up a china set on the wall that you do use for special occasions, the wall will be left bare and the empty plate hangers will be an ugly sight to leave as well.

Display china on wall
Image from Vintage Cookbooks

Storing tips

If you do not have enough space for displaying your china, glassware, or crystal dishes, it makes sense to store them away while they are not in use. When it comes to storing delicate items, you must avoid creating any chips or scratches.

Here are some tips you should follow when it comes to storing these delicate items.

1. Look for damage.

Before you store away your china, glassware, or crystal dishes, give each item a thorough inspection. Make sure there are no breaks or chips before you put them away.

How to store china, glassware & crystal dishes - first look for damage.
Image from Washington Post

If there are any damages, try to have them repaired first. But for the most part, chipped glassware and crystal can be dangerous and should no longer be used for drinking or eating.

2. Know the weak spots.

You should know the weak spots of every item and do precautions to make sure they are extra protected.

When it comes to glassware and crystal, the thinner the surface, the more fragile it is. The protruding parts like the handles, spouts, and stems are usually the most fragile.

How to store china, glassware & crystal dishes - know the weak spots.

3. Use dividing cushions between plates.

If you are stacking your china or crystal plates while being put away for storage, make sure that you use dividing cushions between the plates. This is because stacked items can still scratch each other’s surfaces.

You can use a paper towel, paper plate, coffee filters, or felt plate dividers for this purpose. Never use a newspaper because there is a chance that the ink will transfer to the plates. If you plan to stack your bowls, make sure the dividers cover up the rim.

4. Consider the limit of stacking.

The rule of thumb is that when you stack your plates, only stack four to five plates in one column. This is especially true for crystal dishes. If you only have this many plates stacked, then the dishes at the bottom of the stack will be able to handle the weight.

How to store china, glassware & crystal dishes - consider the limit of stacking.
Image from Spode

5. Store with the rim side up.

For sets that come with bowls, cups, or mugs, always store them with the rim side up. Again, this is because the rim is the most fragile part.

Glassware with stems should also be stored upright, meaning on its base. They should never be stacked.

How to store china, glassware & crystal dishes - store with the rim side up.
Image from Dumbo Moving

6. Store with the repaired items on top.

If you have had items that have been repaired, always keep them at the top of the stack. Putting them on the bottom half of the stack would put too much weight on them and can risk breakage.

How to store china, glassware & crystal dishes - store with the repaired items on top.
Image from My Modern Met

7. Items with lids should be stored as is.

If your china, glassware, or crystal comes with lids, you should store them as is. If you try to separate the lids, they may slide off and break.

How to store china, glassware & crystal dishes - items with lids should be stored as is.
Image from Lot Art

8. Pad the box.

If you need to store your china, glassware, and crystal dishes in a box, make sure that you pad the bottom and the sides of the box. You may use a soft cloth or bubble wrap for this purpose.

9. Label your box.

It is very important that you label the box so that everyone will be extra careful with it. The label should be clear, bold, and big enough to be seen from afar. This will also ensure that nobody will place another box of items on top of it.

10. Store in a safe place.

Do not store your items where there could be dramatic fluctuations in humidity or temperature. Hence, places like the attic or the garage are not recommended. The changes in humidity or temperature can cause tiny cracks – especially when it comes to china. These cracks will eventually cause breakage.

Store china, glassware & crystal dishes in a safe place.
Image from Gorilla Shipper

Take good care of your china, glassware and crystal dishes!

There is no point in owning nice things if you do not know how to take care of them. Indeed, these tips can be a big help when you need to organize, display or store a beautiful set of china, glassware, or crystal dishes.

These will not only keep your beautiful and fragile items last longer but also make them ready for use whenever you want to!

Looking for more organizing & decor ideas for the dining room? Check these out!

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Take good care of your beautiful and fragile items at home. Here's how to organize, display & properly store china, glassware & crystal dishes!

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