How to Organize My China Cabinet

Setting the table is easy when you have beautiful china dishes and serving pieces.

Properly storing and organizing your china keeps it safe from damage.
If your china cabinet is a disorganized mess, though, actually using the pieces can be a challenge. Keeping your china cabinet organized not only makes it easier to find pieces when you are looking for them, it prevents the delicate and precious items from breakage. Whether your china is stored in an ornate antique sideboard with an attached hutch, or a simple inexpensive piece from a discount store, taking the time now to organize your cabinet will save you time in the future. .

Remove the china from the cabinet. Check each piece for cracks or chips, and either discard or repair broken pieces.

Wipe each piece with a soft cloth to remove dust. Clean the cabinet shelves the same way.

Sort your china by type on a secure surface. Place a coffee filter or paper plate between each plate and bowl to prevent the pieces from scratching each other.

Place the heaviest pieces, such as serving dishes, on the bottom shelf. Store pieces with lids on lower shelves as well, with the lid turned upside down inside the piece to keep the handle from breaking off.

Return the rest of the china to the cabinet, organizing each shelf according to type. Place seldom-used items towards the back of the shelves so you do not need to move them to get to the items you use more often.

Store crystal, teacups or mugs with the rim up, to prevent chipping. Alternatively, hang the cups from hooks inside the cabinet.

Use coated wire racks to create more space in the cabinets. This keeps the stacks of dishes from getting too high, and reduces the chance that they will fall over and break.

Display place settings or serving pieces in the hutch, if you have one. Use plate easels to stand plates vertically.

Things You Will Need

  • Soft cloth
  • Mild soap and water
  • Coffee filters or paper plates


  • If you have to store a piece with a lid on a higher shelf, use a piece of string to secure the lid. This will help prevent the lid from falling off and breaking when you take the piece down from the shelf.
  • Make sure that your china is completely clean and dry before putting it into a cabinet. Follow the care instructions for your particular type of china; some types are dishwasher safe, but anything that is hand-painted or edged with metal should be hand washed with a mild detergent.

About the Author

An adjunct instructor at Central Maine Community College, Kristen Hamlin is also a freelance writer on topics including lifestyle, education, and business. She is the author of Graduate! Everything You Need to Succeed After College (Capital Books), and her work has appeared in Lewiston Auburn Magazine, Young Money, USA Today and a variety of online outlets. She has a B.A. in Communication from Stonehill College, and a Master of Liberal Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.