Just like all the finer things in life, fine china requires special care if you want to store it safely. Before dropping it off at your storage unit or packing it away at home, learn the basics for keeping your china safe.
Tip #1: Wash Before You Store
Dirt on the china, whether its a tea stain or dust, can damage the surface during wrapping and storage. Take the time to carefully hand wash and dry your china before you store so it comes out just as beautiful as it was before you packed it away.
Tip #2: Wrap It Right
Stacking china against china is a recipe for disaster. Chips, scratches or breakage are more likely to occur unless each piece is individually wrapped. Use plain, undyed packing paper for wrapping each china piece. Avoid newspaper, which may transfer ink to the china. For flat items, such as plates, make sure there is a sheet of paper between each plate. Cups and bowls will require individual wrapping.
Tip #3: Choose the Best Box
A regular moving box won't provide the best protection for your china. Instead, choose sturdy boxes specifically made for china or tableware. These boxes come with separate compartments for each type of dish, which prevents shifting and breakage. They may even include foam packing that is designed to fit around the china to hold it securely. If you must use a regular box, avoid packing items too tightly and use foam packing or crumpled paper to fill in any gaps so the china doesn't shift during moving or storage.
Tip #4: Manage the Conditions
Extreme heat and cold can cause china to crack or break. It may also damage the finish or gold plating on the china leading to crazing, cracking or discoloration. If you live in an area that experiences extreme conditions, it can be well worth it to choose a climate-controlled storage unit.
Tip #5: Pack It Safely
After packing up the china and sealing the box, label it clearly with the contents and fragile warnings. It's also a good idea to mark the top of the box so things don't shift dangerously when you pack it away or unpack it. Once in storage, place the china boxes on top of a shelf or pallet to keep them off the ground. Don't stack any other boxes on top of those that hold your china, you don't want the pressure to crack or crush your expensive dishes.
The china will require a second washing after you retrieve it from storage. Inspect each piece for damage as you unpack, wash and put it away. If you do find damage, it can sometimes be repaired. For more packing tips, contact a local storage company, like Grand Central Storage.