During her long engagement, Brooke Darwin went on an extended hunt for beautiful vintage pieces for her ceremony and reception. She slowly learned how to store china during her search and eventually began her own rental company to help other bohemian brides looking to save money on wedding costs without sacrificing elegance.
“I found out there’s a lot of brides like me,” she said. “Everyone can appreciate (china), but it’s a certain bride or hostess that has that esthetic that appreciates the quality. I love going into people’s houses that are well-travelled and everything is eclectic, but everything goes together really well.”
She now has hundreds of pieces of china, three collections total, which she rents out to Los Angeles brides at a cheaper-than-retail cost through her company Fern & Bone. Between wedding seasons, dinner parties and other events, she stores her own tableware in her dining room space.
If you’re a new bride looking to store your fancy new china between holidays, or perhaps the lucky inheritor of grandma’s vintage tableware, keep reading for tips from Darwin and for more advice from another bride-turned-business owner on the other side of the country.
Store China Plates in Plastic Wrap and Store Them Vertically
After handwashing all of the pieces in her collections, Darwin wraps small stacks of plates in plastic wrap to prevent damage.
“If you wrap the plates in plastic wrap, it provides space and creates an air pocket on top of the plate,” she said. “Then the next stack of plates rest on the pocket instead of the plate.”
She also advises china collectors with larger collections to keep stacks small. It’s a lesson she learned the hard way.
“Don’t stack more than 10 to 15 plates on top of each other,” she said. “Once, I stacked 30 plates high and then one snapped at one point in the middle.”
If you plan to store you china on shelves, spend more money to ensure they’ll stay sturdy, said Renee Bowers, owner of Forget-Me-Not Vintage Rentals in Pennsylvania.
“Cheaper shelves don’t hold up because china weighs a lot once you stack in up,” she said.
Both women recommended storing stacks of china plates vertically, as they’ll be less likely to break due to sudden movements or shakes.
How to Store China Teacups and Glasses
What’s better than a tea party? A tea party with vintage china! Whether you’re a tea lover or a teacup collector, make sure your fragile glasses withstand long-term storage by keeping them in beverage to-go trays.
“Go to Dunkin Donuts (or another fast food restaurant) every day one week and keep the drink caddies, because it’s worth it and a cheap way to do it,” said Bower. “They really keep (teacups) safe inside the crates we use to transport them.”
If you want to use your teacups or other vintage cups often, Darwin recommends investing in a glassware rack.
“We have 150 vintage wine glasses that we store in a closed cupboard to keep the dust off of them, because (dust) will build very quickly.”
Always Store a China Collection in a Covered Space
Speaking of dust, all chinaware should be kept in covered areas – whether you have space for a china cabinet or plan to keep your collection in a chest.
“It’s a good idea to have them enclosed in something,” said Darwin. “I would invest in the china storage bags because even if they’re sitting for a year (without cover), they will collect dust and oil in the air.”
If you plan to store your china in a closet or non-kitchen space, Bower suggests to use the above storage tips and store china in durable plastic tubs with airtight lids.
“Use padded moving supplies to store your china,” she suggested. “Craft paper works really nice to stick between the china for storage and transporting.”
Photos courtesy of Brooke Darwin.