Fine china may be a necessary fixture in many homes, but it doesn’t actually get much use. You might take it out for Thanksgiving and Christmas, or you might keep it stored high in the cabinet only to be taken out on the off chance that the Royal Family stops by unannounced. Maybe you got your fine china as a wedding gift and you can’t see yourself sullying it with the takeout Chinese food that defines your dinner habits.
Whatever the situation is with your fine china, the conundrum remains the same: It’s delicate, it’s expensive and it’s taking up a lot of storage space for something that isn’t in regular rotation in your dining room.
Self storage just might be the perfect way to keep it safe and secure so it’s ready when that next big family dinner rolls around. But before you reserve your storage unit, be sure that you know how to store your fine china with these tips.
If your fine china has been collecting dust for the last year, it’s time to show it some love. First, inspect each plate and dish for hairline cracks. If you have any that are starting to develop cracks, you’ll want to repair the problem before storing. You can do this by filling a container with warm milk. Submerge the affected dish in the warm milk, wait a few hours and voila! The cracks should be gone.
Next, wash each dish one at a time with mild dish soap and a dash of white vinegar in warm (but not hot!) water. Never ever put fine china in your dishwasher. Gently wipe each dish with a clean cloth and place them on a towel to dry the rest of the way.
Wrap each plate and bowl individually in a generous cushion of bubble wrap. Next, place each piece of fine china on its side in the smallest boxes you can find that still accommodate the items. Placing each piece of fine china on its side will allow plates and bowls to rest on their edges, not on each other. Using small boxes will literally lighten your load when moving fine china into your storage unit, which will minimize the risk of you dropping any boxes.
Fill extra space in each box with newspaper or other cushioning. When you pick up the box, you shouldn’t feel or hear any jostling. If you do, squeeze in some more cushioning. You may even want to consider using fine china dividers to add further stability.
All the precautions in the world don’t mean a thing if you’re storing your fine china in the wrong storage unit. One of the most important things to look for is a storage facility that offers climate control. This is self storage where temperature and humidity are regulated.
You want to store your fine china at room temperature. Extreme heat and cold can cause fine china to crack and humidity can damage delicate paint details. A climate controlled storage unit will preserve your fine china no matter where you live and no matter what the season is.
Another thing to look for when choosing a storage unit for your fine china is a facility with excellent security features. This includes high walls, good lighting, security cameras and a gate system that’s designed to only let tenants in. You’ll also want to make sure that your storage unit has a good lock. As a final layer of added protection, ask your storage facility about self storage insurance. This may not be necessary if your homeowners insurance covers personal property, but if it doesn’t, and you’ve got the kind of fine china that you’d like to pass down to your family’s next generation, self storage insurance can be an inexpensive way of taking care of it.
Take a look at online reviews of the storage facility you’re interested in renting a unit at and make sure that it meets your standards. Repeated mentions of ineffective climate control, break-ins and bad customer service are all red flags.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask your storage facility questions before boxing up your fine china and heading over to your storage unit. They’re the experts, and when it comes to helping you preserve the things that matter to you, their storage tips might make all the difference.