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How to Reorganize Dishes in a China Cabinet

Updated on February 16, 2012
China cabinets hold holiday dish sets and everyday china.
China cabinets hold holiday dish sets and everyday china. | Source

Recognizing the Clutter

We all have dishes. Some of us have a lot of dishes, with many different patterns, colors, and shapes or even themes.

Some of these dishes are all put to great use for dinner parties, family barbeques, lunches and simple dinners. There might be different cups for either tea or coffee. Platters for the turkey or Sunday roasts. And all the little plates and special forks for dessert time. At least those were all the intentions when they were bought at various stores, flea markets, catalogs, and auctions. And you've stuck them all in the china cabinet, stacked up in the order in which they were purchased.

Since you now have a collection of dishes, why not declutter the cabinet and put them to good use for all the situations they were intended? Here is a great guide on how to declutter the china cabinet and organize it in a way that will be easy for you to get to the different pieces.

Step One: Clean out the Cabinet

As this step suggests, you need to get everything OUT of the cabinet. Remove all the bowls, plates, cups, glasses, pitchers, and any other piece stacked up. Get everything out of the china cabinet.

Using a soft cloth or appropriate cleaner, wipe out the sides, bottom and doors of the china cabinet. If the front is made of glass, then use a glass cleaner. If the front of the doors have a curtain, then remove it if possible and hand wash and air dry to clean it. If they are not washable, then dust off or spot treat. This is also a great time to check the hardware and change out any old handles that need updating.

Step Two: Give Away or Discard Old China

Once all the china has been removed and the cabinet has been cleaned, take the opportunity to filter through and discard any broken pieces or give away any others that no longer are in use by your family. Give the usable pieces to a charity or to a family member who will appreciate and use the piece.

Step Three: Organize the China

Once you've weeded out all the discards and give-aways, organize the dishes by shape or color, or even by pattern or size. The dishes should be organized in a way that makes sense to you: if you use lots of bowls for serving dishes for dinner nightly, then the bowls should be placed in a spot that is easy to get to. The same goes for all the plates, platters, cups and glasses. Place your fine silverware in a chest to protect it and organize it as well. 

Step Three: Place the Pieces Back into the Cabinet

Once all the pieces have been organized, take each stack or section and replace them in the cabinet according to size, use, and then style. The largest pieces should go on the bottom. The pieces that are most frequently used should be within easy reach. Like patterns should be placed together for easy identification for place settings. Infrequently used items can be stored away in the tip-top cabinets, or in the places not easily reached.

China cabinets can be both functional and used as a decorative home furnishing.
China cabinets can be both functional and used as a decorative home furnishing. | Source

Once all the china sets and pieces are placed back into the cabinet, think about the location of every new piece that will be placed inside of it. Once the system is set, accessing older pieces and placing in new ones is easy since the entire cabinet is organized.


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