Organization Ideas

Small Space Storage Solution for China

Are you looking for a storage solution for your china? See how I organized not one, but two sets of china in a very small space!

cabinet with shelves on top and white pitchers

If you have followed this blog for even a little while, you have seen these shelves in our living room. I feature them several times a year, because they are a perfect showcase for seasonal decor. What I’ve never shown you is what I keep in the cabinet below the shelves. 

unorganized china storage cabinet

Before its transformation, this very small space housed two sets of china, along with numerous odds and ends. There were several things about this cabinet that annoyed me, but here are the three that annoyed me the most!

  • I didn’t like that the coffee cups were stacked. Even though they are seldom used, I wanted them to be in a single layer so they cannot get chipped or broken. I needed a storage solution that would accomplish this. 
  • All the random items that were shoved in this cabinet made it hard to get to the china. 
  • The cabinet was dusty and needed a good cleaning. 

small cabinet for china storage

The four steps below are essential for a successful organization project. It doesn’t matter if the project is big or small…these four steps work, every single time.

  • Empty the space.
  • Clean the space.
  • Edit the contents.
  • Restore order. 

Each step is necessary to make the next step work. You can’t clean the space unless it’s empty. You can’t edit the contents unless you spread it all out to see what you have. You can’t restore order until only the essential items remain. I decided to donate or relocate everything in this cabinet except the two sets of china. It made no sense to clutter up such a small space with items that didn’t belong. 

small space storage solution china cabinet

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Budget Friendly Storage Solution

Once I had a clean space, and my content was edited, I placed the biggest items back in the cabinet. I also added three shelf risers in order to eliminate any stacking. I used this storage solution in my kitchen organization project. These little shelves are very handy, and easy on the budget. I opted for the white shelves, but they are available in chrome as well. (The chrome shelves are more expensive.)

In the picture above, you can see that I was able to stand the two large platters behind the shelves. The platters are the only items that aren’t easily accessible, but they are safe behind the shelves, and that was important to me. 

storage solution for small cabinet with organized china

The shelves made it possible for the coffee cups to be stored upside down, with no stacking. The space under the shelves was perfect for the salad plates, bread & butter plates, and serving pieces. Since I had just used the Lenox Holiday china at Christmas, it was clean. That wasn’t true for my wedding china, so I set aside the time to run it all through the dishwasher. It took three loads, but it was worth it. It made no sense to put dusty china back in a clean cabinet. 

cabinet under shelves filled with organized china

I’m very happy with the way this cabinet turned out, and I’m glad everything is clean and orderly. I’ve thought about packing up my china in padded, quilted cases, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. Even though they are not used often, I treasure both sets, and want them to be accessible. And you never know…maybe they’ll get used at some point!

Before I go, I want to share another china storage solution. My friend Lory, from Designthusiasm, organized her china in a closet, and it’s amazing. So if you need inspiration for a bigger space, check it out at the link below.

DIY Plate Storage | Designthusiasm

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30 Comments

  1. Diane Smith says:

    Hello!
    Yes, I am really behind on my email! This was a great post, made even more enjoyable because I also have Adagio as my wedding china! I keep it in my mother’s antique dry sink, along with too many other things. I’ll be ordering some of the shelf risers, and cleaning out the dry sink! One thing I did do long ago was order felt plate protectors to separate the plates. Inexpensive way to help protect your pieces.

  2. I have the same wedding china! I love it but haven’t used it in years. Your organization is beautiful!

  3. I have the same wedding china!!!

  4. Carol@BlueskyatHome says:

    Great ideas, Ann. The first thing I noticed is that we have the same Lenox Christmas china. When you have multiple sets of china (We have 5 sets!), storing them for accessibility and safety is a challenge. Thanks for the easy steps. Pinning

  5. Linda Johnston says:

    Good tips Ann. We are in the process of that routine deep cleaning that involves take out and returning items on shelves, often edited. Like you I don’t want my china in storage but where I can get to it!

  6. Kristen Overly says:

    Wonderful idea Ann! Thank you.

  7. Francis Moore says:

    Love your new storage ideas. I have my Christmas dishes in the garage which has cabinets. Your home looks so clean and organized.

  8. sandi magle says:

    Oh, golly—shallow storage is wonderful—because you can get at everything. As a true lover of ceramics/pottery old and new, I would recommend at least a paper napkin between each of your pieces…as footed plates/bowls etc can totally scratch the piece underneath! But, how wonderful to have everything in view!

  9. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says:

    Such a great idea, Ann, to use the shelf risers! I am going to purchase a few of these as my china cups need to have a safe spot rather than being doubly stacked.

    Have a great week! Blessings! Thanks for always bringing us such great ideas!

  10. Ann,
    I am quite intrigued with your white shelving pieces
    that allow you to put your cups in a row instead of stacking.
    I will definitely “look” for those!
    I agree. . .editing and sorting are key to great organization!
    Thank you for always inspiring!
    Pat

  11. Cecilia from Georgia says:

    I love dishes and many times I set my dining table for whatever season or holiday is taking place. I put just the plates, cups, and crystal; everything but the silverware. I enjoy visiting my dining room to enjoy whatever China is set at the time. I really need to use your 3 rules and start cleaning out cabinets. Happy February!

  12. Love those risers…I used them in my linen closet too.

    Remember…the next time you have a treat…pull out one of your dessert plates and use it even if you are all by yourself. Same for that cup of tea or coffee. I am committed to using my special dishes as much as I can.

    Can’t wait to try that coffee cake recipe you posted…num.

  13. What an impressive set of Lenox Christmas dishes! I know better than to covet yours but it’s not easy :-) Enjoy them. I actually have my wedding china and both sets that belonged to my mother and mother-in-law. I finally broke down and bought the quilted zippered bags & cup holders when I broke a couple pieces in our move 21/2 yrs ago. Only took me 45 years to give in!

    1. Denise M. Hendricks says:

      I have done the same thing with the quilted bags and boxes. Everything stays nice and clean – ready for use!

  14. Great use of the space! Looks like it will be much easier to take the dishes out & put them back in.

  15. The organizational part of my brain just went to its happy place! I have the same issue with china cups! Don’t want to stack them, but didn’t think I had a choice. You’re brilliant Ann! Thanks for sharing.

  16. Ann, I knew I liked you from the moment I started following you but when I saw your China I couldn’t believe it. I have/had the exact same China!!!!! Sadly I sold my Lennox Holiday several years ago because at the time we had 7 kids and I never felt comfortable using them in case they broke. 😕 I did hang on to our wedding China! Thanks for your wonderful posts.

  17. Looks great! I never thought about using the shelves to put the cups upside down upon. You’ve really made your space work for you.

    Another reason I’ve found you as a kindred spirit…I’ve got the same china pattern as you. Got mine in the early 1980s and I still love it because it is so versatile. It works well with nice monogrammed napkins and an elegant table setting as well as gingham napkins and mason jars.

  18. Alexandra Eagan says:

    Everything looks great. I love organized spaces. Any chance you’ll ever show us what is in the blue cabinets in your kitchen? I’ve always been curious about what you store there.

  19. laura@everydayedits.co says:

    love this ann! I struggle with where to store my china & I loved your goal “restore order.” Made me laugh! Happy Sunday! What team are you cheering for today? laura

  20. Nice job with that. I like those covered wire hangers. Where do you buy them?

  21. Leslie Schoenfeld says:

    Ann,
    I had the same ideas in china storage, using the same risers about 2 yrs ago. Unfortunately, I added more dishes to it and now find myself needing to donate and reorganize! Reading your blog has given me new inspiration! By the way, your wedding china was mine as well! Similarities!
    Thanks Ann

    1. Linzel McBride says:

      What pattern is your wedding china? I think I have the same, too. You mentioned you wash it in the dishwasher. Any special tips? I am afraid to try it. Thanks for the great post!

      1. Linzel,
        My pattern is Adagio by Noritake. Purchased early 70’s.
        I’ve always used the dishwasher with this China.

  22. I love great organization where things are easily accessible and not hidden. I had the zippered china bags but found it was too much taking all the pieces in and out so I did away with them.Your solution looks good,I think you accomplished your goal.

  23. I absolutely love the way this cabinet turned out and what a great idea the shelf risers are! I am headed to buy them right now!! And what a lovely surprise to read all the way through and see a shout out to my dish closet! Thank you so much!

  24. This looks great and it’s just the inspiration I needed to empty my china cupboard’s bottom shelves that are behind doors. It needs to be better organized. Thank you for this.
    xo,
    Karen

  25. Isn’t it amazing how just one space in our homes can serve us so well. Can you imagine how you could possibly do without that cabinet and its shelves? Your beloved china and ironstone collection would be relegated to a basement, attic or so me other out-of-sight, out-of-mind storage.
    I have a small home, only a little over 1000 sq ft, but I have a double pantry at the end of my kitchen that contains all of my normal pantry food prep items, plus my small appliances, my large pots, pans and serving bowls and my pet food. I can’t even imagine trying to incorporate all of that into my small kitchen without it. I give thanks for the person who designed this feature every time I open the doors.
    Sometimes it’s the little things ……

  26. Debra Burgin says:

    Excellent! I use those risers all over my small home. But I think you should reconsider the zipped china “bags” — no dust, ever, and even my great-grandmother’s 125yo exceptionally delicate cups are protected! Thank you for your inspiration!

  27. You are the queen of organization, Ann! I did not get up this morning thinking I would be organizing and cleaning closets and cabinets today, but you have inspired me to get to it! Your china cabinet turned out great! The four essential steps to obtaining a clean, organized space told me not to cut corners and just do it right the first time rather than just pushing things around to make more room!!! Thank you!!

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