How to Store Kitchenware

Your kitchen is often the heart of your home. It's where you prepare meals and may also be where you sit down to enjoy them. Your kitchen is also a room filled with breakable items. Glassware, plates, cups, bowls and other fragile items take up a lot of shelf space. On the other end is the cookware, which is hardy and heavy. Getting all of these items into storage without any broken plates or scratched pans can be a feat, but with the right packing materials, you can do it. Here are some tips for packing common kitchen items for long-term storage.

Key Point Module

  • 1 Make sure everything is clean and completely free of food debris before putting it into storage.
  • 2 Wrap everything in a solid layer of material and line all boxes to give your kitchenware a cushion.
  • 3 Take extra care with valuable items or anything that has sentimental value.
  • 4 Check for movement in every box. Don’t overfill, but make sure items don’t shift or bang together when you move the box.

Wash Everything Twice

Before you put anything into a box, you want to make sure it’s squeaky clean. Run everything through the dishwasher, and then give it a once-over by hand. Any food particles that remain can attract bugs to your storage area. If you’re storing items at home, that could mean expensive visits from the exterminator, and if you’re using a storage unit, you could wind up with lots of unusable items. Take the extra time before packing things to avoid luring pests and invaders.

Separate Your Kitchenware by Type

Whether you’re clearing out your kitchen to make way for new stuff, putting things in storage until the kids are older or waiting on a move to a new house, you need to separate the items tagged for storage into categories. You don’t want glasses in with pots and pans. You also may want to take extra care with any fine china or antique serving dishes. Once you have everything organized, you can start packing each type for long-term storage.

Protecting Precious China

Fine china is delicate and expensive. It often has sentimental value as well if it has been passed down through the generations or given as a wedding gift. Careful packing of fine china is essential. When packing display pieces or crystal goblets, you want maximum cushioning and minimum movement. Double-walled boxes are a good idea for these items since you want something that can hold the weight of heavy china. Stick to medium or small crates. You don’t want a box that is too heavy; a drop could be disastrous.

If you’re packing vases, carafes or other large items, first wrap them in a sheet of newspaper, tucking the ends inside the cavity. Fill the cavity with extra paper, but don’t pack it in too tightly. Then, wrap the object in bubble wrap.

As you place fine china into the box, use a layer of foam cushion between each item and fill in any empty spaces with packing material. You can use crumpled newspapers, old T-shirts or packing peanuts to fill empty space. Line the top and bottom of the box with foam cushioning for an extra layer of protection. If it’s packed properly, the contents shouldn’t move or shift when you lift the box.

Some things may need a climate-controlled environment. Avoid storing items vulnerable to moisture, heat or cold in attics or basements. These areas may offer convenient storage, but they often aren’t heated, cooled or dehumidified by your home’s HVAC system. Instead, dedicate some closet space to storing precious items or consider a storage unit.

How to Pack Glasses and Cups for Storage

Drinking vessels come in several categories, and all require a unique packing approach. Mugs need a little more care than a tumbler because handles are often fragile. Stemware needs extra care and attention to come out of the box as pristine as it goes in. Here’s a quick guide to packing different types of glasses:

  • Mugs and Cups: Wrap mugs in newspaper, with most of the paper bunched up around the handle. Then, place the cup inside a smaller container with packing material to take up the extra space. If you can get small boxes, it’s best to pack each mug individually. If you can’t, use pliable cardboard to create individual sections for cups inside a larger box.
  • Tumblers and Highball Glasses: Stuff the inside with packing paper and wrap each glass in a layer of bubble wrap. If you don’t have bubble wrap, raid your sock drawer. Put each glass into a sock after you fill the cavity. Then, stuff tissue paper between each sock to cushion against shocks. Always pack the heaviest glasses on the bottom of a box.
  • Stemware: When packing anything with a stem, try to pack in pairs. You can line up a two wine glasses the same way you would a pair of shoes. Wrap each goblet separately, being sure to completely wrap the stem and near the base of the glass. Then, nestle the two glasses next to each other facing opposite directions and wrap both in another layer of bubble wrap. Try to stick to smaller boxes for these sets, and be sure to label the outside as fragile.
  • Plasticware and Insulated Cups: Most plastic and insulated cups are fairly hardy. A little paper on the inside and a reasonable amount of padding in the box, and these should be good to go into storage. Just make sure to avoid nesting them inside the box.

Prepping Your Plates

Plates can store easily, as long as you pack them properly into boxes. Individually wrap each plate, and slip it into the box vertically. You don’t want a flat stack of plates since this increases the surface area and makes it more likely that one or two won’t survive the trip. Line the bottom of the box with soft material, slip the wrapped plates in vertically, and fill the rest of the box with paper or packing peanuts. Before taping it shut, give the box a gentle shake to make sure the plates don’t move.

Packing bowls works the same way. You want to wrap them individually and stand them upright in the box. If you need to fit in multiple layers, be sure to fill each layer with packing material and use a solid cardboard separator between the layers.

Preserving Pots and Pans

Whether you have a few pans that need repairs, or you simply have a couple of items that you only use on special occasions, packing pans can be a challenge. Cookware is big, bulky and has plenty of handles to work around. Conveniently, it’s usually made of metal and other durable materials. You can often just wrap pots and pans in a towel, nest them comfortably, fill the box with packing material and seal it up.

Storing Tools and Gadgets

For handheld cooking tools, you can usually throw everything in a small box with some packing peanuts. Just make sure to separate out anything sharp or particularly fragile. Sharp and fragile objects should be wrapped separately to avoid damaging other items in the box. For things like mixers, blenders and food processors, be sure to disassemble the machines for storage. Leaving parts attached may cause rust or other buildup in places that are difficult to reach with the device assembled.

Pressure cookers, slow cookers and multi-pots should go into the box without the lid. Wrap the lid separately. You may even want to pack a box with all of the lids to minimize the number of boxes you need. If you kept the original packaging for any of your items, pull it out to pack these for storage.

Packing Your Storage Area

As you pack, be sure to label boxes that are fragile so those boxes don’t get crushed. You may also want a quick inventory on each box. If you need to pull something out, you don’t want to have to open every box to find a specific vase or platter. Be sure to stack things with fragile items inside near the top and on a stable base. If anything shifts, you don’t want those boxes to fall. By packing each box carefully and paying attention to where you put them in your storage unit, you can keep your kitchenware in good condition for years.