The Best Ways to Store The Dishes You (Almost) Never Use

published Nov 24, 2016
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(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

‘Tis the season to be merry—and host dinner parties, of course. It’s time to break out a couple of bottles (or boxes, no judgment here) of wine, about a metric ton of food and, well, the dishes to help you serve said culinary delights.

Since most of us don’t host large dinner parties every day, this means some of the extra dinnerware used during the holidays isn’t in regular rotation. As such, and especially if your kitchen is on the smaller size, it helps to know the best way to store these other holiday “guests.” Here’s a handy rundown:

Fine China

Fortunate enough to have fine china? Treat it with the reverence it deserves by storing it in a china cabinet or glass-faced cupboard for all the world to see—it’ll add inherent charm to your space. Not all kitchens include room for large case goods, though, in which case you probably want to pack up the fine china to reduce the risk of breakage. In doing so, make sure you use bubble wrap, tissue paper or some other layer of cushioning to wrap each individual piece before placing it in the box of your choosing.

Extra Dinnerware

Depending on the size of your guest list, you might need an extra set of plates, cups, bowls, etc. upon which to serve holiday dinner. If you have an abundance of cabinet space, you can always keep this back-up set stored alongside your everyday wares. However, if staring at an extra stack of dishes in the pantry overwhelms you, you can place them on a lower, out-of-sight shelf with the help of an under-cabinet stacker. Another option? Storing them in a buffet, if you have one. Just remember to put paper plates, coffee filters or some other cushion between them so they don’t scratch against each other.

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Roasting Pans

While roasting pans are supremely important in the grand scheme of holiday cooking (hellooooo, turkey), they are big and bulky to store. Should you choose to store them in your kitchen cabinets, choose lower cabinets—no one wants to be knocked on the head with a roasting pan when it comes tumbling out of an upper cabinet. To maximize space, you can place lids for everything from pots to tupperware inside of the pans. The same can be applied to the storage of chafing dishes.

Bundt or Formed Bakeware

Got a deep drawer somewhere in your kitchen? Stash your bundt pans and formed bakeware there. Pie chests without glass fronts also make good hiding spots for these cumbersome but holiday-friendly dishes. In the absence of either, choose a deep lower cabinet with plenty of room to accommodate. Invest in undercounter organizers like this one to ensure they don’t get lost in the dark recesses of the back of the cabinets, though.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Seasonal Serving Platters

You know the type: the oversized serving pieces adorned with turkeys or boughs of holly, depending. Obviously, you probably aren’t going to bust these out for your typical Sunday dinner. Space atop tall cabinets or shelves can be ideal for the purpose of storing these platters, but you might want to consider covering them with something to keep dust and grease grime at bay.

Gravy Boat, Sugar Pot, and Creamer

Outside of the holidays, these auxiliary serving pieces don’t see much use. Unfortunately, they can also be a pain to store. The gravy boat and creamer can be odd-shaped, and the sugar pot often comes with a small easy-to-lose-or-break lid. If yours came in a box, save it and stack it somewhere. If not, pie chests or buffets are ideal for storing such tricky dishes. As for the sugar pot lid, turn it upside down and tie a piece of waxed twine around the pot and the lid to keep it in place.