If you’ve ever picked up a box full of shattered glass, you understand why packing and storing kitchen items requires an extra dose of care. Whether you’re worried about cracked plates, broken glasses, lost appliance parts or insect infestations, read our expert advice on keeping your kitchenware protected when it’s in storage.
Do you usually pack and store your dishes by stacking one plate on top of the other? Then you’re doing it all wrong. “Flat items like plates should be stacked on their sides,” said Danielle VanDusen, marketing coordinator for personal assistance and concierge company The Betty Brigade.
The reason? Stacks put too much weight on the bottom plates, which eventually may crack under the pressure, professional organizer Crystal Sabalaske said.
In addition to arranging the dishes on their sides, always double wrap each individual plate, Sabalaske said. She recommends using blank newsprint, which provides great padding without leaving behind messy ink residue.
For a simple way to protect your glasses, invest in glass pack boxes, which contain cardboard separators that create individual compartments for each glass.
“Store the glasses upside down but standing up,” Sabalaske said. To prevent glasses from moving around, weave the newsprint into any empty spaces within the compartments.
China and Fragile Dishes
Preparing fragile or valuable dishes for storage is similar to the process of preparing your regular dishes, but with a couple of extra safeguards.
“For the really fine china, I recommend including a layer of white felt,” Sabalaske said.
First, wrap each piece in white felt, then wrap it in a layer of paper and, for even more security, place a single piece of cardboard between each dish.
You also can put your special dishes in “dish pack” boxes, which have thicker walls that offer an added layer of protection.
Tempted to store all those little miscellaneous appliance parts (blades, tops, attachments and bowls) in a single box? You could be setting yourself up for a huge headache.
Not only will this method create confusion when you’re trying to reassemble your appliances, but if that one box gets lost in transit, you’ll be left with several appliances you can’t use, VanDusen said.
“I recommend keeping all the pieces for each appliance together,” she said.
Big kitchen appliances usually are stored without boxes, making them accessible to unwelcome guests like bugs and rodents.
To keep critters at bay, thoroughly clean each appliance to remove traces of food. “Make sure hoses are disconnected, cords are disconnected, cords and coils are dusted off, and everything is defrosted, wiped out and air dried,” Sabalaske said.
She also recommends wrapping the back of your refrigerator and oven with plastic to prevent rats and insects from taking up residence in hard-to-reach spots.
One final tip: Once you’ve got your refrigerator in a storage unit, place it upright, Sabalaske said. “Otherwise, the Freon will migrate,” she said, “and the appliance won’t function properly.”