As the holidays approach, many of us are under pressure to design the perfect dining tablescape for family gatherings. If your tabletop includes fine china dishes and crystal stemware, make sure you how to care for and store it properly so you can enjoy it for years to come.
John Barry of All Time Self Storage says the best packing material for delicate objects is packing peanuts because they can form to each individual object and project from moving around. “You don’t want to use newspaper or pieces of paper because they don’t fill the gaps like packing peanuts do and the ink could smear on your items,” he said.
Barry suggests storing these items in plastic, Rubbermaid® containers. However, if you’re storing your items in cardboard boxese, he recommends reinforcing the boxes by adding more cardboard to the sides. “If you put anything on top of it,” he says, “it won’t crumble or crush your items.”
Lynn Jawitz, owner of Florisan Wedding and Event Design, regularly sets tables for her clients’ holiday celebrations, and offers this advice for maintaining your fancy dishes, glasses and serving items:
- Do store silver and silverplate in either silver bags or sealed plastic bags.
- Do not wash your sterling silver flatware with either stainless or sliverplate together in the dishwasher. Instead, separate them into separate “baskets,” as the silver is softer than the other flatware and can easily get scratched.
- Do handwash all fine stemware, but be careful not to bang it on the faucet or use water that’s too hot, which can crack the glass.
- Do not place gilded items, including china and crystal, in the dishwasher, unless it is labeled “dishwasher safe.”
- Do place spacing tissue or pads between stacked plates to prevent scratching.
- Do not polish gilded items with silver polish as it will come off.
- Do remove salt from silver salt shakers immediately after eating as it will “pit” the silver.
- Do not leave any silver polish on any of your serving items. Make sure it is completely rubbed off before using them. “One does not need guests eating with black/gray hands from handling inadequately wiped silverware,” said Jawitz.
If you don’t have room to store your holiday table items, Jenna Pizzigati-Coppola, founder and owner of Pizzigati Designs, suggests using items in seasonal colors, rather than holiday days so you can use them all year long.
“Try to stay away from the commercial and red and green or blue and white, which is so holiday specific and opt for something maroon or deep red, sparkly gold or shinning silver,” she said. “This way your tabletop décor can be used season round and long after the holidays are over.”