Of storage and china

I have 3 sets of china.

None of them are mine

One is my mother’s ‘secondary china’.


Secondary china is the set of plates that are not the good china, but not the revere ware either. These dishes sat in the china cabinet when I was little & we ate from plastic plates, then around the time my brother was 10 or so these dishes were in everyday use & the good china was on display.

China for people with children who can be trusted not to drop the plates.

We have not reached secondary china in our house. Someday though we will not eat off plastic.

She gave it to me when they sold the house I grew up in knowing I had no china of my own.

Despite being married.

I am apparently the only bride in the history of ever that did not have a china pattern picked out

But I was in the middle of the ‘move every year’ part of my life and packing up & storing, let alone using pricy dishes that can’t go in a dishwasher seemed ill advised.

Odd coincidence about that dish pattern. DH’s family had the exact same pattern. Only theirs was green

The other two sets I inherited from my grandmothers

These were my Nan’s good china


White, with grey flowers & gold trim.  Very pretty. Something I might have chosen myself if I went with flowers, which I probably wouldn’t do.  I’m not really a floral person.

These were the plates we were using before the boys started eating solid foods at the table.


Wal Mart 4 person set. $20

Had I wanted it I would also have inherited the china cabinet but there is no room for one in my house. I don’t have a dining room & have never lived anywhere as an adult that had one either.

This is a disappointment because I would like to display this china. Not just because I think it’s pretty but also to remind me it exists and I should use it sometimes. It can’t go in the dishwasher so it can’t be regular use, but maybe once a month we could do ‘fancy dinner’ night, followed by ‘fancy hand washing’.

Right now this china lives in a box, next to a box of my mom’s china and a box of my other grandmother’s china.

This is my paternal grandmother’s china


Also very pretty, but a little too feminine for me. I wouldn’t choose pink dishes personally, but I like the deep dishes, which are a good size for stew or pasta.

All of them have those teeny cups in the photo. 6 ounce coffee cups, which is why you can’t trust a coffee pot when it says it makes12 cups. It still means 12 6 ounce cups even though people stopped drinking coffee in those cups in the 70s.


This is Grandma’s full set. She doesn’t have any regular flat dishes, except the mismatched serving ones.

Havoc helped me wash all of them, as well as the whole 6 person sets of Nan’s and Mom’s.

They’ve been up in boxes in the utility room since I was given them.

I used Mom’s briefly when we first got them but went back to my regular ones eventually.

I’ve never used Nan’s or Grandma’s.

I forget they exist & if I remember them I also remember about the hand washing & that is a deterrent to their use.

Have you inherited china? What do you do with it? What should I do with mine? Help!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Be Sociable, Share!

Comments Closed

10 comments to Of storage and china

  • I don’t have any ‘good’ chine either. When we got married we opted for sturdy, usable dishes. My dad did give me a set of china he swore was my mother’s when they got married. It’s white with blue flowers. I remember it in our house when I was young, but my mom says it wasn’t hers. I still don’t know the story.

  • You’re not alone with china wishes – I had no desire to register for some when we got married (we didn’t get any presents *that* nice anyways, so we wouldn’t have gotten them anyways). I’m a practical girl – nothing I own even matches (though I’d like to change that eventually). Plates are plates – they’re for eating, not displaying, lol. If I had a china cabinet…I’m not sure what I’d do with it. I’d want a more practical use for it – so I’d probably get one with lots of shelves and then use it to display nicknacks or something, lol.

    And I too have inherited some china. It’s just remained wrapped and stored in a box (in our shed, and in the garage before that). I doubt I’ll ever use it. Besides, the person I got it from I don’t speak to anymore – so that’s another reason I’ll never use them. :) I do have some Christmas china that I love and would love to bring out every Christmas…Might have to do that next year :)

  • I’m looking forward to you answers to this. I inherited my Aunt’s china, which looks a lot like you Nan’s. Hers has a pretty grey rose in the center. It’s made by Towne, and I guess I think of it as my secondary china. We have our wedding china (Noritake), which I still really like. We don’t use either of these very often. When we got married, we also got some Pfaalzgraaf stoneware, which we used and used and used. It lasted well past 25 years of marriage but by then we were sick of it, and I gave it all away on Freecycle. We replaced it with some very Apilco china for everyday use (white with a blue rim). I have a buffet and a china cabinet in my living room. Our good china is in the buffet; the secondary is in the china cabinet. But the china cabinet is going to be reorganized this year, I think, because I think I want to use it to display art glass and other more interesting china.

  • We also didn’t register for china because I got one set of my great grandmother’s when we got married (even though I didn’t really want it) and will get the other set eventually since I am an only child. The frustrating thing was that I attempted to use the “good” china my mom passed on at my wedding for Thanksgiving dinner and my mom freaked out. Finally, I told her to either take it back and store it at her house or to let me use it because what is the point of having it if I couldn’t use it? It takes up a ton of storage space and the pattern wouldn’t have been my choice so if I couldn’t use it, I wasn’t going to keep it. My mom relented and I’ve used it twice for TG dinner.

    • I am a US cizietn ( Chinese too ). My wife is a China cizietn. Her egg is not heathly enough to give birth. And she will not come to US with me for the whole process.My question is without her presence, Can I borrwo egg from donor and finsih the whloe process. Also if is ok to bring the future child back to China and still have China cizietn.Please also let me know the approximate cost for the whole procedure.Many thanksMax

  • I have a set of china that like you is sitting in a box until I figure out weather to Display it or use it or I have no idea lol Will definately be watching this for ideas ;) x

  • I may be the heretic here, but I say, if it’s not to your taste, get rid of it. You can Freecycle it, yard sale it, give it to Goodwill, sell it on eBay, but let it go to someone who wants it.
    I keep downsizing. We were empty-nesters (till DD24 had to move back in) so I bought a pair of Pfalzcraft service-for-one sets I really liked (for just the 2 of us) and then I got a clearance set of L.L.Bean service for 4 (in case some of the kids come for dinner with their SO). I don’t really care for them, so they will be donated when we move.
    Release the dishes you don’t love, and be free!

  • I got my grandmother’s china because I always thought I’d want it. 20 years later, it still sits, unused in the bottom of my pantry, taking up valuable real estate, but I can’t bring myself to get rid of it.

  • Kai

    I didn’t register for ANYTHING when I got married. I was a full-blown adult and my husband was as well, AND he’d already been married twice. We had two full households to mesh together. My mom didn’t have good or secondary china, that I recall, but she did have china teacups and saucers, some of which were inherited from her mom (my Nana). None of them match, but that was the point. Before my mom died she doled them out to each of us (all girls), but as the more prevalent tea drinker in my family, more and more of them got moved into my house. They sit in a curio cabinet, and none of them are ever USED. :(

    After my Nana passed, my dad brought me her china (“good” or “secondary” I have no idea) but by the time it got to my house, every single item, except one plate, was shattered. Poor packing. It was sad, but I think I’m relieved. I am one of those people who hold on to things way too long for sentimental reasons. I’m starting to embrace the “let it go” so someone else can love it philosophy. It’s tough… but if you don’t use it and you don’t love it, then gift it out to someone else (perhaps with a story of its history) or just donate it.

    I now use just stoneware bought from Fingerhut or Kohls or some such place. Place setting = 8. My old CORELLware that was used in my childhood is packed up for the first kid who needs it when they move into an apartment. If they don’t want it, Goodwill gets it. :)

  • Annie

    I have several sets of china and will likely end up with more (not many children to split things up amongst). Right now, storing it in a glass front bookcase-turned-china-cabinet is easy, so that’s where they are. I am beginning to designate specific times when they are used. My grandmother’s flowery china, for example, is for Easter and Mother’s Day. That way I have a time to get them out. But I like china and the patterns. If you don’t think your china will bring you joy, then I would give it away. You can always keep a plate to serve baked goods or a cup/saucer to display.

    Also, if you value using it more than keeping it pristine,try running a plate through the dishwasher. Some china can be put in the dishwasher and be a-okay.