After All That Garage Dish Storage, What’s Left Inside?

Welcome to the 525th Metamorphosis Monday!

How was your weekend? Hope you had a great one! It rained here a lot so I mostly stayed inside.

One of the questions I’m often asked in comments is where I store all the dishware you see me using in table settings for Tablescape Thursday. If you’ve been following BNOTP for a while, you may remember that back during the summer of 2017, I added several cabinets to the garage so I could round up most of my dishes into one area. If you missed that post, you’ll find it here: Dish Storage.

I also wrote a follow-up post where I shared how this system has worked. You’ll find that follow-up post here: The Great Dish Storage Experiment. Spoiler Alert: It has worked out great!

Today I thought I’d share what didn’t make it into the garage storage and why, along with a few tips for displaying the dishes you use every day in a way that’s both pretty and functional.

Cabinet Storage Ideas for Dishware, Glassware, Flatware and Napkins


In this photo of my kitchen, notice the long wall of cabinets on the right and those above the small desk on the left. Everything in those cabinets stayed except for several sets of glassware that were moved to a cabinet in the garage.

Creating the storage in the garage freed up a lot of space in the cabinets in my kitchen and laundry room. It also freed up a good bit of space in the “dish closet” in the corner of the breakfast room. That closet isn’t visible in this photo, but it can be seen this previous post: Dish Closet.

Adding the garage storage completely cleared out some of the other cabinets in the kitchen, but mostly it just made them a lot less crowded, especially the dish closet mentioned above. The ones that were completely cleared out were the cabinets on the left side of the stove, both top and bottom. Also, I cleared out some of the dishes from the large floor-to-ceiling pantry that’s in the far corner (past the refrigerator) on the left.

The only dishes that had not been stored in cabinets before I added the garage storage were my Halloween dishware. Those had been stored with the Halloween decorations under the eves in the upstairs bonus room. Having a lot of storage space was one of the huge attractions of this house when I moved here 28 years ago. So, adding the dish storage in the garage was less about lack of storage inside and much more about pulling everything together in one spot (the garage) where it would be easier to find and more convenient to access.

White Kitchen, Granite Countertops


What Didn’t Get Moved

Many, many years ago, before I ever started blogging, I had the center panel cut out of this whole wall of kitchen cabinets. Before I took that bold step, I removed all the doors and experimented around with what I would store there and how it would look.


These cabinets had always contained dishes, so nothing changed about that. I just moved items that were not as pretty like measuring cups, Tupperware, etc… to the lower cabinets, clearing out and donating anything I no longer used. It’s amazing how much “stuff” we have in our kitchen cabinets that we haven’t used in years! Donate it or have yourself a big spring garage sale. You’ll love all the space it frees up for the things you do use every day!

This was the configuration I came up with back in 2001-2002 when I did a mini-kitchen update and had the center panels removed and replaced with glass. It has functioned so well, I’ve never had to change it other than a little rearranging of the white dishes located between the red and blue. The Blue Willow and the pink/red Copeland Spode have remained just like this for the last 18 years. Wow! I can’t believe it’s been that long!

Pretty, Practical Dish Storage


The Blue Willow has been my everyday dishware for a long time. It was collected a few pieces at the time from Publix during a promotion they had where you got a few pieces each time you purchased a certain dollar amount of groceries. Collecting this dishware was one of the smartest things I ever did, though at the time it stretched my grocery budget to do so.

Since I made it my every-day dishware, I placed the dinner plates, salad plates and bowls on the bottom shelf within easy reach. You can’t see it very well in this photo, but behind the wooden sections/dividers are two stacks of cereal bowls. I have 12 place setting of this pattern, including 12 dinner plates, 12 salad plates, 12 cereal bowls, 12 soup bowls, 12 cups/saucers and a bunch of serving pieces. Some of the dinner plates and most of the salad plates were in the dishwasher so that’s why there aren’t as many of those visible in the picture.

You’ll notice I placed two of the large platters I collected in this pattern up top across the back since they are not often used. I also placed the coffee cups/saucers on the top shelf since they are rarely used.

Everyday dishes stored for display


Below on the second shelf from the top, I again placed dinner plates across the back of the cabinet to pretty things up. I need to recenter a few items in line with the cabinets doors. I just noticed over the years a few things have shifted. Funny you never notice these things in real life, only AFTER you take photos! Arggg. Update: Actually the plates are centered, they just don’t look it due to the angle of the photo.

On the bottom shelf, I again placed plates standing up across the back. You know those sticky pads you can buy online or in hardware stores to put on the bottom of chairs to keep them from scratching the floor? I bought those in the large size or the long skinny strip-size and placed a one-inch strip onto the bottom of the cabinet to support the plates that are leaning against the back of the cabinet.

Update: These are the type pads I cut to fit in back to support the plates: Sticky Pads.

Everyday dishes stored for display


Here’s a photo showing how the little sticky strips look. Those aren’t visible once you stack your plates in front, although if you want them to be even less visible, you could also use the little clear pads I’ve seen available in the hardware stores–the kind you place on cabinet doors to keep them from banging shut. Although, I must say, in the 18 years I’ve had my dish storage designed this way, I’ve never once noticed these pads because there’s always a least one dinner or salad plate left in the cabinet. So though they are there, you don’t ever see them.


So all the dishes you see propped against the back of the cabinets are held in place by a little sticky pad. I guess this may not work in places where earthquakes happen a lot, but I’ve been through two pretty decent earthquakes in the last 10 years here in Georgia and nothing has ever fallen.

Pretty, Practical Dish Storage


Moving on down the row, I use this white dishware a lot during the summer months. I like having the white in the center of this bank of cabinets to give a bit of division between the Blue Willow and the red Spode Tower pattern. Again, the cups and saucers are at the top since they never get used. If I were desperate for more space, I could box those up and store them in the basement, but since I have the space I’ve kept them here.

Dishware Storage


On the far right, you’ll find the vintage Spode Tower used in last week’s Tablescape Thursday. I love seeing it here in the kitchen since it’s such a pretty, colorful pattern. It’s also the oldest pattern of dishware that I own. I used to have a fair amount of glassware stored with it inside this cabinet. It was stored in the gaps you see on the top shelf and down the sides. Those were all moved to the garage once I added the garage storage cabinets, making this cabinet less crowded.

Beautiful Dish Storage that's practical


See those cabinets on the left there above the desk?

White Kitchen, Granite Countertops


That’s where I store another favorite pattern, Villeroy & Boch’s Melina. It was my every-day pattern for about 15 years, purchased in Macy’s around 30+ years ago. I still use it as my every-day dishware occasionally, so I like keeping it stored here in the kitchen for easy access.

Everyday Dish Storage, Villeroy & Boch Melina


Again, to make this storage visibly pleasing, I placed dinner plates and/or platters across the back with dishes stacked in front. Stored here are 12 dinner plates, 12 salad plates, 12 cereal bowls, 12 cups/saucers and various serving pieces. I didn’t purchase the soup bowls but a few years back I saw three on eBay and bought them. I also so have six Herend Rothschild’s Bird plates stored here. This cabinet used to also house two sets of glasses down the sides and tucked in the corners here and there. Those glasses are now stored in the garage.

Villeroy & Boch, Melina, Everyday Dish Storage


What else didn’t make it to the garage?

I kept two of my favorite Christmas dishware patterns here in the dining room china cabinet where they’ve always lived. Here you’ll find Lenox Winter Greetings and Spode Holiday, along with some Waterford stemware.

Christmas China Storage, China Cabinet


You can’t really see it, but across the very back are days 1-6 of the Waterford “12 Days of Christmas” champagne flutes. I still need to collect the other six. Wonder if I could fit them into this cabinet? lol I see a little space up front there on the right.

China Storage, Lenox Winter Greetings and Spode Holiday


And those infamous pierced chargers that I get asked about almost every time I use them in a table setting–those are all stored here in the large drawer of my sideboard. To keep them from scratching each other, I have a thick paper towel tucked in between each one and that system works very well. If I used anything thicker, they wouldn’t all fit here in this drawer.

Tip: The heavy-duty thicker paper towels work great for separating out large plates and chargers.

Charger Storage in Sideboard


All the other chargers are stored outside in one of the cabinets in the garage.

Charger Plate Storage


I’ve outgrown my charger space. I just added these bark-edged chargers (left) and driftwood chargers (right) in the last couple of years. They are quite rustic designs and are fine stored here on top. Once my son and dil are ready for my son’s bunkbeds/bedroom furniture that’s currently stored here in the garage, maybe I’ll add another cabinet to the garage just for charger storage. Maybe. 🙂



Hope you find this post helpful if you’ve been thinking about adding some glass-front cabinets to your kitchen. It really is possible to have glass-front cabinets and make that space functional, as well. The glass doors opened up my smallish kitchen so much! I have really enjoyed them and it’s one of the best changes I ever made to that space.


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  1. Susan,

    You are amazing.


  2. I love seeing how you store your beautiful dishes! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Wow, you’re organized. Pretty kitchen. I used to clean cabinets and put everything back. Last time I cleaned I did so thinking do I need this. I had a muffin tin and never make muffins so out it went. Did you paint your cabinets or have someone do it? How have they held up?

    • Thanks, Sandy! I painted the inside myself, using Kilz first to prime them. I had the exterior professionally painted, but he didn’t do the greatest job. Despite that, they’ve held up quite well. I would love to have them repainted again at some point since that was back around 2002.

  4. Susan, I’m envious of all your storage and the organization it allows. Our home is lacking in storagage, so the attic and garage are what offer extra storage space here. I need to get it all organized as nicely as you have done. You inspire, but I need your energy!
    Thanks for sharing your ideas and skills. Your kitchen is charming, and you already know I’m in awe of your wonderful dish collections.

    • Thanks so much, Sarah! I was “normal” 😉 and just had a few sets 10 years ago but have acquired a lot more over the years. My Peloton is giving me my energy these days, as long as I keep riding, the energy seems to stay. lol Now if I could just get the motivation to clean and do other stuff I don’t want to

  5. I love dishes but I don’t have much storage room so I have to limit myself for now. I love the Melina pattern. Right now I am trying to add to my crystal glasses for special occasions. I have my great grandmother’s china but no good glassware to go with it. On the back it says “made in occupied Japan.” I love things that are passed down and have sentimental meaning. Love all your dishes.

  6. Great post Susan, loved taking the tour with a rundown of dishware is in your collection. Curious if those garage cabinets are deep enough for chargers?

    • They are, the only ones that can be a problem are the HUGE grapevine chargers. I normally have to tilt them ever so slightly, but all the others fit fine. The grapevine chargers are just abnormally large.

  7. Susan, I love it when you show us your beautiful dish collections. I’m drooling right now. Those sticky pads are a great idea. Thanks for sharing it with us. Have a wonderful week.

    • Thanks so much, Sandy! I ran out of time or I would have shared the two sets stored in the hutch on the porch, the small dish closet in the breakfast room and an inherited china cabinet in another room with a few more sets. Hope you have a wonderful week! It’s beautiful and sunny here today after a weekend of rain, so I’m loving this weather!

  8. Donna zoltanski says

    I love your organization. It really is key to using it!! I love dishes and I am always attracted to seasonal ones. Time to see some bunny dishes and mugs!! You are amazing!! Enjoy your day. It’s sunny in NJ today, but chilly. Snow is coming!!

    • Thanks so much, Donna! I know, I think it’s time for a field trip to Pier 1, Pottery Barn, Marshalls and HomeGoods to see what’s come in. 🙂

  9. We have discussed our shared love of organizing, so this post hits the right spot with me! I need to cull some of my dishes so things won’t be so crowded. The main thing I wish is that my sturdy oak kitchen cabinets went to the ceiling. That would help me so much! I have toyed having my cabinets painted, but feel that they would soon start chipping and showing the oak stain. Susan, tell me your story on your cabinets and any drawbacks you have experienced in painting them. I admit to being chicken on this issue!

  10. Hi Susan
    I follow you every day as you post and do enjoy it so much you do have
    a super large collection of dishes just wondering do you entertain often and if you do you have quite a variety of dishes to choose from!

    • I used to, but not as much now. Now it’s just small gatherings with friends, not full-blown dinner parties. I’m so busy traveling and visiting my grandchildren, along with other things, I just don’t make time for it like I used to. I really miss it, though. I think if I ever move to be closer to my grandchildren, I’ll do more than I do now.

  11. What a great system, Susan. I may have to think about cabinets instead of totes in my garage. It would make decor items easier to see and access. It would also clean things up which would make my husband happy. Thanks for hosting. I always enjoy your party. You have gorgeous dishes.

  12. Wow Susan!
    I am sure: this is what Heaven looks like!
    (At least, to us, dish-aholics! lol) 🙂
    I love, love, love your home and how organized you are!
    I know, there’s a proverb that says: “A place for everything and everything in its place”… hmm… I wouldn’t be surprised if it was YOU who made it… be honest! 🙂
    PS: Yep, Susan! I used a cookie cutter for the mini pizzas… they’re really cute but the best thing is: that way you can eat 2-3 “pizzas” and not feel guilty! 😉

  13. Susan, I so enjoyed this post! Loved seeing how you store all of your pretty dishes and how organized you are. Are you still working? You seem to have such boundless energy that I wonder how you stay on top of everything and work full time, too.

    • No, I retired back in 2010. You can read about that momentous day here:

      It was really tricky during the two year period when I was blogging and working. I used to stay up until midnight or 1:00 and had to be work by 7:30. Thankfully, my office was only 15 minutes away back then, probably longer now since traffic is worse. If I wasn’t working, I was blogging or sleeping. lol

      • Wow, just read your old post about retiring. I started following you after that point. We could have some entertaining conversations about our work histories. I was a teacher turned reading facilitator who worked with pupil appraisal personnel when kids needed testing for special education, and I went on some appalling home visits. You were brave to go alone. We always went in teams of at least two for safety reasons. Deciding to retire was the best decision I ever made!

        • Unfortunately, we didn’t have a choice. Our caseloads were so high and we got so many new referrals each month, there was really no way to go out in pairs, although a couple of CMs I worked with did that a lot. I’m not sure how they got approval for that, though. Yes, I definitely don’t miss it. We got very little support from the state office and it was a very dangerous job. I’m glad I stayed as long as I did but would never recommend that job to anyone. Thanks, Terri!

      • I can relate to your thrill at being out of that line of work. I worked for many years as an investigator for an Indiana city Prosecutor’s office. Prosecutor is the same as a District Attorney in other cities/states. Many times I was scared out of my wits at some of the people I had to deal with and the danger that went along with it.
        After years of doing that, I left and became an assistant to a personal injury lawyer – a desk job that was both safer and a lot more boring. 🙂
        I’m fully retired now and loving the time to do the simple things I never had time to do before.
        People have asked you in recent years after reading your travel blogs, how you are not afraid to travel alone. I’m asked the same question and all I have to do is remind them of my past work history, and they realize that traveling alone is nothing compared to what I used to do day in and day out.
        Some of us are just meant to go where others can or will not.

        • Wow, I can just imagine some of the folks you encountered. I found myself several times over the years talking with people who I found out later had just gotten out of jail. Some were already high on drugs and acting crazy. I must have a guardian angel watching after me at times because I was in really bag spots over the years. You never knew what you would encounter from day to day.
          Yeah, you can definitely say that about both our jobs…NEVER a boring day! lol
          That’s exactly how I answered that question once in a post about travel. After doing that job, nothing much surprises me anymore and I think you learn to think fast on my feet when in a difficult situation. A lot of it is just pure instinct at this point. I’m sure you feel the same way.

  14. Your organization is inspiring! I added shelving to our garage for Christmas decor storage… what a great addition that was. Thanks for hosting too! Liz

    • Yes! I need to do that. I would love to have a full garage makeover with lots of great shelving. Gotta get rid of the furniture that’s stored there first, though. lol Have an awesome week, Liz!

  15. Susan, I always love it when you show us your cabinets. (Though I do have to stave off cabinet envy) 😀 It fascinates me how many dinner sets and accoutrements you have and how it’s all so nicely organized. Love that!

    I have a question about your kitchen layout. From the old photograph, it appears your refrigerator was initially located where your sink is now. Is that right? And the little space / alcove between the refrigerator (in it’s current location) and the pantry cabinet — does that lead somewhere?

    I hope I’m not being nosy, it’s just so fun to discover little angles that we haven’t noticed before. And I can’t wait to see your Someday Library when it’s complete. Have a wonderful week!

    • Thanks, Pam! No, everything stayed where it was, but I did get a counter-depth refrigerator which freed up about 4-5 more inches of space. My old refrigerator was a gigantic Kenmore purchased in 1981-82 in our first home. That refrigerator lasted forever! I loved it…it had that extra door down the front where you could store milk or soda or whatever you used/drink during the day. It was finally starting to not cool as it should so I replaced it with a Kitchenaid Counter-depth around the time I did the kitchen renovation. So this one is pretty old now. I hope it hangs in there for many more years. lol

      I think what you’re seeing is the old Kenmore sticking out on the right in that picture. I had a little magnetic board stuck on the side of the refrigerator for posting messages/notes, etc… Thankfully the new refrigerator is less deep so doesn’t stick out as much.

      The only other thing I did when I did the mini renovation besides a new sink, backsplash and microwave was I had the granite counter designed where it hung out far enough for some bar stools. Before it was completely flat there, no overhang at all. You can see these changes better in this really old post:

      • Oh, I see now. What I thought was the front of the fridge is actually the side. Now it makes sense to me. It’s amazing how the changes you made absolutely transformed the room. And, even after all these years it still looks stylish and current. Some investments are so worth making. And why would they cut the counter off like that! The overhang was wise.

        I know what you mean about your Kenmore fridge. I’ve got my old one in my garage as extra storage. Still going strong. 😀 Thanks, Susan.

        • Those old Kenmore refrigerators were great….they just keep going. Love the look of my counter depth, but miss the extra space in a regular size fridge. In our last home the builder recessed the wall behind the fridge into the garage so that we could have a regular size unit but it looked counter depth. Best of both worlds !

  16. This is terrific and enviable organization but, oh my, as my purge continues, all I can think about is taking reducing collections right now, even though I still love my dishes. I have purged, I think, 8 sets since Jan, and broke up one of my white sets of 24 to two family members (we can borrow from each other if need be), and my oldest daughter wants most of my Christmas dishes (time to pass the torch!). Funny thing, my first set of Christmas dishes were a gift from my husband, so I can always point the finger at him for my love of dishes (works for me). 😉 Have a great week, Susan.

    • You are a brave woman, Rita! I don’t know if I’ll ever be that strong. I think my dil and son will just have to have one heck of an estate sale one day. 😉
      Looking forward to hearing more about this big transition! XXX

  17. Your energy is boundless, I dream of being half as organized! Thank you Susan!

    • Thanks, Jenna! It’s my favorite thing in the world…organizing! Well, at least the results when it’s done, not the actual work so much. lol
      Hope you have an awesome week! XXX

  18. Sandra D in Joliet says

    Wow….I don’t know where all the stuff in the garage cabinets fit before but you do have amazing storage. I only own one set of really nice dishes and they’re the Lenox Winter Greetings with all the birds on them. I’m so glad I bought them many moons ago. I’ve been trying to find the creamer & sugar bowl but they are so expensive…oh well. I love the small felt pad idea. I’m now crocheting 4 blue doilies and a large oval one. I have two blue seahorses and 2 clear candle holders and a nice size bowl all from Waterford. They deserve a pretty place to set but I have no dining room or table to put them…yet. I dream of using them all while crocheting and it will take a while to finish. Have a great day

  19. Thanks so much for hosting each week!!

  20. Wow That is amazing. I keep all my extra items store in our basement. And Some things in our garage. But nothing in our attic. Don’t want to go up the steps to get there.

  21. If you need more space in your china cabinet, you can stack four saucers. Then place four cups on their sides with the handles facing into the neighboring cup. This will make a cluster that can sit on top of the saucers. I always look forward to reading your blog. Thanks, Susan

  22. Faye Meyers says

    That was a really interesting post. I so enjoy reading your blog – it’s really fun and interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  23. You can never have too many dishes or cabinets. I have dish and storage envy now. I love your big two story home. How many square feet do you have with the basement ? I would be putting more cabinets for storage there too !
    Thanks for sharing your lovely home with us each week. You have the best resources for us. BTW I use those sticky pads on the back side of the wreaths I make so they won’t scratch any doors.

  24. Have you posted pics of your garage storage and I missed it? I’m in the process of cleaning mine and would like to create better storage, but I’m not sure what sort of storage I should do in the garage. It’s subject to heat and humidity in the south. I’d like to see what you came up with for ideas 😉

  25. Hi Susan…I think you have the same “dish crazy” gene I have! I blame it on getting a little china tea set or dishes every year for Christmas and then enjoying “playing house”! You are so organized….and if we did not downsize to an apartment I would have those cabinets in a garage, too. I did downsize some of my dishes…and wish I had glass cabinet in this kitchen. Hmmmm…and idea! Gave my nieces my huge collection of Pfaltzgraff Yorktowne that I had been collecting….and collecting…since 1976!!! They loved it. Now have plain white for everyday, my “good wedding china” , Pfaltzgraff Holiday Heirloom, and like you, Blue Willow. I have loved it ever since I read the book by Doris Gates years and years ago. I started like you at the grocery store…then my dear Aunt Mamie, who lived in a retirement home, noticed I liked it. Whenever I would visit her she would have a box full of “those blue and white dishes you like” that she would pick up at sales in her building. I have 12 dinner plates and enough to set a full table for 8. I love it…so cozy, so Sunday dinner! Thanks for a great post – I am inspired by your chargers….heading out to HomeGoods and going to see what may follow me home!

  26. Kim Jorgenson says

    Oh, my gosh! I love all your dishes…and look at dishes/glassware everywhere I go…I have just 4 sets of dishes and my husband thinks I’m nuts…he may be on to something….=)
    I also love all your organizing, it’s been inspiring to me many times! Your home is LOVELY and always looks so inviting.

  27. Hi Susan. I read all your posts and learn from them. I like being organized also. I started to collect Blue Willow dishes after finding some at a Flea Market in perfect condition a few weeks ago.
    Thanks for hosting this great party.
    Enjoy your retirement, you deserve it.

  28. Thank you for showing us your beautiful dishes and storage, Susan. Thanks for hosting!…Christine

  29. I was just wondering how the stuff on top of your cabinets in the garage are doing. My garage gets so dusty and dirty. I don’t think I could store anything out there.

    • That’s a great question, Jennifer. The items inside the cabinets have stayed really clean, just as clean as items inside my kitchen cabinets. The items on top get a little dusty but it’s not terrible, maybe because they are so high up. I always dust them off before I use the them in a centerpiece. I was usually having to do that anyway when they were stored inside or in my basement since so many of those items only get used two to three times a year. My garage stays a fairly moderate temperature as well since it’s surrounded by heated and cooled spaces on all sides except for two. So this storage has actually worked out well.

  30. I have a light wooden tray which I stand up against the back wall of my pantry. Unfortunately it’s taken to sliding off lately and making a terrible noise. I remembered this post and the sticky strips you used… voila! standing up straight again. BTW, my pantry has open wire shelves so I used a wider, thicker piece. You really can’t see them at all. Thanks!!

  31. Maureen D. Eha says

    Every time I look at this post, I think, “I wish Villeroy and Boch would bring out the Melina dinnerware pattern again!” It is very similar to my Noritake Epoch Market Day, which has been our everyday pattern for more than 20 years and desperately needs to be replaced (pieces chipped, glaze worn off). My husband really likes the fruit pattern and doesn’t want me to change it. But if I could get the Melina, I’m sure he’d be happy. Thank you for sharing the photo of yours. It is truly beautiful. Oh, and I’m wondering: Doesn’t it hurt your dishes to stack so many on top of each other, as you have in the inside hutch? It seems the weight would cause the ones on and near the bottom to crack or break.

    • I hope you can find the Melina pattern. I’ve seen it on eBay at various times over the years. I do love that pattern so I know you would love it! So far, I haven’t ever any problem with the plates cracking or breaking. I think the weight is evenly distributed, so I haven’t had any problems.

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