Do you have some fancy pants china in your kitchen cabinets? Does anyone in your family know it’s there? In other words, do you ever use it?

too precious to use?
too precious to use?

One of the cardinal rules of organizing a kitchen is to use your real estate wisely because most of us don’t have expansive kitchens. So if you are not using that china on a monthly basis, I’ll bet you can find a more practical place to store it to make room in your cabinets for the things you do use every day and each week.

Not-so-prime Real Estate

Move the china to harder to reach cabinets above the fridge, the stove, or even in the dining room.

Garage/Storage space

If you only use china for the winter holidays, why not keep it in the garage with the other seasonal decorations? Even if you use it twice a year, this is a viable option.

Use it!

Now let’s get real about whether or not you even want to use your fancy china. Are you afraid you’ll break it? Don’t let that keep you from using it. In fact, don’t let that keep you from using anything you own. You are worth it and life is short.

Please don’t tell me you aren’t using it because you are saving it for your grandkids because your grandkids can use it now! Save them a trip to IKEA–go ahead and give it to them today.

I have a few pieces from different china patterns that I love and those pieces stand up very well to everyday use. It’s a comfort to me to know they don’t contain lead like most dinnerware being produced now (in China). I put goldfish crackers in the little bowls for my kids. I serve ice cream in them. I put them in the dishwasher and if they ever do break I can get other pieces pretty easily because unfortunately, the world is full of un-used, well-made china and crystal.

My last question is, do you love your china pattern? If you don’t, let’s talk about letting it go.

selling online is the most likely non-auction site to buy pieces of your pattern. However, it isn’t all sunshine and flowers. You still have to package it and mail in it and they pay you just a small percentage.

When I get china from clients I check with my buddies at iSoldit on eBay in Pasadena and they let me know if it’s worth passing the set on to them to sell. The store takes care of the packaging and the eBay hassles. But again, you won’t get a lot of cash for your china this way. In fact, in 80% of cases with my clients, the store has deemed the pattern “not worth it”.

So, is your pattern worth it? Check for your pattern on Craigs List and on eBay to get an idea of how rare it is and how much it’s going for.

look for the stamp
look for the stamp

Find the stamp on the bottom of your pieces to determine the maker and pattern name of your stuff. In general, serving pieces are worth more than plates and bowls.

Another option for selling china or crystal is I only recommend selling items there if you already have a shop going. It’s like eBay–definitely an option, but not worth learning the ropes just to make $40.

donate it

I’m sorry to report that selling your china isn’t going to make you a huge wad of cash. And unless you have some really vintage stuff in mint condition it’s probably time to take it to the thrift shop. Let a hipster take it home and prove to their friends how eclectic they are! You can also donate it to a church or shelter if you want to spend some time finding a specific home for it. But for a one-stop solution, I recommend the Goodwill every time.


  • I had a fit of giggles when I saw the “saving it for the grandkids” because I’ve been organizing since 2002 and not once have I had a grandkid’s clients WANT the china; they want their own [hipster] stuff.

    • It’s true. It’s true!
      I wonder if the hipsters I see at the second hand shop have asked their own grandparents for the kinds of things they are buying. “I’ll rock your grandpa’s style”

  • Karen

    Unfortunately, Replacements pays almost nothing. It’s a great place for finding a piece of your old pattern, but last time I contacted them they wanted to give me $0.50 for something I easily sold on eBay for $50. (Also, why Goodwill?)

    • I recommend the So Cal Goodwills because of the range of items they accept. It’s a one-stop drop! Also, there’s one on every corner around here.
      How about near you? Do they accept your e-waste? and furniture?

  • I have China that was passed on to me from my mother in law. I wanted a younger hipper look however she bought herself the younger hipper look (white with platinum) and passed her hippie looking (off white with gold and harvest vegetables on it) China onto me. Which now I actually appreciate and like (probably to her dismay ;)! I store it in my dining room hutch. I used to store it underneath, but now I store most of it on top for easy access. I’ve decided to use it on special occasions or big family dinners. Mostly because I run out of regular plates! I will probably pass whatever is left to my son’s family. Then he can do what he chooses with it! Maybe he will grow to like it’s “hippie” quality as well.

Your thoughts please