I don't own a home yet so this bulging collection is always in danger of damage, loss or being scrapped. The latter will never happen so in order for the dh to be pacified, I find ways to store them carefully without taking over the whole place.
But how to do that?
First, it would be a fair warning to say that since all of my dishes, outside of my fine china, are chosen to coordinate because setting up for the holidays can be a little daunting.
Also, each holiday is pretty much the same every year, in exception to Easter which can either fall in March or April. So, to get everything straight, I have these to go by.
1. The solids and patterns are lined up in their own shelf or shelves. This makes it easy to mix and match. For the solids, do the rainbow pattern to grade the shades so it's easier to find.
2. If sets have to be in a box, take a picture and record name of pattern. Slap info on the box for easy tracking.
3. Decide on the next two holidays and keep those patterns and colors in the hutch or shelf; both to prepare and to refresh the look of the dining room.
4. Keeping small spaces in mind, choose colors that can be multi-purpose:
Blue- good for 4th of July, summer and winter parties, Americana Christmas or New Year's Eve tables. And all surprise celebrations
White- is good for all holidays and "Just Because" moments
Yellows and Oranges- good for Summer and Autumn tables
Burgundy and Rust and Sage- are all good colors for the country theme and classic Christmas and Thanksgiving
Black- good for Halloween, Modern and Fun Teenage themed tables
Greens- St. Pat's, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Garden or Summer themes
Red and Pinks- Valentine's Day, Tea parties, Any Ladies' club or girls' party themes. Christmas, Independence Day and Easter can also be good for these colors.
Gold & Platinum- Best if kept simple and matched and highlighted with candlelight.
5. I don't buy patterns that I can't imagine my other plates fitting in with it. Also, chargers are dinnerware bling.
6. I only buy plates on clearance of 40% off or more.
7. Because I practice Feng Shui, my tables are focused on balance, symmetry and color harmony. For example, my last Valentine's Day was mainly Red and Black, but I laid it all on white tablecloth, bowls and cake stands to neutralize both strong colors and lighten the look.
I hope you find my tips helpful. It took years to finesse while not letting my obssessions get the best of me. I truly love collecting dishes and I'm glad that my budget is never big enough to get out of control. I'm just glad that I haven't traded any of my kids for a set of dinnerware. (I don't think the DH would like that... What do you think? ;-D)