How To Organize A Credenza

Do you want to make hosting dinner parties easier? In this post, I’ll show you how to organize a credenza with everything you need to host. But first, I want to share a little story about how I came to love my credenza.

What is a Credenza, Anyway?

When I first started dating my husband, I noticed that he had a piece of furniture I’d never seen before, and it had a glow about it. It was made entirely of stainless steel, with sliding doors and shelves inside. At the time, he used it to store his clothes and when I called it a dresser he quickly corrected me— “it’s actually a credenza.”

I liked the sound of this. It seemed exotic, and sleek, and very different from the “chester drawers” I’d grown up with.

This credenza seemed like the right next step. It was a piece of furniture for an adult. An accessory for an urban lifestyle. This was the guy, and here was his credenza.

I also learned that it was a piece he would never part with. He bought it with the inheritance from his grandmother, and felt it kept her memory alive. His Grandmother’s name was Dee.

And Dee, that heavy, exotic piece of steel, moved with us from my husband’s condo into our first home, and has somehow resisted dents and scratches from our two children, who knew the correct name for it as soon as they could speak.

Sadly, it couldn’t fit through the door of our bedroom, so we could no longer use it for clothes. Instead we put it in our dining area, and for a long time, I had no idea what to do with it. I was intimidated by it, really. It seemed to collect the flotsam and jetsam of family life.

Create Your Own Personal Crate and Barrel

It wasn’t until I was working with a client, an Orthodox Jewish woman with seven children (pause and appreciate the magnitude of that) that I reconsidered the possibilities for this credenza. She mentioned that her sister had her own personal Crate and Barrel in her home. It was a closet that housed everything she needed to throw the perfect party: vases, votives, table runners, placemats, cloth napkins, etc. My client wanted one, and so did I.

A personal Crate and Barrel sounded amazing! As soon as I got home I started searching my own home for a place where I could set that up. The credenza called my name. I was sort of using it that way before, but thinking of it as my own personal Crate and Barrel gave me new focus and vision.

How I Organized and Styled It

Out went all the vases I really didn’t like. Then I donated the random holiday décor. Next, went dented tapers, and cracked votives, and play-doh tools, and random rocks. (The struggle is real.)

This was an exercise in thinking about what I most loved to use when entertaining and setting my table, and getting rid of everything else. It would become a piece of furniture that would represent hospitality. I never got to meet Dee, but I thought she would approve. I took time to carefully fold, polish, and line things up in pretty rows, and style them so I opened it to a vision of joy. It’s fun to think of items I already own that way. It gets me excited to use things I haven’t thought of in a while. It also saves me from buying one more table runner I don’t need.


When I was finished, I labeled everything to create boundaries and places for everything. Then I took out my favorite stainless steel wipes and gave Dee a high shine. She glowed like the day I first saw her.

Why I Love It

Now our credenza is the place for my favorite vintage cherry blossom dishes, the place where I set-up a drinks station before a party, and display seasonal vignettes. It’s the place where I put my favorite wedding photo.

We all bring something to a marriage, and I’m glad my husband brought Dee.

How do you like to organize and style your credenza? Drop me a line and let me know! I’d love to hear from you. If you want a fun hosting idea, check out my post: Plan a Monthly Dinner Rotation with Friends.


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