Let’s face it; as much as we want to keep great-great-grandmother Augustine’s heirlooms, sometimes we just don’t have the space for 200 of her 19th century spoons - let alone all those hand-painted horse figurines.
So where do you start? The garage is a mess, the attic is almost always unbearably hot and humid, and the basement floods.
Ideally, valuables should be stored in a climate-controlled storage space away from direct sunlight. We’re not just talking antique vases and oil paintings, either. Maybe you’re looking to store old family photos or keepsakes. We all know the destruction that water can cause, but many of us overlook sun bleaching, pests, and temperature damage.
Now that we know that calamity is waiting around every turn, let’s go over a few simple steps you can take to keep your belongings safe.
- Avoid sunlight, which can cause fabric, wood, and paint to fade.
- A climate-controlled space will keep valuables from being damaged by excessive heat or cold- or by rapid temperature changes.
- Wrap fabric in acid-free paper to protect against dust and chemical damage.
- Make sure documents, photos, and collectables such as currency and stamps are secure and flat in a size-appropriate box, folder, or portfolio to prevent creasing and warping.
- Try to avoid storing soiled or dirty items, as this can speed deterioration.
- Wrap fragile items (like china and small antiques) before you store them securely in a box. Bubble wrap is a popular choice, but newspaper, tissue paper, and foam are also effective substitutions.
- Store silver in an airtight container, like a zip-lock bag, to help keep it from tarnishing.
- Try storing electronics in their original packaging, but if that is not available use an appropriate sized box and plenty of padding to secure the item. Remember, always back up important data from computers and cameras and store it in a location away from the rentals. For example: if your laptop is going to storage, keep the backup files at your home or work.
- Avoid stacking heavy or fragile items, like furniture or vases, to help prevent breaking from falls.
- Make sure valuables are securely sealed against pests like mice, moths, and cockroaches- especially if you opt for home storage over a storage unit.
Using this advice as a starting point, you’ll be well on your way to reducing the clutter around your home without the guilt of causing accidental destruction!
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Photo courtesy TheMuuj on Flickr; some rights reserved.