Antiques and collectibles make standard storage solutions challenging. Luckily, there are plenty of options for keeping your favorite items safe while still having them accessible when you need them.
Whether you have a few favorite pieces or a collection that requires its own wing, storing antiques and collectibles doesn’t have to be complicated. In this article, we’ll explore storage options and offer advice on the best solution for your space and items.
Let’s get started.
Ensure optimal climate conditions.
Temperature, humidity, and light levels are the most important aspects of any storage system. First, make sure you know the ideal conditions for each item in your collection. Then, measure the conditions in your space and adjust as necessary.
Temperature-wise, most antiques and collectibles will do best when kept between 68 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity levels should be between 30 and 50 percent. Although experts say there is no perfect humidity level, they agree that more humidity brings more damage. Microorganisms, mold, dust mites and other harmful insects thrive in places with more water vapor. Finally, monitor light levels to prevent fading and sun damage.
Use the right storage cases and cabinets.
In general, cabinets and cases provide the most protective storage solution. When selecting cabinets and cases, look for ones made with wood or steel. Plastic can break down due to UV exposure over time. Also, avoid laminated wood products, as the glue can leach into the item over time.
Storage cases and cabinets are often customizable, allowing you to stack and arrange items exactly as you want. You can also add temperature and humidity control to keep collected items safe for the long term.
Create humidity-controlled storage spaces.
For items made of wood, paper, and materials that are vulnerable to humidity, you should consider a humidity-controlled storage room. This will keep the relative humidity level in the space very low, preventing damage from mold, mildew, and other microorganisms.
If you have a room in your home that remains dry, you can create a humidity-controlled storage space by installing a dehumidifier. You can also use a desiccant to draw moisture out of the air. Be mindful, though, that desiccants lose their power over time and need to be replaced.
Create suitable floor storage conditions.
Antiques and collectibles are often large and heavy. Sometimes, they are so fragile and shouldn’t be moved. As a result, it might seem like the best place to store them is on the floor. However, items on the floor are more at risk for moisture and dust damage.
If you put antiques on the floor, make sure they are placed on a moisture-resistant surface. You can also build custom stands to elevate them from the ground. We recommend placing smaller items in drawers, or glass display cabinets, so you can enjoy them without risking any damage.
Keep a detailed record of the condition of your items.
It’s important to keep a record of your collection’s contents and conditions. This will help you identify any items that may have been damaged and take appropriate action. Keeping a detailed inventory also makes it easier to appraise their value if selling them becomes an option.
You can create a record sheet that includes each item’s name, make and model, materials, condition, value, images, and any other information you find helpful. If your items are in cabinets or cases, you can place the sheet in the cabinet’s description slot.
Wrap and bag your items.
To prevent damage from dust, you can wrap or bag your items. You can use specially designed wrapping products for large items, and mylar bags for collectible books and magazines.
For particularly fragile pieces, you can bag them using breathable but protective bags. These bags will allow air flow but block dust. If you wrap or bag your items, be sure to record the information on the type of wrapping or bag and the item it’s protecting on your record sheet.
Rent custom storage space.
If you don’t have space in your home, renting storage space with climate-control features may be an option. Antiques are sensitive to dust, moisture, and heat, so a climate-controlled environment is a must for your highly-prized items.
Many storage solution providers offer climate and humidity-controlled spaces. Some of their clients are museums and institutions that want their large collections to be safe but also accessible.
Storing antiques doesn’t have to be complicated.
Storing antiques and collectibles can be a challenge, but it’s an important part of preserving your treasured items. To make sure they stay safe, be sure to keep the temperature, humidity, and light levels in your space very low.
You can also protect certain items by wrapping or bagging them, and placing them in cabinets and drawers. Also, be sure to record the contents and conditions of your items. This helps you care for your items, and appraise them when it’s time to sell.
Finally, we recommend speaking to an antique specialist, or your local museum, to determine the optimal temperature, humidity and light levels for your highly-priced items.
Get antique storage solutions from The Padded Wagon.
The Padded Wagon’s storage service features climate-controlled spaces, 24-hour security, online inventory management and competitive pricing. So your items will be safe and secure for a price that’s reasonable.
Our storage facilities are conveniently located in New York City, New Jersey, Los Angeles and Pompano Beach, Florida. Get in touch with us at 212-222-4880 for a quote.