SYS Blog

Packing, Protecting and Storing Collectibles, Art & Antiques – 5 tips for success

Posted · 5 Comments

By Sally Wood, Guest blogger


Properly storing collectibles, art and family history keepsakes should always be a key concern… after all, YOU are the “collection” curator! Making sure your “valuable” (more on this later) items are properly packaged for a quick stint or long term visit in storage both require special considerations.

Take some well-advised suggestions from professionals for the best methods you can utilize to ensure that your fine art and antiques are packaged with safety and security in mind.


Packing for Storage – The Common Sense Approach

In this section, we’ll take a look at the following:

  • DIY packing materials and methods
  • Adhesives and anchoring wax
  • What to do about moisture?

Tip #1 Much of the following may (and should) seem like common sense. Making sure to pack lighter items on top of heavier ones, for example, is a simple piece of advice that sometimes goes unacknowledged, leading to needless damage. Even if your goods are packaged correctly in sturdy cardboard boxes (and they should be), this advice still applies. Placing heavier items on top of lighter ones is a big no-no.

Tip #2 And when it comes to those cardboard boxes we mentioned, there is a little more to consider. Yes, sturdy cardboard boxes are an indispensable packing method for many budgets, but it’s worth considering specialist wrapping materials for goods that will perish in conditions of excess moisture, such as books, textiles, paintings, photo albums. Tissue paper and breathable sheets are decent options on a tight budget. Don’t let cardboard come into contact with fabrics and paper – the acids will cause extensive damage. Newspaper is often used but it too is very acidic and can accelerate the aging and yellowing of fabrics and paper keepsakes and documents… and the newsprint can rub off onto collectibles. The main things you want your wrapping material to achieve are:

  • Breathability (to protect from moisture build-up)
  • Solid protection from dust and insects
  • Make sure it doesn’t contribute to causing accelerated aging and deterioration

It’s worth noting that professional options are available, whilst cardboard boxes can still be used for storage, just pop your wrapped up goods straight in.

Totally preventable and expensive to correct. Items that tell your family’s history needs to be kept safe for future generations.

Tip #3 If you’re storing your goods at home on shelves, then you might want to consider using a nifty substance known as Museum Wax: a strong anchoring wax material that will hold down your ceramics and glassware to the surface upon which it is resting. It is also useful for more securely attaching a framed item to a wall, yet it remains easy to remove. Whether wall or shelf, using an anchoring material like this will help protect your precious goods from accidental damage that may be caused by clumsy handling, earthquakes, tremors, clumsy knocks or rampaging children!

As far as tape and adhesives go, avoid getting them on artwork, collectibles and especially anything with a “finish” like a frame or furniture. Never put tape on paper items!! Avoid using white glue on porous items that will absorb. Never use super glue-type products on anything important. These suggestions from a professional art conservator.

Detergent spilled from another box when they collapsed onto this portrait of a family member- a heartbreak for them.

Tip #4 Choose your storage location wisely: Rampaging little ones aside, the biggest thing you really want to watch out for is moisture. If storing your goods at home, you must be careful that your chosen storage spot isn’t susceptible to large shifts in climate. Garages and attics aren’t always the best places for storage if you don’t have good insulation. As a general rule of thumb for storing artwork, you need to maintain a level of humidity between 40-50%, and a temperature of between 21-24°C. but the most important thing is not to have swings in the temperature or humidity in your storage area more than 20 points within 24 hour period.

Packing for Storage – The Professional Approach

When storing collectibles, art and family history keepsakes, preserving their value is of paramount importance. This value isn’t necessarily measured in only monetary terms, although it certainly can be. There’s an emotional and historical value to these sorts of goods as well, and it’s likely that your care for your precious belongings extends across each of these dimensions.

Tip #5 It makes sense, then, that professional storage providers are, at the very least, a feasible and dependable option, and in most cases, budget depending, the no-contest best option for safe and secure storage of your fine art and antiques. But why is this, and what should you look for in a professional storage provider?

A professional storage provider worthy of your business should offer you the following, at the very least:

  • Climate controlled storage compartments
  • No-Obligations, free storage quotes
  • Excellent customer ratings from third party review websites
  • A full set of industry accreditations
  • Friendly and helpful customer service
  • Excellent transport options and multiple storage locations
  • Professional packing services that specially cater to the storage of fine art and antiques
  • Affordable pricing
  • State-of-the-art, secure facilities.
  • Advanced security and insurance options

There’s quite a bit on this list. But there are storage providers out there who offer this and more, and your valuable goods deserve the very best.

Rolling up paintings is a BAD idea!

The movie, Monuments Men had a “take-away lesson” that was brilliant: what makes up the heritage and story of our families and communities that defines us? Those stories and history are contained in items, collectibles, memorabilia, keepsakes, art and antiques. Protecting, preserving and carefully storing collectibles, art and family history keepsakes helps to define our heritage and us for the next generation.

5 Responses to "Packing, Protecting and Storing Collectibles, Art & Antiques – 5 tips for success"
  1. Bette Kingford says:

    Hi, I check in with your blog daily. Great info and it helps me with review info for my ongoing family history preservation projects.

  2. Martin says:

    Very useful, thanks for taking the time to write this up.

Comments are closed.