Every antique has its own unique beauty. They cover an astonishing range of different objects, but they all share a common sense of history and beauty that simply cannot be purchased off-the-shelf with a modern piece of consumer goods. If you’re a true lover of antiques, you may well run into the problem of acquiring more of these wonderful finds than you have room for in your house. You want to keep these beauties safe from harm; what’s the best way to store your antiques safely?
How you package your antiques for storage just might be the single biggest factor in protecting their condition. Antiques simply cannot be tossed casually into storage without some form of protection. Valuable antiques deserve to be packed carefully in quality materials. High-quality bubble wrap and corrugated cardboard cartons are both excellent bets here. We stress the importance of corrugated cardboard here because thicker, tougher material adds a greater layer of security and holds up better to bending and breaking. Especially fragile antiques that are larger, such as mirrors, clocks, or glass-top tables, can be wrapped up in blankets and felt to cushion them. Secure the packaging around your antiques with heavy-duty packing tape. Always make sure that your antique is completely covered; you don’t want to bring tape into direct contact with it. Tape adhesive can cause avoidable finish damage to many different materials, including leather, fabric, and wood.
Pieces of antique furniture deserve careful examination before you put them into storage. Disassemble larger pieces if it’s possible, and package each major piece separately. This reduces the amount of strain the piece’s joints are subjected to in storage. Protect table and chair legs with extra-generous portions of blanket or bubble wrap; these are particularly vulnerable to dents, scratches, and abrasions. Do not stack pieces of antique furniture on top of each other. The weight of other pieces can cause unwanted damage to, especially fragile antiques.
Framed artwork and other hanging pieces (e.g. mirrors) are some of the most common antiques going into storage. These should always be stored upright rather than flat. Such pieces are built and framed to support themselves vertically rather than flat. Hanging pieces should be carefully cleaned with a clean cloth prior to storage and then wrapped completely in a thick blanket.
Picking the Right Storage Site
While packaging your antiques carefully is important, so is exercising good sense in your choice of storage location. Antiques are more sensitive to environmental factors than a lot of your other possessions. The significant value of your antiques is also worth special consideration. Check all of these factors before making a final decision:
Environmental factors like heat and humidity need to be carefully controlled in order to maintain your antiques in the best possible condition. Paintings and wooden furniture are especially vulnerable. Storage facilities with full climate control are ideal for protecting your antiques against environmental damage like warping, fading, yellowing, and other problems. If you cannot secure full climate control, at least store your antiques in a dry location with the least possible amount of temperature fluctuation, an environment with ceramic radiators will help with this.
By their very natures, antiques are valuable and hard to replace. A significant antique collection is, quite literally, an investment. You need to protect that investment when you store them. Insurance can sometimes be arranged through a commercial storage site, or you may need to arrange for it on your own. It’s always a good idea to have your pieces professionally valued before storing them and then make sure they have sufficient insurance coverage.
Although you are typically putting your antiques away for an extended period when you store them, it should not be more difficult than it needs to be to get to them again. Think carefully about how often you may need access to your antiques and do not, for example, select a storage site that is too far away. Remember that some antiques are ideal for seasonal display, so you may find yourself regularly bringing pieces in and out of storage.
Off-site storage centres meet many peoples needs for storing antiques. They often offer significant advantages over household storage locations, including better climate control and superior insurance coverage. Don’t entrust your antiques to the first storage business you come across, though! Do your research to ensure your pieces will be treated well.