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September 26, 2014

Antique Storage

Perhaps you’ve recently inherited some family heirlooms, or maybe you’re simply downsizing and need to make some room in your home, and you’ve decided storing some of the precious to priceless antiques is the best option. Improper care before storing away these exquisite pieces can lead to ruined and de-valued antiques. We’ve put together some tips in order to make sure your collectibles stay in tip top form during moving and storage.

Choose the Best Storage Space

A number of factors need to be considered before choosing which storage space to be rent. First and foremost is climate. Ensure there are heating and/ or air-conditioning available to store your items between 50-80°F. High humidity environments can be controlled with a dehumidifier; failure to do this can result in mold, mildew, paper rot, and metal corrosion. If you know the local climate is bound to fluctuate dramatically over time, talk to your storage facility manager about ways to achieve environment control for the protection of your art.

In case you plan to sell your antiques that are stored, or may want to swap them out for pieces in your home, accessibility is highly important—more than simply for convenience. Moving from home to truck or truck to storage unit provides the highest risk for damage. First level ground units and drive up units reduce this risk. Be careful, however, as this may affect the degree of environment control you can have on the unit. If you do decide on a unit on a higher level, ensure the storage space has an elevator.

Security is another impactful consideration. Look for a storage unit that has high fences, good lighting, surveillance cameras and keypads. Fingerprint readers are becoming more common for high value storage spaces to help limit the number of people who can access the storage facility.

All of this considered, you may be looking at a higher cost storage facility, but considering the items you are storing are irreplaceable and possibly priceless, it is worth paying more to know they will not be damaged or stolen.

How to Pack Your Antiques for Storage

There are number of precautions you can take to ensure your items stay pristine while packed away:

  • Coat leathers in a leather conditioner to ensure they don’t dry out.
  • Put a little oil on any metals to keep them from rusting.
  • Cover upholstered items in plastic coverings or sheets. Some storage spaces have large plastic bags for this purpose.
  • Disassembled large, heavy items, such as armours with mirrors or beds with headboards and keep the small pieces labelled and bagged together. This keeps the hinges and connectors from collapsing under the weight over time.
  • Wrap items such as lamp bases and shades separately and be sure to remove light bulbs.
  • Spray wood furniture with a good furniture polish.
  • Invest in good book covers to keep pages from acid wear and humidity damage.
  • Wrap dishes and glassware individually and fill boxes with foam pellets or bubble wrap.

There are number of ways to properly wrap framed pieces depending on the piece itself:

  • Encapsulation with a polyester film is best for double sided pieces.
  • A mat board with half face cover works well for single sided pieces.
  • A covered window mat is great for more fragile items.
  • A solander box or deep sided storage box are also efficient.

Make sure to put your items on top of a pallet as it allows for better air circulation. Also, ensure framed items such as mirrors are not stored flat or they are able to collapse in on themselves.


Last but not least, if these items are important enough to store, than they need to be insured. In some cases they may be covered under your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, or a simple additional endorsement to cover the value of the items may be needed. Separate self-storage policies are also wise and affordable.

Be sure to keep a full inventory with proper assessments of value and photographs of each of the items in the storage unit.

More questions about storing your antiques? Let us help keep your valuables safe and contact us at Big Box Storage.