Antiques and art pieces are often treasured for the way they capture a moment in time. As heirlooms, investments or inventory, their value is based on how well they are preserved. When preparing to store paintings, antique furniture or mirrors, keep these tips in mind:
Find the Right Self-Storage Unit
- Controlling the temperature within the storage unit is essential. When comparing facilities, ask about the availability of climate control. This uses central air and heat to maintain a temperature within the unit of 50-80 degrees and reduce humidity. Some facilities have a dehumidifier as well -- usually for units on the first floor or subterranean levels.
- Transporting your antiques or art from the truck to your unit can open up opportunities for damage. Consider looking for a drive up unit, or an inside unit on the ground floor. If your unit is on an upper level, be sure there’s an elevator. Many facilities have dollies and carts available for your use at the facility as well.
- If it’s worth storing, it’s worth insuring. Most storage facilities require proof of insurance covering your belongings to at least $2,000. At Extra Space, we offer affordable insurance policies for up to $10,000 that can be included in your rental agreement.
Pack with Care
- Wrap mirrors and pictures in protective covering such as thick blankets, bubble wrap or felt, and mark them as “Fragile.” Clear plastic wrap can be used instead of tape to secure packing materials – it comes on rolls sold at office and packing supply stores. Cardboard corners can be purchased to protect the sharpest, weakest areas of frames. Felt can be bought off the bolt at fabric stores.
- Boxes specifically designed for packing mirrors or large paintings can be purchased at packaging supply stores. Some storage facilities sell quality packing supplies including these boxes for your convenience.
- Mirrors and framed artwork should never be stored flat, as they can collapse under their own weight.
- If you're storing upholstered products such as mattresses and sofas, consider investing in covers, bags or sheeting for additional protection. Storage and moving facilities often sell large heavy-duty bags for this purpose.
- Disassemble weak or heavy pieces of furniture, such as a mirror attached to a dresser, or a headboard from a bed frame. Wrap and cover the separate sections, clearly marking them as parts of a whole. Keep assembly components such as screws and bolts together in a plastic bag and tape the bag to bubble wrap or plastic wrapped around the appropriate piece of furniture.
- Cover chair legs with bubble wrap or rags for extra protection.
- Don’t stack antique furniture – leave it free standing.
- Spray wood furniture with a good quality furniture polish before storing it to give it some added protection.
- Treat leather items with a leather conditioner before you store them.
- Wipe down metal objects and tools with a little oil before storing them to avoid rust formation that can occur when the tools are not used regularly.
- Separate lamp bases and lampshades and wrap them for protection. Remove any light bulbs.
- Consider having awkward or heavy pieces packed professionally. Talk to your storage facility manager or local pack-and-ship store about options.
As you go, keep an inventory of every item you’ve packed – perhaps by taking a picture of each piece before it’s wrapped. Ideally, include an estimate of the replacement value of each item you store. These steps will help you make accurate insurance claims in case of unforeseen damage or loss, and estimate appropriate coverage levels.
Your self-storage facility manager can be a great resource for storage solutions and packing hints. Be sure to ask them for guidance – they may have important information you wouldn’t have considered otherwise.