Keeping your antiques and precious items safe

storing your antiques compassThe antiques roadshow came to Tewkesbury Abbey this month and thousands from around the region and wider enjoyed the sunshine while they had their prized possessions and heirlooms valued.

There were some interesting finds at Tewkesbury including a map of the 1879 Battle of Rorke’s Drift and a 1914 Triumph roadster. These are just 2 of the memorable ones, although for every financially valuable find, there are hundreds of items that have no real financial value at all. But that doesn’t mean they are not treasured. In fact, in many cases the sentimental value of an item far outweighs any financial assessment.

Whether it’s your financial investment you’re protecting or something far more precious, you need to store your items correctly to prevent damage.

Here are our tips for storing your antiques and precious items safely

Pictures / Art / Wooden Furniture
All these things were made to be seen, but if you want to keep them in top condition don’t put them in direct sunlight. Avoid hanging pictures where there are considerable changes in temperature, e.g. above a radiator or fireplace, and don’t them hang them on any walls that have any signs of damp.

pictures stackedIf you’re storing them, much of the same advice applies. It’s easy to wrap them and put them in the garage or loft, but take care, both places can suffer from huge changes in temperature conditions and be susceptible to damp. Make sure things are wrapped in blankets or bubble wrap, and always store pictures vertically. If your picture is in a frame, make sure it’s stored the correct way up (you can get slippage in frames). You can disassemble some items of furniture, but make sure each part is wrapped and stored with the main unit.

If you’re serious about keeping things in their best condition, and they’re not hanging on your wall or on show in your dining room, then a dry, secure, temperature controlled self storage unit may be the route to go.

China / Glass / Pottery
In most cases, collections are on display, and if this is the case for you make sure it’s in a safe place. You don’t want the grandchildren or the dog knocking things off shelves as they run by. A cabinet is a good idea, but don’t overstuff the cabinet so everything is leaning against each other, or scrapes the item next to it whenever you want to move something – that could lead to scratches and chips.

If you’re storing things away, make sure items are individually wrapped in bubble wrap; make sure you don’t wrap them too tightly. It needs to be firm enough to stop movement and provide a cushion, but not so tight that arms and spouts end up poking through the packaging and getting damaged. When putting things into boxes don’t overfill them. It’s better to have gaps filled with packaging than overfull boxes resulting in breakages.

Vinyl Records
record turntableBack in fashion again, vinyl is the collection choice for many music enthusiasts, although it’s not just the record that matters. For records to maintain their value the sleeve and cover have to be in top condition too. Store you records vertically and try to store the same sized records together. If putting up shelves at home to store them, don’t overfill them – records can be heavy when there are a lot of them. In addition, protection for your covers is advisable. If vinyl is your thing there are some great resources here.

Toys / Clothes / Fabric
Most of the time these things will be stored away somewhere. The same rules about temperature, wrapping and overfilling boxes etc. apply, but when it comes to fabrics there are some additional things to consider. Some plastics can cause reactions to fabric when stored long term. Consider wrapping them in tissue paper before putting them into containers. Definitely make sure your items are clean and dry before you pack them away, you don’t want things to get mould on and rot. We wrote a more in depth post on storing fabric items which you may find useful.

Comics / Books / Magazines
You can get specialist sleeves and back boards to prevent comics and magazines getting bent when stored. It’s all about keeping them flat and avoiding tears and bends. It’s the same for books. If they’re on shelves at home try and make sure covers and spines don’t get damaged – that means enough items of the shelf to keep everything upright and straight, but not so many that corners get bent when moving things in and out. Also, not too few so items slip and covers end up bent. If storing in boxes, make sure they’re airtight.

If you have items that are valuable to you that you want to keep in top condition or collections that have outgrown the spare room at home get in touch. We have self storage sites in North Bristol, Gloucester and Stroud and a variety of unit sizes at each. Units are clean, dry and secure with 24 hour CCTV.

Not sure what you need? Give us a ring. We’ve been in the removals and storage business for many years and our staff will be happy to help and advise you about storing your antiques and precious items.

Main image: Barby Dalbosco