How To Store Antiques and Collectibles

Whether your antiques have sentimental or financial value, they are undoubtedly precious: a beautiful artefact that deserves to be kept in the best condition and treasured for many years to come. A self-storage unit is an ideal place to keep your antique possessions safe while banishing clutter from your home — providing you pack and store them correctly. Since antiques are irreplaceable and usually delicate, they often require special packing and storage instructions.

In this article, we’ll outline the steps of preparing your antiques for storage. Follow our tips to ensure your antiques and collectables come out of self-storage in immaculate condition.

How To Store Antiques

First, here are some important things to consider when selecting a self-storage facility to protect your antiques.

Storage unit location

How easy is it for you to get to your self-storage unit inside the storage facility? It’s important to take special care when moving antique furniture since it is delicate and can damage easily.

Look for a storage unit that provides easy access so that you don’t need to carry your antiques far (and risk damaging them!) Here are some tips for choosing the best storage unit for antiques:

  • Rent a drive-up outdoor unit
  • Rent on the ground floor
  • If you rent on the upper level, make sure the building is equipped with an elevator

Security

We recommend choosing a self-storage facility that offers 24/7 security. For extra peace of mind, look for a facility that is equipped with full perimeter security, alarms, CCTV cameras and an electronic pin code access to your individually locked storage unit.

Insurance

Whether your antique items have sentimental value or financial value, it may be worthwhile to purchase storage insurance. Insurance can be purchased cheaply to safeguard your antique furniture in the unlikely case of theft, fire or a natural disaster.

Make sure to photograph all of your antiques to create a complete inventory for insurance purposes. Each item should have an estimated replacement value recorded to make insurance claims easier. Have your antique items appraised if their value might be significant.

Antique Storage Tips

#1 Clean Your Antiques Before Packing

Showing your antiques a little tender loving care and attention before packing them will help keep them in pristine condition. Here are some tips:

  1. Wipe all dust, dirt and grime from your antique furniture.
  2. Spray your timber furniture with high-quality furniture polish. Alternatively, wax your timber furniture to provide extra moisture and prevent the wood from cracking or drying out. We recommend checking with your antique dealer which method — polish or wax — is best for your particular piece. Once it’s polished or wax, wrap it in a furniture pad and secure it with twine or tape.
  3. Condition any leather furniture with a leather conditioner to prevent it from drying out and cracking.
  4. Polish brass, metal or nickel generously and wipe them with oil to prevent oxidation.
  5. If storing antiques made of silver, try placing camphor blocks near the silver to prevent tarnishing.
  6. Clean fabrics gently with an antibacterial cleanser.

#2 Get Organised With Packing Materials

Once you’ve cleaned and prepared your antiques, it’s time to protect them with the right materials for safer storage.

  1. Gather the necessary packing materials: boxes, tape, clear plastic wrap, bubble wrap, felt fabric, thick blankets, cardboard corners and ‘Fragile’ stickers.
  2. Check that all packing materials are safe to use for antiques. Certain papers may contain acids that cause damage to antiques.

#3 Pack Your Antiques Carefully

  1. Store antique mirrors and framed artworks horizontally. This will reduce the likelihood of the item tipping over or collapsing under its own weight.
  2. Don’t stack antique furniture on top of each other, especially if you are planning to store them for the long term.
  3. When storing a lampshade, remove the light bulb and separate the shade from the base. Wrap the lamp in bubble wrap.
  4. If your antique furniture has nooks or drawers, make sure to empty them out completely, for ease of moving.
  5. When packing a fragile vase, stuff the interior of the vase and wrap the vase with bubble wrap.
  6. Wrap any fragile items such as mirrors or framed pictures carefully in protective wrapping such as bubble wrap.
  7. Wrap a table leg or chair leg with bubble wrap to stop them from knocking against other objects. Secure the bubble wrap with packing tape or twine.
  8. Do not wrap timber in bubble wrap as plastic can suffocate the wood, triggering condensation and mould growth.
  9. Check if you can carefully dismantle any weak or heavy furniture to reconnect again later. Disassembling large, bulky furniture can make heavy or awkward furniture easier to transport and prevent unnecessary stress to the furniture during storage. Parts should be wrapped or boxed and marked to indicate the name of the part and the item it belongs to. Keep the bolts and screws in a labelled ziplock bag.
  10. Wrap up any timber furniture in clear plastic wrap to prevent termite damage and dust.
  11. Protect padded furniture from dust and damage while in storage with blankets, sheets, felt or furniture pads.
  12. Wrap paintings and framed items in glassine paper and clear plastic wrapping, followed by cardboard cut-outs and packing foam.
  13. All boxes should be marked ‘Fragile’ for careful handling.

Organise Your Self-Storage Unit

When setting up your self-storage unit:

  • Avoid stacking items on top of one another
  • Make sure heavier items are on the bottom and lighter items are on top
  • Make sure there is enough space to allow air flow between furniture
  • Remember to label and catalogue all items and boxes, and take photos
  • Cover upholstered items with sheets or tarps to stop the dust from settling

For more useful tips for storing antiques, get in touch with the experts at More Space today on 07 5594 9739 (Molendinar) or (07) 5598 3355 (Currumbin).