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How to Store Antiques and Family Heirlooms

Just store It | Feb 13, 2019

Whether you collect antiques from shops or you’ve inherited them from family members, preserving the appearance and value of these heirlooms should be a high priority. If you’ve run out of room in your home for these items but don’t want to get rid of them, finding a storage unit to keep them in is one of your best solutions.

At Just Store It!, we offer a variety of sizes and types of storage units to accommodate our customers’ needs. If you need a unit to store your antique artwork and furniture, contact us today for more information on the type of unit you need.

Keep a Record

Before packing and storing your antiques, it’s a good idea to make a record of the items you’re putting into a storage unit. The best option for this is to take photos. In the unfortunate event that any of these items are lost or damaged, you’ll have photos for an insurance claim that will help estimate their value.

Insure Your Belongings

This is true of anything you’ll be storing, but especially for antiques it’s a good idea to purchase insurance to cover the cost of any damage to or loss of your items. At Just Store It!, we also offer a plan called Just Protection. For an additional $10 per month, we provide up to $2,500 in protection. This is not like insurance because there is no deductible and your rates will not go up in the case of an incident. Contact us to enroll in our protection plan.

Climate Control Storage Units

When storing family heirlooms, it’s important to store them in a spaced that is climate-controlled. This feature keeps a storage unit between 50–80 degrees and reduces humidity within the unit. This will keep all of your belongings cool and dry, preventing them from warping or becoming discolored.

Storing Antique Furniture

When storing antique furniture, it’s important to reinforce and protect any weak areas or sharp corners. You can purchase cardboard or rubber corners for the sides of tables. You should also wrap the legs of chairs and tables. For heavy or fragile pieces, disassembling them as much as possible will help keep each piece in better condition than if you tried to store it as a single piece.

When disassembling furniture, wrap each piece in thick rags or towels, or bubble wrap; label each piece as part of a whole and number them (for example: “1 of 5 pieces”). When disassembling furniture, store screws and bolts in a plastic bag and attach to a bubble-wrapped piece of the furniture.

For furniture that you’re keeping assembled, leave them free-standing and upright; do not stack any antique furniture item or store it on their side. Similarly to disassembled furniture, wrap the legs and arms with bubble wrap and reinforce corners with cardboard or rubber edges.

Consider investing in bags or sheets to cover upholstered furniture to prevent the accumulation of dust. Before storing wood furniture, applying a quality furniture polish will give them an extra layer of protection while they’re in storage. Treat leather with a leather conditioner. For metal objects, applying some oil will help prevent rust while they’re not being used.

Storing Artwork and Mirrors

Flat items like mirrors, painting, and wall art require specific care when being placed in a storage unit. Items should be wrapped in bubble wrap, felt, or thick blankets (like moving blankets). Many packing supply stores also sell boxes specifically designed for mirrors and paintings. Cardboard corners should also be used on the edge of sharp corners of frames or mirrors. Remember to label these items “fragile.”

Do not store artwork or mirrors flat; store them upright and resting against the wall. If stored flat, they could collapse under their own weight. Don’t rest them against other items to prevent those items from being damaged or collapsing.

Storing Small Items

When storing figurines, dish sets, and other small but breakable items, use bubble wrap or rags. Stuff hollow items with these packing materials to reinforce the inside, place layers of it in between plates to prevent scratching or breaking, and remember to wrap everything afterward.

You may choose to store these items in boxes. If you do, make sure to label them “fragile” and store them in plastic containers that won’t be damaged. Read more about the benefits of using plastic containers for storage.

Storing Large Items

When it comes to storing large items that are heavy, awkwardly shaped, or breakable, such as statues or grandfather clocks, consider hiring a professional packing service. If you’d like to do it yourself, you can contact your local storage facility for tips and options.

Transfer with Care

Moving your antiques to a storage unit presents the opportunity for damage, so carry pieces gently and arrange them in a way that they won’t shift or bang against each other while in transit. We also recommend reserving a drive up unit or and inside unit on the ground floor to make unloading, moving, and storing your antiques easier and reduce the potential for damage.

 

At Just Store It!, we offer storage units in a variety of sizes with different amenities. Our units are climate controlled, and we offer drive-up units as well as indoor storage units. We have two locations in the Johnson City area as well, so if we don’t have the type of storage you need at one facility, we may be able to accommodate you at another. Contact us today for more information.