Collectors like to rotate collections with frequency and display their items in various parts of the home. Some collectible items only make an appearance at certain times of the year.

Just like there are certain rules for exhibiting objects in museums, there are also suggestions for correctly preparing objects for long-term storage.

First and foremost, only store clean objects. When it comes to any collectible, clean it first, and then store it.


Location, Location, Location

The location for the storage of collections is vital to their long life, and their condition impacts value. Storage areas should have controlled temperature and humidity levels.

Most of us are not in the market for a sophisticated HVAC system like the one the Smithsonian Institute or your local museum uses, which maintains storage areas at 70 degrees F and 55% humidity. But we can afford to make sensible choices when it comes to art and antiques storage.

For instance, an attic that is freezing cold in the winter and burning hot in the summer is not an appropriate place to store your art, antiques, or collectibles. The basement, which is commonly damp or even wet during certain times of the year, is not a good solution either.

Art and antiques do not fare well in sheds, garages, or outbuildings where there is little or no regulated heating or cooling.

Any drastic change in temperature or humidity within a storage area can damage your collections to the point of no return. Once mold grows or heat attacks an object, the game is over.

Simply put, the temperature and humidity in which you feel comfortable is the same climate that is best for your art, antiques, and collectibles. Consider storing your collections in a guest-room closet or other low-traffic area on the main floor of your home.

Sometimes it is best to display your objects and let them enjoy the consistent temperature of your home.


What to Avoid

There are certain materials to avoid when storing art and antiques. Some objects need more care than others; some objects cannot be near other objects.

For example, avoid using cardboard in your storage spaces. It attracts bugs. It is acidic. It can leave stains on fragile art or antiques.

Bubble wrap is great for transport but a no-no when it comes to long-term storage. Bubble wrap traps heat and will speed up the deterioration process of your prized possessions.

You don’t want to wrap and store your valuable Lladro figurines in bubble wrap and then store them away for months. Why? The heat trapped within the bubble wrap over time may damage the hand-painted and glazed porcelain figurine.

Remember, proper storage ensures good condition, and condition means value when appraising your collections.  

Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents antique appraisal events nationwide and appears on History channel’s The Curse of Oak Island and Pawn Stars Do America. Visit and or call (888) 431-1010.

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