3 Useful Tips to Preserve Artwork in Self-Storage

Artwork and art related collectibles are one of the most expensive assets anyone can have.

People that deal or simply enjoy collecting art, usually have a rotating gallery set with their art pieces. But the stored items of a collection can’t be simply put in a space like an attic, basement or garage, hoping that they can be kept safe until the time comes for them be displayed again. Measures must be taken by collectors or curators to ensure that these art pieces are stored with care, preferably in a secure self-storage unit.

Here are 3 useful steps you can follow to make sure that your collectible artwork is properly stored:

  1. Make sure all the artwork is clean and dust free before storing it

This one of the most consistent pieces of advice you’ll see on almost any guide regarding self-storage. The first thing you have to do before placing an item in storage is making sure it’s clean enough to avoid damage brought from outside particles into the unit. With artwork is no different but it must be done very carefully. You can either try cleaning the paintings by yourself or contact a professional to do it.

To do this you will need a soft brush made of natural hair that is at least 5cm wide for paintings or a clean velvet cloth for framed photos. Soft strokes will do the trick, use these implements directly on the surface of the art piece on a single direction without applying too much pressure. Once you have completed the process in a single direction, repeat it again by doing it in the opposite direction. This method is also commonly used by professional curators on museums around the world.

  1. Pack your artwork properly before storing it

There are a couple of takes on this, and any one of them can work just fine depending on the level of protection you require, to keep your items safe in the storage unit. The first one is a very old school method but very effective. It consists of wrapping your artwork on breathable pieces of cloth such as towels, dustsheets or foam.

The second one is a little more elaborate, and it demands a little investment on items such as cardboard corner protectors, and acid-free paper to wrap your framed artwork. Once your pieces are completely covered, you can place the art inside a cardboard box. Unframed items such as posters, lithographs, and photos should never be rolled. Instead, they should be wrapped around or placed inside a glassine encasement to ensure their safety.

  1. Correctly store the items in the safest way possible

Stacking is something you will want to avoid when you are dealing with stored artwork. As in the previous explanation, there are two ways to go around setting up the storage unit, and it all depends on your budget. When storing these items, you must avoid stacking one on top of each other, even if they are properly wrapped its best to use a painting rack to keep them in place.

These racks can also help you deal with another issue you need to prevent: placing art pieces directly on the storage unit floor or against the walls. It doesn’t matter how well-built is the unit; the art can be affected by heat, humidity and other factors that could be transferred on any side of it. If you don’t have one available, you can always improvise one using wooden beams to place the frames just above floor level and use foam as padding between them.

Consider doing an upgrade to a climate-controlled storage unit

Even with these protective measures Art pieces are very sensitive to sudden temperature and humidity changes and need to be placed on controlled environmental conditions to be stored properly. A climate-controlled unit is a bit more expensive than regular storage, but your items will be safeguarded at ideal temperature and humidity conditions and no outside elements will be able to damage them.

As you can probably tell by now, whether you are an art enthusiast or a collector, keeping your art pieces protected is a real concern and self-storage is a great solution to your safekeeping needs. If you don’t know what to do to safeguard your collection or if you wish to learn more about what you can or should do to protect your investment, just contact the U Store It self-storage facility closer to your location and one of our qualified staff members will happily clarify all the questions you may have regarding the proper storage of these type of items.