Tips for Storing and Keeping Your Collectibles and Memorabilia in Tip-Top Condition

We all love to collect things. Most people carefully collect bits and bobs whenever there’s a great sale and display them in their home. Others, however, work long and hard on their collections so that they can maybe profit from them.

Either way, one thing is true, they all need to keep their collectables in top-notch shape. Otherwise, they are at risk of lowering the value of their memorabilia and perhaps losing money as well.

Finding a good way of storing items is not that difficult. But there are a few considerations we all must keep in mind. Therefore, without ado, let’s see how you can keep your collectables and memorabilia in tip-top condition without too much hassle or stress.

The three basic rules of storing collectables

No matter what your collection is about, there are three rules every person needs to consider. These rules apply to temperature control, humidity and sunlight.

  • Temperature

One of the most important aspects of keeping collectables in great condition is temperature control. Storing items in rooms where temperature changes quite often could lead to damage.

For example, if your collection mainly consists of books, magazines or comics, it would be wise to keep it in airtight containers or temperature-controlled rooms. Paper is very susceptible to temperature changes and keeping it in places where temperature swings are a normal occurrence is not advisable. In fact, that could lead to terrible damage and warping of the spines.

Art is also a type of collectable that doesn’t do well in too warm or too cold areas. Therefore, it’s best to avoid hanging art on walls near fireplaces or other sources of warmth.

  • Sunlight

Now, most collectables ought to be seen and admired. However, when it comes to certain memorabilia, we need to be very careful.

Sunlight can seriously damage our things and lower their value. For example, if we don’t protect our art before storing it or even leave it somewhere where the light would naturally hit it, we could damage it. Sunlight can affect the colours and make them fade.

Furthermore, textiles, paper and wood are also prone to damage when exposed to direct sunlight. So, if we do want to keep them on display, then we can use LED bulbs instead. That way, we can reduce the number of UV rays that can damage the colours. But even then, it’s crucial to use light sparingly.

  • Humidity

Lastly, we ought to keep humidity in mind if we want to store our collectables properly. In general, any sort of humidity could lead to damage, which is why we must avoid it at all costs.

That means basements, as well as attics and garages, are sometimes out of the question when choosing storage space. These areas of our homes are quite sensitive to damp and temperature swings.

Because of that, if possible, collectors should consider temperature-controlled self-storage units. Only then will they know for sure that their precious items are protected at all times.

Should we clean our memorabilia and collectables?

Just like with everything else in life, people don’t really appreciate dirt. However, when it comes to collectables, if we decide to clean them, we must be very careful, so we do not damage them beyond measure.

If we collect coins and decide to make them shiny once more, they may lose on their value. Furthermore, if we choose to clean our antique furniture with cleaners that may actually damage it, then all our effort will have been in vain.

On most occasions, we should avoid cleaning our memorabilia. However, if we cannot avoid it, then we need to take certain precautions:

  • If our collectables are dusty, we can remove the dust with a soft-bristle brush.
  • If there are tiny specs of dirt on our memorabilia, we can use Q-tips to clean them. We must avoid using our fingers to just “spruce an item up” a little bit. Our fingers have oils on them, and those same oils could lead to long-term damage. Therefore, when we’re cleaning anything that’s old or of high value, we should use protective gloves.
  • On certain occasions, we may use isopropyl alcohol or distilled water to clean some of our collectables. These liquids will not leave residue on our things. However, we must dry the items afterwards.

A few other tips and tricks:

  • When storing clothing, we should avoid wrapping it in plastic. Some types of plastic can cause a serious reaction and ruin our clothing forever. Thus, it’s best to just use tissue paper and (preferably) acid-free, airtight storage boxes. Furthermore, we ought to clean our clothing before storing it away, as any dirt could make the fabric rot or lead to mould.
  • China, glass and pottery will stay in top-notch condition if we wrap each item individually into bubble wrap. However, we shouldn’t wrap the items up too tightly. That could lead to parts becoming exposed, as the bubble wrap can stretch. Once we’ve wrapped everything up, it’s best to put these fragile items into boxes or containers, but without overfilling them.
  • If we decide to place our collection on display, we shouldn’t overfill our cabinets. China, in particular, is very susceptible to chipping and damage. So, if we actually fill our cabinet to the brim, we won’t be able to take things out or move them at all. When dust falls onto the collectables, we can easily damage them while removing it. Therefore, less is more when it comes to displaying items. Pick just a few things you want to see every day and carefully store the other items away.
  • Art should be stored vertically, and we ought to wrap it up as well. For that, we can use soft blankets that won’t ruin the colours or bubble wrap.
  • Newspapers may seem like a good choice for wrapping things up. Nevertheless, the ink can permanently damage some of our collectables, especially photographs and artwork. Therefore, acid-free archival paper is a better option.
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