Guide for storing fine art safely

Being a proud owner of artwork brings some responsibilities as well. Especially if you cannot display all of it at your home, you need to find the best option for storing fine art safely. Although it might be the easiest solution, using a garage or basement for storing it is not something we would recommend. Fine art requires particular conditions in order to stay in the same condition as before storing. Keeping your art pieces in inadequate conditions can cause severe damage. So, check our guide and learn how to store your art pieces in the best possible way.

Climate controlled storage – the best solution for storing fine art safely

If you ask any art expert, he or she will tell you that only way of storing fine artwork safely is to rent climate-controlled storage. Yes. this is a bit more pricey than regular outdoor self-storage, but it is absolutely unbeatable when it comes to art pieces. This type of storage units has temperature and moisture control, which makes ideal conditions for paintings and sculptures to remain dry and safe. Depending on the climate of the place you live in, highs and lows of temperature change, as well as extreme temperatures, are something artwork just doesn’t handle well.

Storing fine art safely, such as painting in blue and yellow colors
The artwork is delicate and requires particular conditions

Price makes sense

It is perfectly understandable that you don’t want to spend a lot of money on storage. There are many cheap storage solutions you can choose, but keep in mind that climate control is something that always pays off. Hence, the price you would pay for adequate storage is nothing in comparison with the waste you would avoid.

Dust, stop!

Another benefit of renting a climate controlled storage is that you will have less dust and debris. These things are having a harder time making their way into this type of unit, than into the regular ones. This means you will find your items just the way you left them, whether you store them for a week, a year, or a decade.

Humidity control

Furthermore, some climate controlled storage units has humidity control. This feature may not seem that significant until you start thinking about natural fluctuations in outdoor humidity. Change of season sometimes causes a drastic change in humidity, which negatively affects storing fine art safely. Remember to ask the storage facility manager if the climate controlled unit you are going to rent also offers humidity control. Humidity control is very important, especially when storing valuables in the winter. These units keep the base humidity at the optimal level by manually removing excess moisture from the air.

storing fine art safely, such as abstract painting that shows the woman
Unframed paintings should not be stored rolled, but flat.

How to store framed artworks

When you are packing and preparing framed artworks for storage, first use cardboard corners to provide protection to that frame and the structure. Then, use bubble wrap or some similar padding to wrap up the entire piece and secure the protective blanket in place using tape or string. And in order to add extra protection from dust and moisture, place the artwork inside a plastic bag or wrap it in plastic cover. The last step is to place the piece inside a box of roughly the same size. Although you can find free packing boxes easily, you can purchase them at the storage facility itself.

Unframed paintings

You might think that rolling up your paintings and placing it in a poster tube is a great way of storing fine art safely, but you couldn’t be more wrong. On the contrary, you should keep valuable pieces flat to avoid causing wrinkles, deterioration, folds, and other types of damage that can occur when storing rolled-up paper for a long period of time. This is especially important if you are planning to store your artwork in long term storage, but keep in mind that keeping it rolled for short periods of time can cause damage too.

Most importantly, the best way to pack up an unframed artwork or a canvas is to wrap it up in glassine. Glassine is air and water-resistant material, that even art galleries use for protecting the art. Place the painting between two sheets that are slightly bigger than the artwork. Some other sturdy material like foam or cardboard can do the trick too. And as with framed artworks, you can create an extra layer of protection by placing the artwork in a plastic bag and tying it prior to packing it away in a sturdy, appropriately sized box.

Sculptures and odd shaped art pieces

The best way to store fine art safely is to use proper packing materials to protect it. The best material you can use for packing up sculptures and artifacts is a bubble wrap. If the art piece has many edges, make sure to cover it up with multiple layers. Fix the wrapped piece with tape, place it in an appropriately sized box and fill all gaps with newspaper or any waste paper. This will minimize movement during loading and unloading and protect the sculptures from breakage. One of the short-term storage tricks is also placing the heavier boxes on the bottom, and lighter on top. You could even put some shelves in the storage unit to get some extra space.

Abstract painting
Use cardboard to protect the edges of framed pieces

Check on it from time to time

It is really important to go to the storage unit and check on your artworks every now and then. This way, you can identify any potential harm in time and prevent your works from permanent damage.

Beside these, there are many ways to store fine art safely, but having a proper storage unit is the most important condition. Hence, do some research and choose the facility and unit that suits best your needs. Remember, treat your delicate pieces with special care, and you will get to enjoy your art for many years to come!


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