Tips for storing family heirlooms

We learn about our family from the things that are passed down to us. These could be anything from photographs, jewelry, clothes, etc. Whatever the item, it tells a story. That is why you want to preserve it for as long as possible. However, storing family heirlooms is not always easy. You need to know how to keep them safe from inside and outside factors. While some items may have monetary value, others have sentimental, but both are equally important. If you want to know how to protect your family’s valuables, read our tips and you will be sure that your belongings are kept intact.

Storing family heirlooms – documents and photographs

Many families pass down their important documents, such as marriage certificates or letters. These are great reminders of the people we love and what they have been through. However, paper products are also extremely delicate. Paper documents and materials crumble more easily than other things of value. That is why there is a specific way that you should handle storing paper heirlooms. For photographs, keep them in an album with acid-free sheets. You should also use albums with leather covers to prevent moths from damaging them. It is important that you be very careful when handling these items. Always wash your hands before touching the photographs and, if you can, use gloves to prevent oils from transferring. Moreover, keep documents and letters in folders, but don’t overstuff them as they might fade over time.

Keep photographs separate when storing family heirlooms.
Don’t use tape on photographs in albums.

When it comes to the conditions in which you should store paper heirlooms, there are rules as well. High temperatures can cause the photos to fade or even stick together. For this reason, you should store them in a climate controlled storage unit. These units are designed for special items that can’t bear fluctuations in temperature. So always ask for a unit that has this feature.

Storing jewelry the right way

When you are storing family heirlooms, the way you handle jewelry is very important. It is something that you might pass down yourself someday. So you want to keep it preserved for as long as you can, especially if it has a monetary value. Start by separating your jewelry by the material it is made of. Don’t store different types of metal in the same place as it might cause damage and corrosion. Instead, keep silver rings and earrings in cloth bags. Moreover, you should store diamonds by themselves. Due to their hard material, they might scratch some other pieces.

Keep diamonds away from other jewelry.
Have separate boxes for different materials.

When you choose a unit for your storage service, consider the temperature. Don’t let humidity come in contact with your jewelry. It can cause rust and corrosion which could permanently damage your valuables. Also, room temperature is the ideal setting for jewelry, so look for a place that is neither too hot nor too cold.

Storing family heirlooms – artwork

Artwork such as paintings or other decorative pieces can carry a lot of sentimental value. Every time you look at that painting in your living room you think of your grandparents. That is why it is so important to protect it for future generations. When it comes to storing fine art safely in storage units, you need to put some thought into it. First of all, don’t use too much plastic or plastic sheets. If you wrap a painting several times, it can cause moisture to build up and ruin it forever. Instead, before you place it in storage, you should wipe it down with a cloth to remove any dust. After that, keep your paintings hung on a wall or stacked vertically on shelves. Make sure to buy acid-free boards to keep the paintings from touching.

A lot of people decide to put their family heirlooms in storage during a move. This is an excellent way of keeping them from the chaos of moving. However, there is another thing to consider while you are relocating. You need to make sure that you hire reliable movers for all of your other items. This way, you will know that your belongings will arrive safely and on time. Do the research on your own to find out which companies are trustworthy and which will scam you.

Antique furniture is sensitive

Furniture can also be a family heirloom, one that you probably use more regularly than other pieces. However, it is also very sensitive to wear and tear as well as temperature and humidity. To keep it intact for as long as possible, you need to prepare it for storage. First, you should clean it with a special cleaner for wood or leather. Make sure you are using safe products, to prevent damage. Second, if you can, you should take it apart. Chairs, tables, and bed frames usually come in multiple pieces, so it shouldn’t be hard to separate them. Just make sure that you keep all the pieces together. Additionally, write down exactly how you took each piece apart. This will help you when the time comes to put them together again.

Don't use alcohol-based cleaners on furniture.
Cover it with cloths instead of plastic sheets.

Wooden and leather furniture can also make great use of climate-controlled storage units. In high temperatures, wood can expand and crack over time. The same goes for leather pieces, which can fade in high and low temperatures. Finally, keep these antique pieces away from direct sunlight to prevent the colors from fading.

Store your family heirlooms in the right place

Considering the conditions in your storage unit is a big part of storing family heirlooms. While you might have prepared your items for storage the right way, you still need to make sure they are stored properly. One thing that you can look out for is over-handling. Don’t take your things out of storage too many times, or touch each piece too often. This can cause damage faster than it usually would. Furthermore, keep an eye out for pests in your storage unit. Moths, rodents, and insects can permanently damage your heirlooms in a very short period of time. So make sure you check on your unit regularly so that you have enough time to prevent this from happening.

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