We’ve all spent time collecting something, but there comes a point when it’s time to put it in our storage units. Regardless if your collection is full of collectibles like music records and CDs, stamps, baseball cards, comic books, or something else, you’ll want to make sure you store it properly to avoid damage and keep them looking pristine. Here are some tips on how to store collectibles in your storage unit.
Save Some Space — Clean Out
First, let’s face it. Many of us feel we don’t have enough room in our storage units. To accommodate the issue, you may want to clean out your storage unit before moving your collectibles into it. If you have old items like clothes, shoes, toys, tools, or books that are in usable condition, think about selling them or donating them to local charities and organizations. Collectibles are called that for a reason — you collect them to keep them — so getting rid of other belongings you don’t really need can free up space for your collectibles and make you feel less overwhelmed too. Depending on where you’re located, some charities and organizations like VVAPickup.org and PickUpMyDonation.com will even pick up your donations.
Try to Maintain an Ideal Temperature and Lighting
For collectibles and really anything extra valuable, it is always a good idea to get a climate-controlled storage unit as opposed to one that is exposed to extreme hot and cold temperatures throughout the year. Environmental conditions, especially humidity, can do great damage to items and make them fade or degrade. Humidity, and moisture in general, can also cause mold and mildew, which is a good way to wreck the values of your collectibles. Freezing temperatures can easily cause items to crack or break. Having a consistent, neutral or slightly cool temperature can protect them from this type of damage.
Note that many collectors keep vinyl records, and those require extra special environmental consideration. Vinyl should be stored at or around 50 degrees and under 35% humidity, so if your storage unit can’t accommodate these conditions, you may want to keep your vinyl elsewhere. Be sure to put these in their own sleeves to protect them, too.
While storage units rarely have windows for obvious reasons and sun exposure is not a risk, darkness is best for collectibles so always remember to turn the lights off when you leave your unit. LED lightbulbs are minimally harmful to materials, but incandescent and fluorescent lighting can cause fading and other damage. Depending on your specific storage facility’s rules, you may want to switch out the bulb(s) or install your own. If you’re spending a day sorting through your unit, be sure to leave the collectibles out of the sun – even just a few hours of sun exposure can cause discoloration.
Pack Things Right
It might be tempting to just stack your collectibles in a cardboard box and tape it up, but that is sometimes not the best route to take. Of course, moving boxes are great for storage, but it is recommended you place bubble wrap tightly around your items and throughout the boxes. While packing peanuts are sometimes less expensive than bubble wrap, they allow air to move around in boxes and they leave empty space.
Many people like to use newspapers for packing, but the ink can transfer onto collectibles so blank paper is best. If you’re having trouble packing a box as tightly as you need to, try placing some old bed sheets or towels in it to fill any gaps.
Cards and similar collectibles should be placed in plastic sleeves, and many different options are available on the market. If you have baseball cards or something similarly sized, Toupeone offers excellent inexpensive card sleeves. Jewelry should be separated out and placed somewhere dark and unexposed to air, if possible. Depending on the material it’s made of, you may or may not want to pack furniture tightly. For example, wood furniture needs to “breathe,” so covering it with blankets might be a better idea.
Of course, label your boxes well. The less you have to dig through your collectibles to find a specific one, the longer your items will hold onto their values. Also, who wants to spend hours looking for one thing? (Not us!). Staying organized is key to storing your collectibles.
Make Sure They Are Secured
An ongoing, obvious concern of anyone with a storage unit is that he or she may be the victim of theft. We aren’t monitoring our storage units 24/7, so it’s best if you choose a storage facility that does. Always choose a facility with locked gate access and sufficient lighting, as these may deter thieves. Even if your storage facility does take the utmost security measures, you also may want to stash your collectibles in the back of your unit so they are harder to get to.