How to Safely Store Valuables

April 15, 2021

Whether your valuables hold monetary value, sentimental value, or both, knowing how to store your valuable items safely is important.

Unfortunately, just because your items are stored away doesn’t mean they’re stored safely. Different things, like artwork or jewelry, or vinyl records, require specific measures to ensure you’ll preserve them for years to come. 

Read on to learn how to safely store valuable items.

General Tips for Storing Valuables

No matter what type of valuables you’re storing, there are general tips to keep in mind that will help you store valuable items safely and securely. 

1. Avoid to Little or Too Much Humidity

Too much humidity can damage your valuable items in several ways, from mold growth to rust and even encouraging insects to breed. Vice versa, too little humidity can damage your valuables by zapping moisture from items like clothing, furniture, and paper goods, causing these items to become brittle, crack, or shrink. 

2. Avoid Temperature Extremes

Temperature is an important consideration when storing valuables. Temperature extremes, whether too hot or too cold, can damage valuables in several ways. This is why keeping any valuable items inside is ideal, as you’ll be able to ensure that they are out of the way of extreme weather. 

3. Avoid Excess Sunlight

When it comes to storing valuables, sunlight is not your friend. This is because sunlight can damage nearly any value, especially things like artwork, clothing, furniture, and paper goods. 

Over time, sunlight can cause colors to fade and can dry out certain materials. That’s why it’s crucial to store valuables in an area that doesn’t get direct sunlight.

4. Invest in Storage Unit Insurance

Unfortunately, storage units aren’t immune to disasters. On the off chance that a disaster does occur like a fire or severe storm, it’s a good idea to have storage unit insurance. Insurance for storage units ensures that your belongings are protected, even when they’re not in your immediate possession.

Valuable antique luggage that needs to be safely stored.

Storing Antiques

Thoughtfully storing your antiques will preserve these items and keep them in excellent condition. Before storing your antiques, it’s a good idea to have each item appraised, so you have an idea of its value. You should file receipts and certificates of authenticity away along with photographs of each item, which can help when you get insurance coverage – something we highly recommend for antiques!

When storing your antiques, avoid storing items in your basement, attic, or garage. Antiques are prone to extreme temperatures and humidity, as well as insects and rodents. Also, consider the site’s security since antiques can be attractive to thieves.

Artwork

There are several things to keep in mind when it comes to safely storing valuables, like artwork. Since artwork like charcoal drawings, oil paintings, sculptures, and the like can be fragile, it’s imperative to be mindful of the elements. 

An ideal location to store artwork is in a setting without temperature extremes, damaging artwork. For this reason, it’s not recommended to keep artwork in basements or attics since both of these locations are susceptible to extreme temperature changes throughout the year. 

Sunlight can cause significant damage to artwork, especially drawings, paintings, and the like. Be sure to store artwork in an area protected from direct sunlight, and if your artwork is stored somewhere where there is natural light, it’s recommended to rotate your artwork every so often to prevent fading.

Specific artwork like drawings and paintings should be stored upright between horizontal racks to prevent artwork damage. 

Clothing

When storing valuables like clothing, we recommend washing all of the clothing, which will help maintain your items’ longevity. This is because washed clothing can produce mildew and mold. This will also ensure that residual oil, lotion, perfume, and even sweat won’t be sitting in the fabric and potentially altering the clothing’s color.

When you store valuable items like clothing, it’s good to invest in plastic bins that can keep your clothing safe from dust, pests, water, and other elements. Darker containers are recommended if you will be storing your clothing in a location that gets lots of sunlight. Whenever possible, keep your clothing in a cool, dark, and dry environment, which can preserve your items in the long run. And because natural fibers like to breathe, we recommend not vacuum packing your clothing since this can lead to creasing and wrinkles and fasten the process of deterioration. 

Dishware and Flatware (Fine China, Sterling Silver)

Dishware like fine China is incredibly fragile, so you should take extra precautions to preserve these items. It’s recommended to clean and dry dishware and fine China entirely before storing. To ensure these fragile items are protected, consider wrapping each piece in bubble wrap and placing each piece in a sturdy box that can further protect them from the elements. 

If you’re using boxes, it’s a good idea to use inserts for an added layer of protection and avoid packing items too tightly, which can put excess pressure on things. 

While flatware might seem easier to care for than dishware, there are precautions to keep in mind. Flatware like sterling silver is highly susceptible to physical damage and tarnishing from acid, moisture, and other elements. When storing sterling silver, look for acid-free tissue. Wrap each piece and place it in a plastic bag to prevent condensation.

Jewelry

Properly storing valuables like jewelry helps to preserve them and retain their value. Whenever possible, it’s recommended to keep jewelry in its original box. If you don’t have the original boxes, go for boxes or containers with a rugged exterior and soft interior. The rugged body will prevent damage to your jewelry by the surrounding elements. Meanwhile, the soft interior will keep your jewelry from losing its luster.

Try storing your jewelry by type so that everything is easy to find. For earrings, storing each pair in the original box is ideal, but you can also use earring organizers to keep things streamlined. The exception here is for necklaces, which can quickly become tangled leading to breaks in the chain—store necklaces in their box, bag, or another soft container.

Vinyl records in a metal lockbox, ready for storage.

Mixed Media (Books, Documents, Paper Goods, Photographs, Vinyl Records)

Storing valuables like paper goods properly is important, especially if you’re responsible for storing documents like birth certificates, property deeds, and the like. We recommend placing each item in an acid-free folder or an archival plastic enclosure to store documents properly. These types of products help support fragile documents and keep things organized. Storing these documents in sturdy cardboard boxes or plastic bins can help protect them against dust, pests,  light, and more.

Certain media should be stored upright, rather than stacked, to prevent damage. Most books, for example, should be stored upright to avoid excess weight on the spine, which can cause warping. 

Similarly, when you store valuable items like vinyl records, avoid stacking to prevent warping. Vinyl records should be stored upright, ideally in slipcovers inside the record packaging.

Store Your Valuable Items With Storage Locker

One of the best ways to store valuable items is with a reputable company like Storage Locker, where you can ensure your belongings will be safe and secure. We provide clean, pest-free facilities, 24/7 security, three accessible locations, ready-to-help staff, and much more. 

Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a tour.

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