Whether you’re moving into a new home or just trying to personalize your current space, art can transform areas and make a living space enjoyable. Over a lifetime, people can accumulate many different pieces of artwork. While they may all be beloved to the owner, they may not all fit at once in your home at any given time.
Sometimes art can be switched out, replaced, or stored away and brought out again for a particular season. Whatever the case, being an owner of a piece of art means that you need to learn how to take care of and store it properly.
If you plan on storing your precious fine art in a self-storage unit, there are a few tips you need to be mindful of to make sure your art is protected and will remain untarnished, no matter how long you need to store it for.
Not all self-storage units are the same, so you will need to opt for some special features. Read on to discover how to properly store your beautiful artwork so that it can be brought out and enjoyed by you and your guests for many years to come.
Clean Items Before Storing
Before storing items away, you will first want to make sure they are properly cleaned and dusted. If you are cleaning paintings, use a soft, clean paintbrush or piece of velvet to dust off the surfaces carefully.
Whatever you do, do not use regular household cleaners on your artwork surfaces. If you have a particular piece of art that you are unsure of how to clean or dust, you can always consult with an art conservator to make sure you are doing the right thing.
Don’t Use Saran Wrap
While it may seem like a good idea, never use saran wrap to protect or cover your artwork before storing it. This is because using saran wrap to cover your paintings and artwork can trap moisture, which leads to the accumulation of mould. You can use a clean piece of cloth or a storage blanket and a sheet of silicone release paper to cover unframed pieces and wrap them in glassine paper.
Cover Your Paintings and Use Padding
As previously mentioned, while you don’t want to cover your artwork with saran wrap, you will still want to cover your artwork. Otherwise, you will not have the proper protection for storage and run the risk of damaging your pieces. Here are some tips on how to protect your artwork:
Wrapping framed artwork for storage
If you are dealing with framed artwork, wrap it up with a storage blanket and use packing tape to seal it up. Use cardboard covers on the edges of the frame, and pad the front and back of the piece using hardboard and tape together.
Wrapping unframed artwork for storage
If you are storing unframed artwork, use a sheet of silicone release paper on the front surface and then wrap it using glassine paper. Continue to pad the front and back as with your framed pieces. Photographs can be stored in acid-free cardboard boxes, as well as sculptures.
If you plan on keeping your artwork in storage for an extended period of time, you will want to air the pieces out occasionally. As well, check up on them, so that mould and humidity don’t accumulate and cause damage.
Don’t Roll Your Art
You might get the urge to roll your unframed pieces of art or bigger photographs and store them that way. You do not want to do this, as artwork can be ruined when stored in this manner for a long time.
This method of rolling up artwork and storing it in a tube should only be used during transportation or for a very short time. It is best to lay your art flat when storing so that you don’t compromise the structural integrity. Also, remember not to store pieces on top of each other and to keep each item stored individually.
Use Climate-Controlled Storage
One of the most important tips when storing precious pieces of artwork is to use climate-controlled storage. Unlike regular storage, climate-controlled storage ensures that your art isn’t affected by humidity, cold, or heat, which will quickly damage your pieces.
Paint can flake or crack, and canvases can easily become warped in fluctuating temperatures. Mould and bacteria can grow and destroy your art in high temperatures with humidity.
One of the most beneficial things you can do when storing your artwork is to make sure that your storage space is a climate-controlled environment so that none of your items come out of storage ruined.
Another important aspect of storing your artwork is ensuring that the space you use to store these valuables is safe and secure. You wouldn’t want to take the time and effort to store all your pieces properly and carefully just to become a victim of theft overnight.
Make sure you find a storage unit with a high degree of security. The safety and security of your belongings is your top priority, so ensure there are numerous cameras placed throughout the facility. Other security you may also want to look out for include: a computer-controlled access system, a monitored alarm system, and a well-lit area to deter criminal activity.
Transporting Your Art
Once you’ve finished cleaning your art and wrapping it for storage, you might think that your work is finished. However, you must also be mindful when transporting your pieces to the final storage area as they can get damaged in the process if you are not careful.
Remember to mark your artwork as “fragile” and ensure any movers well aware of this. Don’t stack any other boxes or items on top of your artwork and hire a professional transportation service if you are unsure. Avoid bumpy roads and handle your artwork with care, moving each piece one by one with both hands from out of the truck into its storage destination.
Ideally, you want to be able to enjoy your artwork for many years to come. You may even dream of someday passing these pieces onto your future children or grandchildren as family heirlooms. When storing away your art, remember to take your time and store items carefully so that you can open them up in the same condition years from now.