Guide to storing antiques long-term

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Antiques are items people often hand down through generations. Their ability to capture moments of the past, as well as memories of loved ones makes them priceless. Collectors find even more beauty in antiques, because they bring beauty to their home, and help them complete collections. Sometimes, the value lies solely in their age and craftsmanship. Regardless if you love them because of the looks, the value, or the memories, they need special care. In case you are moving, hiring movers Oxford MS is the best way of making sure they remain intact. It is important to note, that their value depends on the condition. This is why storing antiques long-term needs to be done with great care. Weather conditions and dirt can damage antiques, which ruins their looks, and value. Here are some tips on storing these delicate pieces.

room full of antiques
Antique items carry memories of loved ones and capture moments in time

Prepare for storing antiques long-term by doing inventory

So, now we know what we need to do to prepare our antiques for storage. But how do we do it? Where to start? Well, a good starting point is making a list of all of the items. It is best to make the list as detailed as possible, so add measurements and descriptions in it as well. To have a good idea of value, get each item appraised before you store them. Any certificate of authenticity or receipt will be a very good addition to the inventory list. So, if you have any of these, file them together with a good, clear photo of the item they belong to. Once you label and list everything, get good insurance coverage. Remember, if it is worth storing, it is worth ensuring as well.

The location plays a big part in storing antiques long-term

The next thing to be considered is finding a good location and environment in which to store your items. If you plan on storing your antiques in the garage, basement, or attic, let us stop you right there. Locations such as these are very prone to pests as well as rapid temperature changes, all of which can damage your precious possessions. For example, let’s say you are moving to Mississippi. It has long, hot summers, and humid autumns full of thunderstorms. Because of this, you need a climate-controlled storage unit, which can keep the conditions inside stable, regardless of what is happening on the outside.

red storage units for storing antiques long-term
A good choice of storage helps in the long run.

Also, you want to make sure that the location has protection against mice, rats, and other types of vermin. Another very important thing to consider is location safety. You will be storing highly valuable antiques outside of your home, so you want to make sure they are protected well. When choosing a storage unit, check if the area has security cameras, gated access, and alarms.

Transporting everything to the storage unit

Once you pick the right storage unit that suits you best, you need to get your valuables there. In this step, your antiques have the highest chance of getting damaged. If someone else is moving the items for you, make sure you pick a reputable company with good insurance and experience in handling antiques. If you decide to do the work yourself, most storage units offer a truck and dolly with which to move your stuff around. Whatever the case may be, try and get a drive-by unit, or an inside unit, so the movement is easy and there’s no damage chance. Loading a storage unit takes a bit of skill after all. If your unit is located on an upper level, the complex should at least have elevator access.

Different ways of storing antiques long-term

After moving your antiques to the storage, make sure that each item is properly packed. Smaller items should go into closed containers with clear labels on them. If you are wrapping items, use acid-free paper to prevent corrosion. Here are some suggestions on packing different antiques:


Valuable paintings and photographs should be wrapped in a special type of paper called glassine. Glassine is resistant both to air and water, making it ideal for protecting fragile oil paintings or bronze. Place every frame in clear plastic, and store it in a special wooden crate, surrounded by foam to prevent movement. Whenever you are storing paintings, store them vertically to reduce likely damage.

antique books stacked on shelves
It is very easy to damage books. Avoid corrosion at all costs.


Mirrors and any other glass items need to be covered in bubble wrap or a blanket and secured with packing tape. In addition, there are special corrugated boxes designed for storing mirrors. Just like paintings, mirrors need to be stored flat, without any weight on top of them. Putting anything on top of framed items may cause them to warp or break under their own weight.

Books and paper documents

Use acid-free paper to wrap books and place them within a plastic bag. For some added protection, place a sheet of cardboard between every book to keep the spine straight and prevent warping over time. After you place your books in a box, use packing peanuts to fill any gaps and voids left in the box, to prevent shifting. Be prepared in advance, how much material you need depends on the number of your items. Never place books in boxes in such a way that their spine is up, and the paper edge is facing downward. This can bend the hardcover out of shape. For valuable documents, archival plastic sleeves will help keep them from deteriorating. These sleeves can be held separately, or tied together into an album.


Before antique furniture is stored, it needs to be properly wiped down, dusted, and treated with conditioning products. This means that you need to wipe down wooden furniture and apply quality polish to protect the wood. Leather items such as couches require a conditioner, which keeps the leather surfaces from drying out and becoming brittle. Wrap all your furniture in blankets and sheets to keep dust from falling on it. Exposed areas of furniture, such as chair legs, should be coated in bubble wrap for protection. Lastly, when storing antiques long-term, leave your furniture separate from all other items, and do not place anything on top of it. This way, you will avoid pressing down on the cushions or adding more weight to the fragile legs of the furniture.