Prairie Self Storage - Storing Art

February 15th, 2024

10 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Storing Art

When storing valuable pieces such as fine art, antiques, and paintings, it’s important to follow a few extra steps and take your time in packaging and transporting these items. Things such as these can be costly and even impossible to replace, depending on how rare or expensive they are. Fine art and paintings should never be put away in your closets, garage, or shed. Ideally, they should be kept in a climate-controlled storage unit with good facilities and additional safety measures such as surveillance and alarms. If you are new to storing your art and you need some guidance and direction on how to do things properly, keep reading for the 10 common mistakes to avoid.

1. Not cleaning before storing

Certain types of items such as furniture, sculptures, and vintage pieces of art may need cleaning before being put away into storage for the long haul. Even paintings or canvas art will probably do well with some light dusting and a wipe down. Always make sure the cleaning products are safe and suitable for the materials you are using them on. Avoid harsh chemicals when cleaning fine art and fragile items. Cleaning your art before storing it can ensure that your pieces don’t sit with dust, dirt, and bacteria piling up on them.

2. Blocking breathing space

Your fine art needs room to breathe, and should not be crushed underneath multiple pieces. Make sure the storage location you are using has enough room for all of your pieces so that nothing gets crammed in. Leave room around each piece of artwork so that they don’t come in contact with other items and risk being damaged. Choosing the right size for your storage unit should be easy given the wide range of storage unit sizes available on the market today.

3. Not inspecting for damage

Before you put your fine art away into storage, you will need to collect data about existing damage before storing. This way, you can tell if further harm (if any at all) has been done during storage. It also protects you against damage and loss, as you can account for the condition of each piece. Take photos and write reports for the pieces that do have existing damage prior to storage. This way, you can visually see if any changes to the items have occurred.

4. Packing in a rush

Never leave packing your fine art to the last minute, and do not rush the process either. While it may not be fun, it is essential to keeping your fine art in good condition. Take the time to individually pack each item, wrap it in a protective cover, and seal and box it. Using some bubble wrap around the item can also give it some extra cushioning.

5. Storing under bright light

Direct sunlight and bright lights are not good news for fine art and antiques. This is because light can warp, discolour, tarnish, and fade your art. Keep your stored items away from direct lighting and sunlight, and place them in a cool, dry, and dimly lit (or dark) storage location.

6. Handling too much

Fingerprints from handling your fine art too much can be disastrous. It can leave oil, dirt, and bacteria on your precious and priceless pieces. Avoid handling your fine art directly and, instead, wear gloves if you have to touch these pieces to avoid damaging them.

7. Transporting carelessly

When transporting your fine art from one location to another, you need to be extra cautious, as this is where a lot of damage and mishaps can occur. Make sure you select a reliable carrier to transport your items, and be careful on the road if you are driving them to or from a location. Position paintings upright (vertically), and bring some blankets or pillows to ensure extra cushioning if necessary.

8. Not choosing climate-controlled storage

A climate-controlled storage unit goes a long way in ensuring your fine art and precious items stay in pristine condition during storage. If you choose not to go with a climate-controlled unit, you risk your items becoming permanently damaged from heat, humidity, and moisture that can seep in and destroy your art. Opt instead for climate-controlled storage, which will keep your items cool and collected in a stable temperature environment.

9. Neglecting safety

Safety and security of your fine art should be a top priority. These items are usually very expensive, sentimental, and hard to replace or even come by. Make sure that the storage facility you choose is safe, reliable, and equipped with various security measures. You are the only one that should have access to your unit, and your items should always be under lock and key.

10. Forgoing insurance

For additional peace of mind, make sure to take out insurance for your fine art while in storage. This will help you in case something should go wrong. Keep in mind that some storage facilities require you to have insurance before placing your items in their units. Check with the facility in question before signing your lease. Storing your fine art is more than just leaning some paintings up against a wall in a storage unit. You should really put in some time and effort to make sure your stored art is protected. Otherwise, you risk damaging these precious items to the point of being unusable and worthless. For more, please give us a call at (403) 995-9008 or contact us here. We are more than happy to help our clients gain the best possible storage solutions for their most prized possessions. Contact us today for more information on how we can help.

Prairie Self Storage