Has your great aunt’s writing desk graduated from being a cool conversation starter to a bona fide antique?
If so, you’ll need to put some thought into how you’re storing it. Proper antique furniture storage is essential if you want to avoid damage and make sure each piece retains its value – whether it’s monetary or sentimental.
Read on to learn the dos and don’ts of antique storage from the experts.
Choose the ideal environment
Want to avoid the biggest mistake of storing antique furniture? Select the right type of storage environment, advised Emma Gordon, storage and organizing expert at Clutter.com.
“Air moisture, temperature and light exposure wreak havoc on furniture over time,” Gordon said.
Skip the basement or attic and always opt for a climate and moisture controlled room in your home or storage unit.
The bumps, drops and bangs that happen during a move are tough on any piece of furniture, and they can have a major impact on the value of your antiques.
Before moving your furniture into storage, see if there’s a way to make items less bulky and heavy. Check for any detachable pieces – especially fragile parts like mirrors and backsplashes. Remove these pieces and wrap them separately before transport, recommended Daniel Pond, owner of India Street Antiques and Danish Modern San Diego.
Want to save space in your unit by stacking your chairs on the dining table?
Don’t risk it, advised Leonard Ledford, owner of White Glove Delivery, a high end moving, storage and delivery company.
“The weight of one piece of furniture leaning or laying on top of another can create a permanent imprint on the fabric of another,” he pointed out.
Even worse, furniture can crack or break under the pressure of another piece. To be safe, leave each piece free standing, ideally in its originally intended position. If it fits easily, try nesting pieces instead of stacking.
If possible, choose a storage area without a window, skylight or anything else that would expose antique surfaces to direct sunlight. Repeated sun exposure can cause certain types of furniture surfaces to fade, advised Ledford.
Is a room with a skylight or window your only option?
“Cover the furniture with UV blocking material,” said Gordon.
Go easy on the plastic wrap
Plastic may seem like a great way to protect your furniture, but if you’re packing antiques away for months or years, plastic can do more harm than good.
“Furniture needs to breathe,” said Pond.
Restricting air exposure to your furniture could lead to a variety of problems.
“Plastic can hold in dampness and moisture and cause mold and mildew, splitting of veneers from the wood, and warping,” Pond said.
It could also get stuck to the furniture’s finish, he noted, potentially causing damage that will require you to refurbish the furniture when it comes out of storage.
So what’s a better option for covering your antiques? Pond recommended a soft blanket or furniture pad.
Invest in insurance
Even if you take every possible precaution before and during storage, something could still go wrong. If you value your antique furniture pieces, insuring them before they’re stored or moved is the best way to make sure you’re protected.