Hide Your Stuff Away: Storing Valuables

Say you’ve recently come into an inheritance; maybe Grandma died and left you her collection of rare Depression-Era glassware, or Great Uncle Chester has been put into a nursing home and his collection of first edition Dickens and Shakespeare was given into your care…  what do you do with it?  Unless you’re extremely lucky and happen to have the space in your home required to store such large collections, you’d probably do what most people would do: rent a storage locker.

Of course, storing valuables is completely different from storing your everyday pieces of furniture or boxes of seasonal clothing.  Granted, we may not all have relatives who have such costly antiques to pass on; maybe all you need to store is some electronic equipment, or boxes of old photos or documents and records.

For most antiques, including furniture, climate-controlled units are the best.  These regulate temperatures between 55 and 80 degrees, maintaining even temps despite excessive cold or heat outside.  Most drive-up units will be climate-controlled, as well as most indoor storage units.

Electronics should always be kept in climate-controlled units, if possible with a dehumidifier. Make sure you remove tapes from camcorders and VCRs, and CDs or DVDs from drives.  Use bubble wrap to protect screens.  Pallets are a necessity, to make sure the pieces remain unaffected.  Never use plastic to wrap electronics; this will trap moisture inside and lead to mold.  Canvas or other heavy cloth will provide a better shield from dust.

Photos and other papers will be best stored in drier areas.  Avoid underground or ground level units where water might be a problem.

Making sure you have backup copies of all data, paper or computerized, is a necessity. Make sure that the copies are stored in different places.

Most storage units, whether indoors or drive up, will have various options for security; padlocks, cameras, keypads, etc.  Choose which one you think will fit your needs best. Remember there is always the option of insuring whatever valuables you have stored.