Whether you're an artist yourself and you've simply produced too many paintings to hold onto at home, or you're an art connoisseur that needs to clear some space in the house or store things during a move, a self-storage unit may be the answer when it comes to storing paintings that you just don't have the space for. However, you need to be careful when you're preparing your paintings for storage, or they could become damaged before you have a chance to take them out of storage. Here are a few tips that can help you safely store your paintings in a self-storage unit.
Choose the Right Storage Unit
Extreme temperatures, especially heat, can damage your paintings. Heat speeds up the process of chemical decay, which means that any deterioration happens faster than it would otherwise. High humidity is also bad for paintings, and can cause warping or rot. One of the worst mistakes that you could make would be to store your paintings in a self-storage unit that isn't climate controlled.
When you're looking for a storage unit, ask the manager at the facilities you visit about the availability of climate controlled storage units. You should also inquire about units that have a dehumidifier, especially if your paintings are particularly valuable, or if you live in a region that frequently experiences high humidity. The extra fee that you might pay for these additions can save you hundreds or thousands by preserving your artwork from damage. Talk to a company like King Arthur Self Storage for more information about getting the right kind of storage unit.
Each piece of artwork that you plan to store should be packed individually. Paintings that are stacked together run the risk of damage if the paint bleeds from one to the other. If your paintings are in wooden or metal frames, polish them with furniture polish (for wood) or wipe them down with oil (for metal). This will help protect them from wear and rust. If they're framed behind glass, you should make an X with masking tape across the front of the glass. In the event that the glass breaks, this will hold the pieces together and prevent damage to the canvas.
Wrap each painting in bubble wrap or newspaper before packing them into boxes designed to hold mirrors or paintings. If you're packing canvases that are not protected by any framing, then you should be double packing them – once the painting is wrapped and packed in a box, wrap the box in bubble wrap and place it inside a second box. This reduces the chance that your painting will be damaged if the box is pierced during storage or transportation.
If your paintings are valuable enough to require special care when packing them, then they're also important enough to insure. Artwork in particular should never be uninsured – while it may be difficult or impossible to replace a one-of-a-kind original or recreate a painting you personally worked on for months, you can at least recoup the value of that painting if it's damaged or stolen.
Your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy may protect your items in a self-storage facility, but the exact details and the amount of coverage that you have will vary by company. Contact your insurance agent before you move your paintings to a self-storage facility to find out the details of your coverage and determine whether you need to add coverage. If you don't own a home or have renter's insurance, then you may be able to purchase insurance through the self-storage facility instead. In some cases, a storage facility may require you to have insurance, whether it's theirs or from another agency.
Keeping your paintings safe isn't difficult to do. It's worth taking the extra steps to ensure that the paintings will retain their value while they're in the storage unit.