How to Store Your Family Antiques and Heirlooms

How to store your family antiques and heirlooms?

how to store family antiques

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Family antiques and heirlooms are special items to be appreciated and cherished over many generations. These can range from personal and sentimentally valuable items like love letters or documented milestones or monetarily valuable items like jewelry or vintage items. All of these items can vary greatly from family to family, each being uniquely valuable. There are several strategies to keep them as well-preserved as possible, with different sorts of items and materials requiring different modes of care to keep the memories or monetary value potent. With this information in mind, the following are some tips on how to store your family antiques and heirlooms.


Paper is a very vulnerable artifact that is highly susceptible to decay and discoloration due to excessive moisture, heat, or light if not preserved properly. As a result, leaving a piece of paper to sit in a box for long periods of time is not enough to preserve it. One way to properly preserve paper documents is to encase them in archival file folders or acid-free flap envelopes. When handling them, it is important to ensure that one has clean hands without lotions or oily skin that can damage the paper. A pair of cotton inspection gloves can add another layer of protection, as can delicate handling of the piece of paper in question. Should you wish to share the document and its information with others, it is prudent to carefully make copies that may be handled with less caution. Lastly, news storage kits can help protect old clippings and newspaper articles and ensure that they remain intact.


Books, much like the paper pages they contain, fare poorly in the presence of moisture and heat. A dirty or dusty book can be gently cleaned with a soft and dry piece of cloth or brush. Metal fasteners or paper clips that may be holding some pages in the book together should be removed as they can damage and stain the paper as time passes. They should be stored in unsealed archival bags in acid-free boxes in dry and cool areas of the house to protect them while allowing some breathability.

Scrapbooks and photo albums

Scrapbooks and photo albums are other family heirlooms filled with pictures and other items commemorating the lives of family members. However, these can be especially difficult to maintain as, having likely been put together with whatever materials may have been available to any member of the family at the time. This often leads to messy scrapbooks and photo albums with pages falling out or out of place. If this has happened, it is possible to put them back from where they fell out of with archival book tape, with acid-free paper or tissue interleaved between pages for, particularly delicate contents. Placing photo albums and scrapbooks in unsealed archival bags themselves placed in acid-free boxes can provide convenient access as well as safe storage in the long-term.


Jewelry items are among a family’s most monetarily and sentimentally valuable possessions that many people do not know how to correctly preserve. Furthermore, there are differences based on the types of jewelry as well as the materials they are made out of. For one, do not ever attempt to clean jewelry with bleach or toothpaste, instead of investing the expertise of a reputable professional white glove storage services rather than doing it alone. Wrapping silver in silver cloth bags kept separate from other antiques and heirlooms of different types of materials helps prevent tarnishing. It is best to tuck away pieces of a diamond to prevent other pieces from getting scratched as well as to wrap softer pieces in archival tissue prior to storage with all other precious jewelry items in acid-free boxes.

Your family antiques and heirlooms are invaluable to not only yourself and family members emotionally but perhaps even to others monetarily. Therefore, they should be preserved and protected as well as possible. Though each artifact and individual varies, some rules of thumb can help anyone make the most of their goods. Chief among these is to avoid storing items in places where humidity and temperature can vary widely, as can risk for leaks and other events, such as the basement or attic, instead opting for storage in archival binders and boxes on shelves or in closets away from direct sunlight.

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