How to Preserve Holiday Heirlooms

How to Preserve Holiday Heirlooms

If you want your family heirlooms to last for generations to come, it's important to store them probably. Here's how.

1. Plan ahead

When you’re unpacking holiday décor is the best time to think about storing your decorations post-festivities. Note storage boxes needing replacement so you can take advantage of holiday sales on archival supplies, and plan to give away any extra or unsentimental decorations.

2. Location matters

Although you might store lights and garlands in the garage or basement, those aren’t the best spots for treasured heirlooms. Summer heat, winter cold, moisture, pests and other hazards can turn paper and fabric decorations brittle and cause glass to fade and oxidize. If storage space is limited, separate special items, like menorahs, crèches and handmade ornaments, to keep inside your home.

3. Preserve memories

Bread-dough snowmen and pasta angels are doomed to early demise as the food decays. Cross-stitch, porcelain or vintage glass baubles are likelier to survive the ages. Any item will have better longevity if carefully wrapped in white, acid-free tissue and stored in a clean, dry container, such as a divided ornament storage box. Inexpensive plastic bins are a good choice as well. Store boxes off the ground, away from sources of moisture.

4. Say no to newspaper

Don’t store treasures wrapped in newspaper. Not only is the cheap newsprint paper highly acidic and damaging to things it touches, but it also loses its cushioning properties as it degrades. The ink rubs off, too. Instead, use acid-free white tissue paper, such as Gaylord Archival Acid-free Tissue, or polyester craft batting from a fabric store.

5. Secure Santa

Individually wrap holiday figurines in white, acid-free tissue paper and place inside a sturdy plastic or cardboard box. Cushion the space between items with polyester batting.

6. Salvage broken memories

Are you hanging onto beloved glass ornaments that are chipped or broken? Arrange them together in a bowl with the damaged parts hidden. Add tinsel or silver garland for extra sparkle, and display the bowl where it’ll
catch the light.

7. Look after linens

Store linens and Christmas stockings in a clean, dry location, preferably inside your home. Wrap stockings in white acid-free tissue paper, and place in an acid-free box or tissue-lined drawer. Don’t wrap in plastic. Moisture can get trapped inside and cause mildew and mold.

Looking for more tips? In Heirloom Preservation Made Easy video download, learn about detailed preservation techniques for your precious family heirlooms.

 

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