Here’s how to preserve your stuff
Nearly everyone has boxes of stuff they save. Inside them are old letters, newspaper clippings, vinyl records, photographs, maybe an old wedding dress, and old kindergarten drawings.
Now, authors Louisa Jaggar and Don Williams tell what to save and how to do it in their book Saving Stuff: How to Care for and Preserve Your Collectibles, Heirlooms, and Prized Possessions.
First, they provide a worksheet to prioritize keepsakes and determine what to keep and what to toss.
One of the keys to saving stuff is knowing what can damage it.
Light will fade everything from photos to textiles and paintings. Both sunlight and fluorescent light can be harmful. To protect valuable wall hangings, switch to lower-wattage lights.
Temperature extremes, too hot or too cold, make many items brittle. Museums keep their thermostats at 70 degrees.
Moisture will dissolve, stain, or mold your treasures. Keep them in a plastic tub with a tight seal. Never wrap anything in plastic cling wrap.
Air pollution, tobacco smoke, and oily polishes are bad for antique furniture. Use furniture wax to protect it.
Bugs and critters are notoriously dangerous to keepsakes. Maintain your home so mice can’t get in and be sure your windows are screened.
Handling with bare hands can damage delicate papers, fabrics, metals, and ceramics. Wear cotton gloves when handling antique books and papers.
Guard against flooding. If you must store important keepsakes in a basement, be sure they are stored in a tightly closed plastic container.