How to Store Collectibles
There’s something very human about collecting, and it seems that most people like to have one or more collections of favorite items. Since we can’t cover everything here, we’ll cover three of the most popular types of collectibles: action figures, porcelain dolls, and comic books.
These can all be enjoyed and displayed at home. However, if you’re running out of room, you can keep them in great shape in a storage unit.
From the moment you get an action figure home, whether you keep it in its packaging or remove it, you should take good care of it. One of the most important things to remember is to keep them out of the sun, which can fade colors.
If they’re to play with, that’s great. Just make sure to clean them before storing them. Skin oil, sand, dust, and dirt can fade paint and cause scratches. Soak them in water with mild soap for ten minutes or so. Clean them with a soft toothbrush and cloth and dry them indoors, out of sunlight. To remove ink and other stains, dip a cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol and dab it against the stain. Do not wipe it. Keep dabbing until the stain gets lifted away, then wipe clean with a damp cloth to remove the remaining alcohol.
Before storing your action figures, make sure they’re completely dry and wrapped in packing paper or bubble wrap and pack them in airtight plastic bins or acid-free cardboard boxes.
Dolls are more delicate than action figures and just as susceptible to sunlight damage, so keep them out of the sun. When you need to move them, wear white cotton gloves. Skin oils can quickly damage dolls, and non-white gloves can leak color onto them. To maintain them on your shelves, dust them periodically with a feather duster.
To clean porcelain dolls, remove stains with a small amount of gentle cleaner mixed in with a lot of water. Dab and wipe gently at the stains and dry them with a soft cloth.
To wash doll clothes, you’ll need to remove them, and also make sure they can be washed. Put a tiny drop of gentle laundry detergent on a hidden part of the clothing. If it dries and you can’t see it, then the clothing can be washed. To do so, put the clothes in a laundry bag. Add a bit of detergent to the washing machine and run them through the cold, gentle cycle. Hang them on a clothesline to dry. Do not run them through the dryer, which can shrink them and potentially melt delicate parts.
To remove tangles in a doll’s hair, use a detangling comb. However, do not brush curly doll hair, as this can ruin the style. If the doll’s hair is a wig, you can remove and wash it. Wash wigs made of human hair in water with a gentle detergent. Wash synthetic hair wigs with a bit of glass cleaner and water.
Make sure everything is completely dry before you store your dolls. Wrap them in acid-free packing paper. Do not store them in airtight containers, as the clothes need to breathe. Get acid-free cardboard boxes instead. Don’t forget to write “fragile” on each box!
You might think that comic books should be stored similarly to paper files, but doing so, you’ll end up with damaged comics. How can you store them, then, and keep them in good condition Fortunately, the comics industry has already figured this out and provides solutions in any comic book store.
It begins with “bags and boards,” as you’ll hear comic lovers calling them. The bags are flat, clear, and fit standard comic books. If you have comics from another era, your local shop will likely have bags for them, too. There are matching cardboard “boards,” pieces of acid-free white cardboard, that also fit into these bags and keep your comics from bending.
There are also corrugated cardboard boxes made especially for comics. They come in various depths, with 20” holding up to 250 comic books, and they are 11” tall by 7 ¾” wide. They’re sturdy and stack fairly well.
If you collect comic books, always buy a bag and board for each one and use comic book boxes to store them. If you take care of them from the beginning at home, they’ll be ready to go into storage at any time.
Finally, we come to what may be the most important part of storing your collectibles. If you live in a place where the weather gets hot and humid, or cold and dry, it’s important to rent a unit with climate control. This feature keeps the temperature in your unit between about 50 and 80 degrees, and between 30% and 50% humidity, which will protect your collectibles from getting damp, growing mold, warping or melting, or getting dry and brittle.
Whether you collect in the hope of making money later, or you do so because you love action figures, dolls, or comics, your collections are important to you. These steps will help you keep them in great shape for years to come. If you're looking for somewhere to store your collection, please visit one of our 11 Jack Rabbit Self Storage locations throughout the greater Virgina Beach & Williamsburg area!