As promised, our experts are back with more practical packing tips, this time on photos, books and documents, plus clothing! This is the second of three handy articles on how it get it right with packing and moving your precious items into storage.
It isn’t necessarily going to happen, but you wouldn’t want it to either: your photos sticking together. It usually means losing at least one of the images, depending which surfaces have stuck to each other, and can be very messy. The thing to do is to layer your photos with sheets of acid-free paper. It’s widely available online, or in stationery stores. As with many purchases, you can make considerable savings by buying in bulk.
If you’re reading this after the event – when it’s seemingly too late because the deed is already done – acid-free paper can still help. See-saw the acid-free paper between the layers, this way and that, and they should come free. Another method is to pull waxed dental floss between the stuck-together layers. Now you’ve read this though, there’s no need to risk those precious family shots and have to go through the rescue operation! For prevention, you’ll need to plan it so that you have the acid-free paper well in advance. One more item for your list.
Another thing you need to make sure of, is that you don’t store photos with newspaper clippings, as it will damage the photos. Newspapers are getting a bad press from us in these articles, as the print can also dirty your dishes (packing paper is better)!
One final consideration for photos is to make sure to store them in a temperature-controlled environment, in order to avoid heat exposure. Check in advance that your storage providers have climate-controlled units (Flexistorage do). Before putting them in storage, you don’t even want to have them near hot water pipes or kettles, near a window that catches the sun, or anywhere else that heat builds up. As with the next items, books and documents, don’t be tempted to throw a piece of clothing in the box with your photos to cushion them – the possible scenarios of heat and mold don’t bear thinking about!
Books and Documents
Some online sources have this as their number one tip: put your heaviest books at the bottom of your box or container to ensure the boxes don’t collapse. If the box is made of cardboard, then this is doubly true. To help spread your load, heavy objects such as books are best off in a smaller box, while the lighter objects such as clothes can go in the bigger boxes. This just makes them easier to lift.
Never keep books or documents in a humid spot, as mold can grow. If you’re storing books for longer than you expected, then it will pay off to ensure their dry storage in the run-up period even before packing them. Bookcases are good for this, in airy rooms, especially if you’re bringing them in from the damper peripheries of Europe (such as UK and Ireland).
The same goes for documents – again, avoid any sort of moisture. Pack documents or books into boxes or plastic containers to keep it well out. Snap-top plastic boxes are good, so long as they’re completely dry.
Cloth, Clothing and Linen
It’s best to wash your clothes and cloths before storing, as stains will always be considerably harder to remove the longer you delay washing them. Again, it’s the scenario of suddenly having to store them for longer than you thought, that would be a pain here. If you have access to your stuff, that’s great – take any potentially damp clothing out, especially anything you’ve worn even only once before making your move. Mold builds up silently, from inside the box, meaning it doesn’t show up on the outside at all – a nasty surprise! Airtight plastic containers with lids are a great option to preserve your items and avoid growth of mildew. Dirty clothes can even attract vermin such as moths, that would just love to munch on your cottons.
We’ll be back with another article on how best to pack metals, electrical equipment and battery-operated items, avoiding the common pitfalls.