Do you or one of your family members have a large collection of stuffed animals or dolls? Often, these collections take up space in your home, but you aren't quite ready to get rid of them for either sentimental or monetary reasons. Placing them in a storage unit can free up space, but you want to make sure that you do it correctly so they don't suffer any damage. The following tips can help.
Tip #1: Make sure they are clean
Dirt, whether it's on a soft stuffed animal, a plastic doll face, or a fancy porcelain doll, can lead to permanent stains during long-term storage. Even worse, some soiling, such as from sticky fingers, can attract pests that will then destroy the collection. Check each piece over carefully before storing it. Many stuffed animals are machine washable, which will be detailed on the tag. If a doll can't be machined washed, spot clean it with a mild soap and damp cloth. Plastic and porcelain can be cleaned with a mild soap and warm water. Avoid alcohol-based or oil-based cleansers on plastic, as these can cause damage. Just make sure the items are completely dry before storing them, or mildew can be a problem.
Tip #2: Choose the right container
Moisture and pests are the main enemies of stuffed animals and dolls in a storage unit. While most units are relatively dry, humidity can still cause problems. You can minimize humidity issues by renting a climate controlled unit, since these usually have fewer humidity issues. Also, use plastic storage containers for the collection, since cardboard can absorb moisture. If you must use cardboard, line the box with a sturdy plastic garbage bag to create a barrier between any external moisture and the dolls. The plastic will also prevent pests from accessing the collection.
Tip #3: Avoid over stuffing
Stuffing as many dolls as possible into a container is likely to result in damage. Stuffed animals can loose their shape, plastic can get distorted, clothing can get torn or develop permanent wrinkles, and porcelain can crack. Pack dolls with lots of delicate parts or costume pieces in individual boxes, first wrapping the dolls in acid-free packing tissue. Shoe boxes work well. Then place these boxes inside the main tub or storage box. Stuffed animals and sturdier dolls can be placed loosely in a storage tub.
Tip #4: Protect from damage in storage
Once in storage, your goal is to keep everything safe. Label the boxes and set them elevated above ground level. Stacking them on a shelf or on top of a wooden pallet works well. This way if flooding does occur in your unit, there is less damage caused by water breaching the storage containers. Label the boxes with contents, and avoid stacking anything heavy on them – you don't want boxes to collapse or plastic tubs to crack.
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