Keeping Heirlooms In Top Condition When You’re Not Displaying Them

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What is to be done with heirlooms you simply don’t have the space to display? Below are just a few tips on how to protect and keep popular heirlooms in tip-top condition when they are in storage.

Old books stacked on each other
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Around 42% of all Americans have a family heirloom that is over 50 years old, reports the New York Post, and 77% of those surveyed said that love learning about the story behind family heirlooms when they were growing up. Many heirlooms such as delicate items of jewelry, furniture, and decor pieces may currently be sitting proudly in your living room or bedroom. However, what is to be done with heirlooms you simply don’t have the space to display? Below are just a few tips on how to protect and keep popular heirlooms in tip-top condition when they are in storage.

Antique Rugs

Antique rugs possess a blend of stunning colors, intricate designs, and depth. If you already have a few making a bold statement in your home, but you have recently received more family rugs, make sure you use sustainable, careful cleaning methods for antique fabrics. Commence by using a vacuum cleaner, keeping it on a gentle setting to remove dust. Next, test for color fastness with a small white damp cloth. If your cloth gets stained, take your rug to a professional.

If staining does not occur, clean your rug with a blend of five cups of warm water and one cup of rug shampoo, adding a tablespoon of white vinegar for more efficient dirt removal. Lay your rug flat, dip a soft brush in the solution and start bruising, using gentle up and down motions. Do this twice, then hang your rug to dry in a dust-free area. Next, store your rug in a clean, dry environment at between 60 to 75ºF, in a space with a humidity level of 65%. Wrap it in paper, as plastic can cause mildew to appear.

Caring For Jewelry

When it comes to keeping jewelry in a spick and span condition, few things can achieve your goal better than a professional clean. However, if you don’t intend on wearing heirloom jewelry for a while, you can clean items yourself. Mix a squeeze of dish detergent into warm (not hot) water, adding a few drops of ammonia. Dip a very soft toothbrush into the solution and gently brush your pieces, rinsing them in lukewarm water afterwards. Towel dry each item and keep it in a fabric bag to guard it against the elements.

Keeping Books In Good Condition

In many families, old family albums and hardbound books are some of the most treasured heirlooms they possess. Books do not thrive when they are in moist, hot environments. Take your books and gently remove any dust or debris they may have with a soft towel.

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Archival Methods recommends placing cherished books in archival polyethylene bags, which should be unsealed. Next, store the bags in an acid-free box in a cool, dry area. Avoid humid environments like basements or attics, which can experience temperature and humidity variations and which can expose your books to floods and leaks from faucets.

Wrapping Up

A large percentage of families in the US have heirlooms that have been handed down from generation to generation. These items are often well-loved, since they tend to have fascinating backstories about the people who bought or owned them.

To keep your heirlooms in optimal condition, clean and store them as required by their manufacturer. When in doubt, choose the gentlest cleaning methods possible and ensure your items are stored in a safe, dry place.

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