If you have spent years amassing a large collection of your favorite porcelain figurines and plush dolls, then you may never have thought you would reach a point when you had too many to keep in your home. Parting with those precious little faces can be tough, but moving them into a storage unit is your best option when you don't want to re-home them just yet, but you need more room in your home. Your collection needs to be prepared very carefully for storage to avoid damage during packing and when in the unit. Here are some tips on how packing service professionals prepare collections like yours for storage, so you can help keep your dolls in pristine collection in storage.
1. Preparing Ceramic Figurines
If your figurines are glazed and have collected dust over the years, you may want to clean them carefully before storage. You don't need any special cleanser, but instead just lukewarm water and very mild soap, such as baby wash. Wash your hands before beginning, so you don't transfer dirt and oils from your hands onto the dolls. Make a small bucket of lightly soapy water. Grab a soft cloth that will not leave fibers behind, like a soft wash cloth or microfiber cloth. Dip the cloth in the water and lightly wipe the figurines making sure to be very gentle and concentrate your efforts only where you see embedded dust.
If your figurines are not glazed, then just brush off dust gently with a soft, dry cloth. Without glaze, they may absorb too much of the water solution, and that can damage them.
Once clean, set the figurine aside and move onto the next. When you are finished, wait a full day or two to begin packing them, because you want them to be completely dry before you store them.
As they dry, you gather the following packing materials you will need:
- Acid-free tissue paper. This is the best material to wrap each figurine in. Newspaper can transfer black dye onto them and should never be used instead.
- Foam packing peanuts. This will be used to pad the bottom and top of the box as well as the area between figurines. Never use bubble wrap, as it traps moisture that can lead to water-damaged dolls.
- Cardboard boxes. Have more on hand than you think you will need in many shapes and sizes. Don't substitute plastic storage tubs, because they can also trap moisture.
- Packing tape. Don't rely on boxes to stay shut just by crossing the cardboard flaps. That can lead to accidents you want to avoid.
Once you have these supplies ready, you should wash your hands again and dry them thoroughly. Begin by selecting a box and gathering a few dolls you will place in it. First, fill the bottom 3-inches of the box with packing peanuts. Then, wrap a doll in tissue paper and place in the box. Add another layer of peanuts about an inch thick. Grab your next doll and wrap it in paper, then add to the box. Repeat until your last doll is about 3-inches from the top of the box, then fill that extra space with more peanuts.
Once you are done, seal the top of the box with packing tape and make sure to label the box appropriately. Mark the "top" and the "bottom" of the box and write the name and/or number of each collectible in a short list on the side of the box. Also, add the word "fragile" in large letters so anyone else who you give permission to visit your storage unit knows to be extra careful with the contents.
2. Packing Plush Dolls
Don't take their ability to "bounce back" from impact as an excuse to take any less care preparing your plush dolls for storage than you do for your ceramic figurines. These dolls face a different challenge during storage and that is maintaining their shape, including keeping any clothing and hats free from creases that can be difficult to remove once they develop. The good news is that you can use the same packing materials for these dolls as you used for your figurines, so there are no extra supplies you need.
If you have any dolls that are still in their boxes, take the doll out of the box and wrap it in acid-free tissue paper. The dyes in the box can transfer onto the doll during long-term storage, just as newspaper ink can. You can then place the doll back in the box or store the box and doll separately.
You can then begin packing your plush dolls in a similar fashion to the ceramic figurines. However, instead of packing them tightly to prevent breakage, you want to pack plush dolls very loosely to prevent compressing the dolls in the boxes. Packing one doll in each box in it its original position (either standing or sitting) is the best. You may have to take special care to find many boxes in the right sizes and shapes to accommodate each doll appropriately when packing, but remember it is a one-time task that will help keep your dolls in great shape for years.
If you find that preparing your doll collection for storage is a more intricate task than you imagined, remember that you can hire professional packers from a company like Bekins Van Lines Inc who will pack your dolls very carefully and have every packing material you need and boxes of all sizes and shapes handy when packing your dolls. Once your dolls are ready for storage, place them in a climate-controlled storage unit to help keep them in pristine shape until you are ready to take them out to sell or pass on to future generations.