Storing Your Loot: Leather, Silk, Photos, Paper – Global Outings™

Matrix_CoatAs I look at whittling my wardrobe down to my 25 items, there are a few things I can’t seem to part with and am going to place in storage: mainly silk and leather, as well as a my photo albums and scrap books.

The Enemy of Leather – Moisture

One of the pieces to be preserved is a long black leather trench coat that my mom used to wear in the 70s. When I wear it I feel like Neo from the Matrix. Very cool.

The biggest enemy of leather is moisture, which will lead to mildew. Actually, I remember when I lived in Hong Kong and I used to have to wipe down my leather purses and shoes weekly to remove the mold. Disgusting. I also had to wipe down the walls. Have you ever seen walls sweat? Creepy.

Cool and dry is the key with leather. Also, it needs to:

• Keep its shape – so stuff the arms with acid-free paper (not newspaper or paper with ink)

• Breathe – so keep it out of vinyl storage bags or plastic dry-clean bags (instead use a fabric garment bag)

cotton_storage_bags_2The Enemy of Silk – Bugs

As a protein-based fiber, silk is more similar to wool than to cotton. In fact, the article I read compared silk to human hair. Eeeeewwwwww.

Back to storage. Keep your silk in a cotton pillowcase or other breath-able material. Since bugs can chew holes in your fabric, store your silk with cedar chips or moth balls to keep the winged beasts away.

The Enemy of Photos – Light

photo_boxIf you’ve inherited your family’s photos, they’re probably in the magnetic photo albums. If this is the case, they need to be removed. If you have your own photos, they’re probably living in a shoe box. Just switch the shoe box to a preservation box and you’re set.

The biggest enemy of photos is direct sunlight which will fade your photos. Water and high humidity can be damaging too. Also, be careful when writing on photos or adhering them to paper.  The safest photo products all have a PH balance of 7-9, so double check your pens, paper, and glue.

The Enemy of Paper –Dust

archival_boxDust and abrasion can damage your important papers. I’m thinking diplomas, love letters, birth certificates.  Take your papers out of their envelopes and lay flat and store in an archival file, no more than 15 sheets per file.

Also, store objects of the same size and category together whenever possible since objects of differing bulk and weight can cause damage from uneven pressures in a box. Rubber bands are also a big no-no since they’ll deteriorate and further damage the paper. Use linen tape instead.

We all love our loot so taking a few precautions to ensure your treasures last is a small thing. I’m sure Neo thinks so too.


This entry was posted on Sunday, October 17th, 2010 and is filed under Before You Go.

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