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Keep Treasured Items Safe
Odd-shaped, large, or fragile items can pose a challenge to even the most organized person. Here's how to keep treasured items safe and secure.
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Storing Artwork and Mirrors
Take a picture of each piece to affix to the outside of the wrapped piece. Wrap entirely in acid-free tissue paper and sandwich the item between two layers of 1/4-inch foam board, cut slightly larger than the frame. Secure the corners with foam board and tape, and cover entire bundle with Kraft paper, tied or taped closed.
Never store artwork or mirrors flat; set wrapped pieces vertically on a shelf. Don't store unframed works on paper in an attic, where low humidity can make the paper brittle. Store in a stable environment in a heavy, acid-free box with a lid.
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China and Glassware
Pad the bottom of a small, rigid cardboard box with Bubble Wrap or tissue paper. Wrap each piece separately in Bubble Wrap or paper. For glassware, cut cardboard dividers or use the crisscrossed inserts from liquor boxes. Wrap glasses in wrap or paper and place in slots. Attach a photo or write a detailed description on the outside of the box.
To avoid breakage, don't stack more than four or five plates in any one box. Always put plates that have been repaired on top. Don't stack boxes containing china or glassware on top of one another or place heavy objects on top of boxes.
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Luggage can be simply stored upright on the floor. Suitcases can double as handy storage bins for clothes, jewelry, and, if well wrapped, fragile items. Hat boxes also work well.
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Curtains and Table Linens
Iron table linens before storing, but don't iron in folds, which can weaken fibers. Every so often, refold linens and curtains to prevent discoloration at the creases. Don't drape fabric with plastic, because it can trap moisture and cause mold.
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You can buy a good prepackaged heirloom storage kit, or you can make your own. After cleaning the quilt, take a photo to help you identify it later, then wrap it in acid-free tissue paper. Lay the folded, wrapped quilt in a flat storage box, along with a container of desiccant -- such as silica gel -- to absorb moisture. Close the box and tape the photo to the lid. Then place it inside a plastic bag, which will guard against insects and moisture.
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Tightly seal the can and store it upside down so that the paint will form an airtight seal around the lid. Don't keep latex paint in the garage because if it freezes and thaws three or more times it cannot be used.
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Loose candles can get damaged easily when stored in drawers. Use paper-towel tubes -- the perfect size and shape -- to protect them. Wrap a pair of candles in tissue paper, then slip the package into a cardboard tube. Label each tube with the candles' color and length for quick identification.
Photography: Eric Piasecki9 of 15
Cover furniture and other large, unboxed items to protect from dust and light. Wrap furniture in tightly woven, unbleached drop cloths (at hardware stores). Spread a cloth out on a clean floor and set the furniture in the center. Gather up the edges and wrap it like a present, securing the openings with twine or duct tape.
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Use compartmentalized boxes (at organizing-supply stores) to store ornaments. Wrap garlands and strings of lights around rectangles or rolls of sturdy cardboard. Wrap wreaths in tissue paper and pack them in padded boxes. If using a plastic storage box, include a desiccant, such as silica gel, to absorb any moisture.
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Photography: Eric Piasecki11 of 15
Rugs and Carpets
Wrap clean rugs around an acid-free tube (at storage-supply stores), rolling in the direction of the pile. Roll delicate rugs, such as silk, with the pile facing in, but roll with the pile out if the rug is frail or brittle, cracked, or has an extra lining sewn on. Wrap the rolled rug in a clean sheet of cotton, muslin, or polyethylene slightly wider than the length of the rolled carpet, and secure with fabric twill tape.
Store the rug upright and, if possible, on a surface that's metal rather than wood, to reduce the risk of insect infestation. Choose a cool, dry spot, and unroll the rug every six months to check for pests. (Have it dry-cleaned if there are bugs.) Lay out the rug on the driveway every spring and fall, vacuum it, and let it air out before returning it to storage.
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"China" is a general term for ceramic tableware, whether made from earthenware, stoneware, or porcelain. It can be porous, as with earthenware, or nonporous, as with stoneware and porcelains.
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Cushion Between Layers
When stacking dishes for storage, remember that the bottom of one can scratch the one beneath it. Place a cushion between them to reduce the risk. Paper plates, coffee filters, and felt rounds are just right for cradling plates, bowls, and saucers without adding bulk. Alternate dishes and inserts.
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Store Cups Rim Side Up
Store cups and mugs rim side up to guard against chipping. They can also be hung from cup hooks. Store-bought coated wire racks can add shelves in between shelves to double the number of pieces you can store.
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Fasten lids with waxed twine so they do not fall off. First, place the lid upside down inside the vessel, then wrap twine in a figure eight around both vessel handles and over the lid. Tie the twine gently to finish, and store on a top shelf away from the kitchen bustle.
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