I recently met a client during an in-home appraisal evaluation session who had raised six sons in a house with a pristine, fragile and valuable collection of antique glassware. Her ability to have boys share a house with fragile stemware prompted me to share my tips for protecting your valuables.
Valuable objects — art, antiques and collectibles — have to live in a stable environment in order to remain in good condition. Here are some tips for keeping your home and your stuff in tip-top, clutter-free shape:
• Do serious cleaning first. Clean up the kind of dirt that comes in from outside, like mud on your shoes, germs that can grow if you leave food out overnight and the like.
• Try a quick pick-up. About 10 minutes before I head off to bed, I do a quick cleanup: load the dishwasher, put away that jacket I tossed on a chair when I had to take a phone call, put my gym shoes in the closet, etc. I just do a few little things to keep the house in order and the clutter from getting out of hand.
• Find a safe place for your valuables. The reason some antiques make it from grandmother to granddaughter is because they have a home. If you have art or antiques in your home, these objects probably have a regular place where they reside. For example, your canister set has a place where it lives and it probably only moves from that spot when you are baking. Figurines and crystal should be in a protected area, such as a china cabinet or on a dining room sideboard where there isn’t much traffic. Large objects like sculpture, paintings and pieces of antique furniture are rarely moved from their spot. Identify a particular place where small collectibles belong, and the result will be a home that’s neater with objects that are not easily damaged.
• Don’t forget to vacuum. While I like clean, white cotton cloths for dusting fragile objects, I think that the good old vacuum cleaner is a helpful tool, too. My mother taught us to dust first and then vacuum, so you catch any dust that hit the floor. Dust can build up quickly and it can damage your art, antiques and collectibles. Vacuuming can get rid of the dust you don’t see.
• Let your valuables breathe. Remember that ventilation is important when it comes to displaying your antiques and collectibles. Art and antiques like to live where you like to live — in a clean, well-ventilated house.
A clean house is the best way to create a stable environment for your valuables.