Top Tips and Hacks for How to Store Artwork

Artist looking through her collection of paintings

Storing regular, everyday items in a storage unit is relatively straightforward for most people. However, when it comes to storing artwork, it’s a whole different ball game. That’s because artwork is inherently more fragile and, in most cases, more valuable than everyday household items.

If you’re an artist, art collector, or inherited many artworks and need to store them, the information below is what you are looking for. It’s a list of top tips and hacks for how to store artwork in a storage unit, brought to you by the storage experts at Hide-Away Storage! To store your valuable artwork like a pro and ensure it stays in pristine condition, read on!

Tip- Collect Your Packing Supplies and Tools

Before storing any artwork in a storage unit, it must be packed correctly. Packing demands the right supplies and tools if you want to do it well, especially when packing artwork for storage. Our best advice is to purchase all the supplies and tools you will inevitably need before you start packing anything. Below is a list of those tools and supplies.

  • Heavy-duty moving boxes
  • Telescoping “mirror boxes” for paintings
  • Bubble wrap
  • Packing “peanuts”
  • Packing paper
  • Packing tape
  • A quality razor knife
  • Several heavy-duty markers (aka Sharpies)
  • Acid-free paper (optional)
  • Wood and supplies to make crates (optional)
  • Heavy-duty plastic wrap (optional)
  • Paper pads

Tip- Set Up a Designated Packing Area

Setting up a designated packing area is a good idea, whether you have a handful of artworks to store or an entire house full of them. This is a space in your home where all your packing materials and tools are located, along with a flat, open area where you can work unobstructed. The benefit of a designated packing area is that all your tools and supplies will be available, and you will have plenty of space to move around without the risk of knocking something over or stepping on something.

How to Pack Large Paintings

Woman hanging painting on a wall

Packing large paintings or prints in ornate frames may be difficult, but it’s easy if you have the right boxes. Those boxes are telescoping “mirror” boxes, which, as the name suggests, telescope into each other and provide double corrugation for extra protection. Below are the step-by-step instructions to pack large paintings.

  • Set up your mirror box and tape both parts closed. (The inner and outer box.) Be sure the box you choose is large enough to fit the painting you wish to pack.
  • If you have purchased them, wrap the painting in a large paper pad (or 2 if needed).
  • Using packing paper, fill the bottom of the inner box with a thick layer of paper on the bottom. You will likely need 8 to 10 sheets of packing paper.
  • Slide the painting into the inner box so that it sits on top of the paper padding on the bottom.
  • Crumple up more sheets of packing paper and stuff them between the box and the left and right sides of the painting.
  • Fill the bottom of the outer mirror box with packing paper just as you did the inner box.
  • Slide the outer box over the inner box until it can’t slide further. Be careful not to push too hard, as you might damage your painting. It should be snug.
  • Using packing tape, tape the mirror box well on all four sides. We suggest taping horizontally where the inner and outer boxes meet and vertically over the top and bottom of both sides of the mirror box.

Tip- Hire Professional Packers

This hack might rub you the wrong way if you are a self-confessed DIYer. However, if you have genuinely difficult to move artwork, hiring professional packers to pack them before storing them in your storage unit makes a lot of sense. Professional packers have the experience and knowledge necessary to pack artwork correctly to move it into storage without damage and stay in pristine condition while stored.

Hack- Hire Pro Packers from a Local Moving Company

Room full of moving boxes and artwork

Even if you don’t use them to move your artwork into storage, many local movers will allow you to hire their packers to pack your artwork. Call around and get some estimates from several movers before making your choice.

Tip- Don’t Stack Artworks Too High in Storage

If you look at many of our blogs, you’ll see that one tip we regularly give is to stack things well in your storage unit so that you can fit as much as possible inside. However, when it comes to storing artwork, this isn’t exactly the best advice. The reason is simple: artwork is more fragile than most household items. If you stack things too high, the artwork on the bottom risks being damaged or even destroyed. For that reason, it’s best to stack only one or two pieces of art on top of each other and, if necessary, rent a larger storage unit so that you have enough space to store everything.

Tip- Rent a Climate-Controlled Storage Unit

While it’s true that marble sculptures can last for hundreds if not thousands of years with minor damage, some artworks can be damaged or destroyed by extreme temperatures. For that reason, we recommend renting an air-conditioned unit storage unit when storing valuable artwork. The specialized units keep the temperature stable the entire year so that the artwork inside is never exposed to extreme heat or cold.

Hack- Use Free Standing Shelving Units inside Your Storage Unit

This hack can be extremely helpful if you have a lot of smaller artworks and want to avoid stacking them on top of each other. By using shelving units, you can utilize much more of the upper space in your storage unit without the risk of stacking things and the damage it can cause to items on the bottom of the stack. Also, shelving units will allow you to find a particular artwork more quickly if you need it or want to take it back out of storage for display or sale. Freestanding plastic or metal shelving units can be found at most big box home improvement stores and are easy to put together without tools.

Hide-Away Storage Helps You Store Your Artworks Safely and Securely

Whether you have one valuable piece of art to store or many of them, Hide-Away Storage can help you keep your artwork securely and safely. Hide-Away has the best features in the storage industry, including air-conditioned unit storage units, interior storage units, and convenient drive-up storage units. We also have the best security features, including 24/7 video cameras, electronic, keypad-controlled front gates, and on-site managers. Reserve your storage unit from Hide-Away today, and it will be ready when you arrive with your artwork!