How to Take Care of Your Family Heirlooms

old furniture

In the event of a fire or robbery, most things can be replaced. You liked your wardrobe and your furniture, but chances are, they weren’t one of a kind. Even if you personally damage these items, you can typically replace them. But there are some things, like photos and family heirlooms, that are irreplaceable. If you lose or damage these (or if somebody steals them,) it can be devastating. That’s why taking care of them properly is essential.

Not sure where to even begin? Take note of these simple tips and get started today – in case of emergency, you’ll be glad you did.

Don’t put them in plain sight.

This one may seem obvious, but some heirlooms—like artwork or sculptures—are designed to be shown off. That being said, you shouldn’t show them off near large windows or in areas of your home that see a lot of foot traffic. Display your decorative heirlooms in a more remote room where only trusted individuals can go.

Activate motions sensors around them.

Activating motion sensors around your property is a great start for deterring burglars, but burglars can sometimes get around these. That’s why you should also activate motion sensors around actual heirlooms.

Keep them out of sunlight.

Sunlight is the enemy of most precious items. It can cause the material of many sculptures to fade and deteriorate, as well as the paint on pieces of art to fade. Long exposure to sunlight is also bad for furniture of most fabrics, too. Don’t store your heirlooms in direct sunlight. If you want to expose them to a little sunlight, that’s fine, but don’t keep them in front of a large window often left uncovered.

Monitor their temperature.

It’s important that your precious items don’t become too hot or too cold. Install a thermostat and make sure the room where you keep your heirlooms is always temperate. You should also be sure not to store your items near any heat sources, like a furnace, or even a coffee machine.

Activate humidity sensors.

Moisture can be very bad for certain valuable items. Install humidity sensors so you’re notified the moment your heirlooms are developing moisture.

Have your items appraised and insured.

While this won’t necessarily help you replace some items, it could at least help you replace the cost of them. Keep in mind that some older antiques can be very difficult to appraise after they’re gone. They aren’t modern devices, like laptops, which are easy to appraise at any given time.

Give everything its own storage.

Don’t stack paintings against each other or put old jewelry in a pile together. It may seem as if you aren’t doing much damage, but even a small amount of pressure from another item over time can cause a lot of damage.

Go to qualified restoration professionals.

Should anything happen to an old piece of furniture or jewelry, do not attempt to fix it yourself. Some of these items are made with rare materials you cannot find in craft stores. Professional restorers can maintain the integrity of your item.

Install surveillance cameras.

Naturally, you should install surveillance cameras if you have truly irreplaceable items in your home. If the only way to replace the item is to get the original back, the only chance you’ll have at doing that is through your surveillance.

Don’t talk about your heirlooms in public.

Don’t talk about the new collector’s art your mother just gifted you in public. You never know who is listening.

Don’t let visiting professionals see them.

Be aware of professionals who come through your home on a regular basis like dog walkers or babysitters. Make sure you don’t store the items they may need—like dog leashes or baby blankets—in the same room as your family heirlooms.

While your family heirlooms mostly have sentimental value to you, they have monetary value to others so it’s important you take very good care of them.



Posted on Tuesday, February 20th, 2018