I am taking a course called "saving Stuff" and we have a textbook with the same name. The purpose of the course is to teach us how to care for things that are of museum quality. In other words how to give all kinds of objects the very best of care. Which lets face most of us don't have the time or the lifestyle for (nor actually that kind of stuff) and of course the instructor recognizes this so we are encouraged to divest ourselves of anything that needs good care and that we don't or can't give it. Do this by selling, giving away but last resource would be to throw things away.
O.K. I have learned some things that ideally should be done and some that are quite possible to do. For instance silver should be cleaned, not with any product sold on the market but by a "slurry" solution of calcium carbonate and denatured alcohol. If is is hollow ware that is on display, a thin coat of wax can then be applied to keep the air from getting at it. Silver flatware should never be put in d.w. (but we all knew that one)
Never store anything in moth balls or cedar chests.
If you can smell something it means it has oils in it and that is bad for most things.
Do not use sprays (room deodorizers, pam, windex etc)
Heat, sun and light are bad for almost everything! Never hang oil paintings on outside walls or over any heat source (this true for all art)
Never frame a pastel painting in plexiglass. Always have framed fabric away from glass and sewn in place.
Do not use those wire spring things to hang china. . . use a plastic or wooden support stand.
Now I break every single one of the rules I have learned so far. . . in fact I should video my house as a lesson in what not to do!
Paper things should be stored in archival material.
Last week we covered organic materials (dried flowers, feathers, shells, leather, etc etc.) if the material had once been alive (which includes wood and paper) it is susceptible to bugs and such, so has to be protected from them.
Attics and cellars are bad places to store things. Drastic changes in temperatures are bad for things.
My fellow students are all about my age and are all faced with disposing of collections of belongings, some inherited, some just estates they need to settle or some like me or just have collected on their own.
What a wonderful course - I am envious! The UK National Trust has a 'handbook' (weighs about 25 pounds) that covers what they follow. I think it is called The National Trust Housekeeping Handbook.
I went to a program on perserving paper items and learned that acid - free frame mats need to be changed after several years as Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere neutralizes the pH.
CO2 is an acid.
"I went to a program on perserving paper items and learned that acid - free frame mats need to be changed after several years as Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere neutralizes the pH.
CO2 is an acid."
Most framers that do archival framing use acid free mats inside sealed frames with glass for watercolors, documents, drawings etc. Acid free backing material and AF tape completes the closure. No need to replace it in a few years...because it is sealed and not exposed to the atmosphere.
Thank you for your post. I went to a talk at the Lincoln Museum hosted by the curators of paper ephemera. They did not mention anything about AF tape although we do ask for it when we have items framed. It was acknowledged that what the curators were saying is not practical in every one's framed items. Gases that are plenty in our environent like oxygen and carbon dioxide seep into everything. Frames are not air locks. A framed item is exposed to the gases and humidity surrounding it.This message has been edited. Last edited by: happy 9,
That's interesting especially about the silver "polish" -- actually, with silver, just a good wash will wash away the tarnish -- which is why ifyou use your things you don't have tarnished items!
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One of the first things my mother did after getting into buying and reselling antique/vintage textiles was to take everything out of her cedar chest.
Remember - the same is true of cardboard boxes! I do have things stored in boxes. Also be extremely careful of storing linens in sealed plastic tubs (Rubbermaid-type containers). Ideally, you need to drill a couple of "air" holes in the container...othewise it will sweat with the change in temperature and humidity - even in a climate controlled home.
Any unfinished wood can leech acids into the textiles. Wood must be sealed with varnish or paint before putting fabics on them. Even with that, I have an old sheet folded several times on the shelf in my closet where I store my quilt.
Husband and I exchange words just about every year after Christmas. He wants to put my old mercury ornaments in the attic. Until marrying him 14 years ago, NOTHING was ever stored in the attic. As it is...my things are in the closet in the guest bedroom.
Does this hat make my butt look big?
[quote]Wood must be sealed with varnish or paint before putting fabics on them.
Reminded by above of two other "rules" books should not be on painted wood, ideally they should be on metal shelves. Pewter should not be stored in oak cabinets or cupboards.
About the varnishing. . . I made the terrible mistake of coating the inside of my china closet with polyurethane to cover up the noxious odor. . . sadly only to learn that it was the polyurethane someone else had used that caused the odor! Now airing it out for the next year!
Martha you are right about the silver. I have a large set of Oneida silver plate I bought at their factory store c. 1971. It has always been kept in a drawer in one of those cloth divided things. I have never polished this set which I use only on special occasions and just then wash.
Remember quilts should be (preferably rolled, like table linens) but if folded, refolded fairly often (couple times a year)
Those are some good tips!
- Makes sense about the art work...
I don't have any "silver" that I am trying to keep, but will keep that in mind.
Okay.......please explain the rationale behind NOT storing stuff in cedar chests or using moth balls. How does one keep the moths out???
Also where does one buy the supplies to make the "slurry" to clean silver?
According to the class instructor anything that has an odor (moth balls, cedar chests) is emitting an oil and that is bad. (although I do notice that my line dried pillow cases and other linens have a lovely odor when I open the cabinet in which they are stored)
I think if items that the moths would like are stored in the right kind of container moths will not get at them. Also they should not be aired on lines outside or put away with any food stains.
The mixture of denatured alcohol and calcium carbonate is made from ingredients readily available in hardware stores.
Unfinished wood of any sort - including cedar - has an acid in it that leaches into linens and does two things - stains it yellow or causes "rust" spots and starts deterioration of the fabric.
As for mothballs (para-dychlorobenzine) how much wool do you actually have in your closet? And, if your home is fairly bug-free you don't really need the mothballs/cakes. I've never had holes eaten in the few wool items I've had for years. Only one red wool southwest jacket my parents brought back from Arizona when I was 3 or 4...and that happened when my mother had it stored. None of husband's suits or my coats...
Does this hat make my butt look big?
My DH and I have almost exclusively wool blend socks in a variety of weights for winter through summer. These last so much longer than cottons or acrylics and our feet are healthier (wicks moisture away when wearing, hiking, walking..any activity)
Other items are wool blend sweaters and jacket linings. And we have a couple of wool area rugs in the house.
The point here is we never have had an issue with moths either. I think this was more common in our parents and grandparents time when homes were more open to the elements and not as energy efficient. The clothes moths are just not brought in like in the past 50 years.
Lady of S - wish that class was offered here! is the book sold in stores?
50 years ago when Mom began buying sterling flatware she invested in a "silver chest" that is lined with specially treated cloth. Because the box closes tightly, the pieces do not tarnish IF they oil free (including fingerprints).
I've always stored wool coats/suits & blankets in a cedar lined closet to discourage moths.
One tip that hasn't been mentioned is to never store leather garments in plastic.
Would greatly appreciate advice how to clean antique furniture and solid wood paneling. I've used Murphy's Oil (as per label) but was disappointed in the result.This message has been edited. Last edited by: tessa89,
I ALMOST never have had moths. In the 25 years or so I have lived in my house it has been moth free, except for one year. Moths got into our cloths closet that one time. I lost several of my best sweaters, and my husband lost a couple of nice suits. It was so upsetting to find those little holes eaten through. I never saw a moth, and I am not entirely sure what made them go away. I cleaned all the clothes and the closet thoroughly, and no more moths and it has been many years.
The larva can also come in on contaminated clothing or items that are not even wool. They can just hitch a ride, I've been told.
My DM had them in an old wool rug in her basement. The little worms were crawling through it and eating the wool as they went along. She never found out where those came from either. The moths are very small and lay eggs in many fibers (not just wool) and the larva or worms actually do the damage.
I bought the class required book (also called "saving stuff" through Amazon)
We definitely covered cleaning wood furniture. You don't ever use anything like Murphy's oil soap (which I love!) furniture is polished no more than twice a year with paste wax. . . preferably one sold through this company. . . I imagine wood paneling would be cleaned the same way.
Wow, many of these ideas are totally against what I've always heard. I guess this is live and learn.
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