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NancyGray's avatar

I inherited a few antique pieces that are very important to me. Can you please recommend me a storage service that will treat my pieces with care?

Asked by NancyGray (4 points ) February 8th, 2011

antique storage

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6 Answers

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snowberry's avatar

Don’t have Bekins move your stuff. We moved across country, had them pack up a home full of antiques, store them for 3 months, and then move them into our home. Bekins couldn’t have done a better job trashing my stuff if they had shaken it all up like a box of dice and tossed it out on the road. We had purchased a total replacement insurance policy, but there were a few things I had overlooked, so this created a lovely loophole for Bekins to slip through.

Before you set things up with a mover/storage company, get every piece in your collection appraised. Appraisers will do that for you off site, (you send them pictures of the pieces, give them all the history you can, and charge by the piece, or they will come to your location and do charge by the hour. If you have many pieces it will be cheaper to have them come to you. To find a good appraiser, contact your insurance company, and they might be able to provide you with some good ones.

Then take photographs of every item. Be sure to get close ups of condition, photograph every side, and even the bottom of your piece. Don’t forget to photograph any damages as well (will explain why later). Also be sure that the developing company prints the date the photos were taken on the front of the picture.

If you have movers move your stuff, be sure to be there, and watch them pack every item up, and see how they put it in the truck. Then follow them to the storage facility and make sure they put it in storage in such a way that your stuff won’t be harmed, and be there when it’s moved again.

One of my mistakes was assuming my mover really cared. I also assumed that the person who estimated the cost of my move actually knew how my stuff would be treated. He certainly led me to believe he did. Beware of anyone who says they are going to pack your stuff into a giant box that will keep it contained and “safe”. What that means is that they have a pallet with a sort of fence around it, and a lid on top. In our case, I watched them carefully pack my stuff into a truck. Then when they got it back to the storage center, they “re-packed” it into one of these boxes. In my case they stood up my 250 year old wing back sofa on its side into the box. And after storing it that way for 3 months, it traveled 2500 miles on its wing!

In addition, if you purchase a full replacement insurance policy, understand that if something IS damaged while under their care, it is the insurance people who will pick out the repair people, and THEY will be the ones who dictate how repairs are made. If this occurs, I suggest you closely document the damage to the piece. I’d even go to the expense of having a separate appraisal of the damage and repair so you can speak knowledgeably about what must be done to repair it.

I did not do this. Bekins had crushed a lovely antique mirror and instead of taking the paper backing off of the mirror, they only repaired it from the front, which left it lop-sided. Properly repairing that mirror will now involve re-breaking the frame, and risking the integrity of the entire piece.

What is so frustrating is that I know that my experience was “industry standard”. For them, it was business as usual. Also understand that if you do end up with a large claim they will deny you an average of 7 (Seven!) times before they follow through with their promise to replace or repair your stuff. This is also standard business practice, and they do this with the intent to wear the client down so they’ll “go away”

At this point, we will pack and move all our valuable stuff ourselves, from beginning to end.
I’ll never trust my things to idiots like this again.

I have more stuff I could tell you, but this post is long enough. PM me if you like.

jca's avatar

Why not just keep it in your house – you did not say whether or not it is furniture or something breakable, like a vase. If breakable, why not put it behind glass in a cabinet or something? If furniture, why not just have it in your house?

It seems like the best storage conditions would be your safe, dry house (and the price is included!).

blueiiznh's avatar

If they are keepsakes and of high importance and you can’t keep them with you then you need to research this at depth.
Find one that is secure, temp & humidity controlled.
It will also depend on where you live.
Ustoreit is one that comes to mind. Think it through wisely if they have a high meaning and value.

twothecat's avatar

Safe deposit box at the bank?

Aster's avatar

My house? lol Small: safety dep box; large? Temp controlled storage facility.

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