Every artist’s work will pose its own storage questions, depending on the media used, the sizes and the quantity. We have been storing the contents from Jenny’s studio for three years, in 6 different locations. Each time we move them we have the same dilemmas as in clearing the studio: http://jennymcnultyartist.com/clearing-a-studio/ But we also learned some practical lessons.
Oil Paintings: the best way to store is in frames, on walls. It may be seem good to wrap them neatly in tissue and bubble wrap with a label such as ‘Untitled (Still Life) 30 x 30 cms’ – but it is no help when you want to identify one among 15 others with the same title and size. Of course, a photograph pinned to the label would help. If wrapped and stacked neatly in plastic boxes in a hired container, in the Cotswolds in a cold winter, check regularly, and often, for condensation and try to remove the wrapped paintings before the condensation has removed the labels and photographs. (If there is no alternative storage area then see conservation grade materials at https://www.preservationequipment.com/)
Large paper sculptures, if housed in robust wooden and glass boxes, can look after themselves provided they are kept free from extremes of heat and cold, damp, frost, and not dropped. Be advised that taking them up to an attic room is strenuous work, especially if you then conclude that, like the container, the attic might not be frost free and have to take them all down again. Try adapting a suitably strong bookcase and arranging them like books on the shelves. Make sure the bookcase is positioned where, despite being rather heavy and full of wood and glass, it can’t fall over.
Like the oil paintings, wire and paper mobiles are best kept hanging. If of necessity packed in cardboard boxes, you will be hard put to re-assemble them unless you have several pictures for each one taken from different angles showing how to fit it back together (and even then you will struggle).
Prints, and drawings: thank goodness for plan chests, which store them flat, securely, and out of sight.
Small wire confections – possibly intended for future mobiles: pack carefully in tissue and try to forget they exist until you are feeling stronger. Then try to remember where you put them …….