Boston, like any big city, knows the woes of being short on space. Add strong enthusiasm for collecting to the mix, and things can get crowded fast. But with events like FAN EXPO Boston and Anime Boston, the city is filled with opportunities to expand your fandom collections.
Scoring new collectibles each year is always exciting. And putting together your convention looks—whether you're into cosplay or just like to be on theme—is half the fun. Though, if you're like us, knowing how and where to store those items gets more stressful as your pile of loot grows year after year.
Luckily, we've got some storage tricks up our sleeve, and happen to have lots of Boston storage locations that are just right for storing your collectibles that are Made to Keep. Use these collectible storage tips, and your things will stay as fresh as a first edition in its debut year.
Storing clothing and textiles
Cosplay and costuming can be expensive hobbies that also take a fair amount of hard work and preparation. Don't let all that go to waste by not taking good care of your creations. Proper costume storage can keep your Daenerys Targaryen dresses looking fit to rule the Seven Kingdoms. Here are some good rules of thumb for storing clothes, especially through Boston's changing seasons.
- Textiles love a cool, dark place. Avoid attics and basements that are affected by extreme temperatures. A temperature-controlled storage unit is a good option to keep things balanced.
- For delicate fabrics, avoid folding and try to lie your pieces flat. Creases can create stress points in lighter textiles that can break down the fabric.
- Heavier pieces can pull and sag on hangers, so consider body forms to help keep bulkier pieces in shape.
- If you wrap your items, use cotton sheets or hanging bags, not paper. Paper is often acidic and can damage fabrics over time.
- Don't vacuum seal items that will be stored long-term. Textiles, while needing some protection, like to breathe, and the creases that come with sealing can misshape and break down the fabric. Good alternatives are plastic storage bins and canvas boxes.
Maintaining clean collectibles
When display space is limited, not every item makes the cut. But that doesn't mean you only keep your top-shelf picks. Action figure storage helps save your also-loved items while you show off a select few. Before packing collectibles for storage, make sure each item is clean and dust-free. This can help protect against wear-and-tear. Also, when it comes time to retrieve them from storage, they'll be ready for the spotlight!
- When it comes to how to clean action figures and other collectibles, a light touch and gentle materials are key. Start with clean, dry hands and use soft-bristled brushes, cotton swabs, and dry, condensed air to dust and polish.
- If dry cleaning hasn't cut it, distilled water and isopropyl alcohol are safest—but be careful with wood and anything with delicate paint.
- Give everyone their time in the (metaphorical) sun. Swap out action figures and other characters to match book and movie premieres, to fit the season, or simply as the mood strikes you. Limited shelf time also limits exposure to light and moisture, which will help extend the lifespan of figurines.
Keeping comic books
Fans of comics and graphic novels know how quickly a collection grows, especially if you follow more than a few active series. That's why they're perfect items to put in storage. Good comic book storage is all about keeping them pristine and organized. This is easiest when you've got proper space and the right supplies.
- Invest in comic book bags—the clear plastic sleeve kind. Use backing boards to keep them from sagging or bending, and store your comics upright in an acid-free cardboard comic book storage box.
- Temperature-controlled units are best for comic books.
- Don't leave them alone too long! Regular check-ins are the only way to make sure all's well. Plus, reading old comics is a great way to re-immerse yourself in your favorite fictional universes.
Preserving posters and cards
A side-effect of being a super fan and collecting lots of convention swag is the number of cool posters you accumulate. And don't get us started on trading cards. Though they may pile up, you don't have to choose any for the chopping block. Store the ones you don't need immediate access to and swap out posters you want to display to keep your walls looking fresh and interesting.
- Tubes and acid-free plastic wrapping are the ideal way to store posters. Make sure to label each tube for easy identifying. You can even print a small image of the poster and tape it to the tube.
- Make sure your posters are dust-free with a quick dry clean before rolling them. Wash and thoroughly dry hands before handling.
- If rolling multiple posters together, start with the largest on the bottom and layer up to the smallest.
- Trading cards need protection from creasing and wearing, especially at the corners. Penny sleeves protect the surface, while long, slim boxes or a storage container with dividers keep the cards from shuffling around and bending.
Organizing jewelry, accessories, and other small items
Superheroes and anime stars love a good accessory, so emulating your favorite characters can come with a lot of small parts. Keeping costume details organized and out of the way requires some strategy.
- Take inventory and keep a pictured list of everything you put in storage, as small items can be easily forgotten.
- Keep your valuables close to home, but costume jewelry and accessories are prime candidates for storage, especially larger items like staffs, masks, and swords.
- Use segmented containers and bins to keep small pieces separate and organize by theme. Keep your elf ears with your elvish jewelry, for instance. Label each container—even clear plastic bins—for quick identifying.
Well organized and safely stored collectibles, costumes, and comic books take the stress out of convention-going. Knowing where everything is and that it's all in good condition means you can roll into your storage unit, grab what you need, and make room for more. Don't worry about picking up another Link shield or key sword when you have storage space to keep it all. So, let your fan flags fly, Boston, and enjoy more collecting at events like Boston Fan Expo and Anime Expo Boston!
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