Tips for Preparing Paintings for Long-Term Self-Storage

storing paintings
Tips for Preparing Paintings for Long-Term Self-Storage

Storing paintings for long-term self-storage can leave paintings marked, smudged, dirty, ripped, stretched, or damaged in a myriad of ways if they are not prepared properly. If you’re storing paintings for the long-term, then you need to take extra steps and care for your artworks.

We at Storage Protectors are here to keep your items protected while they are in storage, but we always want to inform our clients of the best practices for storing items, especially items of particular value, such as paintings. With this in mind, we’ve outlined the best tips for how to protect your paintings for life in long-term storage.


The first thing to know is how best to handle paintings when moving them. Even just taking them off the wall in a haphazard manner can be damaging.

  • Make sure your hands are clean.
  • Never touch the canvas.
  • Hold the painting by the frame only.
  • Never lie the painting flat (except when you are wrapping it to be packed).


You should always avoid wrapping paintings in cloth or a blanket, such as one for furniture. These are typically unclean, and any loose thread could catch a hold of paint, damaging the piece.

Instead, you should always pack paintings in special painting/mirror boxes. Before putting the painting in the box though, you should be wrapping the painting in, preferably, a poly-wrap (this is similar to tissue paper, but with many more sheets, and a plastic exterior layer). If poly-wrap is beyond your budget, then fresh, clean paper can serve as a substitute. Definitely do not use newsprint or the like, as the ink can rub off on the canvas.

Wrap the painting well, ensuring the entire face of the canvas (at least) is covered. Stuff loose, crushed paper into the bottom of the picture box before placing the painting inside, and then wedge more crushed paper down the sides of the painting, and on the top before closing the box. This will keep the painting from moving too much inside the box, while adding another layer of protection around it.


When transporting paintings, just as we mentioned above, they should never travel flat. Travelling flat can leave them at risk of other items falling on top, or unobservant movers from stepping on it. Leaving the painting flat for any extended period of time can also lead the canvas to droop.

Read this article for tips on how to move items safely.

The best bet is to tie it securely to the wall of the vehicle, standing upright. Standing upright has the added benefit of keeping the weight on the strongest points of both the box and the painting. Tie it off to prevent any movement during transport.


When storing paintings, follow the same guidelines as above. With paintings, temperature fluctuations and humidity are of a concern, so you should be renting a climate-controlled storage unit for your artwork. This unit will ensure the paintings will not be damaged by heat or moisture.

Keep your artworks stored out of any UV light, and away from any heat or dampness, as any of these could also damage your paintings. Appliances, such as refrigerators and freezers, should not be stored near paintings, as they will have standing water that can create moisture.

Take extra care when storing special items like these, and they will come out of storage in the same condition they went into storage as. Insurance on storage units is a necessity, but this is all the more significant for valuable items, such as paintings. If you have any questions about storing your artwork or about insurance for your paintings in storage, speak with our agent today.

storing paintings, Tips for Preparing Paintings for Long-Term Self-Storage