Time to Check on Your Family Heirlooms

February 18, 2015


With winter refusing to depart for most of the country (I heard even Orlando will be hitting 0 degrees) now is a good time to take care of things around the house.  Cleaning your closets, organizing and getting rid of clothing you no longer wear is an important area to cover but checking on all of your preservations or family heirlooms is also an extension of this task.


Lets go over the do’s and don’ts from one of my previous blog posts:

First and foremost, your treasured garments needs to be properly cleaned. Always ask if your cleaning specialist if they are cleaning the dress in-house. Second, the container used for these clothing items should be acid free or archival. Third, it is important where you store it at home. Attics and basements are bad because of vast temperature and humidity changes. In a closet or under a bed, away from your registers and light is the best. Next is the ongoing care of these items in the home and now is a perfect time to check on all of them. Check your preservation or family heirlooms every 18 months to 2 years. Be sure to wear cotton gloves so that you do not transfer hand oils to the fabric. If your box was taped or sealed by a dry cleaner to not be afraid to break the seal.  This will not affect your preservation or the storage of the items.  Check for any caramelizing spots and yellowing. Change the folds on your clothing items to prevent permanent creasing. It is a good idea to change the acid free tissue every 5 years as well. The paper in a Foster-Stephens' box has a life expectancy of 1000 years but the box and tissue are what is absorbing chemicals and pollutants from the air to protect your gown. A muslin cover makes a nice addition for protection and will help the tissue last much longer. And remember, your clothing needs to breathe. Do NOT wrap it in plastic. Do museums? Absolutely not. So why would you. Some of you may find your clothing or wedding gown has been shrink wrapped. Shrink wrapping has nothing to do with "preservation" and may in fact hinder the application by trapping moisture on the inside of the plastic which will promote mildewing of your dress. It also creates an environment that has an electrostatic charge. It will also cause permanent wrinkles.

See our complete list of do's and don'ts as well as our most frequently asked questions in our FAQ. So if you are a homemaker or mom with extra time on your hands right now, take the time to check all of your family heirlooms.  They are the story of your family and need special attention.   Preservation is a long term process. The length of this process is for as long as you plan on keeping your precious memories.

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