Here is a step-by-step guide to safely storing away baby clothes, baby quilts and bedding and other heirloom textiles:
1. Make sure the garment or other textile is absolutely clean before storing. If the garment needs to be professionally dry-cleaned, be sure to point out to the drycleaner any known stains and their composition so that he or she can effectively treat them. If not properly removed, they can 'reappear' after a time and attract damaging insects and cause deterioration and discoloration. If the garment can be laundered, treat all stains and wash thoroughly with a safe cleaner. Your kit contains a single wash packet of Eucalan Lavender Wash. Follow included brochure instructions for the use of this wonderful wash. Dry thoroughly before storing.
2. Purchase a white Rubbermaid® or Sterilite® box (underbed or otherwise) large enough to hold the garment(s). These types of storage boxes are made of polypropylene, which is an inert material used for archival application. Other brands may be safe as well - look for the #5 within the recycling code triangle or the letters "PP". If you prefer, we can supply you with a 30 X 18 X 6 inch archival board box for $35 plus actual UPS oversize shipping (very expensive). E-mail your zip code if you would like a shipping quote, but Rubbermaid and Sterilite® are fine. In fact, the polypropylene boxes are in some ways superior to archival board boxes. They are not entirely airtight, which is good, and they offer more protection against water (in say, the event of a leaking roof or pipe) and pests. Polypropylene is used extensively by curators. Being entirely inert, it is safe for all materials.
3. Wash and dry your hands before handling garment, to remove acidic oils naturally present. Remove any metal buttons or ornaments from the item and store in an archival sleeve (provided in the Preservation Pack) in the bottom of the box. If these are left on the clothing, they may corrode and cause staining. Be sure and include a written reminder of where the buttons, etc. belong on the garment. You may alternatively 'collar' the buttons with 2 or 3 circlets or strips cut of the archival tissue.
4. Cover a flat area with a clean white sheet or muslin and place a sheet of acid and lignin free tissue on the surface. Use only archival tissue. Gift and drycleaner grade tissue are sometimes acid free, but they may not be lignin free. To be sure, use tissue produced for archofival applications. Our tissue is pH neutral to slightly alkaline. It is produced for archival use and passes several industry standard tests for archival application (the ANSI P.A.T and the TAPPI T44 are the 2 most important). It is safe for all materials.
5. Lay the items out face down on the tissue and inspect carefully to be sure that all are clean.
6. Lightly stuff any sleeves and bodices with archival tissue. Do this for hats and other three dimensional objects as well.
7. Beginning on one side and working around the garment, fold to the center while interleaving each fold with a sheet or two of lightly crumpled acid free tissue. The tissue will cushion the folds a bit to help prevent creasing and to protect seams. Continue around the item, folding and interleaving as you go, until you have the garment ready to fit into the storage box.
8. Line your storage container with a sheet or two of tissue, then turn the item over and place it in the box .
9. Now add the sachet of french lavender. It will repel pests while keeping everything wonderfully fragrant. Place the sachet in a corner behind some tissue so it will not actually touch the items stored.
10. Place a copy of your baby announcement, cards received and any other memorabilia related to the birth, adoption or other event in the box. Include a few lines telling a bit about the event. The included provenance sheet has guidelines for waht to record. Don't be afraid to mention things that went 'not according to plan' . You'll be glad you did in years to come, as time's perspective sometimes makes these the best memories of all! Cards, photos and papers included should be in an archival sleeve (5 included) or envelope so as not to come in direct content with the garment(s). There is a clear reseable archival envelope included for the provenance sheet.
11. Choose your storage spot carefully . Ideal spots are on a shelf in an interior closet or underbed in a climate-controlled room. . External walls can mean extreme temperature and humidity swings, which should be avoided due to the danger of deterioration of fiber caused by expansion and contraction, and the danger of mold and mildew growth caused by condensation. For this reason, and because of pests, the attic, the garage and the basement are all poor choices for storage. Try to be sure the storage area is not too near any plumbing pipes, the better to avoid the possibility of damage from a leaking or a burst pipe. Remember that average household temperature and humidity are comfortable for you, and for your stored garments.
12. Finally, inspect the gown or garment at least once a year. This will give early warning of any developing trouble while corrective measures are easiest. When refolding the items to replace, do so along slightly different lines to minimize and equalize stress to fabric and seams. Consult with your insurance agent to be sure heirlooms are covered.