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How to Store Your Doll Collection

Updated on October 17, 2008

Importance of Correct Storage

Doll collectors inevitably need to store part or all of their doll collection at some time. Be informed and avoid the pitfalls of incorrect storage facilities, containers and general conditions that can cause irreversible damage to your doll collection.

Storage Area

Basements and attics are the most popular storage spaces and whilst these may be ideal for most goods that require storage it is not ideally suited for storage of your doll collection. These areas are prone to extreme temperatures which could cause irreversible damage your doll collection. Basements and attics are more likely to get infested by rats and moths which needless to say could damage your collection.

The most suitable area in your home would be in a closet, in a trunk or in a chest-of-drawers preferably in a temperature-controlled room. There are temperature-controlled storage available that would be suitable for your doll collection but these are costly if the doll collection needs to be stored for prolonged periods of time.

Type of Container

Dolls and doll accessories should never be stored in closed plastic bags or plastic containers. Mold growth on dolls and their clothing can be caused by the moisture that plastic containers trap and some plastic containers are known to emit gases that can be harmful to plastic or vinyl dolls. Another common error among doll collectors is to store their dolls in the original cardboard boxes. These boxes can actually cause damage to the dolls because of the acid present in cardboard. If you do store your dolls in these boxes wrap them in acid-free tissue paper or in undyed and unbleached cotton or muslin cloths.

Metal Accessories

Metal is known to discolor plastic and vinyl dolls and all metal items such as jewelry, metal headbands and metal dolls stands should be removed before storage. If you have true NRFB (never remove from box) collectible dolls then you may have to leave box and doll together, and any jewelry still on the doll, risking eventual damage to the doll.

Packing Materials

Prior to storage all your dolls and doll clothing should, ideally, be wrapped in acid-free tissue paper. A layer of this paper between the doll and clothing will prevent dolls and clothing from touching one another. Outer layers of acid-free tissue paper will form a barrier between the doll and the wood in a trunk or drawer (the acids in woods can also be damaging) Never wrap dolls or doll clothing in newspaper as newspaper has damaging acids and can leave newsprint marks. If you want to use moth crystals for the storage of wooden dolls ensure that the crystals do not touch the doll by wrapping the crystals in muslin. Do not use moth crystals with vinyl dolls as chemical reactions can occur which could lead to irreversible damage. Dolls with inset eyes must always be stored with their faces down to prevent damage to their eyes.

Storage of Doll Clothing

It is a good idea to place a ball of acid-free tissue paper inside the sleeves and bodice of doll clothing to minimize the crushing of the clothes during prolonged storage periods. Always lay the clothing down flat to minimize creasing.

Regular Checks on Stored Dolls

Remember to check your stored dolls at least once a year for any discoloration or vermin or insect infestations. Pay careful attention to clothing and sawdust for any signs of insects. Wooden dolls are a high risk for insect infestation and if undetected can spread from one doll to the next placing your entire collection at risk. If any of your dolls are found to be infested isolate the dolls until they have been chemically treated and you are satisfied that the dolls are insect-free.


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