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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Plastic Storage Boxes vs. Archival from Mary P.

Q. Dear Debra,

Just left Fabric Link's web site and they do not recommend plastic storage boxes for long term storage. Why do you recommend them. I'm confused.

A. Everything depends upon the material the box is made of and where it will be stored.  Look for a '5' in the recycle code triangle or 'PP'.  Rubbermaid and Sterilite make boxes of this inert polypropylene resin. The boxes are widely used in museums.

The key is to store at room temp, away from exterior walls and do not tape or otherwise seal the boxes.  Fuller instructions can be read here and here.

Check on contents periodically to catch anything needing attention early, when corrective measures are easiest.  You should also do this when using archival board boxes.

The polypropylene boxes are also terrific because they offer more protection in case of roof or pipe leak and against pest infiltration.  They are also easily found (home improvement and department stores nationwide) and stack well.

There are even some underbed ones with a separate little compartment for lavender or cedar! Under bed in a climate-controlled bedroom is a great storage spot.  Shelves on interior walls of closets are also good.

Though I have a letter on file from Rubbermaid confirming the safety of all of their boxes for storage, I do recommend the white boxes.  Coloring agents make me nervous.