Retiring in Florida | FireplaceWhen you’re retiring, one of the hardest jobs is going through all of the things you’ve accumulated over the years and deciding what to keep and move to your new home in Florida and what to get rid of. For purely functional items, the choice is easier. But for those precious keepsakes that you may not use but still want to keep, proper storage is essential. These tips will help:

• Choose acid-free or acid-neutral archival storage containers. Archival means the container has been treated to protect your heirlooms from acid, dust, dirt, pests and light so they can be stored for an extended time and stay in good shape. These containers cost more, but consider them an investment.

• Choose the right container for the job. Archival storage containers come in dozens of styles and sizes, so you can choose ones appropriate for what you’re keeping.

• Remember the plastic and/or tissue. Don’t just toss your items into an archival storage box. Put pictures, old documents, CDs and DVDs, collections such as baseball cards and stamps, and similar items in archival protective plastic sleeves. Use acid-free paper to wrap items that need padding. If you invest in an archival box but wrap your items in regular paper, you’ve defeated the purpose.

• Clean it first. Don’t store dirty things. Have garments professionally cleaned and use acid-free tissue to fill sleeves and soften folds.

• Label the box. Specifically list what the box contains so you don’t have to open it when you’re looking for something after retiring in Florida.

• Store in a clean, climate-controlled place. Garages and attics are the worst place for your heirlooms, especially in Florida. When you’re retiring and planning your space needs, be sure you plan for some interior air conditioned areas for heirloom storage.