By Vince Mancuso, Storage.com
Whether it’s Star Wars figures or Captain America busts, collectors of action figures have been buying and keeping figurines of their favorite characters for decades. And while this is great for children of young ages up through college years, as collectors grow older and begin families of their own, room to store collectible figures isn’t always readily available.
“Most action figure collectors enter the hobby before they have a spouse or growing family,” says Corey Tincher, community manager and action figure enthusiast with DASH, an online community for sharing, managing, buying, and selling action figure collections.
Being single allows you to keep your collection close at home, but once a significant other, spouse, or family enters the picture, space disappears fast. “I run into countless collectors trying to sell their beloved figures because of this very scenario,” Tincher adds.
Enter self storage. By renting a storage unit for an action figure collection, you have enough space to store your entire collection, large or small, in a safe place away from home.
“Having access to a dedicated storage locker could easily prevent [stress and] still maintain the value and investment of the collection,” Tincher explains. “A vast majority of collectors could store their entire collection in a 10×10 storage unit with some organization and maximization of the vertical space.”
Find the Best Storage Unit for Your Action Figure Collection
“Action figures can be a nightmare to store without an organizational system and the raw real estate to hold them,” says Tincher. “Using a storage unit to store one’s figures enables an action figure collector to focus on both of those aspects without dedicating an entire room (or more) in their home to the process.”
When it comes to finding a storage unit, Tincher believes you can always find the exact storage unit size you need. Plus, he adds, it’s easy to go up a size at your storage facility.
“Action figures can be a nightmare to store without an organizational system and the raw real estate to hold them.”
Corey Tincher, community manager and action figure enthusiast with DASH
“It’s always good to ask the manager what’s available on the site,” says Guido Tebano, Vice President of Sales at Treasure Island Storage, a family-owned chain of storage facilities in New York and New Jersey. “Sometimes, you don’t have a cookie-cutter space. Sometimes, instead of a 5×5, you have a 4×8.”
For those who plan to frequently visit their collections or plan to add to it in storage, Tebano recommends going with a slightly larger storage unit. This makes it easier to organize your collection within your unit, as well as create a path in the unit to access items in the front and back.
Protecting Your Action Figure Collection in Self Storage
When it comes to protecting your collection, there are a number of factors to consider. Do you live in a city with high summer temperatures? Are you concerned about your collection being stolen or vandalized?
“People tend to always ask, ‘Is my stuff safe?’” says Tebano.
If you’re worried about extreme temperatures and humidity damaging your collection, both Tincher and Tebano recommend finding a storage unit equipped with climate control.
“Action figures don’t necessarily require climate-controlled environments, but it could be beneficial in very extreme climates,” says Tincher. “Very high heat—90°F or more—can be detrimental to the condition and structural integrity of many kinds of figures. Similarly, freezing temperatures can contribute to moisture issues, crack the plastic bubbles of figures, and create brittle rubber and plastic.”
“People tend to always ask, ‘Is my stuff safe?’”
Guido Tebano, Vice President of Sales at Treasure Island Storage
According to Tebano, the key is avoiding major fluctuations in temperature within the unit, which is why most storage facilities offer units with climate control. Renters should keep in mind, he adds, that it’s not like an apartment building, and optimal storage temperature may not be the most comfortable.
As far as protecting your collection from theft of vandalism, Tebano suggests finding a storage facility with state-of-the-art security features, like gated access and video surveillance. He also encourages would-be renters to find a facility with on-site management.
“If you have a lot of bells and whistles, but you have a manager who’s never on site or staff that’s not looking at what’s going on in the facility, what’s the point?” Tebano asks.
“Many action figure collections can exceed six figures in value,” says Tincher. “[Security] is ultimately up to the collection and their perception of value, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.”
How to Organize Your Collection in a Storage Unit
Before any organization begins, Tincher recommends cleaning any loose figures to avoid any debris from adhering to the figure or staining the paint. To further prevent any smearing or smudging of paint, he says each loose figure can be placed in its own plastic bag to keep figures from touching each other directly.
Tincher says both loose and boxed figures should be set in sealed containers before moving your collection to storage. “Plastic storage tubs that snap shut are perfect, as they can help keep our moisture, light, and any potentially troublesome insects,” he adds.
“It’s also always good to label boxes,” says Tebano, adding that it may be beneficial to explore organization apps for smartphones to know exactly what’s in each box. As far as placing these boxes, Tebano says it’s ideal to create an aisle or store the boxes along the walls. Some facilities may even offer rentals on shelving, giving you access to vertical organization.
“Being able to separate figures into different lines, series, or by size/scale on different shelves will help you keep everything sorted…’”
Corey Tincher, community manager and action figure enthusiast with DASH
“Any time a storage unit provides options for organization like in-unit shelving, it’s definitely going to help,” says Tincher. “Being able to separate figures into different lines, series, or by size/scale on different shelves will help you keep everything sorted and accessible in a convenient way in case you want to move figures from storage or add more in the future.”
Once all your action figures are placed in a storage unit, there’s no reason you can’t continue to collect with further conveniences offered by storage facilities.
“There’s a lot of things people don’t realize about storage that they can utilize, especially collectors,” says Tebano. “An interesting feature people may not recognize is that some facilities have package-acceptance.”
For collectors buying online, this means your new figure or bust can be sent directly to your facility, where it will be signed for and protected until you pick it up. And if you’re looking to sell a piece in your collection, Tebano says many online sellers operate out of a storage unit.
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