Whether you are temporarily downsizing or simply storing away your extensive model train collection until your children are old enough to appreciate them, finding space in a safe location is a must. For this reason, you may want to consider storing the train collection in a storage unit. This will free up space in your home while still ensuring the safety of your model trains. The following tips can help.
Tip #1: Be careful when using original boxes
It's advised to store model trains in their original box, but sometimes these boxes aren't too secure. For example, boxes with transparent plastic windows tend to be flimsy. Older boxes with styrofoam padding can also pose a problem, since the styrofoam can break down and stick to the train, causing damage to the finish. The caveat is to only store in the original box if the box is sturdy and in good condition. Also, skip the original packing materials if they aren't in pristine condition.
Tip #2: Pack each train individually
Whether you are using the original boxes or replacement boxes, pack each train individually. Never try to cram two trains into a single box unless the box was expressly made to fit multiple trains. Wrap each train in acid-free tissue or packing paper, and then wrap it again in bubble wrap. The goal is to pad the trains well before boxing them so they don't bang around and become damaged. Also, if you have a train that takes batteries, make sure you remove the batteries before packing it up.
Tip #3: Box in bulk
Once the trains are individually packed, you can begin combining the single boxes into a larger container. A plastic storage tub, such as the type made to be slid underneath a bed, works perfectly for trains. You can pack the trains in this box in a single layer. You don't want multiple layers in a larger tub, though, since the weight of the trains pressing down from above can break details off of those on the bottom layer.
Tip #4: Don't overlook the accessories
Loose accessories, like controllers or track sets, are simple enough to pack. Remove any batteries and then wrap them and box them like you did the trains. If you have a train board assembled, it can be a bit trickier to store. Your best option is to cut 2-inch diameter wooden dowels to the same length, which should be a couple inches taller than the tallest item on the display. Screw a dowel into each corner of the board. For large boards, you may want to put a few dowels down the center. Now, cover the top of the board with an old sheet, which will keep the dust off and help protect the board. The dowels hold the sheet above the display so it doesn't break any of the details.
Now that you have everything packed, place it in a climate-controlled storage unit so you don't have to worry about temperature fluctuations or humidity damaging your collection. To get started, contact a storage facility such as I-70 Self Storage.