Whether you have purchased one or created one yourself, eventually you will redecorate and wish to store your paintings. If not stored properly, the painting will become damaged and repairing it can be costly (and sometimes impossible). To protect your art and store it properly there are only a few simple steps to follow.
Unless your attic or basement is climate controlled, do not store your paintings there. Excessive heat and cold will cause cracks and warping to name but two types of damage. When choosing an area to store your paintings, choose an environment similar to that where the painting was originally hung (a closet is recommended).
If you are dealing with a painting on canvas, first insure there is a backing board attached. If one is not already there, adding one will help provide physical protection from direct contact to the back of the canvas. Ask a professional before attaching this yourself. You may inadvertently damage your painting.
It is also recommended to frame your painting. This helps to prevent buckling and makes it a little easier for transporting, but ultimately is a personal choice.
Make certain you store your paintings vertically from largest to smallest and off of the floor. Raising them off of the floor promotes airflow which is a necessity and prevents mold and water damage. Protectively wrap each of your paintings and separate them with two pieces of rigid material (cardboard is one example). Covering them in cotton sheets (as opposed to synthetic fibers) also prevents mold, but you must be careful NOT to allow the cotton fibers to come in contact with the front of the painting. When this is the case, use appropriate paper to shield the front of the canvas. One recommendation is to use silicone release paper. Talk with a professional about which papers are best to use depending on the type of painting you are storing.
If storing your paintings for an extended period of time, it is recommended to check them periodically for damage and do some general housekeeping to keep them free of dust. If the painting you are storing is of value (either personal or monetary) always speak with a professional before taking any action. While visiting your local gallery for advice you may just find something new to add to your walls.