Monday, August 26, 2013

Shelf Safety: Avoid Collection Disaster

This week's post is mainly a PSA
(Public Service Announcement) It might get turned into a mini essay / article section on Gear later with photos or something. It answers the question "where was the update last week"? (Gear updated this week, not last week)

Practice Shelf Safety:
If you have a collection, you also have to have a place to store it. This generally means boxes, plastic bins, or shelves of some kind. A well stored & displayed collection keeps it safer and helps it to stay in good shape longer, almost no-matter what you collect. Since this is Sonic stuff though, you're going to find a lot of plastic in most collections.

General Tips for Safe Collections:

Keep everything out of direct sunlight.
Pretty much anything that's not metal or glass can & will fade in sun light. Enamels can yellow, cloth fades, so does ink, paper, some plastics change colors and all sorts of other bad results.
Keep everything clean.
Having a ton of stuff isn't an excuse to let it get really dusty, dirty or filthy. Mildews, powdery mildew, closet rot (usually afflicts clothing but can migrate to plastic, paper, cardboard etc), and other unsavory things LOVE living in dust. These can cause permanent staining on almost anything not metal or glass. Wipe your stuff down to clean it & don't let dust build up so you're safe.
Vacume those plushes!
Got plush dolls? Vac 'em semi-frequently with a CLEAN brush attachment of some kind. Dusty dolls can accumulate dust mites (they go poo on your stuff), and dust attracts more of that staining mildew stuff. Little rusty speckles all over a doll really mess up the value & look.

Overlooked tip:
What are your shelves made of & hung with? How are they hung?

The previous friday I had an ENORMOUS shelf fall down and basically bash up the closet. It wasn't over-loaded with heavy stuff like books, a bowling ball collection or anything like that. I would say 25 lbs or less of figures, plushes and random things scattered throughout the length. (about 4.5 feet or so, 2 ft deep shelf) So there was loads of things on it, but nothing very heavy, and nothing that added up to be heavy either.

The whole weekend had to be spent buying all new shelving, throwing out/dismantling the old & repairing all the damage it did when it tore up the wall. Not fun. So what was behind the problem?

Apparently plastic fatigue.
The shelf was a bad kind anyway, that white-coated-wire rack stuff that's cheap at the hardware store like Home Depot or Lowes. Comes in a kit with some brackets , wall anchors , and plastic nail-up 'hooks' that helps hold up the shelf. Well 2 of the hook things got spontaneous fatigue, let the shelf down enough, and then everything else just tore out of the wall leaving big holes.

So the moral of the story?
Don't trust that shabby shelving type. It was installed in the closet when I got to it, so I didn't think anything of it. But, DONT buy the white plastic coated wire shelving. It plasticisers after a while (greasy goo comes out of it, gets on your stuff) and the hanging kits it comes with can't be trusted. Newer kits are no better, it's a matter of years before they're sliming your stuff with hard to clean ooze.

Floor-standing shelves, like bookshelves can't break off the wall
Metal doesn't fatigue if left sitting in 1 spot
Wood doesn't fatigue if left alone either
Always use wall-anchors if hanging shelves - use appropriate weight rated ones too!
Plastic storage containers beat cardboard (cardboard can rot/be attacked by mold etc)
Don't store on the floor - gravity makes the floor a haven for more dirt

Fortunately, nothing broke except the wall, so the Sonic ....Gear is safe again, and new floor-standing weight-rated shelves with new plastic containers have replaced the old set up. All is well, but this disaster should be used to help prevent it for other people!