The time has finally come! Edward and I have found a place, and we’ll be getting the keys on September 15th!
Now, you’d think considering how long ago I started posting pictures on IG under #movingwithacollection that I’d be done packing… hahahaha! Nope. So I’ll be spending the next week ruthlessly packing as much as I can, as fast as I can, and posting a bunch more to that tag. Follow me at MoonFigures to see those! Our schedules are making it hard to move out ASAP, so *sigh* yea.
After that I should be able to post that moving tutorial. Apologies for the huge wait. I had no idea it would take FOUR MONTHS to find a place and actually move out lol.
I’m not 100% on when I’ll have internet, but I’m perfectly capable of taking pictures, editing them, and writing something up that I can share in a place with internet, so I’ll be sure to keep you up to date.
It was requested a while ago that I do a piece talking about plushy cleaning, so I figured I’d cover plushy care in general. Cleaning and caring for your NEW plushies can be pretty easy, but if you buy something used and receive it in less than desirable condition you’re going to have some work to do to help it look new.
PLEASE NOTE: This blog post was written considering mostly Japanese Sailor Moon Crane Game plushies from the 90’s. Feel free to ask about specific plushies/issues in the comments, or do some research on the fabrics in your plushies and apply the appropriate techniques! There should still be a lot here to help you at least get started.
Lint rollers are basically my life saver. I use them on my every day clothing, but I also use them on my fabric back drops, and plushies! The sticky won’t transfer onto fabrics, and they won’t pull apart plushy fabric. To get into those hard to reach places just pull off a clean sheet and manually clean the areas yourself. If the sheet is too big cut or tear pieces that will work better.
Makeup brushes are also a great way to pull dust out of tight spaces. They’re also soft enough to not scratch or rip fabric.
Pilling is something that happens when the fabric is rubbed a lot in wear or use. It balls up into little puffs of fabric until the fabric wears away entirely and forms a hole. This doesn’t usually reach hole status in collectible plushies, but it’s common in a plushy that gets a lot of love, or underarm of knitted shirts.
There are tools for doing this. It’s a little blade connected to a casing that will suck up and hold the cut off bits of cotton, but shaving razors work just as well.
There are lots of things to consider when washing a plushy. First consider how the plushy is assembled. If there are elements that are hot glued it may be better to hand wash the plushy in colder water. How old is the plushy? If it’s old and fragile it might not make it through the cycles in a washing machine. Last, are there any existing damages that might push further if it is machine washed?
Remove any tags that can not be washed safely. If the plushy has a card board tag that has a plastic tab on it, bend the tab and slip the tag off. This shouldn’t damage the plush or tag, and it’s easy to put the tag back on: just do the exact same thing, except slide the tag back on.
Once the plushy is tag free and you’re sure it’s washer safe put it into a washer bag. They’re typically for bras, but they will protect your plushies as well. If you don’t have a washer bag use a pillowcase instead, and tie over the end with a hair elastic. Set the washer to delicate or a setting you use for delicate items.
There are multiple options for hand washing. Fill a washing pan or sink full of soapy water or can spot wash. Either way, if you use soap I recommend Dawn Liquid Detergent.
Sink: Fill with cold to warm water depending on dirty it is and add soap. Place plushies in water, let soak, and lightly scrub as needed with a wash cloth (preferably something microfiber that won’t leave bits of itself in your plushy). A kids toothbrush can also be soft enough to help scrub out stubborn stains.
Spot Wash: Dip a cloth into cold to warm water and only use the cloth on the area of the plushy that requires cleaning. Use clean, non-soapy water to clear off the area of soap or cleaners.
Most plushies will be better off air drying. Long furs, and plastic-y fabrics should definitely air dry. So should any plush with damage that weakens its integrity.
Air Drying: Lay flat in a safe, dry, and warm space.
Sun Drying: Be sure to flip it every hour until dry. Do NOT let the plushy sit in the sun for several days. You risk sun damaging it, more especially if it is old.
Blow Drying: Be cautious of the heat settings. Do not let it accidentally melt your plushies if they are made of synthetic materials. Game machine plushies are often made of felt or a similar fabric and can be heat sensitive. It is not easy to melt fabric with a blow dryer, but is possible on higher settings.
Spot removers that are for clothing, or gentle on fabrics should be safe. ALWAYS test these in a spot that is not usually visible (bottom side of a skirt, under a tail, etc.). Be sure that the remover is safe for colours! Many of them contain bleach. Tide-To-Go pens are a popular choice and have a lot of good reviews. Just remember that they are a step previous to washing. If you do not want to wash your entire plush spot washing with a cloth is a good option after using the pen.
Lysol wipes are my FAVOURITE for spot washing plushies. It disinfects and removes dirt at the same time and won’t damage anything. This CAN be kind of wasteful if you don’t like the sheets. I invite you to buy the equivalent Lysol and a cleaning cloth.
For items I can’t get clean or stain hard and CAN go into the washer I LOVE Resolve Spray Wash. This stuff is AMAZING at removing stains. I recommend following the directions which is usually to spray the stain, scrub, let sit for 5 minutes, and wash.
I have used this product on synthetic products that do not leak dye and I’ve had no problem letting it sit longer on harder stains. If an item has dyed fabric I recommend being cautious doing that. The instructions warn that it could remove dye.
Ripped Seams/Pieces that have come Unglued
Repairing a plushy will always depend on how the actual plushy was made to repair it to like-new state. Most of my modern plushies are sewn together 100% with some embroidered elements, while my older plushies from the 1990’s are a mix of sewing, hot glue, or a glue that resembles super glue.
Before moving forward, clear up the area you are repairing. Remove any loose threads, or old glue. Old glue can be removed with glue dissolvants that are meant for that glue. Goo-Gone is a good place to start, but I like to use 100% Acetone (aka nail polish remover). ALWAYS test that it won’t damage the plush first. Acetone is GREAT for removing hot glue from acrylic yarn and felt.
Seam Rips: These can be repaired several ways. I only suggest resewing the patch if you know how, or carefully fabric glue the section together. Be sure to follow the directions on the bottle. Not following the proper procedure WILL result in the fabric glue not holding well enough.
Sun bleaching happens when an item fades in colour after long exposure to the sun. This normally takes quite a few days to years to happen in items like plastic, but it can take a few days on fabrics.
On fabrics there is no repair process for this without re-dying the fabric. Be sure to colour test swatches before dying a full section of fabric affected. If part of a panel is damaged do not dye just the damaged section. It will be less noticeable if the full panel is dyed. If the plush is intact use a paintbrush and mask off the areas you do not want to paint with tape so that it is easier to complete the job without mistakes.
While I highly recommend synthetic fabric dyes, in a pinch, watered down Acrylic paints CAN dye fabrics, but I recommend not calling that a repair, as it can harden the fabric.
A lot of collectible plushies will come in bag plastic wrapping. If the bag does not obstruct any part of the plush that you want visible it’s worth keeping it in the bag just to avoid dust contamination. If there IS an issue with how the plush is bagged it should be okay to open it and adjust things. The bags do not really affect their worth the same way an open or sealed box affects a figures value.
A small collector secret is Cling Wrap! It’s not the most attractive way to protect a plushy, but it’s cheap, and it CAN look good if you apply it properly. This was a method my parents used with my china dolls when I was a kid. They created a small bag out of the wrap, and while the outside of the cling wrap yellowed with smoke the doll stayed perfectly clean and did not turn, even after 20 years.
When looking for replacement bag options avoid bags (and cling wrap) meant for freezers. These can sometimes have chemicals in them meant for protecting food and can yellow collectibles over long periods of time.
Plushies can be easy to maintain in a display case. This can range from things like shadow boxes to full on book shelves with doors. I even use a china cabinet to display dolls and plush in, and this keeps out a lot of dust.
For large displays I have used the Ikea Detolf. It’s a great tempered glass display shelf that’s compact, but has just the right dimensions to play around with. It’s easy to wrap something like cling wrap around the front display and pile plush behind it so they don’t fall out when the door is opened.
Book shelving is one of the more obvious answers, but I am tossing this in in 2021 as an update to the post. I have since sold my detolfs in exchange for shelving because I maxed out my detolfs in the space I had available. When I moved out I was broke af and went with the Ikea Gersby shelf, but a couple years in and I think my next move will be to upgrade to Ikea Billy shelves. The Gersby shelving is great and uniform with their unadjustable shelves, but that has greatly hindered my ability to display larger items, or keep items in boxes. I can also upgrade my Billy shelves in the future with doors
If you DO buy a Billy shelf with doors be sure to anchor it to the wall no matter where you live or if you have earth quakes. The doors make the shelving front heavy and unreliable as free standing.
At the ripe old age of 26 I have found an amazing man who accepts my collecting (probably because I accept his lol), loves me to pieces, and wants to share a small living space with me. I’ve tried to warn him. I really have. But he still insists that that’s what he wants. *shrugs*
I thought it’d be helpful to document how I plan on moving my gigantic collection (and maybe his, though most of his collection is in book form). I’ve seen a LOT of questions on both my blog, and in passing through the internet, about how to pack and move a collection. In my case it’ll be a wide variety of items as my collection is diverse, so there should be some unique information.
These posts will be included under my Collection Care tag and category.
For my first moving feature…
Gashapon are frustrating to transport because they are often small and lower quality. This means they can break easily, small parts are easily lost, and paint transfer is hard to avoid when they immediate instinct is to toss them into a box and forget about it. This… would have been a nightmare to unpack, so I decided to pack each piece individually, and take as much care as I needed.
To start, I found a box I felt would fit my entire collection. I’ll be honest, I went through 2 boxes. The first filled up MUCH faster than anticipated, but my entire collection of gasha eventually fit into 1 bankers box.
DO be aware of the weight you’re putting in your box. Heavy sets of items, or larger items in general, should go on the bottom. Fragile sets should go near the top. Figures that assemble should be taken apart if any of the parts could potentially bend, warp, or crack off.
Ziplock bags will become your best friend here. Organize the parts of your gashapon into ziplock or sandwich bags. 1 gashapon item to a bag, or sets together if possible.
When picking what items will fill what bags consider if those items run the risk of paint transfer together.
If you plan on using long term storage be sure to avoid using freezer bags, bags meant for long term food storage. The chemicals used in those bags can be harmful to collectibles over long periods of time
I’ve also organized things like wrappers, stickers, tags, and handkerchiefs into bags corresponding to similar items. These will be helpful to cushion layers of the box, and keep items together for organization later.
Feel free to ask about specific items/types of items and I’ll be sure to feature it in one of my posts!
Chances are when you have a growing collection you’ll find yourself storing boxes, items of lesser importance, or items you just can’t display right now. It’s difficult to know exactly how you should do that when you’ve never had to before, so hopefully I can provide some tips you didn’t consider.
As storing and moving can go hand-in-hand I’ll attempt to cover specific products/methods individually. There are no rules… these are just things I’ve done myself, or have read about.
Funny enough, one of the best ways to store your item is exactly how you received it! In the manufacturers packaging. As most of the packaging will probably be cardboard I recommend storing your items in a cool, dry place. You can stretch wrap the box, or tape paper towel around it for extra security from dust or spills (use the stretch wrap).
This is not a permanent storage solution for figures! PVC and ABS figures are known to “sweat” in their boxes. The plastic will feel oily or sticky. This can be washed off with a damp cloth, but be sure to take extra care. If the figure is not custom made you can wash it in cool to warm water. Do not use hot water.
Zip Lock baggies are PERFECT for small items with multiple parts like gashapon. They take up very little space, can be flattened, and contorted to fit into small spaces, plus they can be sealed in order to keep the contents in the bag without difficulty. They’re also available at the dollar store in standard sizes, or various sizes online for very cheap.
Be sure to choose a Zip Lock bag that is not meant for freezer usage or mentions anything about preserving food for long lengths of time. I’ve read about acidic properties in the plastic causing damage to the paint and plastic of figures that are stored for long periods of time. As regular Zip Lock bags shouldn’t be an issue, I imagine it is the bags with special preservative properties that are the problem. A bag designed to avoid freezer burn, or other issues could have additives in the plastic that protect something like food, but damage plastic or paint.
For safest, and flattest storage be sure to disassemble your gashapon or item (if possible).
Sometimes you’ve got nothing else! If you haven’t saved your manufacturers packaging use a paper or cotton towel to wrap, stuff, and secure the small areas of your merchandise. Tape around them when you’re happy with the amount you’ve wrapped and secured it.
Paper towel is great if you’re moving or storing for long periods. Cotton or regular towels/blankets are fine temporarily, mostly because you’ll probably want that in the shower eventually.
If you clean your items before packing them away you can even reuse the paper towels.
Stretch wrap products like Saran Wrap should be treated like zip lock bags. For long-term storage seek options that aren’t meant for preserving frozen food. For anything temporary it shouldn’t matter too much.
Stretch wrap is great for soft items like plushies, or even dolls. You can also wrap them in a single layer or two, pull it tight, and neat around the plush, and display them that way to avoid dust, and smoke damage. My parents use to wrap the plastic loose, but neatly around my porcelain dolls and create doll bags for them for the same reasons.
A perfectly acceptable choice of storage is, well, in a storage container. Rubber Maid makes a lot of great, sturdy choices, and I highly recommend using them. They will keep your stuff mostly safe from water and potential hazards.
To take full advantage of them either use the manufacturer’s box, or an alternative to safely secure the item (read above). Pack nicely into the box and there you go! I also like to stuff mine with cotton or paper towels to keep the items from bumping around, and denting or breaking things.
Beware, some containers have small holes for drainage in the bottom. Check before you buy to make sure you’re getting your preference.
If you can’t afford to pick up a bunch of containers at Walmart, try paper boxes! When we get boxes of paper at work from Staples I ask to keep the box if it doesn’t rip. I use them for craft storage and box storage at home.
Do not underestimate how much a shipping tube will protect your posters and what can fit into them. I have over 50 of those plastic anime posters rolled into one of these, and it saves me both space AND damage when in storage at home, or moving to a new location.
Mothballs are a bit questionable. They SHOULD be ok to store in your containers to keep your boxes safe, but there are many controversies over the potential health risks of using mothballs. If you are someone who uses them I recommend it, but also recommend researching the risks (especially if you have pets or children).
If you’re into comics you probably already know about, or have seen comic boards and bags. These are standard comic sized boards you place behind your comic, and then place into the accommodating (but sold separately) sized bags. This not only protects them from damage, but makes them easier to store on shelving, or in a comic box.
But did you know that these same items exist for standard books and manga? They don’t typically need back boards though, since they’re usually sturdier. You can buy manga, book, and comic bags here, or most likely at your local comic shop.
For books that you can’t buy a standard size bag for you can also use shrink-wrap! Shrink-wrap can be purchased at most local hardware, or office supply stores (my Staples carries it!). If you’re worried about the glue in your books it should be fine. My local stores shrink wrap manga all of the time using a hair dryer or heat gun at safe settings.
A shrink-wrap system can cost a lot of money, but for long-term storage it’s a good solution, AND it can be used for more than just your books.
Have questions about the items you own? Comment below and I’ll respond with a suggestion, as well as add it to the article.