If you’re downsizing, moving into assisted living or dealing with the death of a loved one, it can be difficult to know what to do with their art and other valuables (Or even if something is valuable!). It’s important to take the time to consider all your options before making any decisions. Here are some tips for what to do with art and other valuables during a downsizing or death. 

Is There Already A List of Designations?

The first thing is to determine if the loved one has already made any determinations on where they would like the objects to go. If they are deceased, check with their attorney to see if their will includes itemizations. If they are downsizing, ask about designations. It’s good to check locations where important paperwork may be kept, like safes or files. For items that do not have designations, consider the following:

Get An Appraisal

Before knowing what to do with the objects, it’s helpful to know what they are worth. Many auction houses and appraisal groups can do an estimated range of value at no or little cost. This will help determine what the best next step is for the objects in question. An important tip to remember: Even if you don’t like it, it still may have value!

Art Installed On A Wall Waiting to be Crated
Art installed on a wall waiting to be crated | A2 Art Storage & Services


If you have sentimental attachments to certain pieces of art or other valuables, consider keeping them as part of your own collection. This is a great way to keep your loved one’s memory alive while also having something special that you can enjoy for years to come. Be sure to check with your attorney or tax advisor on applicable gift limits and implications.

Pass Down

If there are certain pieces that you think would be meaningful for another family member, consider passing them down as part of an inheritance or gift. This is a great way to ensure that these items stay in the family and are appreciated by future generations. If the loved one is moving into a living situation such as a nursing home or assisted living, an art storage facility can be a great landing spot for the high value objects while the family is determining who is going to inherit which pieces. Objects stored on site are inventoried and can only be accessed by/released to designated persons, as determined by the loved one or will.  


Donating art and other valuables is a great way to honor the memory of your loved one while also helping out those in need. Consider donating items to local charities, museums, or even schools. Keep in mind that institutions like museums generally collect based on a predetermined wishlist. If the works do not fit in that list, they too may sell the works and use the proceeds to fund their collections or programming. In order to understand what items an organization is interested in accepting, reach out well in advance of the life event and form a relationship with the organization’s staff. They should be happy to talk with you about how best to support the organization with the donations.  


There are many reasons to sell objects from a loved ones collection. Maybe the objects are not to the taste of the family members. Maybe the objects have dramatically increased in value since they were acquired and the funds can help offset the costs of assisted living or education expenses of family members. Selling items can be done in many ways, through auction houses, online through platforms such as eBay or Facebook Marketplace. A facility like A2 Art Storage is a great landing place for the items when determining the best next step. Our team can help install items in one of two viewing rooms for sales agents or appraisers to view in-person (Then carefully return to storage until the time is right.). We can also photograph and condition report items stored onsite or offsite to arm selling agents with detailed information about the piece(s) being offered. Our team can also softpack or crate items for shipping to their new locations, keeping the owner informed along the way. A2 Art Storage & Services customers also receive free access to our referral list, which gives family members a place to start when it comes to working with providers to see their goals through. 

No matter what you decide to do with art and other valuables during a downsizing or death, it’s important that you take the time to consider all your options before making any decisions. A2 Art Storage & Services is here to help! Contact Us anytime to discuss options for handling your loved one’s art or other high value goods.