In the art world, inventory management is an essential part of art ownership. It is important for artists, collectors, and art galleries to keep accurate records of the works they own in order to keep track of their valuable pieces. Learn more about what you can do to protect your collection and where A2 Art Storage & Services can help support you and your collection.

Start with a List

The first step to successful inventory management is to create an accurate list of all the works of art in your collection. This list should include the title, artist, date, medium, and other relevant information about each piece. Make sure to include a picture of the piece unwrapped and a picture of the piece as it’s wrapped for storage. It’s also helpful to keep any relevant paperwork. Note the amount paid for the piece and any other costs associated with it (Did you pay for shipping, framing, conservation, etc.). Create your own cataloging system and assign a unique code to each piece. Place the code on the back of each piece or on the wall nearby. These codes can be cross referenced by a third party if you’re not available to walk someone through your collection. A spreadsheet is a great place to start with this type of information so it’s all in one place and easily accessible.

Keep the List Updated

Once an inventory list has been created, it is important to keep it up to date. This means that any changes made to the pieces stored should be noted, such as when a piece is moved, added, or sold. Keeping accurate records of these changes allows for easy tracking of any pieces so that nothing goes missing. Onsite at A2 Art Storage & Services, we use The Art Logistics Management System (AIMS), an integrated solution for the automation of the core processes of art logistics companies. This barcode based inventory management system allows us to relocate items in our facility in real time so we know where each object is located within the facility. Don’t have that technology at home? No problem, just make sure to note on your spreadsheet if you work makes a significant move.

A2 Art Storage Scanner & Barcode
A2 Art Storage & Services Utilized Barcode Based Inventory Management in the Warehouse

Store Everything Properly

If some of your objects are headed to storage, inside or outside your home, make sure the pieces are stored in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment, and that they are stored in acid-free boxes or other appropriate protective packaging. Make sure you monitor the storage space overtime for any signs of damage, such as water damage, pests, or other environmental hazards. 

Finally, consider the access needed for your works stored. Store items that you are going to need easier access to in a more accessible location. Use shelving to take advantage of the third dimension of space. Clearly label the work so you can easily identify it within your storage space and document the exact location of the stored work in your spreadsheet.  Without accurate labels on each piece, it can be difficult to find the right work of art in a timely manner.

Not Sure Where to Start?

Inventory management is essential whether your art is on display in your home or stored in a facility. It is important for accurate record keeping, protecting the works of art, and ensuring easy access to the pieces stored. With proper inventory management, artists, collectors, and galleries can ensure that their valuable works of art are stored and tracked safely. 

Feel overwhelmed at the prospect of documenting your collection? A2 Art Storage & Services, we provide comprehensive Collection Management services. This means we can inventory what is currently in your home and/or in storage. During this process, we can also provide comprehensive condition reports on the current status of your items and refer you to local or national resources if your pieces require services such as conservation, reframing or appraisal. Contact Us to learn more about our available services!

Are you interested in learning more about our inventory management and collection management services? Contact Us to learn about our cost-effective options for getting your inventory started!