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10 Places Not Suitable for Action Figure Storage: Protect Your Collection!

Jun 20, 2024
10 Places Not Suitable for Action Figure Storage

As an action figure collector, you understand the importance of preserving your valuable collection. Proper storage is essential to maintain their pristine condition and ensure they retain their value over time. This comprehensive guide on “10 places not suitable for action figure storage” will help you avoid common storage mistakes and protect your action figures from potential damage.

Key Takeaways

  • Direct sunlight, high humidity and uncontrolled temperatures should be avoided when storing action figures.
  • Basements and attics must be converted into climate-controlled storage areas with proper upkeep.
  • Cardboard boxes, smoke and pollutants as well as overcrowded spaces are unsuitable for protecting action figures. Use protective materials instead.

Direct Sunlight Exposure

Action figures displayed on a shelf with direct sunlight shining through the window

Direct sunlight exposure is one of the worst enemies of action figures, including vintage figures. Prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays can cause discoloration, fading, and brittleness in action figures. This process, known as photodegradation, occurs when UV rays react with the chemicals present in plastic materials, such as those in Star Wars figures.

The consequences of sunlight exposure can be severe. Here are some tips to safeguard your collection from the sun’s damaging effects:

  • Keep your collection away from windows and skylights.
  • Avoid leaving them exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods.
  • Store them in plastic boxes to provide an extra layer of protection.

By following these precautions, you can help prevent your figures from becoming brittle and dry, reducing the risk of breakage.

While showcasing your figures in clear plastic tubs may appear attractive, you should factor in the possible harm that sunlight could inflict. Instead, opt for a display that shields your figures from direct sunlight and fluorescent lights. This way, you can still showcase your collection while ensuring their longevity.

High Humidity Environments

Plastic containers with action figures in a high humidity environment

High humidity environments can wreak havoc on your action figures, potentially causing rot, corrosion, and mold growth, even on unopened figures. Moist air can adversely affect cardboard, which is a factor to consider when deciding how to store your figures.

Maintaining balanced humidity levels in your storage space is paramount in shielding most figures from humidity-induced harm. If you live in a humid climate and worry about moisture retention in plastic containers, puncture holes in the sides or lid of the tub for air circulation. This simple step can help you prevent damage to your action figure collection caused by excess humidity.

In general, action figures tend to fare better when stored in plastic totes rather than cardboard boxes. Plastic containers provide better protection against moisture in the air, ensuring your figures remain in tip-top condition.

Uncontrolled Temperature Areas

Warped action figures due to uncontrolled temperature in a garage

Uncontrolled temperature areas, such as garages or unfinished attics, can put your action figures at risk due to fluctuating temperatures. Extreme heat can speed up thermal oxidation. This is a reaction which occurs when oxygen comes into contact with polymers found in plastic. This process contributes to discoloration and brittleness over time. On the other hand, prolonged exposure to extreme cold can cause figures to become brittle as well.

Fluctuations in temperature don’t just affect the plastic material; they can also cause the paint to expand and contract, resulting in cracking and fading. Storing your figures in a space with controlled temperatures is a preventive measure against such damage.

Avoid storing your figures in garages, unfinished attics, or any other space with uncontrolled temperatures. Instead, opt for a room in your house that maintains stable temperatures year-round. This simple precaution can go a long way in preserving the quality and value of your action figure collection.

Basements and Attics

While basements and attics may seem like convenient storage spaces, they often have inconsistent temperatures and humidity levels, making them unsuitable for action figure storage. Potential damages to your figures stored in these spaces include:

  • Dryness leading to rubber cracking
  • Excessive dampness causing mold growth
  • Rusting of metal parts
  • Warping of boxes

To avoid these issues, consider converting your basement or attic into a climate-controlled storage area. Use dehumidifiers or air conditioners to regulate temperature and humidity levels, ensuring a safe environment for your action figures.

Keep your collection well-organized and labeled, using lidded plastic bins or boxes for protection against dust, moisture, and pests. Regular upkeep and scrutiny of the storage area can aid in promptly tackling any problems, thus warding off damage to your action figures.

Near Heating or Cooling Sources

Keeping action figures close to heating or cooling sources can instigate temperature variations, potentially causing damage and distortion of the figures. Maintaining a stable temperature environment for storing action figures is necessary, as contact with extreme heat or cold can be detrimental.

Materials used in action figures, such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), softer plastics, nylon, and resin, respond differently to varying temperatures. Therefore, it is prudent to keep action figures away from direct sunlight and avoid placing them near heating or cooling sources.

Ensure your figures are stored in a room with consistent and moderate temperatures, ideally around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, to guarantee their preservation.

Damp or Flood-Prone Spaces

Damp or flood-prone spaces can cause significant damage to your action figures, including:

  • Moisture damage
  • Mold growth
  • Corrosion
  • Structural damage

Moisture can stain, warp, and even destroy the original packaging of your figures.

To protect your collection from the hazards of damp or flood-prone spaces, store your action figures in a dry and flood-free environment. Inspect the storage area regularly for signs of moisture, pests, or deterioration, and address any issues promptly to prevent damage to your action figures.

Moreover, keep an eye on metal parts of your figures, as they are more prone to corrosion when stored in a humid environment.

In Cardboard Boxes

Cardboard boxes may seem like a convenient storage solution, but they can absorb moisture and provide little protection against temperature fluctuations, making them a poor choice for action figure storage. Cardboard is not waterproof and can be affected by changes in temperature and humidity, which can lead to mold growth and damage the quality of your figures.

In most cases, it’s best to avoid using cardboard boxes for long-term action figure storage. Instead, consider using plastic bins or containers, which offer better protection and durability.

By opting for plastic containers, you can shield your action figures from moisture, dust, and pests, ensuring that your collection remains in excellent condition for years to come.

Exposed to Smoke and Pollutants

Exposure to smoke and pollutants can cause discoloration and damage to action figures. Pollutants such as:

  • Phthalates
  • Lead
  • Cadmium
  • Naphthalene

Harmful substances can be found in plastics, toys, and household dust, and they can detrimentally affect the condition of your carded figures as well as other figures.

To protect your action figures from the harmful effects of smoke and pollutants, store them in a clean, smoke-free environment. Regularly dust and clean your figures to remove any accumulated pollutants that may cause damage over time.

Staying alert and proactive will help maintain your action figure collection’s quality and value, making sure it continues to be a source of pride and pleasure for many years.

Overcrowded Storage Units

Overcrowded storage unit with action figures packed tightly

Overcrowded storage units can lead to damage from pressure and friction between figures. Avoiding this requires ensuring ample space and proper organization for your collection. This entails not cramming your action figures too closely and ensuring they are neatly arranged and readily accessible.

Proper organization not only helps to prevent damage but also makes it easier to find specific store figures when you need them. Use plastic tubs or display cases to store your figures, ensuring that they are protected from the elements and have enough space to prevent overcrowding.

Investing time in organizing and storing your action figures correctly can contribute to their longevity and sustain their value in the long run.

Without Proper Protective Materials

Storing action figures without proper protective materials, such as bubble wrap or polypropylene bags, can result in scratches, paint chipping, and other damage to the figures. Using suitable protective materials when storing your collection is necessary for their preservation and value maintenance.

There are several types of protective materials available, including plastic shell cases, re-sealable bags, and polypropylene bags. These materials can help to safeguard your action figures from harm and keep them looking their best.

Spending on appropriate protective materials for your action figure collection offers peace of mind knowing your figures are secure and will stay in prime condition for the foreseeable future.


In conclusion, proper storage is crucial for preserving the quality and value of your action figure collection. By avoiding common storage mistakes and taking the necessary precautions, you can ensure that your figures remain in pristine condition for years to come.

Remember to store your collection away from direct sunlight, high humidity, uncontrolled temperature areas, and damp or flood-prone spaces. Use durable storage containers, provide adequate space, and invest in proper protective materials. By following these guidelines, you can confidently display and enjoy your action figure collection, knowing that it is well-protected and preserved.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I store action figures in garage?

Storing action figures in the garage is not recommended due to the possibility of moisture, light, and UV exposure. Prolonged exposure to incandescent light or direct sunlight will cause damage.

What damages action figures?

UV light and direct sunlight can cause damage to plastic toys, like model figures, due to heat and UV light which can harm the plastic and cause paint to peel. To prevent this, it’s best to keep figures away from windows and out of direct sunlight.

How can I protect my action figures from high humidity environments?

To protect action figures from high humidity, use plastic containers with holes for air circulation and keep the humidity levels balanced.

Why are cardboard boxes not suitable for long-term action figure storage?

Cardboard boxes are not suitable for long-term action figure storage because they can absorb moisture and do not provide adequate protection against temperature fluctuations.