Furniture may be simply functional or it can have deep, emotional meaning. Think about the antique dining table you inherited from your grandmother or the first sofa you bought with your spouse. There may not be room for them in your current home, but you aren’t ready to part with, perhaps hoping to pass them down to your children and grandchildren. Or maybe you’re moving for a job and are living in temporary housing that is too small for everything. These are just a few of the reasons you may be placing furniture in storage.
If your goal is to preserve and protect your furniture, you need to take steps to keep the pieces safe, whether they are being stored in your attic, garage, or a self-storage unit.
1. Clean Everything
Fabric, wood, and metal items all need to be cleaned with the appropriate solutions. This includes cleaning cushions and dusting out drawers, etc. It is also a good idea to treat fabrics with an antibacterial cleaner, wax wood furnishings, and polish all metal. Waxing will provide moisture to help keep wood from cracking while polish will reduce the chance of oxidation while the items are stored.
2. Disassemble What You Can
It is extra work, but breaking down desks, tables, bookcases, etc., make them easier to transport and also easier to store. A good tip with hardware is to put all the screws for a given piece of furniture in a zipped baggie and tape it to the largest piece. Be careful to use tape that won’t leave marks or pull varnish.
3. Wrap it Up
During transport you’ll want to use padded blankets and covers to protect your furniture from damage. You can purchase dust covers, mattress bags, and furniture pads from most storage facilities. You can use the same clothes to insulate them in storage, but wrapping with plastic is usually a better option. Shrink wrap or plastic wrap is available in large rolls and you can wrap the entirety of both upholstered and wood furniture. You can also wrap metal objects like frames, mirrors, and lamps. Another quick tip is using plastic to wrap all the legs of a table together or to combine the rails of a bed.
4. Have a Storage Plan
This is the step many people overlook. Don’t just shove everything into your storage unit wherever it happens to fit. Take time to think about placement within the unit. Don’t store fabric or wood near the doors, just in case there is rain seepage. Put mattresses, frames, and mirror on their sides, not flat. Leave space between items, including boxes, to allow for adequate air flow. Consider placing pallets on the floor to raise items. In foggy or humid climates consider laying plastic sheeting on the floor to prevent moisture barrier. If you’re storing a lot of upholstered furniture, invest in mothballs or cedar chips as an extra barrier against insects.
It may add a bit more work to your packing and planning, but it is better to protect these valuable items ahead of time.