Preparing your furniture for storage

Putting your furniture in storage can be a worrisome affair. You don't want anything to happen to it while it's stored away. Here's some good news -- we're going to give you some tips to help you prepare your furniture for storage. If you follow our guide to prepare your furniture, you should be able to rest assured that you've set your furniture up for success for long-term storage.

Clean your furniture

To ensure that your furniture is in perfect condition when you take it out of storage, it must be in perfect condition when it goes into storage. Cleaning and drying your furniture is a critical towards that end.

Use a vacuum to remove any dirt or debris from upholstery. Dust and clean any glass on any of your pieces using glass cleaner and an appropriate cloth. Dust and clean any steel with a multipurpose cleaner. Vacuum and clean (with leather cleaner) any leather. Dust then apply a mild soap and water solution to any wood.

You should plan to clean your furniture at least 24 hours prior to wrapping and packing your furniture so that it has plenty of time to dry completely. Wrapping and packing furniture that is wet or damp can lead to very damaging results. You can also use fans and/or a hair dryer to ensure that your furniture is completely dry before wrapping and packing.

Prepare your furniture for storage

After your furniture is clean and dry, you should take steps to prepare your furniture for its time in storage. This means applying leather protectant to leather items with a soft cloth and/or applying the appropriate protectant to any wood items (refer to manufacturer's recommendations for type and application). Preparing glass by applying masking tape in a big "X" pattern can help with prevent breakages. Remove any rust from any steel items at this time to prevent it from worsening.

Disassemble furniture whenever you can

With the exception of antique furniture, you should take apart your furniture prior to wrapping and packing. This helps prevent items from falling over or breaking in transit. It also helps maximize the utilization of space in transit and in storage. Disassembling leather items also allows you to wrap the leather tightly to prevent moisture from seeping in.

As mentioned, there is an exception: antique furniture. These pieces may be too fragile to disassemble and reassemble. Unless you are certain of their condition and ability to withstand this process, it's best to leave these as-is and protect them as much as possible with the other steps.

Be sure to save the screws, nuts, bolts and other fasteners and components and keep with each piece of furniture so you have everything to reassemble as needed. For anything that may be complicated, take notes of the disassembly/reassembly process and/or take some pictures with your phone to help you reassemble it in the future.

Wrap your furniture and each of its parts

Wrapping your furniture and each of its parts is a critical step in the process of preparing your furniture. Without doing this properly, the result could lead to permanent damage. You'll be protecting against dust, dirt and grime; variable temperatures; humidity; moisture; pests and impact.

To help protect against all of these factors, including cushioning and a tight wrap is your best approach. Wood and leather furniture should be wrapped in blankets before wrapping. Skipping the blankets could lead to shrinkage and future damage. This also helps protect against impact.

Wrap upholstery with breathable plastic (purchased from a storage provider). A breathable wrap helps prevent trapping of odors or odor build up, but it should also be tight enough to prevent moisture from getting in.

The best protection for glass is to encase it in styrofoam and then place the styrofoam into a corrugated cardboard box. The better fit the styrofoam to the glass and the box to the styrofoam, the better off the glass will be.

Wrap metal objects in plastic wrap and then encase them in a soft material.

The following items will help you properly wrap and pack your items:

  • Packing wrap
  • Moving blakets
  • Bubble packing wrap
  • Packing and masking tape
  • Hand dolly for moving objects
  • Lifting straps for team lifting and maneuvering of heavy objects
  • Tie-downs for securing items in transport
  • Corrugated cardboard boxes for storage

Use care when transporting your furniture

To ensure your furniture is in perfect condition once you retrieve it from storage, you need to make sure it is transported carefully. Transport it to the moving vehicle with care. A moving vehicle with a hydraulic lift or ramp is best for safety and ease. It's also important to know where you're taking your furniture so you can be certain you can maneuver it through doors, hallways and around corners.

Correct techniques for moving and handling items is also important for safety and protection. Always have 2-3 people to assist you. Grasp all items from low & high positions to prevent from falling over. Lift with your knees, not your back to prevent serious injury. Use moving equipment, such as dollies and lifting straps, to prevent injury. Ensure no one is standing behind the furniture while loading it into the moving vehicle.

Protect the furniture while in the moving truck

Furniture can be seriously damaged if it is not loaded properly into the moving vehicle as it may shift or fall during transit. Place large items around the outside of the truck. As you can, place small items inside these larger items for additional protection and space utilization. Never stack items too high. The lower the stack, the less chance of items falling over. Finally, secure everything very tightly using heavy duty straps to further avoid shifting in transit.

Store your furniture properly within the unit

It's important to store your furniture properly in the storage space to make sure it stays in the great condition you worked so hard towards.

Don't stack furniture too close together. Do allow space for your furniture to breathe. Do nest smaller items inside or under larger items. Don't place anything directly on the floor. Concrete floors can "sweat" or other dampness can occur which can ruin your furniture. Wooden pallets are your friends for this situation. Don't place anything directly against (in contact with) the walls. Condensation can build up on walls during periods of high humidity which can then dampen your furniture increasing the chance of mold, mildew and other permanent damage.

Contact a professional

If all of this sounds like too much for reasons of time, technique or anything else, you should consider contacting a professional company to do this. These professionals have lots of experience and all the items, tools and techniques to get the job done right.