How to Protect Your Furniture for Long-Term Storage

You may be moving away for an extended period of time. You may have too much furniture in your house, but you do not want to give up your grandmother’s antique armoire or the kitchen table you have been saving for when your daughter moves away. Whatever the reason, you have found yourself in a spot where storing these items in a self-storage unit has become the answer to freeing up space and decluttering your home.

If that’s the case though, and you need to store furniture for the long-term, you must be cognizant of the effects that long-term storage can have on your furniture. Dust, musky smells, condensation, fabric imprints – these are all possible outcomes to items in long-term storage.

We at Real Storage are here to help you avoid these outcomes. Follow our advice below, and your storage contents will look as fresh coming out of storage as they did going in. 

Clean Your Furniture

Before putting your furniture into storage, give each piece a good clean by wiping down your items with a clean cloth. Follow this by giving the item a second wipe with the appropriate cleaning solution for the material (i.e., metal, wood, glass, etc.) to add an extra layer of protection. Allow the item to air-dry before wrapping it for storage, as you do not want to trap any moisture. 

Wrap Your Furniture for Protection

Once your furniture has been cleaned properly, you need to protect it with the appropriate material. Typically, you want to avoid using any plastic wrap, as plastic can create condensation – this is especially the case with wood.

Of course, certain items need plastic: mattress and box springs should always be covered in plastic, and there are large bags that are designed to fit every size of mattress available. This will keep your bed free of any dust or dirt.

Moving blankets are the most versatile items to be used when moving or storing items. These can wrap any piece, large or small: a sofa will be (usually) covered entirely by 4 moving blankets. They are fantastic for wrapping pictures and mirrors as well. These are the best resources, as they do not trap moisture, but keep dust and dirt away and still allow the item to breathe.

Any item that can fit in a box we recommend putting in one. Even a lamp, once its shade is removed can fit in a box with crushed paper – and the shade can fit comfortably in its own box. When using boxes, be sure to seal them properly with tape, covering every opening and corner to prevent dust from getting inside.

Do keep in mind that not all furniture pieces have the same sort of needs when it comes to protection: do a bit of extra research on any unique of special pieces, or speak with your Real Storage expert for further advice. 

Prepare your Locker

Our lockers are always cleaned before you arrive to move in, but we always suggest giving the locker a ‘once-over’ to ensure it has been rid of as much dust and dirt as possible before you start to move your storage contents in.

Unless you are renting a temperature-controlled unit, line the locker’s floor with a thick sheet of plastic before moving your items in. The plastic not only helps guard against fluctuations in weather, but it will also protect the bottom of your furniture and boxes from condensation.

There is no such thing as being too safe: place mothballs, rodent bait and moisture absorbers in key areas of your storage unit, such as the corners, back wall and front door to avoid unwanted critters. 

Load Carefully and Strategically

Once it is time to move your contents into your self-storage unit, plan this with not merely space-saving in mind, but also with an eye to access to items you may need and to keeping items away from potential damage.

We always suggest loading the items so that they are stacked tightly together: this prevents items from shifting and moving. The trick here though is to remember this when it is time to unload the items from the locker.

If they are tightly stacked together and you start removing items haphazardly, then removing one piece may lead to a number of others losing their balance and falling. As long as you remove items in the same way that you stored them (by always taking the items on top out first), you will not disturb the stack.

When you are loading items into your locker, be cognizant of what is going on top of what. For example, do not stack sharp items (like a dresser or a box) on top of upholstered items, or they will likely leave an imprint in the fabric. Similarly, always put heavier items on the bottom, with lighter items on top.

We suggest flipping larger, longer items on their end: dressers, sofas, etc. can be flipped on their end, taking up less floor space, while also leaving less space to be filled above them. This will help you avoid stacking too many items on top and reduce the risk of any damage.

If you are storing appliances, such as refrigerators or washing machines, be sure to drain these of any standing water before putting them into storage. Also, always leave appliance doors ajar to keep airflow and prevent mildew.

In the same vein, empty any items of any fuel (such as a lawnmower of barbeque) before storing them. Not only do you not want these to leak in your locker, but you also do not need to risk some flammable catastrophe.

Items such as mirrors, paintings and marble tops should always be stored standing on their end, rather than lying flat. Lying these pieces flat leaves them vulnerable to damage from any possible falling item. Mirrors, paintings and marble, moreover, are strong on their end, but very fragile lying flat. 

Bubble wrap can work to protect a mirror or painting, but wrapping it in a poly-wrap and boxing it in a picture box is the best solution to keeping your paintings and mirrors safe for the long-term.

If you take your time in advance to plan your self-storage properly, you will not only save time loading and unloading, but you will also keep your items safe for their long-term storage.

If you have any other questions or concerns about your long-term storage needs, speak with your Real Storage expert today.