There are plenty of reasons why you’d want to store furniture in your self storage unit. Maybe you just transformed a home office into a spare bedroom, but have nowhere at home to keep the leftover desk and bookshelves. Perhaps you bought a sleek, modern new table and can’t part with your beautiful antique dining room set. Or maybe your child has moved into their first apartment, and you’ve got grand plans for their former bedroom.
Whatever the case may be, instead of ditching that extra furniture, store it. Self storage is a great way to keep it safe, secure and maintained until you or a loved one need it again.
Ensuring the furniture stays in peak condition does take a little bit of work. With these common-sense steps, you can protect any furniture piece — from tables and desks to chairs and couches, whether they are family heirlooms or fresh out of the packing peanuts.
Storing furniture the smart way
Investigate your storage options. With furniture, protection from the elements is paramount. Consider all of your options before choosing a storage space.
If you’re serious about maintaining this furniture in storage over the long haul, you will probably need both temperature and humidity control. This option will ensure your valuable furniture pieces stay safe from moisture and changing temperatures (plus keep the temperature pleasant when you visit).
At the very least, purchase a portable dehumidifier and bring it to your self storage unit. While not as effective as other options, it will help and offer some much-needed moisture control when you visit.
Clean everything first. Never put dirty items into your storage unit. You’re not alone in a storage facility. Any offensive odors will travel to nearby units — not a great way to be a neighbor. Plus, cleaning will significantly cut down on the chance of mold and the amount of dust in your storage facility.
With wooden or plastic furniture, a little soap and water should usually do the trick. For wooden pieces specifically, and especially antiques, use a wood cleaner like Murphy Oil Soap to protect the existing finish on the wood.
Be sure to also clean fabric items too, like couches or seat cushions, with fabric or upholstery cleaner. Check that everything is dry before you start packing it up.
Take everything apart. Before you load up the van or take advantage of your free truck rental from Uncle Bob’s, disassemble anything you can — this includes desks, bookshelves, tables, chairs and more. This will make your truck, and later your self storage unit, much easier to pack. And it will also reduce the likelihood of breaking or scratching anything. Put all screws, bolts, Allen wrenches, and other small items in a labeled baggie, which will be stored alongside the furniture piece to which it belongs.
Cover it up. You should never put furniture into your self storage unit uncovered. Use old sheets, blankets, or drop cloths to cover the pieces and protect them from dust and moisture. Do not use thick plastic covers that will seal in moisture. Make sure everything is completely covered. After all, it does little good if the cover is falling off or full of holes.
Protect glass items. Glass tabletops and mirrors, understandably, require some extra precautions. First, wrap the piece with packing paper. Don’t tape the paper directly to the glass, as it will leave a nasty residue for you to clean later. Afterward, either cover it in bubble wrap or put into a box for some extra security. Use a box that is long and wide, but relatively flat, similar to the shape of the glass itself.
Raise the floor. Whenever possible, avoid puttingt furniture pieces or anything that could be ruined directly on the floor. By using pallets to raise the floor, you add an extra layer of protection against flooding. Even a layer of cardboard or a drop cloth is better than nothing.
Don’t leave food behind. Never leave anything perishable in your storage facility that may attract bugs or unwanted critters. And that extends to any cardboard storage boxes you use—never use anything that previously came from a grocery store or might be soiled in any way. While storage facilities are treated with pest control regularly, you can never be too careful. Just take that sandwich home, and everything will be fine.
Don’t cram too much inside. Lastly, a surefire way to break something valuable is to try to shove too much into your self storage unit. As you try to cram in more and more things, you risk knocking things over, bending pieces and causing other damage. So, much like your living space at home, try to keep your storage space clean and decluttered in order to protect everything inside.
Follow Jenny Young on Twitter at @jennystorage.