4 Steps for Long-Term Furniture Storage and Preservation

12 Comment(s) | Posted | by Norm Kotoch, Jr. |

This post was originally published on February 18, 2013.

From antiques that don’t quite fit your décor, to items you’re saving for your children, it’s easy for furniture to create clutter. Instead of having these precious pieces take up valuable space in your home, it may be time to move those in good condition to a home of their own.

Self storage provides you with the room you need to keep the furniture you love, while you simultaneously remove clutter from your home. Below, we highlight four key steps to successfully prepare and protect your furniture items for long-term self storage.

1. Clean and Prep

Before you store your furniture, give each item a thorough clean. Begin by wiping down your pieces with a fresh cloth. Then, use an appropriate cleaner for the type of material (metal, wood, glass, etc.), and wipe down once more for an added layer of protection.

As a final step, let the item breathe in a well-ventilated area and dry completely. This will ensure no patches of trapped moisture can reside on your item as you cover and pack the piece for storage. Patches of trapped moisture left alone can damage your item over time, and create marks of discoloration.

2. Disassemble for Easy Transport

For larger items, such as dressers, beds, tables and couches, prep for smoother transportation. Dismember pieces before the big trip to the storage unit to lighten your load.

For example, remove legs from tables and sofas, take out drawers from dressers and cushions from couches, and remove planks from bedframes. Group, wrap and label these pieces together to stay organized.

3. Cover and Protect

After you’ve prepped your furniture for long-term storage, protect it with the right materials. Bubble wrap can be useful to wrap items that easily break, such as framed pictures, mirrors, lamps or blunt parts like chairs and table legs.

As a general rule, avoid plastic package materials when possible, as it can suffocate certain materials like wood and fabrics. This can lead to condensation or unpleasant smells in your unit. Instead, use drop cloths or covers, sheets or blankets to keep dust away and allow air to circulate.

Additionally, remember that not all furniture pieces will have the same needs for proper protection, so it’s recommended you conduct necessary research prior to moving items.

4. Strategically Store

To maximize your unit’s space, you may be tempted to cram and jam items without a proper plan in place. However, sloppy storage can lead to consequences that could be harmful to your furniture.

So how can you avoid this problem when storing items long-term? Leave space in between items.

The benefits are two-fold: you’ll allow air to flow freely between the furniture, which will help protect your items from damage, and you’ll reduce the risk of accidental damage to your pieces should you ever need to remove them from your unit.

Save Space Without The Sacrifice

You don’t have to get rid of your furniture favorites due to lack of space. Now, you can realistically consider storage of larger items, even if you lack the space at home.

With the added benefit of climate-controlled storage, these spaces will help maintain your furniture’s condition over time, versus storing it in a humid attic or damp basement.

By properly prepping your items for long-term storage, they will be ready for use upon removal, whenever you, or your family, may need them.

Additional Resources:

How do you prepare your furniture for long-term storage? Share your tips in the comment section below.

Image Source: Garry Knight


  1. Denis O'Leary's avatar
    Denis O'Leary
    | Permalink
    Could yo please give me a quote for 2 years storage for the contents of 3 bed property

    Thank you
    Denis o'leary
  2. sean's avatar
    | Permalink
    I'm glad that you mentioned covering and protecting your furniture. It is easy to forget that things like changes in the weather can affect the items you are storing. protecting them with the right materials can help a lot.

  3. Edmond Vandergraff's avatar
    Edmond Vandergraff
    | Permalink
    I completely agree that you should give all of your furniture a thorough cleaning before storing them for a long time. Without giving them some kind of a covering, they are only going to get dirty right away though. You want to make sure that they're still functional and in good condition down the road. It really is an art to strategically fit everything into the space that you have. http://www.usstorage.us
  4. Sheri Wallace's avatar
    Sheri Wallace
    | Permalink
    I am moving abroad and I will store my furniture in some friends warehouse. Never did it before, I guess will take some time to prepare everything and to store it correctly. Thanks for the tips!
  5. Jack Mulligan's avatar
    Jack Mulligan
    | Permalink
    I really like your tip to cover and protect all of your furniture. We stored a nice couch in our shed for a long time uncovered and it soon became so ingrained with dust that you couldn't sit on it without have dust poof out all over you. We could have saved a lot of trouble with proper storage with a simple cover.
  6. Norm Kotoch's avatar
    Norm Kotoch
    | Permalink
    I’m glad you found this tip helpful, Jack! Proper preparation prior to storing your furniture can help increase protection and longevity.
  7. Faylinn's avatar
    | Permalink
    I am moving next week and so I am planning on storing some of my furniture in a unit until I can come back for it and move it to where I will be living. I can totally see me wanting to cram as much as I can in one place and so I really appreciate your tip about leaving space in between items. I'll he leaving some expensive furniture pieces behind and so I definitely don't want any damage done to them. However, is there any type of covering or wrapping that I should have put on them so that that doesn't happen?
  8. Norm Kotoch's avatar
    Norm Kotoch
    | Permalink
    Thanks for taking the time to read this post, Faylinn! I would recommend utilizing a climate-controlled storage unit to ensure the longevity of your household items, such as furniture, clothing, electronics and documents. When storing furniture, I recommend using cloth covers, such as blankets or moving quilts or plastic covers, to allow your items to breathe and avoid dust from collecting. If you are utilizing standard storage, which is not recommended, consider Rubbermaid bins and plastic “pouch” type bags. Also consider keeping items off the floor with pallets, as cement will “sweat” during seasonal temperature changes and avoid using cardboard boxes.
  9. Kristen Watkins's avatar
    Kristen Watkins
    | Permalink
    I like your tips about protection of furniture. Thanks for the blog.  
  10. Norm Kotoch's avatar
    Norm Kotoch
    | Permalink
    Thanks for taking the time to read this post, Kristen. I'm glad you found these tips helpful.
  11. Hine's avatar
    | Permalink
    Hi can you please tell me what is the best way to store wooden furniture on nylon carpet without it sweating. We had it stored for 2years on wool carpet that sweated abit. We have replaced our wool carpet with nylon now. I did use a dehumidifier over winter. It will be stored for another 2 or 3 years. We have it in a spare room. Thank you.
  12. Norm Kotoch's avatar
    Norm Kotoch
    | Permalink
    Thanks for reading, Hine. Typically, furniture or other items will sweat when using standard storage due to temperature changes. To avoid this problem from occurring, I recommend storing items, such as furniture, clothing, electronics and documents in a climate-controlled storage unit. The temperature and humidity will remain constant, negating the chance for condensation or “sweating.” When using standard storage, it does not matter what type of carpet is being used, because there will still be condensation during seasonal changes. If standard storage must be used, I recommend getting items off the concrete floor by purchasing pallets.

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