Storing Furniture: Tips for Long-term Storage and Preservation

Storing furniture doesn't seem like a complicated job at all... unless you have to do it. Then you start thinking and planning ways to put away your furnishings the right way. First, come the questions - "Which storage service should I choose?", "How long do I need to put away my stuff?", "Do I need to put everything away?"

Then come questions such as "How do I prepare the furniture to be stored away for a long time?", "Do I even need to prepare them?", "How do I arrange them in the storage container?", "Will I be able to get something from the storage before the period is over?"

You have to plan ahead and take care of the furnishings so you can take them out in the same condition that you've put them away in, and not in a pile of unusable pieces of furniture.

For example, some types of wooden furniture cannot be stored in places that are not climate controlled because they will easily get damaged. Sturdy and heavy furniture that cannot be disassembled and reassembled might be a problem when deciding on what type of storage service and how much space you need. Because both of them reflect the price.

Figure out the best storage option for you. There are a couple of storage options - self-storage, storage units, storage containers, etc. Moreover, when it comes to furniture, the size of the storage area plays an important part. So you have to think about what size you'll need to fit all of your furnishings. And think whether you will need to add some padding to the storage area for more protection.

Improper storage can result in damages that will hit your pocket hard. Upholstered furniture can get mould, nasty smell, get eaten by moths or rats/mice. Not properly arranged furniture can fall and break. We, at Strong Move have listed the steps for proper preparations for storing furniture and preserving them.

There are 5 general rules for storing furnishings.

  1. Clean the furniture in advance.
  2. It's easier if you break them down
  3. Keep them off the ground
  4. Arrange them the right way
  5. Do not leave them uncovered

 

1) Let's start at the beginning. Your 'favourite' thing to do - clean the furniture.

This is the most important step of the entire process. Leaving dirty furniture in a closed space for a long period of time will have a bad impact. For example, upholstered furniture will develop an unpleasant smell because they will be left with the dead skin cells that shed daily, hair, dust, and maybe even some moisture.

Make sure you don't leave food remains with your furniture, pay attention to places food might get stuck. Tables, chairs, sofa, armchairs, etc. should be inspected and cleaned thoroughly.

How to clean upholstered furniture before storage:

cleaning upholstered sofa before storage

  • Vacuum the furniture with the upholstery attachment for the vacuum cleaner.
  • Steam clean them- you can use it as well before storing upholstered furniture. Just give the furniture enough time to dry completely.
  • Or scrub the upholstery with a brush and a cleaning product, you will have to leave it at least 24 hours to dry before packing it. If you use a lot of water, you will have to wait for more than that.
  • Remove pillowcases or the cover of the furniture can be removed and laundered, launder them and let them air dry.

Keep in mind that the different types of upholstery need to be cleaned using different methods and cleaning products. Strong Move advises you to always test a little bit of the product on a small hard to see spot of your sofa before treating it. One of the most fastidious materials is leather, cleaning leather can be very demanding and you risk a lot by doing so. Make sure you know what you are doing so you don't end up damaging it.

How to clean garden furniture for storage:

  • If they are not wooden, if they are plastic or rattan, you can use the hose to take off the dirt and the mud from them.
  • Use a rag and a simple cleaning product to clean them after that.
  • Let them dry and you're ready.

How to prepare for storing wood furniture:

  • Remove the dust. You can use a wood cleaning product.
  • You can use water and mild hand soap to carefully clean the furniture after removing the dust.
  • Polish them.

If you have old wooden furniture, you might want to apply a new layer of lacquer or varnish, to fix them up before putting them away. *Lacquer dries in under an hour, varnish will take more time.

How to prepare for storing metal furniture:

  • Dust the furniture, paying attention to the corners and edges, the handles are the dirtiest, clean them with a cleaning product.
  • Use a disinfectant or rubbing alcohol to disinfect the furniture.
  • You can use a metal polisher to give them a nice finishing touch before covering them up and locking them up.
  • If the paint is chipped, you might want to apply a new layer and leave enough time to dry.

If you have glass furniture parts, you should take them apart and wrap them tightly with bubble wrap or blanket, or both, and place them carefully.

2) Dismantle all furniture that can be taken apart.

This will make them easier to pack, carry, transport and arrange.

Some pieces of furniture must be disassembled in order to be taken out of the house, transported and then fit in a storage container- such are beds, large storage units or TV stands, large wardrobes, etc.

But beware! You have to be careful and make sure they can be disassembled and reassembled! Some furniture is made to only be assembled once and not be moved. There are many ways this can end badly - you can lose parts, brake parts, break dowels, and more. Prepare yourself for the proper dismantling of the furniture and organise the parts carefully.

Other furniture, are said to be easy to be taken apart and put together, but their parts are too fragile and can get damaged during the process and you won't be able to put them together again. Do not risk it if the parts are too thin and risk breaking parts, or wood dowels, etc.

If you think everything is ok, and you can do this part, make sure to keep all parts in a plastic bag taped to one part of the piece of furniture. Be it a storage unit, a bookcase, a table, etc. This is really a great way to relieve the load. It is recommended for furniture of high quality that you know you can really disassemble and reassemble.

Furthermore, you will do a good job if you use a blanket or bubble wrap to cover the separate parts as well.

When it comes to flat packs or other furniture that can be dismantled, many people choose to do so, because it will make it easier to transport and arrange the pieces in the storage container.

3) Keeping them off the ground helps keep them safe from moisture, coldness, rodents.

The third rule applies for any storage place you decide to keep your furnishings at - attic, basement, garage, storage unite or storage container, etc.

For a well sealed, clean and temperature controlled storage container, where you're sure there will be nothing of the above-listed problems, you may skip this part. However, we do not recommend that you do.

*Please bear in mind that your mattress is probably one of the most expensive items that will go in your storage container, prepare your mattress for storage and make sure you won't get it out in an unusable condition.

4) When dealing with large pieces of furniture and small space, arranging them is of utmost importance for preserving them and for practicality and order.

Here is where the game Tetris comes very handy. Bearing in mind the sizes, shapes and weight of the furnishings you have to think of a way to strategically arrange. If you are using a professional storage service, you can leave this job to the experts and you won't have to deal with it.

Just make sure nothing is heavy is placed dangerously high or near the glass, or that nothing is squeezed in a way that can lead to damages.

5) Provide warm protection for your furnishings

Storing furniture doesn't mean you should just pile them up in the garage and leave them there. Use blankets or furniture covers for all pieces of furniture. Covering them will help keep them warm and comfortable...and safe and clean.

For long-term storage:

- Avoid using plastic bags or plastic covers that are not furniture covers, because if the temperature isn't controlled, the plastic can induce moisture and cause damage to the furniture.

- You may want to ask if it is ok to visit your storage container from time to time to check up on your belongings.


chair and desk for storage
Buying furniture is not an easy task as well. Sometimes it can even be harder to decide on what furniture to get than on what type of house to buy. You have to think about durability, price, maintenance, can it be assembled and disassembled, what material should they be made of, what size, and shape, what style, etc.

There's a lot of thinking and decision making involved in the simple act of furnishing your home, but so is preserving them and choosing the best storage option or storage service for your furniture. But when it comes time for storing your furnishings for a period of time, you realise you hadn't considered some things at the time of purchasing them. That’s why it’s important to do everything you can to prepare and preserve your furnishings well during their time in storage.

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