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How to Keep Wood Furniture Safe in a Storage Unit

Keeping your furniture safe while not in use is definitely not an easy task. At first glance, you only need a place to keep your out-of-use furniture. However, there is much more to storing such valuable items, especially if you are planning to use them in the future or want to sell them at some point. Needless to say, there is a lot you need to do before you get to the storage unit. After all, you must ensure your furniture will look exactly as it did before you put it aside. So, to make this task a bit easier for you, we’ve gathered the ultimate wood furniture storing guide. The best part is that you will have all the needed steps in just under 5 minutes. So, let’s begin.

Clean the wood furniture

Cleaning items before storing them is always the first step. That’s common sense, but in case your furniture is not that dirty and you can skip this tedious but vital part of storing, we are here to tell you that you shouldn’t. Leaving any dirt, dust or residue on your items will inevitably create more problems in the long run. For example, uncleaned dust can cause wood stains over time. Dirt on textile parts may infuse deep within the fibre to the point where it will practically be impossible to clean afterwards. Moreover, hinges will get rust, and mould may spread both on the wooden parts and the fabric. So to skip all the drama, just take 30 minutes or so to clean each inch of your furniture properly.

Mixing a weak dishwasher-based solution is the best way to clean your wooden furniture. Just dilute the dishwasher with some water and spread it on the furniture with a soft cloth. The cloth should be damp, not wet. Afterwards, vacuum the fabric, and if you have the means, it’s best to wash it as well. Finally, ensure you lube all hinges with WD40 or a silicon spray.

Naturally, you need to be sure the furniture is dried out completely before moving along. Otherwise, moisture is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which will inevitably cost mould, mildew, rust and all sorts of other problems.

Polish to protect the surface

When you’re done cleaning your furniture, your next step is to protect the wooden elements from getting damaged over the long storage period. If you are storing your furniture in a non-climate-controlled storage unit, be sure the temperature deviation between day and night, along with the extreme hot and cold weather, will affect unprotected wood pretty negatively. Most often, that leads to shrinking and swelling, which in terms will form cracks. Moreover, it will loosen glued joints, compromising the integrity of your furniture.

Usually, a thin coat of wood polish would seal the elements and prevent them from getting damaged. It’s not that hard. Just spray (or pour) the polish on a soft cloth and rub it in the wood, following the direction of the wood grain.

However, if you are storing more valuable furniture or antiques, you might want to go the extra mile and cover the wooden parts with paste wax. This way, you will seal the wood completely from the elements.

Disassemble if possible

The next step is probably the most frustrating one. We all know how exhausting and demotivating it is to assemble furniture. Well, disassembling is twice as dull, but in all honesty, it’s for the best. It will make packaging, transportation and storing much safer for your furniture and much more convenient for you.

Of course, disassembling the furniture is only applicable if you can do it without breaking it. If you are like most people, you probably have thrown away the instruction manual right after you assembled your furniture. So check around on the internet to see if there is an uploaded manual for your specific furniture. If there isn’t, but you are sure you can disassemble it without breaking anything, do it slowly and take a lot of pictures during the process. Remember that once you decide to use it again, you’ll need to reassemble it.

Probably the most crucial step is carefully collecting all hinges, bolts, screws, and other small parts, putting them all in a box or a sealed bag and either attaching them to the furnishing or just labelling them.

Wrap correctly

Once you are ready with all of this, it’s time to prepare the furniture for storage. You need to pack each part carefully. Make sure to put the textile parts in a sealed container (if possible) and add a natural deterrent like cedar balls or lavender to chase away any pests. Most importantly, it will keep away moths without needing to use moth balls, which are very toxic even to humans.

The wooden parts need extra protection, as any scratches will instantly render all your previous efforts redundant. Moreover, you would want to avoid plastic wrap as it may lead to condensation when temperature deviations occur. Even if your wood is well protected and polished, having moisture is not ideal. The best solution is to use old blankets, sheets or any other fabric that comes to mind. Make sure to create some extra padding around the corners and edges, as they are most likely to be scratched and hit during the move. Finally, make sure to put them in carton boxes so they have extra protection from dirt, dust and moisture.

Choose climate-controlled storage

Furniture is highly temperature sensitive, and while it most probably won’t break sitting in extremely hot or extremely cold conditions, it will undoubtedly take years of its life. Most problems we have mentioned so far can be easily avoided using climate-controlled storage. However, renting a storage unit might be the right course if you don’t have one on your own.

Furthermore, the storage unit where you keep your furniture must be clean, relatively levelled and preferably moisture free. Professional storage service providers know that very well and have storage units prepared and ready to receive your furniture. This will spare you another tedious and time-consuming task of cleaning the storage before bringing in your furniture.

Of course, the decision is yours, but going for the practical is always better than going for the cheap.

Keep away from the ground

Keeping your stored items away from the ground is an excellent idea in general. It reduces the chances of damage due to flooding and prevents the furniture from absorbing moisture. It doesn’t matter what you will use to lift your furniture from the floor, as long as it stays up there. You may use wooden pallets, cinder blocks, some metal shelves or anything else you can think of. As long as it’s lifted, there is no problem.

Cover everything

Finally, we have the easiest task of all – covering your stored items. Make sure to use a large old sheet, a huge blanket, or an old carpet. The main point is to use a fabric that won’t condense and create moisture. This way, you will add an extra layer of protection to your furniture and, more importantly, it will guard your furniture against dust and light, prolonging the item’s lifespan and keeping its colours fresh and new.

Final thoughts

As you can see, preparing your furniture for storage is a challenging task. Even following these tips won’t reduce the extra work you need to do before dropping off your things in the storage unit. Still, following our list will prolong your furniture’s life, ensure it’s usable when you decide to rely on it again, and it will retain the furniture’s price if you decide to sell it at some point.

Muhammad Asad Raza