Long-term storage is when one is storing items for 3 months or more, and it is a common practise for individuals and businesses alike to use self-storage this way. It is also common for furniture to be stored as if for short-term storage, when in fact the items are being stored for the long-term.
If you are storing belongings in storage for any more than 2 months, then you need to be hyper-cognizant of the effects that storage may have on your belongings (e.g., dust and dirt, musky smells, damages, condensation, fabric imprints, etc.) and, most importantly, know how to prevent them from occurring.
That’s what we have here: the best ways to prevent your furniture and belongings from being affected by long-term storage.
Always put it away clean
Never put your belongings in storage without cleaning them first. Wipe each item down with a damp cloth first, and then utilize the appropriate cleaning solution for the material for anything that requires further work. Aim to put your items away looking as brand new and clean as possible.
Ensure the item is dry before putting into storage as well. If possible, allow items to air-dry over a 24-hour period. Trapping any moisture anywhere will be the first big storage mistake to regret.
Box it if you can
Now that it’s clean, it can be prepared for storage. If the item can go into a box, then we recommend putting it in one. Boxes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes to accommodate most belongings, and you want to use the right box for the right item. Heavier items should go in small boxes. Lighter items can fill large boxes. Always seal the box tightly with tape, covering the openings and corners to prevent dust from getting inside.
Wrap Your Furniture for Protection
If it can’t go into a box, then you need to wrap it properly for long-term protection. This usually means avoiding plastics. Plastic can trap air and create condensation. Any condensation can provide the conditions for mould, but the water itself can be damaging, especially with wood.
Instead of plastics, moving blankets are the best for wrapping furniture and most other items for storage. Use multiple blankets for larger items, such as sofas and cabinets. Blankets allow your items to breathe, provide a thick, protective layer of fabric around the item, and keep furniture clean of dust and dirt.
Some items though do need plastic: mattress and box springs are 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.
For particularly unique or precious items, we recommend further research specific to that item or speaking to a Box Me Up representative.
Prepare your unit or container
At Box Me Up, our storage units and mobile containers are always cleaned before you arrive to move in, but we always suggest giving the unit 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 climate-controlled unit, you should line the unit’s floor with a thick sheet of plastic before moving your belongings in. The plastic will not only help guard against fluctuations in weather, but it will also protect the bottom of your furniture and boxes from condensation.
We do not believe that there is such a thing as being too safe: place mothballs, rodent bait, and moisture absorbers in the corners, walls, and front door of your storage unit or container.
Now that both your items and your storage unit/container is prepared, you can start moving your belongings in. Do this with purpose though; come with a strategy.
Large, heavy items should be used as base for less heavy items to sit on top. This means that you need to bring items into the storage unit in an order that allows you to load them in this way; in a sort of ‘heavy-to-heavyish-to-light’ train.
Always try to load items in a way that sticks them together tightly. The tighter items are together in the load, the less likely they are to move or shift over time.
Be aware of the size and weight of items as you stack them in your unit/container, but also be aware of their shape and what they are. Something with a sharp edge, such as a box, should not be placed on top of an upholstered furniture as the box can leave an imprint on the fabric after sitting for a long period of time.
It is often a good idea to flip 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 anything from falling.
Items such as mirrors, paintings, and marble tops should always be stored standing on their end, rather than lying flat. Lying these items flat leaves them vulnerable to anything that might fall, while also leaving them resting in their most fragile position. Instead, try to reserve wall space for them to lean against (it can therefore be a good idea to leave these items until closer to the end).
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. Always leave appliance doors ajar to keep airflow and prevent mould growth.
Moving your items into storage should always come with a strategy. This will not only save time loading and unloading, but you will also keep your items safe for their long-term storage.
If your belongings are being stored for 3 months or more, then you need to ensure you take the right steps to ensure your belongings remain safe in storage. If you have any further questions about your own storage project, please take a look at our blog or connect with us directly here.