Steps for Properly Storing Your Furniture

Whether you’re between apartments, tight on space, or in the midst of a home renovation, there are many times that call for putting some of your extra belongings in storage. While you should always take care when packing a storage unit, when it comes to storing furniture, there are a few extra steps that should be taken to protect your pieces. Furniture, particularly antiques and handmade items, is expensive to replace, so you want to make sure it’s protected from mold, dust, and other threats. To help you get started, here are a few steps you should take to prep your furniture for self-storage.

Decide What to Store

When considering what to place into storage, take a few moments to decide if these are pieces you can part with for an extended time period. While it’s one thing to grab the occasional box or two out of your storage unit, moving furniture in and out simply isn’t practical. Depending on how you arrange items in your unit, getting a piece of furniture out could involve rearranging everything in your unit. Then there’s the hassle of hiring movers to transport bulky items to your home. As a general rule, putting furniture in storage should be a long-term solution. Once you’ve decided what’s headed to storage, make sure everything is prepped and ready:

How to Store Leather Furniture

  1. Rent a climate-controlled storage unit.
  2. Clean each piece to remove excess dirt and moisture.
  3. Apply a rub-on leather conditioner.
  4. Detach the sofa or chair legs.
  5. Move piece into place and cover with cloth or canvas.

The biggest threats to your leather furniture are mold, mildew, and temperature fluctuations. Renting a climate-controlled storage unit is critical to maintaining your leather’s luster and preventing it from drying out and cracking. To start prepping your leather furniture for storage, start by removing the cushions and vacuuming out food or other trash that’s made its way into the small crevices. Then, clean the entire piece using a solution of water and vinegar, before tackling the really tough spots. This site also has great tips for removing specific stains like those caused by permanent marker or greasy food. Once the leather has dried, apply a leather conditioner to restore the protective natural oils that were stripped away during the cleaning. Finally, if your chair or sofa has legs, detach these, placing the hardware in a small plastic bag and affixing it to the legs so it doesn’t get lost. Removing the legs of your furniture will reduce the stress put on the furniture’s joints while it sits in storage. Now, that your leather furniture is ready, you can move the piece into your storage unit. Make sure to cover it with a piece of cloth or canvas to keep it protected from dust and scratches. Leather likes to breathe, so avoid using a plastic covering.

Make sure to thoroughly clean your leather furniture prior to storing to prevent issues with mold and mildew.
Make sure to thoroughly clean your leather furniture prior to storing to prevent issues with mold and mildew.

How to Store Fabric Furniture

  1. Rent a climate-controlled unit.
  2. Vacuum the piece of furniture.
  3. Spot-treat set in stains and allow to dry.
  4. Remove legs.
  5. Cover with a cloth and place in storage.

Like leather furniture, fabric furniture is susceptible to damage from mold or mildew. Before placing in storage, upholstered furniture should first be thoroughly cleaned. Start by vacuuming the piece, removing cushions in order to reach dirt that may be hidden in the cracks. Then, spot-treat any set-in stains. Depending on the type of fabric and the cause of the stain, some cleaning solutions may work better than others. Common fabric cleaners include soapy water, vodka, and vinegar. If you aren’t sure what’s best for your furniture, test the cleaning solution in an inconspicuous place. You may also want to treat the entire piece using an antimicrobial solution, which will prevent mold and mildew. Whatever the extent of your cleaning, make sure the piece is 100% dry before putting it in storage. Remove the legs and place the hardware in a bag, putting it somewhere safe. Then, cover the piece with a blanket or cloth covering and place in the storage unit.

How to Store Wooden Furniture

  1. Rent a climate-controlled unit.
  2. Wipe down with a mild cleanser to remove dirt and dust.
  3. Apply a furniture polish for a protective coat.
  4. Disassemble, removing legs.
  5. Cover with a cloth and place in storage.

Wooden furniture, included dressers, tables, and chairs, is sensitive to temperature fluctuations and could dry out and crack if not properly cared for. If you plan to store wooden pieces, especially antiques or heirloom items, make sure you invest the extra money to secure a climate-controlled unit. To prep your wooden pieces, Bob Villa suggests wiping them down with a mild cleanser, such as one made from soap and water. Once the piece has dried, give it an extra layer of protection with a furniture polish or oil. Completely disassemble the item to take stress off joints, taking care to store the hardware where it won’t get misplaced. Cover with a breathable cloth to protect the furniture from dings, scratches, and dust and place in storage. If you choose not to store your furnishings in a climate controlled unit, consider investing in a good humidifier or dehumidifier (depending on your environment) to keep the wood in good form.

Wooden furniture should be disassembled as much as possible before being stored to reduce the stress on furniture joints.
Wooden furniture should be disassembled as much as possible before being stored to reduce the stress on furniture joints.

When putting anything in storage, it’s always wise to cover the ground with a plastic tarp to keep any ground moisture from seeping through. You can also use blocks or pallets to keep your furniture off the ground, especially if there is any type of flood risk. By taking a few simple steps to prep your furniture for storage, it will be protected for the months and years to come.