When storing wooden or upholstered furniture, you can prevent damage to your items by utilizing proper storage techniques. Here are some tips to keep in mind when storing your furniture!
- How to Prepare Furniture for Storage
- How to Store Furniture
- Where to Store Furniture
- How to Preserve Different Kinds of Wood Furniture
- Frequently Asked Questions for Storing Furniture
How to Prepare Furniture for Storage
Before you store wooden and upholstered furniture, you need to do some prep work. Take these steps to protect your wood furniture or custom upholstery from unexpected blemishes.
Use a ruler or measuring tape to figure out the dimensions of your items. This will help you ensure you can move your pieces through doorways, into moving vehicles, and into a correctly sized storage unit or other storage space. Record these dimensions for later use, like if you move your furniture out of storage and back into your home.
Keep your furniture in its best condition by cleaning it before transferring to storage. For wooden furniture, try wiping it down with a mixture of warm water and dish soap with a soft cloth. For a finer touch-up or if you’ve accumulated a thick layer of dirt, add olive oil and vinegar or use a special detergent designed for cleaning wood furniture. For upholstered items, thoroughly vacuum and steam-clean each piece, and use spot or stain removers safe for fabric as needed. Always let your furniture dry fully before storage so as to not trap moisture.
Wood furniture can dry out if stored in an area with poor temperature control, making it more susceptible to cracks or warping. One of the most efficient ways to prevent this kind of damage is by using a commercial furniture polish or wood wax, or homemade furniture polish made from olive oil and vinegar. Treating your wooden furniture with furniture polish before long-term storage can provide a protective seal and help maintain consistent quality over time.
Extra-large furniture is a significant hassle to transport up and down stairwells or through narrow doorways. If you have sizable items of furniture with multiple pieces, break them down into smaller, more manageable parts. Remove drawers from dressers and take legs or cushions off of couches. Keep track of small, loose parts like nuts and bolts by putting them in plastic bags and taping those underneath the pieces of furniture they go with. Steps like these can save both you and your furniture from unnecessary strain and maximize the space in your storage area.
Cover & Protect
When wrapping furniture for storage, it’s important to use the right material so you can properly protect your belongings from damage. Using thick plastic wrap or bubble wrap for furniture can trap moisture and create condensation, which can damage your furniture—and it may not provide enough protection from scratches or bumps. Instead, cover furniture with breathable cloths, blankets, or old bedsheets to keep dust and moisture from accumulating.
A primary cause of furniture damage is careless handling while moving. The difficulty of moving wood or upholstered furniture depends on the size and weight of your pieces and the distance between moves. If you have multiple heavy items, hiring a moving company or renting a moving truck may be the best option. If you’re moving your furniture yourself, remember to clear pathways and take extra precautions to prevent damage.
How to Store Furniture
Preparing and treating wooden or upholstered furniture before storing it can go a long way, but make sure you don’t undo your hard work by keeping your items in an improper storage environment. These furniture storage tips can help you keep your furniture in good condition.
Use Climate Control
It’s best to store wood and upholstered furniture in environments with moderate temperatures, as extreme temperatures and high humidity can cause cracking, warping, or mold growth. A climate-controlled storage unit is ideal for achieving proper conditions. However, if you lack access to a temperature-controlled storage space, keep close attention to your furniture during peak months in hot and cold seasons so you can mitigate the damage.
Pests, especially termites, are common when dealing with wooden furniture. Prevention is always easier than the cure, so it’s better to be proactive about addressing pests. Protect your furniture from termites with termite-resistant wood polish, or by periodically coating it with a natural aloe vera gel or an olive oil and vinegar mixture. Termites thrive under dark, moist conditions, so make sure your furniture is not exposed to moisture. If you store furniture in a garage, attic, or basement, it’s recommended to get a dehumidifier for this purpose.
While stacking furniture might seemingly save space, it can pose more of a risk than it’s worth. When heavy furniture is placed on top of other furniture for an extended period of time, it may cause internal or external damage. Older items with worn legs are especially prone to bending, breaking, scratching, or outright collapsing under pressure. Avoid unnecessary stacking to keep your furniture in top condition.
Snowstorms and rainstorms can ruin a perfectly good piece of furniture—and storing furniture on the ground may leave it vulnerable to the elements, especially in a basement or garage. Low levels of moisture can seep through concrete and into your furniture over time. Whether you’re looking into short-term storage or long-term storage, it’s always best practice to keep your furniture raised on wood blocks or pallets. If you’re storing items in a space with an unsealed concrete floor, you should also use a plastic sheet or drop cloth to cover the floor.
Leave Space Between Items
Similar to stacking furniture, packing everything into a tight space is bound to cause problems. As you continue to cram, there’s a higher risk of your furniture bending, cracking, or warping. Storing everything too close together also impairs natural airflow, which can lead to moisture build-up. To offset this issue, leave a few inches between each piece of furniture and don’t store items flush against the wall. Make sure to also leave some space for walking paths so you can easily retrieve items whenever you need them.
Where to Store Furniture
Storage conditions vary depending on what spaces you use, and not everyone has access to the same amenities. It’s important to keep in mind where everything is being stored and what exactly is required to safely maintain your furniture storage unit in a shed, garage, basement, and more.
Shed or Garage
The frequent exposure to the elements caused by the opening and closing of your garage doors can make the area less than ideal for storage. Changing temperatures can cause wood fibers to expand and contract, resulting in cracks or warping. Additionally, upholstered items with delicate fabrics may attract a variety of pests and incur mold. Furniture may be exposed to oil, gasoline fumes, and lawn care chemicals. A shed or garage would mainly be suitable for short-term storage since your furniture is likely to sustain damage over longer periods of time.
Whether or not it’s safe to store furniture in your basement depends on your basement’s condition. If your basement lacks heating or air-conditioning and is high in moisture, both wood and fabric are at risk. Basements are also prone to rainwater leakage, so it’s especially important to raise furniture on pallets. Basement furniture storage can be a good option if your basement is finished and you take the necessary precautions. However, if your basement is unfinished or lacks sufficient protection from the elements, it’s best to err on the side of caution and store your furniture elsewhere.
Storing furniture in the attic may leave furniture susceptible to extreme temperatures if the area is not heated or air-conditioned. For larger items like a wooden bed or upholstered sofa, using an attic is impractical for storage—no one wants to haul heavy furniture up a steep stairway. An attic is generally preferred if you need a quick place to store small furniture, but it’s not recommended for long-term usage.
Self Storage Unit
The safest option for long-term furniture storage is using a self storage unit. Many storage facilities provide temperature-controlled options and are guarded against pests. Plus, you can choose whichever unit size will work best for the furniture you’re planning to store. Consider renting a storage unit in your area with Extra Space Storage to make the process simple and easy!
How to Preserve Different Kinds of Wood Furniture
Different types of wood sometimes call for specific preservation methods. Take time to identify the wood you’re working with so you can take the appropriate precautions for each piece of wooden furniture.
Cedar is a durable softwood that’s rot-resistant and exudes an odor that repels insects. These aspects make it perfect for exterior use in decks, gazebos, or outdoor furniture. When storing pieces made from cedar wood, make sure you’re mindful of moisture to avoid shrinkage and expansion. Sanding cedar wood every few years will help retain the wood’s natural oil aroma.
Mahogany wood typically comes in a reddish-brown hue with a linear grain pattern. It’s a hardwood often used in homemade furniture and wooden storage cabinets. Mahogany is softer than teak but more susceptible to bugs, insects, and weather effects, especially moisture. When dealing with mahogany wood, climate and humidity control is of the utmost importance.
Maple wood is a strong hardwood with a light creamy color that boasts impressive durability. Maple resists stains and temperature fluctuation, making it useful for a variety of purposes. However, while the material is tough, its high density can make it susceptible to scratches or dents. It’s advisable to clean maple wood with a dry cloth or fine brush before storage, and carefully wrap it in soft, breathable blankets or padding.
Oak wood is a dense, gold-colored hardwood used in flooring and cabinetry with clean edges and subtle grain. Oak is generally both weather and rot-resistant, making it great for outdoor use. Oak has the potential to dry out, which is why applying penetrating oil finishes to clean oak wood and buff out any moisture is critical. Since oak is made of tough, hardwood material, restrictions aren’t as tight, but climate control and pest control are still recommended for long-term sustainability.
Pine is a lightweight softwood used in most fabricated interior furniture, including couches and beds. Pine is susceptible to rot, as well as shrinking and swelling, making climate-controlled storage a must. You should also be especially careful when moving pine wood, as it can be easily damaged or scratched.
Teak is a golden-brown hardwood and comes in many forms, including Burmese teak, Indian teak, and more. Teak wood typically lasts twice as long as mahogany and requires less maintenance. It’s also high in minerals and natural oils, making it more weather-resistant than most woods. Be advised, however, that teak can dry out in extreme heat, so you should store teak furniture in a room that isn’t too hot.
Frequently Asked Questions for Storing Furniture
What are the differences between storing wooden and upholstered furniture?
The biggest difference to consider when storing wood furniture versus upholstered furniture is the treatment of the material. Upholstered items are fabric-based and should be spot-cleaned and dried before storage, while wooden furniture should be finely polished.
How important is climate-controlled storage for wooden and upholstered furniture?
Both wooden and upholstered furniture are susceptible to moisture and extreme temperatures. Cold and hot temperatures cause wood to expand and contract, resulting in cracks, while high humidity can cause warping or mold. Storing furniture in a temperature-controlled environment is important to prevent damage and keep your items protected.
What shouldn’t you do when storing wooden and upholstered furniture?
Here are a few things you shouldn’t do when storing wooden and upholstered items:
- forgetting to clean furniture before storage
- not considering your furniture’s material type when prepping for storage
- not using furniture wrap or blankets during moving and storage
- storing furniture in a location that lacks air conditioning
If you need short or long-term storage for your wooden or upholstered furniture, Extra Space Storage has the space you need. Find a storage facility near you!