Six Important Items and How To Pack Them For Storage
Sometimes, it can be hard to get everything you need packed into a moving truck. Even more commonly, you might not want to. Decluttering, especially if you’re downsizing, is a great way to make a new home feel cleaner, more modern, and more open. And if you’re downsizing, it may be a necessity. But it’s hard to let things go, and storage can be a great solution.
Whether it’s long-term or just while you’re getting settled in, having a safe location for your things can be a huge relief. But even if your storage facility is protected, that doesn’t necessarily mean your belongings are. It’s important to pack your things for storage correctly, just like it’s important to pack the boxes you’re moving the right way.
Out of sight out of mind? Maybe. But out of sight out of danger from mold, dust, or damage? Certainly not. Here are tips for packing up six important categories of items for the best possible storage experience.
Anyone who said there’s no creativity in moving and storage never tried to pack away a curved sofa. Some of your largest, most cumbersome pieces may also be some of your most expensive—the pieces you most want to keep safe. And with the variety of shapes, materials, and sizes, furniture can be one of the more difficult things to figure out what to do with. But while there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment (just like your old couch may not fit in your new home) there are some basic steps to take when it comes to keeping your furniture safe in storage.
The first step is cleaning. It may feel like a waste of time to clean your furniture—which can be an arduous task—just to hide it away where no one will see it. But your future self will thank you because dust, dirt, mold, and odor only get worse when left unattended, especially if your storage is long term. To get the best clean, use a general solution of soap and water (unless your fabric needs something more specific) and let your piece fully dry in sunlight before storing it away. Last minute cleaning, and storing wet items is a guaranteed formula for mold. Yuck!
Furniture protectant and leather conditioner (if applicable) are also important to keeping your furniture in the best condition. For wooden tables and chairs, you can finish with a coat of wax to seal the wood and prevent mold development, and for metal surfaces, channel your inner Dorothy Gale and coat with oil to prevent tarnish and rust (ruby slippers not required).
The next step: break it down. Not in a cool, hip-hop way, although anything that makes the experience a little more fun is fine by us. Even though breaking down furniture can be a hassle, as can putting it back together (make sure that if you have the instructions, you store those too), it will make the process of moving and storing your belongings so much simpler. Individual pieces are much easier to lift, carry, stack, and store in contrast to heavy, bulky, potentially awkwardly shaped pieces that you’d have to jigsaw into your storage unit.
Next, you’ll want to use blankets or other furniture covers to make sure your items are fully covered. You wouldn’t want your furniture to get cold. Or, rather, you wouldn’t want your furniture to get mold. Keep everything in place with rubber bands, cinches, or anything else that will hold your coverings tight to fend off dust, dirt, and anything else that could damage your belongings.
Remember too that plastic wrap should never be used on wood or leather; plastic traps moisture and heat and can easily cause mold or warping of your favorite pieces. Instead, it’s always safer to opt for cotton sheets or items specifically designed for fabric.
Appliances are another tricky thing to pack up as they are fragile and easily damaged by water or impact, but if done correctly, they should easily last in your storage unit.
First, again, is cleaning. This is, perhaps the most obvious step. After all, you wouldn’t put a full refrigerator in your storage space unless you’re really dedicated to feeding the dust mites. But make sure your fridge is not only empty, but completely defrosted and cleaned. The same goes for other appliances, especially ones in your kitchen. Even a crumb can start an infestation, not to mention create a lingering stink. Make sure water is fully drained from everything as well to avoid freezing damage if it gets too cold and mildew if it gets too hot.
The tip that, perhaps, is most likely to save you a mental breakdown, though? Don’t get your cables in a twist. Nothing is worse than untangling disorganized cables, especially when you’re storing your appliances all together. Trust us, if you don’t take special care to coil and tie them separately, they will somehow end up in a knot that even Houdini himself couldn’t untangle.
Like everything else, electronic equipment should be clean and dust free before going into storage—don’t forget to clean between those keyboard keys! Keeping sensitive equipment in its original box or in another protective container is the best way to give an extra protective layer, as well as wrapping your devices and stuffing your boxes for extra protection. Packing peanuts, foam, or even crumpled paper works great for this. Seal everything tightly to prevent water damage. And remember to back up any data on devices before you start packing!
Much of clothing storage comes down to time frame. If you’re only storing for a short period of time, most clothes will be fine in boxes, just like much of your regular moving material. But for long stints in storage, hanging your clothes in wardrobe boxes is the best way to keep them clean and wrinkle free as well as ensuring good ventilation to protect against mold. Wardrobe boxes are available in most places where you get regular moving boxes, but can also be purchased directly from many movers. Elite Moving and Storage has a catch-all moving store that sells not only traditional boxes for your move in sets specific to your house’s needs, but also specialty boxes for items like your wardrobe and mattress.
For particularly delicate items or fussy fabrics, consider keeping garments covered can help fend off dust and mold. You may also want to use an insect repellent like naphthalene (that’s mothballs in mover’s speak) to ensure that no unexpected pests are taking after younger siblings everywhere and borrowing your clothes without asking.
Step one of preparing your mattress is cleaning—wash gently and let air dry in the sun. Then using a specialized mattress box or mattress bag, seal up your mattress with quality packing tape for maximum protection. Vacuum bags can also help store comforters, duvets, linens and other bedding items. Before you even think about packing, though, make sure you check for any signs of infestations. Your parents said it and we will too: DON’T let the bed bugs bite.
Rare books or anything leatherbound may need more extensive care, but for the most part, books are one of the easier things to pack. Before you start, make sure all your books are dry and perhaps consider a humidifier to prevent mildew. Other than that, just pack them into boxes. Be careful, though. It may not seem like it when you’re just holding one, but even the lightest paperbacks can be heavy (and we’re not just talking philosophically) when they start to stack up.
Use small, sturdy boxes for books in order to keep from throwing your back out when carrying them, and arrange them with larger, heavier books on the bottom and smaller, lighter ones on top.
7. Fragile Items
The best way to ensure your fragile items are safe in storage? Don’t put them there. Breakable items, especially of the invaluable family heirloom variety, are not the kind of things you want to throw around or leave in a storage facility for too much time
That being said, there are certainly ways to keep things safe within reason. Wrap all fragile items individually with packing paper or another padding material (make sure to keep it away from kids who might have a little too much fun with your bubble wrap). You can even use extra towels or dishrags—a bonus if you were planning on storing those anyway.
Expensive or delicate dishes can go in specialty dishware containers for safety, but regular dishes should be fine as long as they’re stacked evenly and padded well. Always place cups and glasses rim down, and nest smaller dishes in larger ones as well as they’re relatively sturdy.
Art as well as statues and other fragile decorations may need to be stored in crates rather than regular boxes to ensure their safety.
Lastly, make sure you mark the boxes as FRAGILE and treat them as such when you’re moving them. This is also where having expert movers comes in handy. Professionals like those at Elite Moving and Storage have over 15 years of experience handling all kinds of materials, both packing and moving. We’ll ensure your items get into storage safely and stay that way with a secure, climate-controlled facility available both for long term and short term storage, whether you’re moving down the street or across the country.
Visit elitemover.com to get a free moving or storage quote today.