How to Store Wood Furniture

Moving, downsizing and renovating sometimes necessitates temporary or long-term storage of wood furniture. Properly stored wood furniture lasts indefinitely, but absent adequate preparation, furniture made from wood quickly succumbs to the perils of humidity, scratches, dings and other damage. The key to preserving your wood furniture during storage is preparation prior to packing it away. A few extra steps now can ensure that your furniture comes out of storage looking as good as it did when it went in.

Key Point Module

  • 1 Wood furniture requires special conditions during storage to ensure its lasting beauty and resilience.
  • 2 Climate-controlled storage units provide optimal temperature and humidity levels for storing wood furniture.
  • 3 Preparing wood furniture for storage helps preserve its integrity and reduces the likelihood of furniture becoming damaged.
  • 4 Proper placement in the storage unit reduces the chance of damage.

Decide What to Store

Prior to putting your furniture in storage, do an inventory of what you plan to keep and decide if it’s time to get rid of some pieces. Furniture, and wood furniture in particular, can be expensive, but sometimes getting rid of furniture rather than storing it makes more sense. With the exception of cherished family heirlooms, antiques and high-quality pieces, it is often a better idea to donate or sell items rather than hang onto them in storage.

Where to Store

A big consideration to make when storing wood furniture is where to store it. Attics, basements and garages are popular and often chosen because they’re free to use, but most fail to provide the environment wood furniture requires to maintain its beautiful look and structural integrity. Basements are often prone to moisture, which can cause rapid deterioration of wood. Attics and garages are notoriously hot or cold or experience fluctuations in temperature. These conditions are problematic for wood furniture because wood can warp, splinter, swell, shrink, split and crack if a storage space is too hot, is too cold or lacks proper ventilation. Moreover, the finish on your wood furniture, whether painted or stained, can deteriorate, and glued joints can become loose when exposed to extreme temperatures or humidity.

Ideally, a climate-controlled storage unit with an airtight seal provides a temperate atmosphere that’s optimal for keeping your furniture looking its best. The airtight seal also keeps bugs (including bed bugs that may come from other units and wood-boring bugs) from entering your unit. If you can’t rent a climate-controlled storage unit, improve your furniture’s chances of survival in storage by wrapping furniture properly, using drop cloths and furniture covers and lining the floor in the storage area with moving blankets or tarps. If you rent a non-climate-controlled storage unit with a concrete floor, be sure to put down covering on the floor because moisture naturally wicks from concrete and can cause damage over time.

Getting Wood Furniture Ready for Storage

Now that you know where to store your wood furniture, preparing it for storage is your next step. Begin by cleaning and waxing the furniture with paste wax or furniture polish to help prevent drying out during storage and to reduce its susceptibility to cracking and damage.

Next, disassemble large furniture items as much as possible; this reduces the likelihood of furniture becoming damaged and makes the most efficient use of your storage space. Remove footboards, headboards and table legs, and store dresser drawers separately if space permits. Remove shelves from bookcases. Preserve all screws and bolts in labeled, zip-style plastic baggies for quick reassembly, and store them with the item for ease of accessibility.

Wrap each piece of furniture to protect it from scratches and scuffs. Never wrap wood furniture in plastic; this causes sweating and can lead to rot or swelling, especially outside a climate-controlled environment. Plastic can also cause leather or fabric components of wood furniture, such as seats on dining room chairs or trim on a headboard, to mold.

Instead, drape packing or moving blankets, drop cloths, old bedding or other fabric material around your wood furniture to provide a barrier from scratches, scuffs, dust and dirt. A loose drape allows air to circulate around your furniture while it’s stored away. Wrap any protruding parts with extra care to prevent breakage, and place cardboard over any glass doors or tabletops. Take care to avoid touching your furniture with packing tape; tape the material you’re wrapping instead, which holds the padding in place.

Placing Your Wood Furniture in Storage

When possible, don’t store your wood furniture on the floor. Instead, build a base from pallets, wooden blocks, plywood or planks. This guards against any leached moisture seeping into the space and provides a bit of protection from flooding if your storage area is in a flood-prone location. Allow space in between your furniture items, and avoid overstuffing your storage unit or other space. A unit packed too tightly is asking for trouble and impedes airflow, which can lead to deterioration of your items.

If possible, don’t store other items on top of your wooden furniture. If you must stack boxes or other items atop your furniture items, be sure to place a layer of cushioning between the item and the furniture. Additionally, avoid storing food items, which are an attractant to pests and bugs that can infest or damage your furniture, in the same location as your wood furniture.

Storing wood furniture can be challenging, but with appropriate measures taken prior to storage, your furniture will make it through the process unscathed.

FAQs

What is a climate-controlled storage unit?

Climate-controlled storage units provide a continuous temperature for indoor storage, usually between 55 to 85 degrees F with a stable humidity level.

Does wood furniture need to be stored in climate control?

Yes, if possible. Climate-controlled storage provides the same conditions of the interior of your home, which is the optimal place for your wood furniture.

Will furniture warp in a storage unit?

Uneven moisture content caused by humidity and moisture level fluctuations can lead to changes in the wood that result in warping and other damage.

What packing supplies do I need to properly store wood furniture?

Moving blankets and bed linens provide a layer of protection against scratches and damage, and packing tape helps hold protective covers in place.