Prepare Your Belongings for Storage: A How-to Guide

There are items we want to throw away, and there are items we want to hang onto, but we just don’t have the space – like antique furniture, outgrown children’s clothes or artwork. So what should you do with these things? For items you want to keep for future use or sentimental value, it is a god idea to put them in a storage unit. Self-storage units provide a simple and convenient solution. All it takes is choosing an appropriate storage facility and moving your belongings into it. But, before tossing your items inside and locking the door, you want to ensure your belongings will remain in excellent condition while stored. To make this happen, you will need to prepare and pack your items with great care and attention to detail. Check out our useful how-to guide to learn how to prep your belongings for storage.

How to Prep Furniture

  1. If applicable, empty furniture of any items – books, papers, etc. Using a brush attachment for your vacuum, remove any excess dirt, and clean all surfaces with a mild solution of soap and water. Let furniture air dry fully.
  1. Protect your furniture, based on its material. For leather, use a protective spray as well as leather conditioner. For wood finishes, apply a protective coat of wax to seal the wood and reduce the risk of mold development.
  1. Disassemble large furniture pieces (as much as possible). For any protruding elements (table legs, etc.), cover them with a protective layer of bubble wrap.
  1. Pack all detached pieces together so no parts get misplaced. Also, place small hardware parts (bolts, hinges, etc.) in a sealable plastic bag, then tape the bag to the corresponding furniture.
  1. Cover furniture with sheets and blankets. Use specialized fabric furniture covers if your items will be stored long-term, and secure with cinch straps, plastic wrap or rubber bands.

How to Prep Appliances

  1. Empty and thoroughly clean any appliances you intend to put into storage. If you plan to store a fridge/freezer, be sure to defrost it first or expect a wet and moldy disaster!
  1. When cleaning appliances, it’s a good idea to disinfect them properly. A cleaning solution of bleach or baking soda will work as an excellent disinfectant/cleaning agent and will also remove any bad odors.
  1. Completely drain water from any attached hoses or internal mechanisms – especially when storing dishwashers and washing machines. Missing this step can lead to water freezing and damaging your appliances during winter months or mildew during warmer months.
  1. Tie down and secure any attached cables and hoses. Remove any hoses or other attachments, if possible, and store them inside the appliance so they won’t get lost.

Things to consider:

If possible, leave doors on household appliances slightly ajar when stored. This will allow proper ventilation and will prevent condensation and bad odors.

How to Prep Electronic Devices

  1. Ensure all electronics are clean and free of dust.
  1. Pack sensitive electronic devices in their original boxes or ones of similar size and quality. Use crumpled packing paper, foam sheets or anti-static packing peanuts to fill any empty spaces inside boxes to ensure optimal protection during storage.
  1. Seal all boxes tightly in order to keep moisture out and damage away.

How to Prep Clothes

  1. Hang garments on a clothes rail inside wardrobe boxes. This will keep them wrinkle-free and ensure good ventilation to eliminate the risk of mold.
  1. For expensive and delicate clothing items, wrap them in a suitable protective cover to keep them fresh, clean and damage-free.
  1. For clothing that will be stored long-term, use an insect repellant such as naphthalene or mothballs.

Things to consider:

When storing clothes for extended periods of time, avoid folding and piling them into boxes. This will not only lead to wrinkles, but damage due to dust, dampness and mold.

How to Prep Mattresses

  1. Inspect mattresses for any signs of infestation. Also, make sure your mattresses are clean and completely dry. To make sure, consider placing them in a spot with direct sunlight for a few hours.
  1. Place mattresses in a specialized storage bag that supplies a perfect fit. Durable mattress bags are a wise investment when storing mattresses, because they protect against dirt, dust, moisture and pests.
  1. Seal the ends of the plastic protection bags with packing tape.

Things to consider:

Use vacuum bags to save space when storing bedding items, like comforters, duvets, linens, etc.

How to Prep Books

  1. Ensure all books are fully dry. Try spreading them on a table in a sunny room for several days before packing them for storage. Also consider running a dehumidifier in the room.
  1. Wrap leather books in packing paper to eliminate the risk of them sticking to each other.
  1. Place books in small, sturdy boxes. It is recommended to pack books flat – especially larger ones – to prevent damage to their spines.

Things to consider:

Books are incredibly heavy! Avoid using large boxes because they will be too difficult to lift. They may even break under their own weight.

For more useful how-to guides involving your move, click here.