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preparing your items for storage

Preparing Items For Storage

How to get your belongings ready for short,
or long term storage

cross country movers

Preparing Your Items For Storage

Renting a storage unit can be a great solution for storing items temporarily. A growing number of people are using this option when they need a place for their belongings.

Common Reasons To Use A Self-Storage Unit

  • Moving to a new home
  • Renovating existing home
  • Run out of space at home
  • Previous home had storage. New home offers no storage
  • Working away
  • In transit often
  • Store tools and equipment
  • Store business inventory

How To Prepare Items For Storage

Whether you have simple furniture, antiques, books, or appliances, whatever is to be stored, you will want to retain and protect the condition of these items. This means detail and precision will need to be taken when packing and storing the items. Although storage is often intended for short term, you should also consider long term. Renovations on your home might take longer, your work contract got extended etc. If you have properly prepared your items prior to going into storage, you will not have to worry, should they need to stay stored for any additional amount of time.

Firstly, make sure you have all the Packing Supplies and Materials needed for each item that is to be stored. This includes any tools needed to disassemble any appliances or furniture.

Items should be protected against dust, dirt and moisture. Make sure to:

  • Clean and dry each item before being packed and stored.
  • Disassemble items that can be taken apart and protect each individual piece.
  • Each piece will have its own specific care requirements. Use packing materials that correspond to each individual item.

Preparing Furniture

  • Drawers and shelves within pieces of furniture can be used to store items. If space is limited, this is a good option. Before placing items in any drawers or on shelves, make sure the dresser, or piece of furniture is emptied and cleaned, removing any dirt and dust. Allow the piece of furniture to dry completely.
  • If your furniture requires exterior protection, such as furniture spray, wax, oil, or conditioner, apply it once it is cleaned and dry.
  • Disassemble any items that come apart and make sure to dust, clean and dry each piece. Any detachable pieces, pack together along with a sealable plastic bag that contains small hardware, such as screws and bolts. This bag can either be taped to the piece of furniture or labeled clearly and packed with other items in boxes.
  • Furniture can now be covered with blankets or specialized fabric furniture covers. This is recommended if the furniture will be stored long term. Secure the blankets by using plastic wrap, rubber bands or cinch straps.

Note: Furniture is not designed to be moved with the drawers filled. Make sure to empty drawers while furniture is being transported to the storage unit.

It is not advised to use plastic wrap directly on wooden or leather furniture. Moisture and heat can get trapped, which can cause mold or warping to occur on the wood or leather. Upholstered furniture should be covered with white cotton sheets or fabric. If the humidity level in the storage unit is too high, any dark colored fabrics being used could run, causing discoloration.

Preparing A Mattress

  • Prior to packing and storing your mattress, it is advisable to check for signs of infestation, usually of bed bugs. You can find out from the Environmental Protection Agency what to look for. Your mattress should be clean and dry before being packed. Placing the mattress in direct sunlight is always a good idea. Vacuum the mattress to remove any dust and let it get some fresh air.
  • Once the mattress is ready to be packed, use a specialized storage bag/box. Ensure the bag fits perfectly, to provide protection against dust, moisture and any bugs. Make sure the plastic/box is sealed securely.

Preparing Appliances

  • Make sure to empty any appliances going into storage. Freezers and refrigerators must be defrosted first. Clean and dry each appliance thoroughly and make sure any water is completely drained. Water can freeze during the colder months and during summer mildew can occur.
  • If there are any attached cables or hoses, secure these. It’s a good idea to store any detachable hoses or attachments inside the appliance.

Leaving the door of each appliance slightly open is recommended, avoiding any possible condensation or odors from occurring.

Preparing Electronics

It is important that any electronic equipment is clean and dust free before being packed and stored. If you have the original box, this is always the best packing option. If you do not have the original box, make sure to pack the item securely in a box of the same size and pad any empty spaces making sure it cannot move around. Ensure the box is sealed, preventing any moisture from entering.

Preparing Clothes

When storing clothing, it is best that each item is clean before being packed. Using an insect repellant such as mothballs amongst the clothing is recommended.

Using wardrobe boxes and clothing rails is advised, if you have the space. It allows the clothing to receive air, which helps prevent mold. If you need to store you’re clothing in boxes, placing them in large Ziploc bags is a god idea. You could also use the plastic bags that comforters and sheets come in, as they are heavier.

Preparing Books

  • Prior to packing any books, make sure they are dry. If you have time remove them from the shelves prior to moving day and let them get some sunlight. This also allows you the opportunity to check the books and make sure there is no mold already on the books. If you do find mold, you can take them to a conservator to have them repaired. Leather books should be wrapped individually so that they don’t stick together.
  • When packing books, use small boxes. Books are heavy.

Preparing Fragile Items

Anything you consider fragile, wrap individually with appropriate packing material. Packing paper, bubble wrap, or material of your choice, to ensure the safety of the item. Line the base of the boxes with sufficient padding, again, bubble wrap, or crumpled paper could be used. You can also use towels. Fill any empty spaces so there is no movement in the boxes and make sure to mark the box as FRAGILE.

Additional Tips

  • Mirrors – for large mirrors, pack these in crates or cardboard boxes. Small mirrors can be wrapped in pieces of cardboard.
  • Lampshades – wrap each lampshade individually and place inside of each other.
  • Leather – all leather items should be treated with a conditioner prior to being put in storage. This treatment needs to be done at least 48 – 72 hours before being packed.
  • Photographs – If you have loose photos, it is a good idea to place them between cardboard. This keeps them flat and protected.

Taking the time to prepare your belongings for Storage allows you to enjoy them when the time arrives to take them out, as they will have been preserved with great care.

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