At first glance, wooden furniture may seem like one of the easiest items to put in storage. It's not overly prone to mold like fabric, and you don't have to worry about it shorting out if it gets wet, as you would with electronics. The truth of the matter is, however, that wood furniture can become ruined in storage if you're not careful to pack and store it properly. To ensure your wooden dressers, tables, chairs, shelving units, and other pieces of furniture emerge in top-notch condition, follow these tips.
Do clean and polish the furniture before putting it in storage.
Any dust left on your furniture before you put it in storage may end up annealing to the furniture's finish if it gets damp. Also, wood that is dry going into storage may crack and split by the time you retrieve it. Prevent both of these issues by thoroughly cleaning the furniture, and then applying a wood polish, before putting it into storage.
If you don't want to spend money on a wood polish, you can use olive oil mixed with a little vinegar instead. Put a few drops on a cloth, and rub it all over the furniture. This natural moisture will prevent the wood from drying out and cracking in storage. The vinegar will remove any residues that may become more unsightly during storage.
Do store the furniture on a pallet.
Even in the seemingly cleanest and best kept of storage units, there is a chance of rodents if those who are renting neighboring units happen to store something that attracts them. Protect your furniture's legs from rodent chewing by keeping the furniture up on pallets. Pallets will also ensure that, if the floor of the storage unit becomes wet or flooded, your furniture does not get wet.
Do wrap the legs in a breathable material.
Wrapping the legs of furniture also helps protect them from rodents. However, you do not want to use non-breathable materials like plastic wrap, as these may hold in too much moisture and lead to mildew formation or rot. Instead, use pieces of old t-shirts or bedsheets. Simply wrap them around the legs, and secure them with rubber bands.
Don't completely encase the furniture in plastic.
Just as wrapping the legs in plastic may encourage mildew development, so will wrapping up the entire piece of furniture in plastic. If you want to protect your furniture from dust while in storage, it's best to drape it loosely with old bedsheets or tablecloths. Specially made furniture covers, which sometimes have elastic to secure them around the furniture, also work.
Don't store clothing inside drawers unless it is separately wrapped and protected.
You might be tempted to save space in your storage unit by storing items like clothing and accessories in the drawers of wooden furniture. While this is not necessarily a bad idea, you do need to make sure the items you store are well wrapped before they're shoved in the drawers. Otherwise, they may leave stains or odors inside your drawers -- especially if they accidentally become damp while you're packing. Natural fibers, such as wool, may also attract bugs, and the furniture drawer itself is not enough to keep bugs away. The bugs may end up harming not only the items you store in the drawers, but also the drawers themselves.
Pack items individually inside plastic compression bags or plastic lidded containers before placing them in your drawers. Toss a few moth balls in with any wool items to protect them.
By taking the time to clean and polish your furniture, store it on pallets, wrap the legs with sheets, and drape the furniture properly, you can increase its chances of emerging intact. If you're storing your furniture for more than a month or two, you may also want to look into a climate controlled self storage unit. There will be less fluctuation in temperature, so your items will be even safer. Happy packing!