By Patrick Galvan, Storage.com
Often, when moving or renovating, people will rent a storage unit to temporarily keep furniture, appliances, and other belongings safe and out of the way. While most items will be fine in storage, wooden furniture requires more attention. Since wooden furniture is susceptible to damages like scratches, cracks, warping, and rotting, you need to protect it with enough storage space, climate control, and storage preparation.
How Much Storage Space Will You Need?
During a move or renovation, you’ll probably be storing other items along with your wooden furniture, which means you’ll need a storage unit that’s large enough to accommodate all of the items you’re storing. However, since wooden furniture is more susceptible to cracks and scratches, it’s a good idea to have enough storage space to keep items from touching or falling on each other.
“One thing to keep in mind is to be sure that nothing is crammed in your storage unit,” says Melissa Stiles, Marketing Manager for StorageAsset in York, Penn.
While it might sound more efficient to stack boxes and other items on top of wooden tables and chairs so you can rent a smaller and slightly cheaper storage unit, it’s not worth the cost of having to repair damages.
In most cases, a 5×10 will work when storing a wooden table and chairs, as well as some boxes and other small furniture. But if you’re storing the entire contents of a home or office, you may need a bigger unit, such as 10×10, 10×20, or 10×30. “It’s better to get a bigger unit than to pile furniture and risk damaging your belongings,” Stiles adds.
Using Climate-Controlled Storage to Prevent Damage
When storing items with wooden components, it’s necessary to seek out a storage facility that offers climate-controlled storage units. This feature acts as an air conditioner, heater, humidifier, and dehumidifier to control the temperature and humidity within your storage unit.
Why is this important? Wood tends to contract in colder temperatures and expand in warmer temperatures. After shrinking and expanding, cracks and deformations will appear in the surface of the furniture, lessening its appeal and potentially weakening its structure. Using climate control, you can keep your storage unit between 55-85°F, preventing temperature-related damages to your wooden furniture while it’s being stored.
High concentrations of humidity can also lead to the growth of mold and mildew, which can rot wood if left untreated. Mold and mildew are also troublesome because the growth inside a contained space, like a storage unit, can spread to other items. If you’re storing electronics, paper documents, leather furniture, or clothing in your unit alongside your wooden furniture, these items can get damaged as well.
Should mold develop on your furniture, United Kingdom-based Oak Furniture UK says removing it isn’t too difficult. “It’s relatively easy to remove mold by scrubbing the infected area with a sponge, water, and a small drop of detergent. This can be damaging if a bleach-based product is used, so be extra cautious.”
Additional Tips for Storing Wooden Furniture
Before moving wooden furniture to self storage, clean and polish it. “[Use] either furniture polish or linseed oil before storage to ensure the wood stays moisturized,” says Oak Furniture UK. “If wood isn’t moisturized before storage, you run the risk of the wood drying out. This can further lead to cracking and splitting.”
Also, if your unit is cluttered, Stiles recommends taking wooden furniture apart (if possible) and storing it in segments. “Dismantling the furniture as much as possible is a great way to ensure it’s being protected and stored carefully as well,” she explains.
Even though furniture is designed to sit on floors, when it’s in storage, you should keep it elevated. “Keep wooden furniture off the ground to allow ventilation,” Oak Furniture UK advises. “If you have no space in your storage unit, remove the legs (if this is possible without damaging the furniture).” If removing the legs isn’t an option, you can always set your furniture on pallets. In addition to improving ventilation, this will keep your furniture from damage caused by unexpected hazards, such as floodwater getting into your storage unit.
Wooden furniture is prone to damage, so providing adequate storage conditions is a must to ensure its survival. It’s important to find a self storage facility that offers climate control and enough space and take care of your wooden furniture before and during its time in storage.