ORGANIZED LIVING: Preparing Your Items for Storage

Preparing for long-term storage requires some coordination. You’ve already selected your storage facility, filed all the required rental paperwork, collected your boxes and storage bins, and figured out a system for labeling them all.

But have you thought about the condition of the items you’ll be storing themselves?

Before you fold up all your linens and pile your furniture into the storage unit, remember this guideline: Clean items store better. Here are some considerations to follow to help protect your items while in storage.

Treat all Clothing and Linens as “Delicates”

All clothing should be washed, completely dry, and folded neatly. Blankets and drapery should be cleaned as well, either machine-washed or dry-cleaned, before they’re packed. Furniture should be vacuumed and spot-cleaned with an upholstery cleaner.

Cleaning your linens and furniture prevents germs and dirt from being transported into your storage location. Besides preventing odors from spreading throughout your storage unit, clean furniture adds a nice laundry smell to your whole unit.

Polish Your Leathers

Sure, your well-loved motorcycle jacket might not seem like it needs TLC, but it does — especially if you want to continue wearing it! Spot-clean all leather items, or have them professionally cleaned, then treat them with a leather conditioner, before placing them in storage. This goes for all your leather shoes, as well! Get them nice and polished before storing them away.

As far as your comfy leather couch, be sure to follow the same pre-treatment regimen before covering it for storage. But make sure the leather can breathe by only using fabric (like an old—but clean!—sheet) as a protective wrap, never plastic. Also make certain that you don’t stack anything on top of your leather cushions because they are particularly susceptible to indentations.

Give Wood the Respect it Deserves

Your nice wood coffee table has earned some careful treatment as well. Remove any dust or dirt from your wood pieces using a quality wood cleaner, and then polish them for some added protection. Remember, wood is very susceptible to weather fluctuations, so this is especially important if your storage unit is not climate-controlled.

Metal Needs Protection, Too

Sure, “vintage” is charming — when you want it to be! Just because something is metal doesn’t mean it’s impervious to heat and humidity. Increase the longevity of your metal objects in storage by wiping them down with machine oil or another type of rust preventative.

This includes your bicycle! If you don’t want it to become a decoration, give your bike the treatment before you stow it away in long-term storage. Prep it, just like you would for the off-season, by wiping it down and adding a bit of chain oil to keep it lubricated when you’re not riding.

Keep it Simple

Break things down so they don’t, well, break down! Things with removable components— like table leaves, lamp shade, bed frames, and (once again!) your bicycle — should be broken down into their smaller parts when you’re prepping for storage.

For one reason, smaller objects are lighter to carry. For another, it’s easier to find a place for them in the storage unit. And most importantly, your friends and family will appreciate that you made it easier for them to help move your stuff!