Protecting Your Furniture for a Long-Term Stay in Self Storage

Protecting Your Furniture for a Long-Term Stay in Self Storage

There are many reasons why you may be needing long-term storage. You may not want to get rid of your parents’ antique wardrobe or the dresser you have been saving for when your son moves away, but your house does not have the space for it either. You may be travelling for an extended period, or you may be wanting to keep collectibles in a safe space as their value increases. It could be a countless number of other reasons, but regardless of the reason, you know you need self storage for the long-term.

If this is your situation, we’d like to share with you advice on how to properly store your items for the long-term. At Sentinel Storage, we are here to aid you so that you can prevent the dirt and dust, funny odours, dampness and fabric imprints that are all possible outcomes to furniture staying in self storage for the long-term. Follow these helpful tips, and the items in your self storage unit will come out of storage in the same shape as when they went into storage.

Set up the storage unit in advance

At Sentinel Storage, we always clean our storage units after every use, but it is still a smart idea to go through the unit yourself before moving items into it. Give the floor another sweep, or bring a vacuum to get as much dust out as possible.

Make sure your items are clean

Give every storage item a good clean before putting them away in your self storage unit. Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe away dirt and dust. Give items a second wipe with the proper cleaning solution for the material, such as leather, fabric, or metal cleaners. This will help get rid of more ingrained messes, but also provide a layer of protection for the material. Importantly, let the items air dry before putting them into storage: any trapped moisture can produce mould.

Protect your items with padding

Protecting your furniture is an important step to taking them out of storage in the same condition as when they went in. Different items require different types of protective materials. A general rule is to avoid plastics, as these trap moisture. Any wood items will especially not want to be covered in plastics.

Most furniture can be protected by large moving blankets. Typically blue, and about the size of a duvet cover, these blankets are thick padding that can save your furniture from most bumps and scrapes. Large items take a number of pads to cover, but with a roll of tape, anything can be wrapped securely, preventing dust and dirt from getting at the item, while protecting it from most bangs.

Boxes, of course, are best for protection and organization. If it can fit in one, we suggest putting it in one. Deconstructing a larger item can get it to fit into a box, or in multiple boxes. This is usually the safest place for any item, so we suggest utilizing boxes when possible. Be sure to seal your box properly though, taping any opening tight, to prevent dust and dirt from getting inside, while also strengthening the box’s supports.

Be advised that every piece of furniture can use its own special protection. For particularly unique or valuable items, do some extra research into how to protect the item for long-term self storage, or speak with your Sentinel Storage agent today (1-855-534-1840).

Fill your self storage unit strategically

Now that your unit is ready to be filled with your contents, proceed with foresight. While you will want to save space by fitting items together in the most compact way, you also want to keep in mind how these items are affecting each other in the space (i.e., potentially damaging each other), and your own ability to access items in the unit when you need to.

Tightness and safety

In terms of filling the unit compactly, tightness is key: items are less likely to shift or move if they are tightly stacked together. As you fill your unit, be warry of how you are stacking the items together, so that when it comes time to remove them, you haven’t set yourself any “booby-traps.” As you remove items from the unit, always remove the ones on top first, and take a look as you remove them to be sure that their removal will not disturb other items around them, having them fall to the ground.

As you fill your locker, always put the heaviest items on the bottom of stacks, leaving lighter items for the top. Also, be aware of what is being stacked on top of other things: leaving an end table upside down on top of the seat of a sofa, may save space, but it may also leave an imprint on the sofa’s fabric. Our suggestion with sofas is to stand them on end – but then if the sofa has a large, padded arm rest, then this could be harmed when standing on the padding for so long.

Flipping a sofa on its end is a trick that should be utilized as much as possible. Long, heavy items, like dressers or sideboards, can be flipped on their side to utilize the height of your unit rather than its floor space. Putting a sheet of cardboard underneath the item will help protect it, but if it is padded with a moving blanket, this will keep most items safe.

Special items

Paintings, mirrors, and glass and marble tops must always be stored on their side, leaning against a wall or another secure resting place. Lying any of these types of items flat can result in them being damaged by falling items, or people sitting or stepping on them.

Preferably, paintings and mirrors are wrapped in a poly wrap (which is like very thick tissue paper with a plastic outer layer) and packed in picture boxes, as these will keep them protected best. If poly wrap is not an option, then clean paper (not newsprint) or bubble wrap can do the job. Even in the box though, our point above remains: keep them standing; do not lie them flat.

Appliances should always be drained of any water, as standing water can breed mould or insects. Likewise, keep doors of refrigerators and washing machines ajar to prevent mould growth by keeping air flowing. With gardening tools or other machinery, be sure to drain those of any gasoline or flammable liquids.


As you fill your self storage unit, aim to keep items you will likely need on a more frequent basis until the end (so that they are near the front of the locker for easy access), and start filling the unit with the items you know you will not need until you move everything out of storage. Strategizing how you fill your self storage unit in advance will not only keep your items safe during their stay in storage, but it will also make things easier for you when it’s time to retrieve particular items.

Sentinel Storage is here to help with all of your self storage needs: if you have any further questions about how to protect you items for long-term storage unit, or any self storage question, a Sentinel Storage agent will be happy to speak with you today: 1-855-534-1840