Blog / How To Store

How to Store Furniture

By Matt Wallace

12 April, 20245 mins read

Whether you’re downsizing, decluttering or simply making room for something new, storing furniture can often feel like a complicated game of Tetris. At Pay Less For Storage, we understand that furniture often holds both monetary and sentimental value, which is why we’ve put together this guide to storing your cherished items safely and efficiently. 

Our shipping container units across the UK offer the perfect solution for keeping your belongings secure and in pristine condition. From plush leather sofas to antique wooden chests, our comprehensive guide on how to pack furniture in a storage unit will ensure that each piece is kept in good condition. 

So, without further ado, let’s dive into the essential tips and tricks for packing and protecting your furniture, making sure it comes out of storage unscathed.

1. Ensure Everything is Dry

Ensuring your furniture and appliances remain in top-notch condition starts with one fundamental step: keep everything dry.

This is the number one rule when putting anything in storage. Whether it’s a cherished leather armchair or an essential kitchen appliance, the dampness of your items before they enter storage will have a significant impact on their condition when they come out. 

Fortunately, ensuring your furniture is dry before it goes into storage is easy, here’s how:

  • Dry Everything: This may sound obvious, but before anything crosses the threshold of your unit, make sure it’s completely dry — we can’t stress this enough. Moisture is the archenemy of stored items, bringing with it mould, mildew and irreparable damage. Remember, what goes in dry, stays dry. Any residual moisture has the potential to become a breeding ground for mould.

  • Weatherproof Your Move: Don’t let the UK’s unpredictable weather compromise the quality of your belongings. If there’s any chance of rain on the day you move your furniture, cover your items with blankets and dust sheets — and be sure to take any damp covers with you when you leave.

  • Fridge and Freezer Care: This step can be easy to overlook, but it’s important to defrost your fridge and/or freezer at least one day before storing it. Left unchecked, these appliances can release significant amounts of water, risking the integrity of your storage container.

2. Protect Valuable Items

Protecting your furniture from damage during the journey to and from your storage container comes down to preparation and finding the right help. 

In this section, we’ll look at some of the ways to ensure your valuables are shielded from the common scuffs and scratches that can come with moving large bulky items.

  • Find a Trustworthy Removal Service: Take the time to research and compare different removal companies to find one that you feel you can trust. As with any kind of service provider, it’s always good to look for those with plenty of experience and good reviews. 
  • Request an In-Home Quote: Inviting the removal team to assess your furniture in person can prevent unexpected fees later on. However, this visit isn’t just about the quote; it’s an opportunity for you to gauge their professionalism. Trust your instincts – if something feels off, find someone else.
  • Verify Removal Insurance: From speed bumps to careless drivers, the journey to your storage unit is full of factors that are outside of anyone’s control — and even with the best removal services, accidents can still happen. Ask the removal company to provide proof that your items will be covered should they be damaged on the road. 

Pro Tip: This step will also help separate the professionals from those looking to make a quick buck. 

  • Cushion Your Furniture: Regardless of the removal company you choose, you still have a responsibility to pack and protect your furniture appropriately. We suggest wrapping your items in clean, dry blankets and dust sheets – and be sure to use bubble wrap for particularly valuable pieces. 

Pro Tip: Avoid using plastic wrap with your furniture, as it can trap moisture which could lead to mould and mildew.

 Careful planning and choosing the right removal service can make all the difference in ensuring your possessions arrive at their storage destination in the same condition they left.

3. Consider Dismantling

The decision to disassemble furniture before storing it hinges on two factors: 

  1. How long they’ll be stored for
  2. The need to optimise space

Disassembling furniture isn’t just about making things easier to move, it’s a cost-saving exercise — especially for anyone considering long-term storage.

  • Maximise Space: Dismantling furniture transforms bulky items into manageable parts, allowing for compact stacking. This is particularly useful for accommodating awkwardly shaped items like corner sofas and extending dining tables, allowing you to choose a smaller (and less expensive) storage unit.
  • Time vs. Cost: For short-term storage needs, the time and effort that goes into taking furniture apart and putting it back together might not be worth the money it saves. In many cases, the convenience of keeping furniture intact could outweigh the saved space. 

There’s no right or wrong answer here, it all depends on you. Just take time to think about how long your belongings will be in storage and the practicalities of taking pieces apart.

4. Keep Space Between Items

A key factor when finding the perfect storage space is making sure you find a suitably sized unit or container — that means one where you don’t have to cram everything in to make it all fit.

As tempting as it may be to choose a conservatively-sized space and strategically store your items, doing so could damage your furniture over longer periods of time. 

  • Maintaining Airflow: Keeping a little room between your items isn’t just about organisation; it’s a vital step for maintaining their condition. This comes back to our golden rule about keeping things dry, as the flow of air plays a pivotal role in preventing dampness and mould.

Small gaps allow air to circulate freely, adding an extra layer of protection against moisture.

  • Smart Stacking: Overloading or stacking items close together might seem like a good way to save space, but it’s also a cause for potential damage. By allowing some space between your belongings, you eliminate the risk of items toppling over or being crushed under too much weight.

Pro Tip: Lining the floor with plastic sheets or tarpaulin, and elevating your furniture on pallets or bricks, is a great way to enhance airflow and further prevent your furniture from absorbing moisture.

5. Materials Matter

It may go without saying, but different materials require different methods of care to ensure they’re kept in good condition. With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of how to prepare and protect your furniture in a storage unit, based on what it’s made of: 

  • Wood: It’s always worth dusting wooden furniture to remove dirt. For deep cleans, you can use a gentle wood cleaner or a slightly damp cloth to treat stains — just make sure it’s completely dry before storage. Applying a coat of wood polish will also help maintain its sheen and help prevent it from drying out.
  • Metal: If you have any metal furnishings, such as lamps, chandeliers and bed frames, be sure to clean them with a suitable metal cleaner and a polishing cloth to bring out their shine. For items showing signs of rust, gently use steel wool to remove any corrosion. This helps prevent further oxidation while in storage, keeping your metal pieces pristine.
  • Fabric: Vacuum fabric-lined items thoroughly to get rid of dust and dirt. For a deep clean you might consider using a steam cleaner, but again make sure everything is completely dry to avoid mould.
  • Leather: If you have any leather furniture, it’s best to wipe them down with leather wipes or a leather-safe cleaning solution. Then, you might consider using a leather protector or conditioner to help maintain its flexibility and prevent it from cracking or drying out.

Whether it’s the lustre of polished wood, the gleam of rust-free metal, the cleanliness of fabric upholstery, or the suppleness of leather, a little pre-storage care goes a long way.


How do you stack furniture in a storage unit?

When stacking furniture in a storage unit, use heavy and sturdy items as the base and put lighter items on top. Ensure there’s a protective layer like blankets or bubble wrap between items to prevent them from getting scratched. Always maintain a stable, accessible arrangement to avoid damage and try not to overcrowd your unit as it’s important to maintain airflow. 

Will furniture go mouldy in a storage container?

Furniture can become mouldy in a storage container, only if it’s exposed to moisture. 

Fortunately, you can prevent this by ensuring your furniture is dry before it goes into storage & using desiccants for humidity control. Good ventilation and protective covers will also work to minimise the risk of mould.

How do I protect my furniture from damp in storage?

To protect your furniture from damp, make sure everything is completely dry before storing, use plastic sheeting on the ground and consider elevating furniture on pallets or bricks. Desiccants can help absorb excess moisture to help regulate humidity.

Matt Wallace

Matt Wallace

Matt is a Director of Pay Less for Storage. He blogs tips for storage customers and helps them navigate self storage.

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