How to store furniture

Storage Tips: How to store furniture in a storage unit

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Get Smarter On Architecture and Design

Get the 3-minute weekly newsletter keeping 5K+ designers in the loop.

Enter your Email to Sign up

Knowing where to put all your furniture can be difficult when moving into a new home. Rather than storing it in your backyard or garage, consider using a storage unit instead. A storage unit is a secure location where you can store items not currently being used. This includes large items like tables and chairs and smaller items like clothing and linens. Not only will this free up space in your home, but storing things in a storage unit will also help protect them from damage caused by dust or moisture buildup.

Here are my top tips for storing furniture in a storage unit.

Tips for finding the right storage unit

There are many things you must consider when it comes to storage. First, you must ensure the facility is safe and secure and that you get the best deal for your money. With all the options, it can take time to figure out where to start or what questions to ask. I have put together some critical things to consider:

  • Choosing between self-storage or portable storage - Self-storage is a fixed location where you store your items, usually on-site with the facility owner. Portable storage is more flexible; it's a movable container that can be moved from place to place.
  • Comparing quotes - Compare quotes from more than one provider. Be bold and ask questions, and be confident to walk away if you don't like the answers you're getting. Then, you can negotiate on the price or other aspects of the rental agreement. For example, when looking for options, I found affordable storage Townsville options that offered excellent security for reasonable prices.
  • Read the fine print - It’s a good idea to read the fine print. Sometimes things aren't included in price quotes—like electricity costs, which can add up quickly over time!
  • Visit the facility in person - Take a tour and ask questions about security features and cleanliness. Make sure there is 24-hour access available while on your tour, as well as cameras or other monitoring equipment in each unit.

Prep before your store your furniture

Before storing furniture in a storage unit, it's essential to ensure everything is clean and dry. Use a vacuum to remove dust and debris from cracks or crevices on your furniture. If there are any spills, use a damp cloth to clean them up. For the piece of furniture not to get damaged by humidity over time, use a dry cloth (or towel) to wipe down the surface of your item. If any wet spots remain after cleaning up spills or watermarks on your furniture, use a hair dryer or heat gun to dry those areas before storing them in your unit!

Dust could build up over time on the furniture in a storage unit, so cleaning it before storing it is essential. Dust can damage the fabric of your furniture, which can lead to holes and tears in your clothes if you put them away dirty. It could even attract insects and pests that will eat through your belongings, including food products stored inside the unit. In addition, dust can attract mould and mildew and cause allergies and asthma attacks in some people. 

Using suitable materials to keep the furniture protected 

Using appropriate materials to keep the furniture protected in a storage unit is essential.

  • It's best to use thick plastic sheets to cover your furniture. This will protect it from dust, moisture and bugs, which can all cause damage over time. If you don't have enough plastic sheeting on hand, you can make sure there are no gaps between pieces by using blankets or towels for added protection. You should also use similar protection for walls, floors and ceilings.
  • Be sure that every item has its own space in your storage unit, so there is less risk of damage from being stacked on top of each other.
  • If you have wooden or veneered furniture, apply a fine layer of wax or polish. You can also use paste wax. This will help protect your furniture from dust and dirt. When applying the wax, use a soft cloth to rub it on all surfaces to create an even sheen.

Use a furniture dolly or moving straps

Furniture dollies are a great way to move heavy furniture when you or your helpers can't lift it. If you move furniture independently, consider getting one and wheeling the large items instead of raising them.

Use straps and strapping tape (or just duct tape) to strap furniture together so that it's easier for you and your helpers to move.

Stack and anchor heavy items to the walls of the unit for stability

  • Stack heavy objects on their side against the walls of your unit.
  • Anchor heavy items to the walls of your unit for stability, using pallets or other materials you have on hand.
  • Leave at least 3 inches of space between objects in a storage unit, so they don't damage each other during transport and excessive movement.
  • Wrap upholstered furniture in plastic wrap to protect it from water damage during transport to and from the storage facility if you're storing it outside in weather-proof materials (such as cardboard or tarps).

Leave space between objects and use pallets to raise items from the floor

  • Leave space between objects. This will keep your things organised and makes room for air circulation, which helps prevent any mildew or mould from forming on the items you've stored.
  • Use pallets to raise items off of the floor. Pallets are great because they're sturdy and durable, but they're also inexpensive. You can use these platforms to elevate large pieces of furniture off the floor—the higher up an object is positioned, the better its chances are of avoiding damage while in storage.
  • Use a storage unit with climate control (temperature and humidity). If you opt for this extra layer of protection for your belongings, ensure that it's included in your rental agreement from day one; otherwise, there might be added costs down the line!


We hope these tips and tricks will help you be more prepared for storing your furniture in a storage unit. Remember: it's essential to clean and dust before storing your furniture so that it stays protected during its time away from home. Also, remember to protect wooden or veneered items with a layer of wax or polish!

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.