But storing items long-term does require a bit of planning to protect and preserve them. Here are six long-term storage tips we highly recommend.
Packing tips for long-term storage
1 – Use quality packing materials
In terms of packing boxes, they should be sturdy. We recommend new boxes, but recycled boxes can be OK as long as they are free from insects, mould and moisture and won’t tear or collapse when you fill them. Most importantly, never use plastic bags to store belongings, particularly clothing or linen. Moisture can collect in these and cause items to rot. In terms of other packing materials, bubble wrap, packing peanuts and packing paper can protect fragile items. A word of advice – don’t use newspaper to wrap items, as it can leave ink marks!
2 – Check for moisture before packing
Moisture is one of the most detrimental things that can affect items in storage. It can damage everything from clothing and linen to books, furniture, tools and kitchen utensils – basically, anything that can rust or rot. So before packing, check items are dry and free from mould and dampness. In terms of clothing and linen, dry thoroughly in a clothes dryer or take them to a dry cleaner before packing.
3 – Watch out for potential fire and water hazards
One of the vital tips for long-term storage is to avoid storing flammable liquids like petrol, kerosene or diesel fuel. If you want to put any petrol-powered device (like a lawn mower) into long-term storage, make sure you drain the fuel from it first. If you want to store a washing machine long-term, ensure all water has been drained from it first and that it is clean and dry.
4 – Take extra care with fragile items
Fragile items — which can include everything from glassware to electronics — need special care when packaging. Items should be wrapped individually (ideally with bubble wrap) and then placed in a packing box with the heaviest items at the bottom. When packed, any empty spaces should be filled with packing paper, as movement can increase the chance of breakages. You should then label the box as “Fragile”.
5 – Long term clothes storage tips
Before packing clothes for storage, make sure they are clean and dry. Dirty clothing with stains and odours will settle in over time and attract insects and other vermin. Clothes that are completely dry will decrease the chances of mildew, mould and odours from building up. Vacuum-sealed bags are OK for short-term storage, but long-term may cause your clothing to compress, ruining their fit and shape.
Plastic containers with clip-on lids will ensure your clothing is protected from dust, moisture, mould and mildew. Cedar balls are also a great addition in terms of natural protection (insects like moths despise them), and they will also give your clothing a lovely, fragrant aroma. For particularly special items (like a wedding dress or expensive vintage items), consider wrapping them in tissue paper and placing them in acid-free packing boxes.
6 – Long term furniture storage tips
Furniture should be thoroughly cleaned (and upholstery items vacuumed) to preserve their condition while in long-term storage to minimise exposure to bacteria and other elements. Take apart larger items like bed frames and dining tables if possible as this will make them easier to wipe down and store.
When unloading furniture into your storage unit, place larger, heavier items at the back as a foundation for stacking smaller items. Place longer items along the sides of the unit for efficient use of space. If storing a mattress, lie it flat to help maintain its shape. Sheets, blankets or drop-cloths should be added underneath and on top of them to protect them from dust. Most importantly, don’t wrap furniture in plastic covers as it can result in a build-up of dust, mould and mildew.
- 2023, How to prepare your goods for long-term storage, Pods Moving & Storage
- 2023, How to Pack Clothes for Storage – Best Way to Store Clothes in Storage Unit, Kent Removals & Storage
- 2016, Storage Guide: How To Store Furniture, National Storage
- 2023, How to Pack Fragile Items for Storage, Kent Removals and Storage