Climate Controlled Storage for Wooden Furniture

Published on 11/8/2020

Tips for Storing Wooden Furniture 

One of the most common items our customers store is wooden furniture from their homes. There are many items that benefit significantly from the regulated temperature and humidity conditions of climate-controlled storage units, but wooden furniture ranks highly because of its vulnerability to shrinking and swelling based on the amount of water vapor in the air. The choice is further necessitated by the fact that wooden furniture often is partially covered by leather or cloth upholstery – both of which can also be very sensitive to the temperature and humidity conditions (because the wrong conditions can lead to mold & odors or cracking). If you value your furniture and are planning to store it (especially if it’s over the course of several months), you’ll want to think about some of the best practices:

Protect against mold: Relative humidity in central Maine does climb a bit (https://www.currentresults.com/Weather/Maine/humidity-by-month.php) in the summer months. With sudden shifts in temperature, this can promote the growth of mold; and moldy odors can cling both to leather and cloth upholstery. Mold also can lead to discoloration. One method of protecting your valuables from mold (when storing in a conventional, non-climate controlled facility) is to plastic-wrap your items. The primary danger, though, is that any moisture or odors that existed before you wrapped these items can get trapped and lead to worse problems over time. Fabrics and leathers are porous and are meant to breathe. The other danger is that, even if they were in a good state when you first wrapped them, if the wrapping isn’t done perfectly, new moisture from the surrounding humidity can enter within the wrapped elements and get trapped.

One alternative option to the questions surrounding plastic wrap is to use a breathable cotton or cloth wrap. This can only ever help as it prevents the accumulation of dust and also of different objects bumping into each other during times when you move and disrupt them. But, once again, the cloth wrap by itself (without the critical aid of climate control) can only do so much to protect your wood from swelling/shrinking and your leather/fabric from succumbing to mold.

Take Furniture Apart: While not as critical as the above-mentioned step, it’s not a bad idea to take apart some of the removeable elements of your furniture (table legs and headboards, for example). This can be important to prevent the awkward positioning of large objects bumping into or leaning on each other while in storage. As you disassemble, make sure to keep track of screws and other fixtures. Keep them in a sensible place so you don’t lose track of them when you go to move your items again 9 months after first placing them in storage.

Clean & Wax: It’s always a good idea to clean your furniture before moving them into a long hibernating slumber in your storage unit. If you’re not planning to see these items for a while, take a little extra time to get grime, dirt, and mold off your surfaces so that they don’t build into something worse over time. 
Some people will also apply wax to wooden surfaces in order to seal them from water intrustion.

Cushion Objects: Remember that items will bump into each other while you move. Be careful not to set them in positions that lead to friction or a lot of targeted pressure (while setting them in a long-term storage position). Another helpful approach here is to set protective cushioning in between your items.