How to Store & Move Your Furniture to Prevent Damage

Posted by Meredith Willoughby on

how to store & move furniture

Out of the entire U.S. population one-year-old or older, 11.2 percent moved between the years 2015 and 2016. Although that number is lower than in years past, with more than 327 million people living in the U.S., it still means a large number of people — and their belongings — are moving.

Here at Davids Furniture & Interiors, we understand you might have a few reasons why you need to store or move your furniture. Perhaps you’ve just sold your home but haven’t yet found a new place to live. Or, maybe you’re looking for temporary storage for your newly purchased custom furniture while waiting to move into a new “under construction” forever home. You might also be renovating your home, and you want to remove the furniture to allow the contractors more room to work.

Knowing how to move and store your furniture properly is key to keeping it protected. Here are some practical tips on how high-end furniture pieces — whether they are leather, wood or another type — need to be handled, moved and stored.

Leather Furniture

Whether you are moving or storing full-grain, top-grain or another type of leather furniture, you will want to preserve the quality of your high-end furniture until you're ready to use it again.

Storing Tips to Prevent Damage

Here are some ways to store leather furniture in a garage or storage unit:

Use Climate-Controlled Storage

Storing furniture without climate control can cause damage, such as warping, cracking and rotting. If you are keeping your items in a storage unit, you will want to ensure the space is climate-controlled.

Each facility will likely vary in the exact temperature and humidity range. Most climate-controlled facilities typically strive for between 65 and 85 degrees and 55 percent humidity. Some keep their facilities as low as 55 degrees. Therefore, it's best to know upfront before you store your items, such as your  Copperfield chair.

While it is going to cost you a little extra for a climate-controlled unit, you’ll want to consider the value of your furniture. If you store your high-quality leather furniture pieces properly and in a climate-controlled area, you should be able to retrieve them later unchanged and undamaged.

Thoroughly Clean and Dry Your Furniture Before Storing

You may also want to have your furniture professionally cleaned before you store it. Just make sure the surfaces of all your leather furniture are completely dry since any amount of moisture can cause the growth of mildew and mold when stored.

If you are hiring professionals to clean your items, be sure to talk to them about drying your items thoroughly.

Do Not Expose Your Furniture to Temperature Extremes

Climate control will help to mitigate this potential issue, but remember to avoid exposing your sofa or other furniture to extreme heat. It can melt the shrink wrap which will stick to the leather.

Additionally, exposing your leather furniture to cool or freezing temperatures can also damage it and cause it to crack.

Moving Tips to Prevent Damage

Moving your leather furniture the right way is also crucial to preventing damage. Here are some ways you can pack a leather sofa and other items for moving to ensure they stay it optimal condition:

Plan Your Moving Strategy

If you plan on moving a larger piece of furniture like your Vincenzo sofa, plan the route through your home ahead of time. Go around your house and take note of any corners. You will also want to measure the size of the item you are moving to make sure it can fit around these corners and through doorways without a problem.

Also, keep in mind that when you wrap a furniture piece in blankets, it will make the item bulkier. Therefore, you'll want to ensure you have adequate space to move it out.

Because they are of top quality and highly durable, some pieces of leather furniture can be large and heavy. Do not try to move these items on your own. Ask a friend for help or hire moving professionals to do the job to save you from a stressful situation — and to save your back as well.

getting large items out of your house

Create Cushion Layers

The best way to protect your luxury, leather furniture is to create cushioning layers. Using furniture blankets, wrap your leather couch or other leather items to protect them from things like scuffs, scratches, dirt and tears.

Securely tape the furniture padding to keep it in place. Don't let the tape touch the leather surface of any of your items since it can discolor the area it comes in contact with or damage the finish.

Once you cover your furniture in blankets, wrap the piece in shrink wrap, so the padding stays in place. You may safely do this as long as you use furniture pads first and then apply the shrink wrap. Don't use stretch wrap directly on your leather furniture since the plastic can hold condensation. This may lead to the formation of mold or mildew and cause extensive damage to the item.

Do Not Stack Items on Top

Do not stack boxes or other pieces of furniture on top of your leather items in the moving truck. The weight could poke holes in the leather or make permanent indentations.

Even though leather is four times more durable than fabric, it can still sustain damage. However, when you properly care for your leather and other high-end furniture, you can make certain it lasts.

Lift Heavy Items Properly

When you try to lift a heavy piece of furniture improperly, it can cause you to strain your back, pull a muscle or endure another serious injury.

To help reduce the risk of harming yourself, carefully start off by lifting one corner of the piece of furniture off the ground to realize its weight. Have your moving buddy lift up the opposite end and slowly raise the item together. Be sure to hold the furniture as close as you can to your body and keep your back straight. Bend your knees and use your legs when you lift or set the couch down. Do not lift or lower the item using only your back.

Wood Furniture

When learning about how to store wood furniture in the basement, garage or storage unit, you will want to pay extra attention to the do's and don'ts.

Storing Tips to Prevent Damage

Below are three tips to implement to prevent damage when storing wood furniture:

Apply a Coat of Wax

Keep your wood furniture from splitting and cracking by treating the wood a couple of weeks before your move.

If you are storing furniture for a year or so, your tables and desks are more likely to split and crack during environmental changes. Once this happens, it's often difficult or near impossible to repair. Apply a coat of furniture polish or wax on all wood surfaces to prevent this from occurring.

apply furniture polish to prevent damage while moving

Keep It Covered

Keep your prized wood furniture from getting scratched or damaged by placing a protective cover over it. Do not use plastic directly on the wood, however. Plastic can trap any moisture between it and the wood, which leads to condensation and can cause the wood to swell.

Instead, first cover the item with furniture pads, cloths or moving blankets. Then, you can put shrink wrap and bubble wrap around the blankets to ensure everything stays in place.

The same rules here apply even if you are storing wood furniture in the attic or in the garage.

Moving Tips to Prevent Damage

To keep your wood furniture protected during the actual move, be sure to keep these tips in mind:

Disassemble Your Furniture

If possible, disassemble your wood furniture to prevent damage as much as possible. At a minimum, remove headboards, footboards, and table legs. Consider removing handles, mirrors, and other accessories as well.

Taking your items apart before you load them into the storage unit or moving truck makes it simpler to move the object and store the smaller pieces. For instance, remove the drawers in your Harborview 5 Drawer Chest before you move it, and then once it is in the storage unit or at your new destination, put the drawers back in place.

Disassembling furniture reduces the likelihood of cracks forming at connection points like where table legs connect the table top.

Avoid Stacking Heavy Items on Your Furniture

Sometimes, it can be helpful to stack a few boxes or other items on your wood furniture to make more room.

If you do end up doing this, be sure to stack only lighter items. If you put too many heavy boxes on top of your wooden furniture, it receives a lot of extra pressure and can sustain damage.

Use Moving Blankets

Protect your wood tables and desks by wrapping them up entirely during the move. Use moving blankets and cover them with a layer of stretch film to keep the blankets in place. This protection also helps to prevent damage to fragile edges or to the finish of tables, dressers and other furniture.

General Furniture

Even if your furniture is not made of leather or wood, you still need to know how to wrap furniture for long-term storage or for moving, and you will want to protect it just the same.

Storing Tips to Prevent Damage

To store your furniture and keep it safe from damage, be sure to do the following:

Store Strategically

Instead of simply cramming your furniture into your storage unit, plan where you are going to put each piece ahead of time. .

By strategically planning out how you'll be storing your furniture, it will benefit you in a couple of ways:

  • You will allow the free flow of air between your furniture.
  • You decrease the chances of damaging your pieces both during their time in storage and when you need to remove them later.

Keep Larger Items in the Back

When you fill your storage space up with your furniture, it's a good idea to put the heavier and larger items, like the Fairmont Drawer Dresser, in the back and keep the front space open for the fragile and smaller items.

This not only saves space, but it allows you to sift through your belongings easier if you ever need to recover something from the storage unit.

put larger items in the back of your storage space

Raise It Up

If you place your furniture directly on your basement or garage floor and the area ever floods, your furniture will get damaged. Set your pieces up on blocks or planks to keep them protected from potential water damage.

Keep Your Furniture Away From Pests

Wondering how to protect furniture in storage from mice? It is a common question. Once inside, pests like mice will chew on just about anything, including your furniture.

To help avoid this problem, examine the storage unit space before you rent it. Look for evidence of pests, such as droppings, paw prints, or foul odors.

Before you store items, ensure you clean them thoroughly since mice and other rodents find food crumbs or even other pests' pheromone trails attractive. Use a scent-based repellent to create an invisible barrier and ward off pests.

General Moving Tips to Prevent Damage

If you are planning on hiring movers, be sure to:

  • Do your homework. You will want to choose movers that will take care of your possessions when moving.
  • Be mindful of your timing. Moving rates are often higher at the beginning or end of the month when many leases are up. Moving mid-week or mid-month may help reduce your costs.
  • Do some work yourself. Doing some of the work yourself, even just making sure boxes are packed before the movers get there, can help you save on expenses.
  • Get written estimates. This can help you compare rates and ensure you are getting the best deal.

Below are additional moving tips to prevent general furniture moving damage:

Packing Your Sofa for the Move

Although your fabric sofa might seem like an easy living room piece of furniture to pack and move, it still needs proper care. You may rip the fabric or cushions, chip the legs or damage the frame from banging it against walls. To make moving easier on you and your sofa, it only takes four easy steps:

  1. Disassemble
  2. Protect the parts
  3. Wrap it up
  4. Box or crate it

Secure the Small Pieces

When disassembling your furniture, you have screws, knobs and hinges remaining. These are things you are now going to have to keep track of.

A simple solution is to put them in a plastic sandwich bag and label them along with the corresponding item. You can tape the bag of hardware to the inside of the furniture to ensure safekeeping.

Use a Furniture Dolly

Having the right tools, no matter what job it is, makes any task easier. Wooden tables and desks can be heavy, making a furniture dolly a necessity. If you have large furniture, such as a tall bookcase, ensure the dolly you use is the right size so you don't exceed its weight limit.

Furniture dollies also have straps designed to wrap around your item to keep it in place when you're bringing it to the moving truck or your new home.

Mindfully Arrange the Truck

It is important to place all your furniture pieces properly into the moving truck since the commute is usually the time where damage is most likely to occur.

For instance, you may want to put your dining table in first and then begin stacking some lighter boxes on top of it. Remember, though, that you are still adding extra pressure to your table by doing this, so be very careful with how much you stack. Also, be sure to secure tall pieces of furniture to keep them from falling over.

pack your moving truck carefully

Protect Your High-Quality Furniture So It Lasts a Lifetime

When it comes to protecting your furniture, pay extra attention to how you handle it when you are getting ready for the move, loading the moving truck and putting the pieces in storage. Ensuring you take the right steps to keep your belongings safe can help preserve them for years to come.

Moving into a new place is fun and exciting, and you might want to add on to that excitement with new Davids Furniture & Interiors high-quality furniture and accessories.

Browse our furniture and home accessories — either online or in one of our Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg or Berks County, PA showrooms — to find the perfect living room or bedroom pieces to complement your new space. You can also stay up-to-date on inspiring furniture, renovating and decorating ideas and news on our blog.


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