You want to prepare your furniture properly for storage for two main reasons. First, you want to ensure that everything is packed tightly so that your great-grandfather’s woodworking tools don’t shift and come down on your great-grandmother’s Staffordshire china. Second, you want to try to minimize the risk of mold growth which can result from the long-term storage of any objects, and any associated damage that would result.
Most modern storage units are climate controlled sufficiently that you won’t have to worry about mold growth. If you’re shipping goods overseas long-distance move in a storage container however, the increased ocean humidity will practically guarantee it. You should think very carefully before storing any furniture made of wood and transportation it to an long distance moving destination. If you choose to do so, be sure to consult an long-distance transportation expert first. Most of what this article will cover could be used for either packing a moving van or an across the border storage container. The general rules are the same for both times, but storing furniture for a long period requires slightly more care and due diligence.
Break It Up, People!
If you possess any component or ‘put together yourself’ furniture, try to break it down to its smallest components. While you may want to leave shelving units complete and store things on them in the van or storage container, you shouldn’t. Most shelving is generally not well enough constructed to endure the shaking and sideways forces that it will encounter while being moved. Solid wood shelving may be able to be left in one piece during a move, but pressboard shelving or tubular shelving should be broken down.
Wax on, Wax off
If you’re conveyance solid wood furniture, be sure to wipe it with a gentle soap and water mixture, and then coat it with a layer of either furniture polish or wax. This will help to seal the wood and prevent mold growth. Since your large furniture items will be at the bottom of container, be sure to cover them with a layer of thick moving or packing blankets to prevent scratching. Don’t try to store your couches, chesterfields or sofas on their end during a move in an effort to save space.
Most furniture is constructed to only be able to accept force in one direction. Storing it on its side will cause the joints to loosen and possibly separate. Instead, store your furniture exactly as it would normally sit and use it as a base from which to build a wall of boxes or other objects. Couches can occasionally be stacked with one upside down on top of the other, but even this isn’t particularly good for the upside down couch. If you’re exceptionally short on space however, this is a possible option.
Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down
When storing furniture in a storage units, start with the largest and heaviest items such as appliances and load them against the back wall of the container. Securely tie these objects to the rings or grommets which will be in the walls of conveyance container. Remember that the sea can be a rough place, and you want to be certain that everything is packed and tied as tightly as possible. Remember as well that when storing furniture you want to balance the weight load within your container, so on top of heavy appliances you should place a series of medium to lightweight boxes to use up the remaining space.
If the furniture you will be storing includes mattresses, try to place the mattresses along the side walls of the container to act as oversized cushions for the rest of stored possessions. Do this only if it does not prevent access to any of the rings or grommets along the sides of the storage container. If it does, then use the mattresses in-between large pieces of furniture to stop them from rubbing together. And of course be certain to place your mattresses into plastic mattress bags before storing them. If properly sealed, the bags may also help to prevent mold growth in mattresses.
Layer by Layer, Block by Block
Try to pack so that your stored furniture is like a series of brick walls, with each wall directly in front, or behind, the other. And just like a brick wall, you should offset every layer of boxes by one half of a box with just like the bricks in a wall. This will give each layer an increased structural strength. And remember to fully pack each box right to the top so that it will not collapse under the weight of other boxes. When storing furniture try to ensure that every single space is used up in your carriage container. If you can fill every single nook and cranny, there is far less chance of the contents of your conveyance container jostling around during transport.
If, while storing your furniture, you can’t fill the entire transportation container, [and most likely you won’t], you should follow one of two packing methods.
Take all of your largest and heaviest goods and distribute them evenly throughout the floor of transportation container. While you still have room to walk around them, ‘grow’ the pile upwards towards the ceiling. Try to keep everything is close to the floor as you possibly can and lock it in as tightly as possible. This method will require you to do a little bit more forethought in your packing, as you will have to visualize roughly where everything will go before you begin.
Up against the Wall, Buddy!
Using this method you will begin packing at the very back wall of the conveyance container [as described above] and attempt to fill every single space before beginning a new row of boxes and furnishings. When you have packed everything as tightly as you possibly can from floor to ceiling at the back of the transportation container, you need to construct a temporary wall out of plywood and beams to lock it into place. Since the bottoms of most conveyance containers have a wooden floor inserted into them, you can use this to screw supporting buttresses into. This is the preferred method, as your stored furniture has very little opportunity to shift during transport.
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