Protecting Your Furniture for Life in Your Portable Storage Container

Whether you’re transitioning between homes, renovating the house, decluttering your living space, travelling for an extended period of time, or in the middle of any number of other Portable storage projects, you’re now in the spot where you need to clear your space of your furniture and fill the unit. But jumping into the project without foresight can be detrimental to the condition of your furniture during their stay in storage.

Here, we at PUPS Containers want your self storage experience to be as smooth as possible, so we’ve taken the time to provide you with tips on how best to care for your furniture, preparing it for life in a portable storage container.

Make it clean

Cleaning your furniture before wrapping and loading it into your locker is an important first step. Dirt, grime, spills, and the like will only fix themselves into place over extended periods of time. Give each piece of furniture a wipe with a damp cloth, removing any significant dirt and dust. Follow up with a second wipe, but this time with the appropriate cleaning solution, whether for fabric, wood, metal, etc. The second wipe should provide an extra layer of protection for the item.

Allow everything to air-dry thoroughly before wrapping the furniture in protective blankets.

Make it wrapped

With clean, dry furniture, you can now prepare its real protection. Moving blankets are your best solution for this, as they are thick and durable. If these are above your budget, then old blankets and linens can do the trick – the thicker, the better, of course. Avoid using plastics, as plastic does not breathe, creating condensation underneath. This will especially cause damage to any wood items.

That said, mattresses and box springs should be covered in plastic, and there are large mattress bags made specifically for this purpose. The aim with these is to keep dust and dirt from staining your bed. Rugs are the other item that can be wrapped in plastic. Avoid plastic for all else.

Wrapping your furniture in blankets can be a bit of a process. Your average sofa will require 4 blankets to cover it entirely, for example. A good tip for wrapping furniture is to use the blanket on an angle, rather than square to the item being wrapped. The added length the corners created this way provide extra room while also preventing large bulks of blanket in any given spot.

For most items, start by laying the blanket on the ground. Ensure the outside skin remains on the floor – this ensures the inside layer does not soil the item inside. Typically, moving blankets will have a lighter-coloured side, and this indicates the inside of the blanket. Place the item on the angle, and then lift one corner over the item, making it tight to the item. Repeat with each corner, and then tape everything securely.

When tapping the blanket into place, apply the tape tightly, so that the blanket does not move (this will only make it difficult to carrying if you leave the tape slack). At the same time, be warry of items with fabric: a sofa’s arm, for example, could be left with an imprint from the tape if it is tapped too tightly.

Make your unit prepped

If you are renting a PUPS Container, then you can be sure it is clean upon arrival. Regardless of whether you’re renting from us or not though, it is always a good idea to give the container a quick once-over before loading it with contents.

Give the unit a sweep, and then line the container’s floor with a thick sheet of plastic. The plastic will help with fluctuations in temperature, while also protecting the bottom of your furniture and boxes from condensation.

Make your load with foresight

There are a number of things you need to consider before loading your portable storage container:

  • Space
  • Keeping items safe
  • Access to items you may need
  • The unload

In considering space, always load your container in tiers. Start by lining the back wall with heavy, “base” items; items that you can load more items on top of. Good candidates are things like dressers, cabinets, filers, tables, and the like. Then build on top of these items with things like boxes and smaller furniture items. And again, on top of those now, with lighter, “toss” items, such as bags of pillows or lamp shade boxes.

It is important to fill all of the space. Not only do you want to maximize the use of the space, but the tighter the contents are together, the less likely they will shift during transport. If there’s room under a table, fill it; if there’s a gap between two items, find something to go in between. For the same reason, it is also important to keep your tiers as straight/flat as possible.

Be creative when loading. A lot of furniture items do not need to remain standing on their feet: a dresser can be flipped on end to save floor space; one sofa can be flipped upside-down into another to make an excellent, square base. For added protection, use cardboard underneath your flipped dresser. Likewise, protect the bottom of your upside-down sofa by laying carboard on top of it before loading more items on it. Treat the process like a giant game of Tetris, and you’ll learn to have fun loading.

A good way to organize this is to have one dedicated person loading, while the rest of the team brings the items. A prudent loader will know what they need next for their load, dictating what the rest of the team should be bringing on their next trip.

As you load, pay attention to what is going on top of what. Avoid stacking heavy boxes, for example, on top of upholstered furniture, as there is a good possibility it will leave an imprint in the fabric.

Of course, you need to also be aware of your needs. If there are particular items you will require access to, then you want to leave these to the end. The last thing you want to do is have to unload the whole container to get to some little object in the back of it.

Similarly, you need to consider the unload when you load as well. If items will end up in more than one location, then you want to load each location together, and in the opposite order to the unload: the last stop needs to go into the container first. Moreover, you want to consider things like area rugs: the last thing you want to do is unload your furniture into your house only to have to remove it from the room to lay the carpet. Leave rugs to the end, so that they come out first and are ready for the furniture afterwards.

Making the unique work

Finally, there are some unique items that require extra attention. Any item, such as a dishwasher or laundry machine, that has water in it needs to be drained and dried as thoroughly as possible.

Items such as a lawnmower or a barbeque need to be drained of any fuel. Items like these can be difficult to fit into loads, given their odd shapes (especially a lawnmower), so they are good items to leave to the end of the load.

Paintings, mirrors, stone or glass tops, and the like should all be stored standing on their end. Never lie them flat. These items are not strong lying flat, but very solid standing up. If the container is going to move anywhere, then we recommend tying the items to the walls of the container, especially any stone or glass tops.

Taking additional time to plan your load properly will save you a lot of time on the other end, while also protecting your furniture and belongings all the more securely. If you have any questions or concerns about loading your portable storage container or protecting your furniture, speak with your PUPS Containers agent today.