Putting Stuff Into Storage


Storing Boxes

It’s best to store boxes with a little air space beneath them. Here in San Diego, boxes left resting on a concrete floor will begin to mildew within a few weeks. Set the boxes on bricks, scraps of wood or — best of all — old pallets. If the storage area happens to be sprinklered, a loose draping of a plastic tarp over the stack might be a little insurance in the rare event of a sprinkler failure.

Storing China

The most important advice we can offer is never store china or crystal wrapped in old newspapers. Newspaper ink will rub off and stain china. Old fashioned crystal with etched designs is even more sensitive to staining. (The ink becomes embedded in the etched portions and is very difficult to remove.) Use unprinted newsprint, tissue paper, paper towels or foam packing pockets.

Don’t use bubble pack for very long term storage. The bubbles can go flat in a year or so — even the barrier bubble.

Pack items neatly so that you can unpack without breaking anything. During moving and storage a large portion of dish breakage occurs during unpacking. It’s easy to pull out a lump of paper or bubble wrap and find you haven’t quite gotten hold of the teacup inside. Sugar bowl covers are almost impossible to detect in a bundle of wadded paper. We recommend the use of foam packing pockets rather than bubble wrap or packing paper.

Storing Fine Furniture

The best practical advice we can offer is to try to find storage units that avoid extremes in temperature and humidity. Attics can get hotter and dryer than is really safe for fine furniture. (The same goes for garages and most commercial storage units.) A spare room is usually a good choice. If you must use a basement let us suggest that (no matter how dry it is) you set the furniture up on cement blocks in case of a sewer backup.

Most of us feel we need to cover furniture to avoid dust and scratching during moving and storage. Use of the wrong furniture cover can cause a surprising amount of damage. There are three things to look out for in furniture covers:

  1. The cover should have NO loose fibers. Over extended periods of time, (3 years or more) loose fibers can become embedded in the finish.
    Don’t use soft, fuzzy flannel!

    NEVER use mover’s wrap (which is a batt of soft fibers backed by a paper sheet)!

    Even mover’s pads have fibers which can cause problems over time.

  2. The cover should be chemically unreactive.

    NEVER use old newspapers. They can transfer ink.

    NEVER use vinyl sheets. They will ooze plasticizer.

    NEVER use paint cloths with paint spots! — No matter how old the paint is.

  3. The cover should breathe.

    Don’t use plastic sheeting which can trap condensed water against the finish.

The most valuable antiques are stored in large crates with only the bottoms of the feet touching a surface. Old bed sheets may do a decent job of covering most furniture. We offer a
paper pad
which we feel is an excellent way to do the job.


Remodeling can present very acute moving and storage problems. The in-home workers will generate large amounts of plaster dust and saw dust. Generally the furniture will be stored near the work area. To make things even worse, the furniture may occasionally be moved by the workers.

In this case, old sheets or blankets will not do a good job. Fine plaster dust will filter right through them. The best advice we can offer is to wrap all of the furniture carefully and heavily in paper or fabric moving pads. Also, it’s a good idea to vacuum the covered furniture before unwrapping it after moving or storage.

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