How To Prep Furniture, Appliances & Vehicles For Long-Term Storage

If you are moving items into long-term self-storage, you don't want to just throw your items in without any prepping. It's important to make sure your items are clean and protected first. Here is how to prep common items for long-term storage so they'll last.


If you are putting a vehicle in long-term storage, you need to make sure you prep it properly. First, change the oil. You don't want contaminants from old, dirty oil sitting in your car for months. Putting clean oil in your vehicle will remove the chance of the contaminants damaging your vehicle.

Next, wash your vehicle. You don't want dirt, debris, and bird feces sitting on your car too long. While it doesn't damage your vehicle immediately, by the time you get it out of long-term storage, it could begin eating away at the paint.

Once you give it a fresh wash and oil, fill up the gas tank on the way to storage. If you're storing during the winter, your gas tank could freeze from the lack of gasoline inside. Even if it's not going to get cold, your gas tank could accumulate moisture, and your seals could dry out from the gas not running through.

Make sure you add a fuel stabilizer as well. When fuel sits for too long, the chemical composition changes. It will not only become less effective running through your engine, but it will gum up in your tank as well.


Before you move appliances like clothing and dishwashers into long-term storage, you need to make sure they are clean. Old water or debris left inside can lead to mold and mildew. First, make sure your washer and dishwasher are completely empty. Add about a cup of bleach to each appliance and run them through a full cycle. This will clean it internally, and kill any bacteria or other build-up that may be accumulating.

Next, disconnect all of the hoses and make sure they are completely empty. You don't want old water left inside to grow bacteria or freeze. For your refrigerator, make sure you defrost it completely, and then make sure no water is left inside.

Wipe down all internal parts with an all-purpose cleaner. Clean air intakes, lint filters, dishwasher racks, and anything else that could possibly get dirty. Make sure your refrigerator doesn't have a single piece of food or spill left inside. The smallest bit of old food could cause a mold or insect infestation.

Once your appliances are clean, tape the doors shut so they don't open during transit.


Furniture should be prepped for long-term storage as well.  Especially if you are storing real wood and fabrics. All of your wooden furniture should be thoroughly scrubbed with a wood cleaner. Once your furniture is clean, let it air-dry without any coverings. Covering it up before it's completely dry can trap moisture and cause wood-rot.

Use an upholstery cleaner to clean couches, chairs, and any other furniture with fabric coverings and stuffing. Any spills on the furniture can cause mold to grow during long-term storage. The longer spills and dirt set, the more difficult it will be to get them out in the future too. Give yourself plenty of time before moving them into storage when you clean them. You want to wait until your fabrics are completely dry before covering them or moving them. Trapped moisture will cause them to develop mildew and smell.

Once all of your furniture is completely clean and dry, disassemble anything that can be disassembled. It will make it easier to move and take less space in the storage facility. Cover your wood furniture with sheets and drop cloths. Your upholstered furniture can be covered with plastic.

Moving items into long-term storage can be helpful during many different times of your life. However, you don't want to ruin your items by not prepping them properly. Make sure everything is clean and not susceptible to mold or mildew. For more tips, contact a local storage company like Epic Group Inc.