How to store a couch in a storage unit

Take proper care of your couch when putting it in storage. More about Ethan Greenfieldby Ethan Greenfieldon Mar 8, 2023.

You may be moving to a new location and may need to store your couch – and all your other furniture – away until your new home is ready to move in.

You may be remodeling your house and may want the couch and the rest of the furniture out of the way.

You may have decided to upgrade the furniture in your home, but may not be ready to part with your old couch – or may want to keep it for your children.

There are plenty of reasons why you may want to store a sofa. In any case, though, you’ll need a safe place where to keep the furniture – and you’ll want the couch to stay in excellent condition until you need it again. A storage unit is your best bet.

Storing a couch in a storage unit will allow you to keep your furniture safe and sound – and out of the way – for as long as needed. In order to ensure that when you take it out of storage your couch will be in the same condition as when you put it in, though, you need to prepare the furniture properly and take some important precautions.

Read on to find out how to store a couch in a storage unit the right way.

How to prepare a couch for storage

First things first – before you can stash away your couch, you need to prepare it for storage.

Measure the couch

Begin by carefully measuring the couch – the length, width, and height of the furniture (pay special attention to protruding parts, such as the sofa feet and arms).

You need to know the dimensions of the sofa so you can:

  • Determining how many furniture blankets and how much plastic wrap (or other appropriate protective materials) you’re going to need to cover the couch for storage;
  • Determine how much storage space you’re going to need (so you can rent the right size storage unit);
  • Make sure the couch will fit through the doors. When you measure the sofa, measure the doorways and hallways the furniture will have to pass through when being taken out of your home. If the couch doesn’t fit through, you may have to consider partly disassembling the furniture, taking a door off its hinges, or even finding an alternative exit route (through a window, for example).

Related: What to do if furniture doesn’t fit through the doors

Clean the couch

Couches see a lot of use and accumulate a lot of dust, dirt, and bacteria. This buildup of dirt and grime makes the upholstered furniture prone to staining, mold growth, and pest infestation.

To prevent such undesirable scenarios, it’s crucial to give your couch a thorough cleaning before putting it in storage:

  • Vacuum all surfaces – and in between the cushions – to remove dust, hairs, food crumbs, and other loose dirt;
  • Wipe down any non-fabric areas, such as wooden sofa feet or arm rests;
  • Clean the upholstery with an antimicrobial cleaner labeled for the specific sofa material. Be sure to test the upholstery cleaner on an inconspicuous area of the couch first;
  • If any persistent stains remain, spot clean them with a mixture of vinegar and water (or mild detergent and water). Be careful not to soak the upholstery.

Allow the sofa to dry completely. Polish any wooden parts with a wooden furniture wax using a soft cloth.

Bonus tip: When preparing a leather couch for storage, clean it carefully with a lint-free cloth (to avoid damaging the delicate leather surface) and a specialized leather cleaner (or a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water). Leave the piece in a well-ventilated area to fully dry, then apply a quality leather conditioner (to prevent the leather from drying out and cracking during storage).

Cleaning your couch before putting it in storage will help prevent deterioration and maximize the life of your furniture.

How to wrap a couch for storage

Once your couch is clean and dry, it’s time to wrap it in protective coverings that will keep it safe in storage.

When covering furniture for storage, you need to use protective materials that will keep dust, dirt, moisture, and pests away but will allow the piece to breathe. Therefore, using plastic wrap for couches is not a good idea – the plastic material and the tight sealing won’t allow air to circulate around the sofa and may end up trapping moisture that will quickly cause mold and mildew to form on the couch.

So, instead of couch plastic wrap, you’re advised to use furniture blankets (or regular cotton blankets) to cover your sofa for storage. The padded fabric coverings will provide excellent protection against dust, dirt, scrapes, and humidity and will allow the upholstery to breathe. Just don’t forget to secure the blankets with ropes or cords.

Good to remember: It is especially important to use cotton blankets instead of plastic wrap when storing a leather couch (leather is more vulnerable to damage when wrapped in plastic than fabric) and when storing a couch long-term (the plastic material is more likely to trap moisture over time).

Related: How to use plastic wrap for moving

How to store a couch in a storage unit

When your couch is safely wrapped, you can take it to the storage unit. (Consider using professional moving services if you don’t have a large enough vehicle to safely transport the furniture or don’t have anyone to help you with the heavy lifting.)

See also: How to move a couch by yourself; How much does it cost to move a couch?

Keep in mind though that when stored improperly, couches can get damaged in only a short period of time – to ensure that you sofa stays in excellent condition until you need it again, you have to take proper care of it.

So, how to store a couch correctly?

1) Prepare a spot where to store the couch

  • Make sure there is enough space in the storage unit for the couch. Bear in mind that it’s best to place the furniture at least 6 inches away from the walls of the unit to allow for optimal airflow. This way, if any condensation appears on the walls, your sofa won’t be in contact with it and will stay dry and safe.
  • Use wooden pallets to raise your couch off the ground. This will allow for better air circulation around the furniture (so the risk of bacteria growth will be further reduced) and will keep your sofa away from any moisture, dirt, or pests that may be on the ground. For maximum protection, cover the pallets with a tarp.

2) Store the couch in a horizontal position

When you take your couch into the storage unit, place it horizontally over the pallets. Make sure it is not in contact with the walls or any items that could potentially damage it.

Do not be tempted to store your sofa upright – standing the furniture on its side may seem like an effective way to save space, but doing so could result in structural damage to the couch. A couch’s sides are not designed to withstand the entire weight of the furniture – the pressure can cause the coils to break and the frame to crack. Besides, since the weight of the furniture won’t be evenly distributed, the couch could shift and fall – and not only get damaged, but cause damage to other items in the storage unit too.

Storing couches vertically is very risky, so you’re strongly advised to avoid it.

3) Do not put anything on top of the couch

With your couch stored in a horizontal position, it may seem logical to pile things on top of it – to maximize the space in the storage unit, to provide extra padding to fragile items, etc. Yet, it is not a good idea to stack anything on top of your stored couch:

  • Heavy boxes and items can cause the filling to get squashed and the cushions to flatten, resulting in permanent dents in the couch;
  • Sharp items can scratch or tear the fabric (or leather) surface of the couch;
  • Certain products can stain or discolor the sofa.

That being said, it is usually safe to put lightweight items like pillows, clothes, and stuffed toys on a properly wrapped couch.

See also: How to pack a storage unit

So, the best way to store a couch is to cover it in protective materials, place it horizontally atop wooden pallets, and refrain from putting anything on top of it.

Bonus tip: For maximum protection – especially for leather couches and for long-term storage – consider storing your sofa in a climate-controlled unit. Environmentally-controlled storage will ensure that your couch is kept at optimal humidity levels (so there is no risk of mold and mildew) and is not subject to extreme temperatures or fluctuations in temperature (which could ruin the delicate fabric or leather upholstery).

Proper couch storage will allow you to keep your furniture in perfect condition for as long as needed – and your sofa will be fresh, comfortable, and ready to use when you get it out of storage.


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