There may be times when you need to rent a storage unit for various reasons (job relocation, house downsizing, etc.). Some possessions need special attention and care when put into storage – especially wedding dresses, pianos, and paintings.
Wedding dresses. Before putting a wedding dress in storage, be sure to have it professionally dry cleaned first. Make sure the cleaner has had experience with wedding dresses because you don’t want an unskilled person cleaning your expensive gown.
If you have spilled food or drink on it, be sure to point out the spot to the cleaner so the spot can be specially treated. If you have beads or sequins on your dress, ask how they will stand up during the dry cleaning process. Some dry cleaning fluids will break them down.
Putting your wedding dress in a box with acid-free tissue paper is best – especially if the dress has a full skirt, a train, is heavily beaded, or made of chiffon. Dresses with these features will stretch out the shoulders and bodice if hung while stored. Make sure the tissue paper is not blue because blue tissue can sometime discolor the dress. Do not seal the dress in a plastic bag because humidity can build inside it and cause brown stains.
Pianos. Some people think that the movement and motion during moving pianos is what causes a piano to go out of turn. But it isn’t. It is the variation in humidity and fluctuation of extreme temperatures. If you need to store a piano for any length of time, keep it in a storage unit that is climate controlled.
Also, do your best to keep dust out of the piano. Make sure it is covered with a sheet. And, never store a grand or baby grand piano on its side.
Make sure the floor of the storage unit isn’t damp. Dampness increases the humidity which will damage the piano. Also, check to make sure there aren’t any mice in the unit. If you are worried about this, place several mousetraps around or d-CON® in the unit. Check often in case you need to reset the traps or get more d-DON®.
Paintings. If you have oil paintings that you need to put into storage, there are several things that you need to take into consideration. The top three areas to be concerned about are: temperature, humidity, and light.
Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can cause wooden picture frames to warp. It can affect the canvas and cause the paint to flake. Light can cause the pigments to fade.
Keep your paintings in a unit where the temperature is kept between 64º and 75º Fahrenheit. If possible, keep the relative humidity between 40% to 55%. And, storing your painting in a darkened unit is also recommended.
“Cleaning and Storing a Wedding Dress.” Minnesota Historical Society.
“Piano Storage Requires Safety Precaution.” Piano Movers
“Curatorial Care of Easel Paintings.” Museum Management Program .