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Need more space but don’t want to get rid of that heirloom dining room table? Learn how to move and store heavy wood furniture with these expert tips.


When life changes, there may come a time when you’ll need to move (and potentially store) some of your cherished belongings. Whether it’s because you’re moving to a new house, renovating your home, or stashing away antique furniture that you want to refurbish, knowing how to properly move furniture into storage is essential. You want to be careful when you’re putting any of your furniture into storage, but extra care is required when you’re moving and storing wood furniture.

Read through these 11 tips on wood furniture storage that will help you preserve everything from your great aunt’s bedroom set to your kid’s college desk.

Preparing for the Move

How to Move Heavy Wood Furniture

1. Prevent Wood Furniture from Cracking & Splitting

A couple of weeks before you start packing, treat the wood on your furniture. Environmental changes make your desks and tables more likely to crack and split, which can be difficult (or maybe even impossible) to repair. Prevent this by applying a coat of wax or furniture polish on all of the wooden surfaces.

2. Empty Out All Belongings

People go to great lengths to buy supplies that make moving and storing easier, but they sometimes also take shortcuts, like leaving belongings inside the furniture while it’s being moved. “Whether that is the wardrobe, drawers, cabinets, etc. it will be lighter for you to move heavy furniture by yourself if the furniture is empty,” Pamela Smith writes on The Moving Blog. “Besides, if there is something rattling inside it, that could break or even worse – cause the furniture to shift around and eventually fall over. And there is no need for anybody to get hurt to get this tough job done.”

3. Take Care to Disassemble Furniture if Possible

“Disassemble wooden furniture to reduce the likelihood of damage,” Kristine Tucker recommends in SFGate. “Remove table legs, headboards and footboards.” Making the time to take your furniture apart before it’s time to load the moving truck or the storage unit will make it easier to move and store the smaller pieces. If your desks have drawers, remove them during the move, and put them back in place when it’s securely in the storage unit.

4. Secure the Small Pieces

When you disassemble your furniture, you’re left with knobs, screws, and hinges. “Moving means taking things apart, and putting them back together,” Molly Higgins tells Move for Hunger. “Keep track of small screws and bolts by putting them into labeled sandwich bags, and taping them to the corresponding item.”

Moving Truck Tips

How to Pack Heavy Wood Furniture on a Moving Truck

5. Use Moving Blankets!

To protect your wooden desks and tables during the move, wrap them with completely. “To prevent damaging the finish and fragile edges of dressers, tables and other furniture, wrap the items completely with moving blankets and secure the blanket with stretch film,” The Family Handyman recommends. “A 20-in. x 1,500-ft. roll of stretch film costs about $20 at home centers and moving outfitters.”

6. Avoid Suffocating the Wood

When you’re dealing with wooden furniture, you don’t want to wrap bubble wrap or plastic stretch film before you wrap them with blankets. “Wood is an organic material, which means it needs to breathe. Smothering it in layer after layer of bubble wrap or plastic shrink-wrap can be very damaging to the furniture’s wood surface,” advises Boulder All Star Movers. “If you want to use bubble wrap as an extra line of defense, place a layer of moving blankets or furniture pads beneath it so that the plastic does not come in direct contact with the wood.”

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7. Use a Furniture Dolly

As with most jobs, it’s easier to do it right if you have the proper tools. Wooden desks and tables can be extremely heavy, which is why using a furniture dolly is a must. If your furniture isn’t too big, you might be able to get away with a utility dolly (500-pound capacity) or an appliance dolly (700-pound capacity). If you have many large pieces to move, you’ll be glad you chose the furniture dolly (1,000-pound capacity). “Each is ideally crafted for its specific duty. And for each type of dolly there are specific straps to wrap around each type of furniture or appliance that will keep it in place when carting it out of the truck and into place in the new home,” Josie Gullikse writes on the AOL Real Estate Blog.

8. Arrange the Truck Meaningfully

Properly placing all of your items in the moving truck is essential, because this is when damage is most likely to occur. Even though your wooden furniture is sturdy, don’t stack other items on top of your tables or desks. It’s tempting to put the table in first and then stack heavy boxes on top, but this puts a lot of pressure on the table or desk during the drive and could cause damage. If you have any tall items that might fall over, take advantage of the straps in the moving truck and tie it down. You can also use some twine to keep items together, which lessens the chance of cracks, scratches, and breaking in transit.

Storage Unit Tips

How to Store Wood Furniture

9. Choose Climate Control

When it’s time to store your wooden furniture, make sure you choose a unit with a controlled climate. “Storage lockers may be secure, but they need to be climate-controlled in order to preserve the integrity of the wooden items stored in them,” Troy Edwards explains. “If not, as an example, your stored furniture’s moisture content can fluctuate according to the RH (relative humidity) in the storage locker. If the wood gets too dry in storage, cracks or checked finishes, gaps and loose components may result. If the wood gets too moist, cupped or curved panels, sticky drawers and warpage may result.”

10. Keep Wood Furniture Elevated

Accidents can happen, but your wooden antique desk or table might not be replaceable. To keep your wooden furniture protected, raise it up off the ground. Set your furniture on top of wooden pallets or cinderblocks. That way it is out of the way if water ever seeps into your storage unit.

11. Use a Protective Cover

A protective cover or a bag placed over your wooden desk or tables will help your furniture stay damage-free when it’s stored. You don’t want to cover it in plastic, because that can create condensation and the wood would eventually swell. However, you can keep them covered just like they were in the moving truck, with blankets and then plastic, to protect the furniture pieces while they’re in storage. “This prevents dust and debris from getting into the cracks and the crevices, and it also prevents the finish on the furniture from getting dulled,” according to Angie’s List.

When it comes to protecting your furniture, you’ll want to pay extra attention to how it’s handled when you’re getting ready for a move, loading the moving truck, and putting the pieces in storage. Following these tips will help ensure that your wooden desks and tables stay beautiful and functional for a long time.


About the Author

Lauren Thomann

Lauren Thomann is a contributing writer covering home, moving and storage topics for the Life Storage blog.

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