Planning to move to a new location? Downsizing your current space? Hauling oversized furniture can seem like a real pain. Read 5 quick tips on how you can easily keep your couch clean and safe during storage — without wanting to rip your hair out during the process.


The New York Times reports that furniture is the most commonly stored item in America: Seven million U.S. households now have at least one piece of furniture in their storage units.

When it comes to large items like couches, storage can be tricky. Whether you’re temporarily storing an oversized couch during your big move next month or stashing away the love seat from your college student’s abandoned bedroom, be sure to keep your valuable furniture clean, safe and protected.

Why should I place a couch in storage?

Are you relocating to a new home, downsizing your current space or upgrading your current furniture? Renting a storage unit can save you space, time, and hassle.

Lee Williams, real estate agent in Manhattan, spends a significant amount of time in small-scale homes and apartments. He suggests placing large furniture in storage to help your space feel less cramped.

“I’ve found that storage helps reduce clutter and unnecessary furnishings for the time being,” he notes. “I’ve run into pieces that are way too large for the space, and you have to do a two-step past them – awkward arrangements like that can easily make a space feel cramped.”

how to store your couch tips infographic

5 Tips for Storing Your Couch

1. Thoroughly clean your furniture.

Let’s face it – we sit, lay, sleep and eat on our couches. We even let our pets do the same! Before placing your sofa in storage, give it the proper cleaning it needs to avoid mold, dust, and deterioration.

“Always double check whether you should clean your upholstery with a water-based or solvent-based cleaner,” Jessica Tata of Apartment Therapy suggests. “As a good rule of thumb, cotton and other natural fiber-based fabrics ought not to be cleaned with water, and synthetic fibers can. It will help to maximize the life of your furniture.”

Do you have a leather couch? Berit Thorkelson of Better Homes and Gardens recommends a simple and quick cleaning solution: Olive oil. Apply a few drops to a microfiber cloth, and rub into leather in a circular motion.

Remember: Regardless of your fabric, make sure it is thoroughly dry before placing in a storage unit.

2. Find the appropriate storage unit size.

Choosing the right storage unit size for your couch is an important step of this process. If you’re trying to fit a large couch along with other antiques into a unit that is to small, you risk severe damage – torn leather, cracked wood or snagged fabric.

Before choosing a storage unit, note the length, width and height of your couch, and make sure you have enough space. When it comes to smaller to medium-sized couches, such as loveseats or standard three-seaters, a storage unit with dimensions like 5×10 ft, or 5×15 ft should suffice. As for larger couches or sectionals, look for a 10×10 space at a minimum. There are also 10×15 ft spaces or 10×20 ft spaces to choose from if you need a bit more room. Life Storage storage units are at least eight feet tall – but if you’re not sure, a storage unit size estimator can help you identify the appropriate size unit for your furniture.

Remember: Don’t forget to factor in space for any protective padding or covering, in addition to extra room for moving and adding furniture.

3. Protect your couch before and during storage.

Before storage: To avoid damage and scratches in transport, disassemble pieces before moving to your storage unit (if possible). Keep any screws, washers or legs together.

During storage: “Cover your sofa with sheets or drop cloths to protect it from dirt, dust and moisture while it is in storage,” suggests Nicole La Capria, moving expert. “And never use plastic on your couch – it will trap moisture and can cause mold and mildew to form.

4. Use climate-controlled storage.

Unfortunately, we are at the mercy of Mother Nature. Our couches are meant to last in our living rooms – not in our garages, sheds or other outdoor environments. There are many benefits to renting climate-controlled storage. The temperature-controlled units, will protect wood, leather and fabric from threats like moisture, humidity, and extreme temperatures at an affordable monthly price.

Is climate controlled storage worth the cost? While climate-controlled units may cost more than standard units, consider how valuable your furniture is. When stored properly, your couch should come out undamaged and unchanged.

5. Store your couch off the ground.

Most storage units remain secure, but accidents can happen. Flooding, dirt, and spills can ruin fabric, wood and other materials. By raising your couch off the floor – with pallets, bricks or even tarp – you can protect from worst-case scenarios. Says Sarah Rae Trover of Apartment Therapy:

“Keeping your items off the floor is almost essential. It might sound silly, but before renting your unit, there’s no way to promise that the melting snow won’t come under the door, or the adjacent unit won’t have a spill that soaks its way into your heirloom sofa.”

Ensuring that your furniture stays in tip-top shape may take some work – but it will also keep your favorite sofa clean and protected until you may need it again.

Have any tips for storing a couch? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author

Molli Spear

Molli is an expert in all things related to moving, storage, and home organization. She graduated from Niagara University with a Bachelor's degree and spent several years of her career in the self storage industry. As a mother of three and a stay-at-home mom, Molli knows how difficult it can be to stay organized at home when things are feeling a little cramped. That's why she contributes to the Life Storage Blog.

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