I have some fairly large/heavy antique wood furniture (ranging from 30-90 years old) that I need to store in an in-ground unfinished basement, potentially for a few years. At the moment it's mainly wrapped in moving blankets (and disassembled into manageable pieces, of course). But I'm unsure of the long-term viability of that with regard to protecting the furniture.

What should I do to store this in such an environment? Temperature and humidity will range throughout the year (and when the dryer's running), some smoke from the fireplace makes it way down there, and of course there's a potential for insects. Is there a particular way to wrap it (specific material/method of wrapping) and store it such that it's protected from these potential dangers?

3 Answers 3


Temperature and humidity fluctuations can both cause problems with old wooden furniture. How much you want to protect against those two depends on how invested you are in protecting the furniture, and how delicate it is. Obviously a well-worn oak trunk is not going to require the same level of care as a priceless mahogany dining table with inlay.


Basements tend to be have pretty stable temperatures due to the enormous thermal mass of the soil, but you still want to make sure it doesn't drop too low in the winter or climb too high.


If you're in the northeast (based on your profile) this is probably a greater concern. You will need to deal with excessively high humidity in the summer and excessively low humidity in the winter. If you're serious about protecting the furniture you will need both a humidifier and a dehumidifier to keep the humidity stable, ideally around 50% and not fluctuating too much. [Side note: you mention a dryer affecting the humidity... if your dryer doesn't vent outside that's something you should probably correct, regardless of your storage plans. Improperly-vented dryers are a fire hazard, and the extremely humid air they put out can encourage mold, even in an otherwise dry climate.]


Unless you have signs of pest problems elsewhere in the house I wouldn't stress too much about this. If you want to add a little prophylactic treatment you could spread some diatomaceous earth around (non-toxic and safe for children and pets), which will help control insects.


From my personal experience I would suggest finding another place to store it. The big issue is excess humidity that will soften the glue especially on the older pieces. Veneers will start to lift and mold will grow. If you must store it in the basement run a dehumidifier year round, in the winter it most likely won't run often. In the summer it will likely run continuously. Unless you have a wood stove in the basement or live in a very dry area lack of humidity shouldn't be an issue.


I think you may really want to consider putting yoru furniture with a professional self storage company too, not just because of the better quality in care they can provide but also because they are equipped to handle special materials and situations. Climate control might be better with someone who has already the facilities intact rather than having to build everything up on your own unless you really intend to make storage a pretty big scale operation in your home. At the same time, they'll be able to put a guarantee on the value of your items through content insurance too. So just a thought..

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