Musical Instrument Storage: 6 Tips From the Storage Pros

Whether you’re a touring musician, you gig on the weekends, or you’re simply a hobbyist, there will likely come a time when you need to store your prized musical instrument(s) for a prolonged period. The problem is, depending on the size of your instrument or the number of instruments you own, you may not have enough space at home. If that’s the case, self-storage is a natural solution that’s secure, convenient, and affordable.

But it’s not enough to toss your gear in a storage unit and call it a day. Musical instruments are typically high in value. The last thing you want is your rare violin, vintage guitar, or antique piano to be damaged due to careless storage. To help you avoid musical mishaps, we’ve gathered these straightforward tips for effective musical instrument storage. That way, you can pull your gear out of storage when you need it and trust it’ll be ready to make music again.

How to Store Musical Instruments in Self-Storage

1. Do a Standard Tear Down

Most instruments are designed to come apart to some degree for a few reasons. One reason happens to be easier storage. Make your storage experience easier by tearing down your instruments where possible. Start by loosening components with adjustable tensions such as drumheads and strings. This keeps stress off the instrument and keeps wood from warping. Other items like reeds, mouthpieces, and straps should also be removed. Drum kits should be broken down completely, as if you’re transporting them to a gig, to help save space. Remember to keep things organized as well.

2. Clean Your Instruments Thoroughly

You wouldn’t put dirty clothes in your closet, so why put an instrument in storage that’s covered in dust, sweat, and fingerprints? Use the recommended cleaning materials for the instrument to clean and polish. The reason? Leftover dirt, dust, or debris can permanently damage the finish if left in place for too long. Don’t forget to let everything dry-out as well. If you can, use a polishing material that’s designed for long-term protection for your specific instrument and a microfiber cloth.

3. Use a Case or Cover

It’s always best to store your instrument in a hard-shell case. If you don’t have one, seriously consider getting one just for the occasion. Even soft gig bags are effective. If a proper case isn’t a possibility, consider wrapping it in soft blanket as an absolute last resort. Some coverage is better than none and this will at least keep dust off the finish. This goes for drum shells as well as woodwind and stringed instruments. For large instruments like pianos, use a plastic dust cover.

No case for your guitar?

If you don’t have a case, you can use packing supplies to pack your guitar in a box, as if for shipping, to provide adequate protection while in storage.

4. Pack Your Gear with Care

Don’t go through all that trouble just to pack your music gear poorly! Packing with care means ensuring everything is where it should be in the case, with little extra movement and that the case closes all the way. You may also want to add sheets of acid-free tissue paper around sensitive parts of the instrument for added protection, especially underneath the loosened strings. Be sure to keep removable objects outside of the case (straps, cables, strings, etc.) so they don’t damage your instrument.

5. Always Go with Climate Control

Think about it – you wouldn’t want to leave your favorite guitar in the garage for a sweltering summer or chilly winter. That’s because humidity and extreme temperatures can do a number on finishes, metals, and wood. The same goes for storing instruments in a storage unit. That is, unless you rent a storage unit with climate control. These types of indoor units keep your items at a dry 65 to 85 degrees year-round, just like your home. Taking advantage of climate controlled self-storage is the best way to avoid mishaps like bowing guitar necks and warping drum shells.

6. Store Your Instruments Mindfully

The last step to keeping your musical instruments safe in storage is to store them mindfully. Climate control is a wonderful place to start, but in addition to that, think about how you store your instruments inside the unit. For starters, don’t keep your instruments against the wall, on the floor, or near the door since extreme exterior temperatures are more likely to gather near these areas. Also, never stack items on top of your instruments. It’s recommended you keep items on a shelf if possible. Use this size guide to see what size units are available to be sure you have enough space.

Need help moving your piano?

It’s not easy moving that grand piano from your home to storage. Moving Help® can do the heavy lifting for you and move your oversized items into storage.

Make U-Haul Your Instrument Storage Place

If you’re like most musicians, your gear is a part of you. That’s why it’s so important you take proper care when it comes to storing your instruments in a storage unit. When you’re ready to hang up your axe, park your piano, or set aside your drum kit, make U-Haul your Storage Place. We have thousands of storage facilities available throughout North America, so you’re guaranteed to find a location nearby. Find a storage unit near you today!

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