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Storing Musical Instruments

Self-storage seems pretty self-explanatory, right? Sort, pack, label, store, repeat. Unfortunately, it’s hardly ever that simple. Certain items have to be packed and stored with care, to make sure that their time in self storage doesn’t end up damaging them in some way.
Such is the case for many musical instruments. Rather than just setting them in a unit and hoping for the best, you should take the time to properly prepare your musical instruments for storage. Below are outlined some guidelines for storing musical instruments in general, along with some tips for storing specific kinds of instruments..

General guidelines

1. When possible, store the instrument in a hard case. This will make it less likely that the instrument is damaged during its time in storage.
2. Position instruments in your unit so that they are unlikely to be stepped on or knocked over. Even well protected instruments could be damaged if they take a fall.
3. Consider using a storage unit that has climate control. This will keep your instrument from reacting to drastic changes in temperature or humidity, making sure that it stays in good shape.
4. Keep instruments off the floor, especially if you’re not using a unit with climate control. Floors are more susceptible to temperature changes and drafts, so your instrument could be at greater risk.

Clean and condition instruments before placing them in storage.

Any dusty, rusty, or wet pieces will only get worse with time, so make sure everything is clean and dry before you pack it away.

Tips for specific instruments

Pianos: Make sure the piano is free of dust, inside and out. Use a climate-controlled unit if at all possible. Store the piano on casters or thick pads to keep it off the floor. Cover the piano with a cloth blanket or fabric sheet; never use plastic.
Brass instruments: Disassemble the instrument (make sure you know how to put it back together!). Use oil and a brush to clean any interior tubing. Make sure every piece of the instrument is dry. Polish all pieces with polish and a dry cloth. Store in a hard case, preferably the instrument’s original case.
String instruments: Loosen the tension on the strings. Find the right product for cleaning and conditioning your specific instrument, and use a clean, dry cloth to apply it. Store in the original case, if possible, with a clean, dry cloth placed over the instrument before closing.
Woodwinds: Disassemble the instrument completely, and make sure each piece is clean and dry. Store in a hard case.
Drums: Loosen the skin of the drums; if it’s taut during storage, it might stretch. Condition leather skins so they don’t crack or dry out. Cover drums with a blanket or sheet during storage to protect them from dust.
These are the basics when it comes to musical instrument storage. Take good care of your instrument before storing it, and it will be ready to serve you well when you’re ready for it again!
Arizona Storage Centers provides the Phoenix area with safe, reliable storage for musical instruments and more. With climate-controlled units in a variety of sizes, you can be sure your instrument will be stored in an optimal environment. Visit one of our storage centers in Phoenix, Glendale, Deer Valley, Chandler, or Gilbert, or call us at 480-386-6022.

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