As a musician, your instruments are how you speak to the world. They are valuable to you and many of them can be quite costly to purchase or to repair. Of course, when keeping them in storage you want to protect them as best you can. Whether you are storing brass, percussion, woodwinds or string instruments, all of these instruments need to be stored correctly to keep them in tip-top shape and working like they did the day you brought them to storage.
The most important thing is the temperature where they are being stored. Keeping this in mind, you should always keep musical instruments and sensitive electronics in a temperature controlled environment. Varying temperatures and humidity can cause brass instruments to expand and shrink, key pads on woodwinds can dry out and crack resulting in expensive re-keying, strings and wood on guitars and violins can warp causing changes in the quality of sound they produce and drum heads can become too dry and could crack. Extreme heat can also damage elements of electronics like the hard drive in a computer and other sensitive components inside like the memory sticks. You also don’t want parts of your computer to melt or warp, rendering it unusable.
There are several other things you need to consider as well:
- If you are storing a computer, printer or other external devices, be sure to clean out the dust with compressed air made for electronics and wipe down the exterior and in between the keys. Then place them inside a plastic cover or bin to keep the dust out over time.
- The next thing you want to think about is cleaning and conditioning your instruments to prepare them for storage. Often a simple damp cloth is the best way to remove dust and dirt residue. Be sure to never use alcohol or an oil-based polish on wood instruments or you could cause damage; you can use paste wax for wood and resin to protect the finish instead. You will also want to disassemble all parts, remove the mouthpieces, reeds, mutes and straps, and relax the strings.
- You will want to place your instrument in the proper case that came with it for added protection. If you don’t have the original case, you can purchase a compatible one at a local music shop or online. Whatever case you use should be in good condition with no cracks or holes. It should be clean with no fraying or powdering. If a case is not in the greatest condition, line it with buffered acid-free paper to protect against humidity that happens during the hot summer months. Inside the case, drape a clean cloth over the strings for guitars and other stringed instruments.
- Always, regardless of how long you plan to use storage, cover a piano with a furniture pad to protect it from dust particles in the air and anything that could bump into it, and wrap the legs in bubble wrap. It is best to have professional movers transport your piano to storage for you. They will take extra precautions securing it properly to prevent damage in transit, and they usually work in teams to lift such a heavy item.
- Place the instruments and any electronic equipment on shelving or place them somewhere to keep them off the floor and away from vents.
- Store backup flash drives, DVDs or CDs in waterproof containers.
Another good tip is to keep an inventory of your items and photograph the contents inside your storage unit. This will benefit you in accuracy in the event you ever need to file a claim for any damage that occurs. We offer affordable third-party tenant insurance coverage for the contents you store. Policies range from $2,000 – $5,000 worth of coverage for low, affordable mnthly fees.
If you still have questions about storing or insuring your electronics or musical instruments, we will be happy to help! You can contact us for more information or reach out to our property manager directly.