Televisions are some of the trickiest items to store inside a self-storage unit.

They’re often the size of furniture and appliances, but they’re much less sturdy. A TV has a full face of fragile glass that can be ruined by a single scratch. It also has complex interior electronic components that are vulnerable to temperature and humidity. In addition, TVs often are quite heavy. Meanwhile, modern flat screen TVs are wide and thin, making it nearly impossible to put one in a standard moving box.

But don’t worry. With a few extra precautions and handy tricks, you’ll be sure your TV returns from your storage unit in tip-top shape. Here’s a quick rundown on how to store your television, followed by detailed storage tips.

How to Store a TV the Right Way

  1. Clean your TV using a microfiber cloth.
  2. Remove the stand (if your television has one).
  3. Ideally you’ll want to pack the TV set in the original box with the original foam packing inserts.
  4. Avoid humidity and extreme temperatures.
  5. Place the TV upright – NEVER store screen down or in any way that puts pressure on the screen.

Preparation

The one thing you’ll want to do before boxing up your TV for storage is to clean it thoroughly. Your biggest enemy here is dust. Large amounts of dust can get inside your TV’s air vents and muck up the internal parts.

Even a small amount of dust can scratch your TV’s screen—just by sitting there. When moving, you’ll inevitably cause friction against your screen, and any dust between the screen and whatever is rubbing against it can create thousands of tiny scratches that will ruin your screen’s clarity.

  • Storage tip: To remove dust, use either a compressed air duster (the kind that comes in a can and often is used on keyboards) or a very soft cloth, made either of microfiber or cotton.

Packing

This can be the easiest step in safely storing your TV–if you still have the original packaging, complete with protective covers, Styrofoam padding inserts, and that perfectly sized TV box you brought it home in. If not, packing your TV the right way is going to be much harder.

Without the Original Box

If you don’t have the original box the TV came in, fear not. You just have to take the additional steps below to secure your precious big screen TV.

  1. Protect the screen. You can buy a properly sized heavy-duty dust cover to protect your TV, but these covers can be expensive. The best option using household packing materials is to wrap your TV in soft, thick blankets or comforters.  Avoid any blankets with hard or rough parts like buttons, zippers or rough thread making contact with the screen.
  2. Secure the padding. The best way to secure the padding is with plastic stretch film wrapped in several layers around your television set.
  3. Pack in box. Once swaddled in blankets, you’ll still probably want to slide your TV into a cardboard box, as blankets won’t protect your TV screen from the hardest hits in the way thick cardboard will.
  4. Add extra packing as necessary. Adding styrofoam peanuts, bubble wrap, foam wrap, or balled up paper are never bad ideas for extra protection, as long as the TV first is wrapped well in a blanket or dust sleeve. If you’re set wiggles back in forth while inside the box, you should add additional packaging materials to keep it from moving.

All About TV Boxes

While an old, cube-shaped CRT TV likely will fit perfectly into any standard moving box, today’s thin, wide plasma, LCD and LED TVs certainly will not. Fortunately, many storage facilities sell boxes made just for modern TVs. Call ahead and ask your facility whether it offers such boxes. It might even be worth visiting the facility to pick up a box before you move in. That way, you can pack the TV before you arrive at the facility.  If all else fails, you can order one easily from Amazon.

Before you slide your TV into its box, remember that modern TVs often come on stands. Make sure to remove the stand before putting the TV inside a box. Remove any cords that can be unplugged and wrap them gently and store them inside the box with the TV.

  • Storage tip: Close up your box and make sure to use a marker to write down which side the screen is facing. This will come in handy when it comes to positioning your TV inside your storage unit.
  • Storage tip: Don’t forget to include the remote control, but be sure to remove the batteries first. Secure the remote to your padded TV with packing tape to make sure it doesn’t get away from you.

Environment

No matter how well you’ve packed your TV, you’ll still need to carefully consider the environment you’re keeping it in. Both hot and cold temperatures are dangerous for your TV. The greatest danger is humidity, which can cause moisture to build up in your TV’s electronic components.

Extreme cold, on the other hand, can cause parts of your TV to warp. This is particularly dangerous when the temperature in your storage unit rapidly changes. The best way to protect your TV from temperature and humidity is to rent a climate-controlled storage unit.

Desiccant pouches (the little pouches filled with silica beads you often find in electronics packaging) will help protect against humidity by absorbing moisture in the air. These can be used as an extra measure of protection, but not as a substitute for climate control in areas where there’s high humidity. You can buy desiccant pouches at electronics stores.

Storage

All your efforts of cleaning, packing and finding the right environment for your TV will be undone if you pack it improperly into your storage unit. Never store your TV in a way that puts any pressure on the screen, which almost always means that your TV should be stored upright, in the same position you keep it at home. Storing your TV screen-down is always a bad idea. Storing it with the screen facing up will work only if you make sure not to stack anything on top of it.

Even when the TV is stored upright, you need to ensure there won’t be any pressure put on the screen itself. One good idea is to slide the TV between two of the largest, heaviest items in your storage unit. That way, there’s less of a chance you’ll accidentally crush the screen with a loose, errant box while shifting things around. Wide, flat surfaces like the backs of sofas, headboards and bookshelves work well, as do table tops with the legs removed.  Or you can face the screen facing towards one of the walls of the storage unit. That way the facing the screen will not be facing any sharp corners or objects that could accidentally crack your screen. Leave a few inches of space between your TV and other items in the unit.

Moving Your TV

When you’re ready to move your TV, check out our guide for transporting your display the right way:

How to Move a Flat Screen TV

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