How to Prepare Your Musical Instruments for Long Term Storage
If you or your kids are taking a break from music lessons or musical performances, you can clear some space at home and protect those instruments at the same time by putting them into storage. Here's how to store your instruments properly so they'll be ready to use whenever you need them.
Stringed instruments like cellos and violins should always be stored in a hard case if possible, or kept in a soft case or wrapped in sturdy material for protection. First, clean the instrument with a soft cloth to remove any dust or rosin. For instruments with a wooden body, you can use a dampit to provide some long-term humidity. Then, loosen the bow strings before storing the bow either in its case, or on a flat surface in the open. Note that it's essential to store your instruments in a climate controlled area or storage unit to ensure they don't warp or crack.
Brass instruments like trumpets, tubas and trombones have some parts that are made of rubber, felt and cork. These parts can harbour bacteria or become corroded if they experience fluctuating temperatures or humidity. That's why it's important to get your instrument professionally cleaned before storing it in a climate controlled area. (Or follow these steps to clean the instrument yourself.) Once cleaned, you can store your instrument in its original case. Just avoid wrapping your instrument in plastic, as the plastic may react with the silver plating.
Drums are built to take a beating, but you still need to store them carefully. First, thoroughly clean your drum set, including the cymbals, stands and all hardware. Then place the drums in cases for storage, or stack them and cover them with a heavy cloth or tarp. Like all instruments, your drums will do best in a climate controlled environment.
If you're thinking about storing your instruments, try to avoid keeping them in a basement, garage, or attic where the fluctuating temperatures and humidity will eventually cause damage. A climate controlled storage unit will be your best bet for keeping your instrument safe in the long term.