How to Move and Store a Drum Kit and Other Instruments
14 May 2019

How to Move and Store a Drum Kit and Other Instruments

Owning a musical instrument can be quite an investment. But despite the high cost, your instrument can last a lifetime and beyond with good maintenance and proper storage when you need to set it aside for a while, or even pass it on to your children.

For most people, it’s not feasible to keep your guitar, drums, amps, and other musical instruments and equipment at home. Fortunately, self-storage facilities in Toronto provide a means to store your drum kit safely and with easy and convenient access whenever you need to use it.

Safe Storage of Musical Instruments

Unlike other household items that you may choose to keep in a storage unit, musical instruments are quite delicate. It’s just as important to take good care of your instrument when in storage as when using it. This means choosing the right storage environment and preparing it for long-term storage.

For long-term storage, it’s not enough to simply put your instrument in its case and store it away. If you want to keep it in its current good condition for as long as possible, then you need to do a little more work to prepare it for storage. You not only need to protect it from dust, direct sunlight, moisture, insects, and extreme temperature variations, but also accidental damage from it falling over, from other things falling on it, or people tripping over it.

Preparing Drum Kits for Storage

There are several steps you need to take when preparing your drum kit for storage:

Step 1: Get the necessary supplies

Drum sets tend to occupy a lot of space during a performance. But when properly packed, they don’t require that much room. Some of the essential supplies include:

  • One large, strong box that is approximately 2 inches wider than the bass drum, from every side.
  • Padded cases to store the cymbals and their stands. These should have been supplied with the cymbals during purchase, or bought separately for everyday safe-storage.
  • One smaller box to store the pedals.
  • Bubble wrap, including both large and small bubbles.
  • Packing paper and tape.
  • Foam peanuts.
  • Labels.
  • A sharpie.

Step 2: Disassemble the drum kit

Once you have all the supplies, you can begin disassembling your drum kit. Put the small parts for every drum in their own plastic bag and label it for easy assembly when you need to use the drums.

Next, remove the legs and put each of them individually in packing paper or bubble wrap. It’s important that you don’t put them together, as this could cause them to dent from pumping into each other during transport. Consider labelling them so you know the right stands for each set of cymbals.

Remove the heads, as well, from all the drums, except the smallest one (the high tom) to save them from damage. You can remove the head from the small drum if you want.

Next, separate the cymbals and the stands. Fold them the right way and set them aside.

Step 3: Pack the drums

Secure the large box by taping the bottom side, while the top remains open. Crumble up some of the packing paper and place it at the bottom of the box. Alternatively, you could pour in two layers of moving peanuts to provide adequate cushioning.

Wrap each drum individually in bubble wrap (with large bubbles) and secure it tightly using tape. Put the bass drum in the box, followed by the next largest drum, and so on, until the high tom. This will ensure optimal use of space, plus the drums will be protected from damage when they bump into each other.

Next, wrap the plastic bags containing the small parts in bubble wrap and fasten them with tape, and then put them inside the high tom.

If the box is large enough, there should be some space in the four corners to put the wrapped legs.

Step 4: Fill up the box

Fill any space that is left in the box with foam peanuts or packing paper to ensure that the drums fit snugly. Leave a little space on top to place the drum heads, starting with the smallest to the largest, and then fill the rest of the space in the box. Now you can seal the top of the box tightly with packing tape. Confirm that the bottom of the box is also tightly sealed.

Step 5: Pack the cymbals and pedals

Put the cymbals and their stands in their respective cases. Wrap each pedal in bubble wrap before placing them in the small box and filling it with packing paper or peanuts. After fitting all of them, fill the remaining space with packing material and then secure it with tape.

The Right Storage Environment for your Instruments

The biggest challenge for storing musical instruments is the environment conditions. All kinds of musical instruments, including drum sets, are sensitive to humidity, temperature fluctuations, and dryness. Different materials making up the drum set can be affected differently: wood can warp; the metal frames can bend; and the heads can crack if excessively dry. As such, you should always choose a storage unit with climate control.

Ideally, instruments intended for long-term storage should be kept at a temperature of 60–70 degrees and relative humidity of 35–50%. This is why you shouldn’t store your drum kit at home (in the closet, garage, or basement) or in an ordinary storage unit. You can probably control the temperature and humidity manually by monitoring the temperature and humidity, and investing in a humidifier, but this is not a viable option for long-term storage.

Check with your self-storage facility whether they provide thermostatic climate control for some units, or specialized climate-controlled storage for valuables such as musical instruments, art work, documents, and so on. The unit should also be well-insulated to maintain the ideal conditions for safe instrument storage, as stated above.

Final Note: Insurance and Annual Checks

Make sure that you purchase enough insurance to cover your drum kit or other instruments put in storage in case of damage or theft.

And even if you choose the best self-storage unit to store your instrument, you should still perform periodic checks on it to make sure that the conditions for storage are still favourable. Inspect the instrument for any signs of damage or dampness. In case of any damage, it should be repaired as soon as possible, and the necessary changes to storage conditions made to prevent further damage and deterioration. The annual checkup is also a good time for instrument tuning, lubrication, polishing, and other kinds of maintenance as needed.

For your musical instruments and other items, Jiffy Self-Storage provides the top self-storage units in North Toronto. Call us at (416) 745-4339 or contact us here.

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