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As a drummer, you must take the necessary steps to protect your drum set and instruments. Every time your drums leave the safety of their cases, they become vulnerable to getting damaged or worn down from moisture in the air or accidental damage. So storing it properly is vital to avoid having this happen to your beloved kit!
In this blog post, we’ll explain why appropriate storage is so important and provide tips on storing a drum set safely so that all beginners, intermediate players, and professionals alike can keep their kit safe and secure.
Key Takeaway for Storing Drums
- Get cases for your drums
- Use a dehumidifier for basement storage
- Store drums at room temperature when possible
- Remove heads and hardware for long-term storage
- Cover your kit with a plastic sheet or blanket
- Rent a climate-controlled storage unit
- Use bubble wrap and packing tape if you don’t have cases
- Keep cymbals in a bag when not in use
Storing Drums in the Basement Isn’t Ideal
When we think of home drum studios, we often think of basements—perfect for practicing our love for drumming. They generally keep the noise down enough for outside neighbors and provide ample room, no matter how big a drum kit you play.
The downside? Basements are notorious for high levels of moisture and humidity. Since they’re underground, have small or no windows, and are surrounded by concrete cinderblocks, water is drawn effortlessly to your home practice space.
Keeping your drum kit stored long-term in a damp basement will cause the metal components to rust far quicker.
So if your kit is sitting downstairs, consider picking up a dehumidifier. Not only will you protect your expensive drum kit, but you’ll also keep your house safe from any damage and your family free of any health risks from mold.
Occasionally, you may also want to open your windows in the basement and run a fan for a few hours during the day, provided the temperature outside is warm enough.
If Your Kit Isn’t In Cases, Cover It!
I don’t particularly appreciate setting up my drum kit every time I want to practice, so I always keep it covered with a black bedding sheet.
You can get creative: use plastic, bedsheets, towels, or even purchase a nylon drum cover, like this one from MoonEmbassy. Covering your drums at a bare minimum will protect them from scratches, dust, and accidental damage. It also makes you feel like a rockstar—like on stage; most kits are covered before the band comes out to play.
Even with the kit covered, I still have to wipe down the drum set with a damp cloth now and then to get rid of all the dust that collects. Be sure to use a dry towel after.
If You Have Multiple Kits or are Taking a Break from Playing, Get Cases
We all take breaks from playing here and there, and that’s okay. A lot of us drummers have multiple kits, as well. I suggest getting a set of soft cases, at least (hard ones are better), to store the kits you’re not actively playing.
If you’re a new drummer, finding the sizes of your drum kit is challenging. If you need help deciding which case dimensions to buy, drop me an email, and I’ll get you pointed in the right direction.
And for your cymbals, plenty of affordable bags are on the market to keep them safe when not in use. I’ve used hard and soft cases, but this one from Zildjian works excellently!
Using Cardboard Boxes to Store Drums
Some people suggest getting cardboard boxes for your kit. You can then use bubble wrap and packing tape to wrap the shells, but it’s going to be more annoying to try to find a box big enough to store your kick drum. Cases are better—even just soft ones.
The upside, though, is you can remove the drum heads and hardware and nest all the shells inside the one big box—you’ll need to organize all the hardware in plastic bags. In this scenario, your drum set will take up far less room than if you had them all in separate bags.
On the other hand, it will be much more annoying to set up again when you’re ready to play again, so keep that in mind.
Collapse all your hardware and lean them on an angle against a wall or use a paint bucket for storage. You can also roll all your stands up in your drum rug—it’s a super easy way to transport with two people carrying.
Stacking Drums Like at the Music Store
Stacking kits in a corner to make your room look cool may seem appealing, but I try to keep from leaving them up long-term (though I’m guilty of doing it myself). The weight of each shell/hardware on each drum’s head will stretch it’s plastic over time—they will detune, and you’ll need new heads quicker.
Despite what many in the drumming community believe, I believe the added stress on the heads will damage them long-term, especially on shells with heavier hardware. But stacking your kit will not damage the shells in anyway (unless you bump into them and they fall over). Photos and videos look fantastic with stacked kits as a backdrop.
Drummers Without a Basement For Storage
If you have room in your apartment or house, like in a closet, follow the same steps I’ve listed above. Of course, on the ground level, you’ll have less of an issue with humidity, but still, keep an eye out.
Garages and attics are a no-go in hot, humid climates. So I’d only suggest this as a last resort for less important kits and if you have no space elsewhere.
If you live year-round in a cold environment, the garage or attic is a much safer bet for storing drums, as cold temperatures don’t affect the shells much.
How Does Heat Affect Drum Shells?
Extreme heat can be detrimental to drum sets. Keeping your drum kit away from excessive heat is vital, as it can cause severe damage. For example, the glue holding the wood plies together can melt, all while warping the shells.
Heat also can damage the exterior finish. To ensure your drums are safe, always be aware of their environment and store them in a cool place.
Long-Term Drum Set Storage
For the best results you won’t have to worry about, consider buying a climate-controlled storage unit.
Depending on the provider, you may even be able to practice in your storage unit (within reason). In the YouTube video below, drummer Jeff Randall did precisely this and details his setup.
The average cost of a climate-controlled storage unit, according to move.org, is $190/month, so keep that in mind.
We know that storing drums properly may not be the most exciting topic, but we must keep our kits in great shape! These tips will help you store your drum kit and extend its life.
Be sure to share any additional tips or knowledge about storing drums in the comments below. Thanks for reading.