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Tips And Tricks For Long-Term Storage

how to prepare your items for long-storage

When storing items for the long-term, it is crucial that you protect your household contents and plan your storage space wisely. Properly preparing your household contents will ensure you eliminate any potential damage from mould, mildew, dust, variations in temperature, and more.

If you’re putting your items away for a long time it can be easy to forget how the unit or module has been packed. When you finally access or unpack your items you may have a difficult time if you haven’t organised or packed your unit well. Here is a comprehensive guide to preparing your household items to be stored for the long-haul.

Declutter before you store

Storing long term is a big commitment! Make sure you’re only storing what you will really need and value in the long run. Go through every item and consider whether it’s easily replaceable and if it’s of sentimental or great financial value to you.

Decluttering before you store will make sure you’re only paying for storage for the volume you need. It will also avoid the problem many people have of abandoning items in storage, paying for storage fees for a never-ending period for items they never really want back in their own homes.

Do not put any food or perishables in storage

Do not put any type of food or perishable items in long term storage such as plants, or any type of organic matter such as fertilizer. Food, even dry food such as rice and canned food, can attract vermin or mould, and still go bad. Organic items will die or decompose.

It may seem obvious, but some people put pantry containers and garage boxes into long term storage without realising what is in them. Check every box and container and make sure you are not storing any food or perishable items!

Consider a climate-controlled unit

A climate-controlled unit maintains favourable humidity and the same temperature. It is ideal for long-term storage because it avoids damage that can be caused by moisture and variations in temperature.

When items are damp, they are prone to mould, mildew, rust, and warping. Variations in temperature can also cause household contents to deteriorate, become deformed, and electronic parts to stop working.

Wooden, metal, leather, paper, wine, and delicate items are all better maintained when you store them in a climate-controlled unit in the long term.

Invest in good packing materials

Since you’re taking the trouble to store your items in the long run why not choose the best packing materials? Use sheets, blankets, or furniture pads to cover your furniture and appliances. Put your mattresses in a mattress cover.

Use plastic boxes and containers. Use packing paper to wrap fragile items and scrunched up paper for crumple zone layers at the base, in between items and at the top of your containers and boxes.

Wrapping your items properly will protect them from all sorts of damage and make sure they are padded enough so as not to dent or scratch each other.

Avoid using plastic bags

Plastic bags trap moisture and this will cause items packed inside them to get mould, mildew, rust, or other forms of damage. They are also not easy to stack and move compared to boxes. Avoid them entirely when you are storing for the long-term.

Protect the items from the floor

Lay a furniture pad, blanket, or other form of protection on the floor of your storage module or unit before you place items on it. This will protect your items from any moisture or temperature changes that are coming from the ground.

Clean and dry your furniture and appliances

Clean your clothes, linens, furniture, and appliances thoroughly to remove any dust, food, oil, or other liquids. Soiled items can attract vermin and mould. Dust and liquid will damage your items and cause faster wear and tear in the long run.

After cleaning your household items, dry them completely. Any liquid trapped in the items will cause mould and mildew to form.

Plan for the storage space and an inventory

Since you’re storing in the long term you may feel there is no need to plan how the items will be packed into the module or unit but beware! You may end up needing access to the items. Also, it will be easier to take the items out of storage if your belongings are properly itemised and packed.

Create an inventory of all the items you’re storing and all the box contents to make it easier to unpack. When you move the items out you can also check that none have gone missing or been left behind.

When you plan your storage space, make sure the heaviest items are at the bottom, lightest and most fragile at the top. Place items you may need access to towards the entrance of the storage module or unit such as clothing, essentials like toiletries, cleaning products, towels, and bed linen. Make yourself an aisle in the middle of the storage module or unit so you can still reach the items at the back.

Set up automated payments

Nothing is more disruptive or annoying when you’re travelling or starting a new life in another country than getting late fees or reminder calls and emails for items you stored back home. Set up direct debit or automatic card payments to make sure you’re always on top of your storage fees.

Remember that if you are behind on storage payments some companies will assume you are abandoning your items and sell them to recover their losses.

Visit the space from time to time

Even if you don’t need access to your items, it’s good to check on them from time to time. This way, you or a trusted friend/relative can make sure nothing has toppled over and that if there is anything dirty or wet it can be cleaned and removed. Dusting and cleaning the storage unit or module will also help preserve the items that you are storing inside them.