Whatever your reasons for using a storage unit, you will need to make sure to pack your items carefully so that they will be in good condition when it’s time to unpack them. The following tips will show you how to pack your items for storage while preventing damage and protecting your investment.
Packing a storage unit is very similar to packing for a move, except you will have to take a few extra precautions. Without constant monitoring and use, anything can become damaged in a storage unit, either by water, mold, or stress. A few preventative measures can make the difference between regaining your items or replacing them when your rental period is up.
Preparing the Space
Before you break out the tape and bubble wrap, make sure the materials you have are sufficient for your items. Opt for boxes over bags, as boxes can stack, which saves space in a small unit. Cardboard boxes provide some air circulation, but plastic bins are better at keeping things dry, so consider the contents before you purchase the box. (You may want to have a combination of the two.)
If you are very concerned about moisture intrusion, you can line the floor of your unit with a layer of plastic construction sheeting and/or delivery pallets to protect your items from flooding. Pallets will also allow for air circulation, which keeps fabrics from getting too musty. Products like Damp Rid, charcoal briquettes, and even kitty litter can also help combat moisture and humidity in the air (a serious issue here in Orlando).
You have probably used newspaper for wrapping presents, but if you’re using it to wrap your glass and china before you pack, stop. Newspaper ink can transfer onto your glasses and plates, and it is very difficult to remove. Instead, use unprinted newsprint, which is available at your local moving supply store. When wrapping fragile items in bubble wrap, make sure the bubbles are facing out, otherwise they can leave marks on your glass.
Electronics should be protected with bubble wrap, but never completely wrapped in plastic. Plastic can trap moisture, which can fry your Xbox. Pack electronics high in your storage unit in a cardboard box along with some desiccant packets (those silica packets that come in shoes, home decor items, and certain foods). The cardboard box will allow air to circulate, and keeping electronics on the top of your stacks of boxes will prevent damage from weight as well as flooding.
However, remember that electronics are not made to withstand excessive heat or cold, so if your storage unit is not climate controlled, consider keeping your expensive electronics with you (or a friend) or selling them. Even a little money for your items would be better than returning to a flat screen you can no longer use.
Replacing appliances is a huge expense, so taking the steps to store them properly is vital. Before you pack and store your appliances, clean them all out, drain the pan on your refrigerator as well as the hoses of your dishwasher and washing machine, and clean the coils on the back. To prevent mold and mildew from growing inside the sealed compartments of your appliances, make sure you leave the doors cracked when you store them inside your storage unit.
To protect your appliances, cover them with a sheet or canvas tarp that allows for air circulation and keep them stored upright with the doors cracked.
When storing (or moving) furniture, disassemble each piece as much as possible and protect with bubble wrap, stretch wrap, or cardboard boxes. If tables cannot be disassembled, store them upside down on top of a mattress or other soft surface. If your chairs do not come apart, place one upside down on top of another (seats together) and secure them so they won’t fall over and damage other items. Sofas should be stored in the unit exactly as they would sit in your home. Setting them on their sides can cause excessive stress on joints that weren’t made for that purpose. Dressers and desks should be stored upright with a plastic or fabric cover (such as a blanket or a couple of old sheets) to protect the surface from any boxes you may store on top.
If you decide to clean your items before storage, make sure they are thoroughly dry before you wrap them. Trapping any moisture (even the small amount from a spray bottle) under a layer of plastic can cause warping, staining, or mold.
Pictures and mirrors should be wrapped in unprinted newsprint and stored in an appropriately sized box. (A box that’s too large can cause the item to shift and become damaged.) Store all art and mirrors upright on their sides (this saves space as well as protects them from damage).
If you have any valuable art, you should consider museum-quality, climate controlled storage to protect your investment. The average storage unit is no place for a $30,000 Picasso.
Before you store any part of your wardrobe, make sure every piece is thoroughly cleaned. Untreated dirt can cause a stain to set in over time. Pack your clothes in sealed plastic containers or appropriately sized, heavy-duty “zip-top” bags that have had the air removed. A couple of desiccant packets won’t hurt, but don’t pack mothballs, as the strong smell is very hard to remove.
In each box, pack heavy items on the bottom to prevent them from stretching or misshaping more delicate garments.
You may not be able to prevent placing your belongings in a storage unit, but you can take steps against damage from mold, mildew, and cramped quarters.
Whether you need to be moved across town, or you need a place to store your possessions, Cento Family Moving & Storage loves to keep your things safe and secure.