If you're downsizing to a smaller home, going on vacation, shipping off to deployment or just running out of room in your current home, self storage is a convenient way to put away excess belongings. Some items may still be valuable, but if you need the extra space, some precious belongings may need to go away for a while. Before putting everything into the first storage unit you find, take the time to understands long-term storage risks and what you can do to keep your property safer for as long as possible.
What Items Are Too Sensitive For Storage?
With proper preparation, any belongings can be placed in storage for long periods of time. Some items, such as cloth or untreated wood, may be at risk more than others.
Moisture, dust and local pollutants can create a mixture that settles against the surface of these objects and may lead to staining. Discolored cloth problems, such as yellowing linens or browning cotton could happen as you leave the objects exposed to unknown conditions.
A sealed self storage unit may not cause staining over a short period of time. It could take months or a couple of years, although the time to stain depends on the local conditions. The bigger problem of staining comes from storage units that use sliding doors that can't come to a complete close. These units allow humidity, local air and pollutants from cars and factories to mix in and become trapped within the storage unit.
To find an adequately sealed self storage unit, look for storage units with doors that close with a proper door frame. Look for rubbed seals around the edges of the door frame and make sure that the door locks--a concern for both humid air and mitigating theft.
A Humidifier May Be Necessary
Humid areas such as the Southeastern United States or coastal states, a sealed door may not be enough. Even if you close the door, the local area may be humid to the point of trapping humid air inside the storage unit. The storage unit might be a bit more dry than other areas after liquid has time to settle from the air, but the settling will involve soaking into cloth, woods or other sensitive materials.
With no airflow, a dank and hot environment could fester behind closed doors. Any fungal spores in the air could settle inside the storage unit as you close the door and will have a perfectly dark, dank environment to grow, leading to wood-damaging issues such as fungal rot.
Humidity issues can be countered with a dehumidifier, but you'll need to select the right type for your storage unit. A dehumidifier removes humidity from the air, but if the area is too large for the specific model, the room won't be completely dried. Make sure to review the room size requirements in a dehumidifier's manual before purchasing. If necessary, contact the dehumidifier manufacturer and explain your situation.
The length, width and height of the storage unit will be needed for a proper estimate. You'll need to follow the manufacturer's instructions for placing the dehumidifier, as placing the device too close to walls or too far from the center of the room may leave certain sides of the room more humid than other sides.
Contact a self storage facility to discuss the types of storage units available, electrical connections for your dehumidifier and other options that could keep your belongings safe.