Are you planning on storing your prized possessions, business materials or other personal property in a long-term rental? If so, you may be wondering how to ensure that your items stay in the best condition possible. In this guide, you will learn ways to prepare your belongings and maintain your self-storage unit in order to keep your items safe and looking as good as new.
Table of Contents:
1. Why Maintain Long-Term Storage Units?
Whether you’re relocating across state lines, managing a business with increased inventory or undergoing a military overseas deployment, the need for a reliable storage solution is paramount. Your trust in the chosen storage provider hinges on their ability to ensure the safety and preservation of your belongings.
As a responsible customer, you also have a role in preparing and maintaining your items for storage so they remain in their original condition. Proper maintenance practices will safeguard your valuable possessions throughout their storage period.
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2. Preparing for Long-Term Storage
Before you move all of your belongings into the unit, there are a few steps you must take to ensure your items stay in the best condition possible.
- A. Make an inventory checklist: As you begin the packing process, make an inventory checklist of everything you will be storing in the unit. List each item with a description and its estimated value. Additionally, make a note of how it is stored, whether in a box or some other storage container, so you can easily locate it if needed.
- B. Assess how much storage space you might need: After making your inventory checklist, it’s important to take stock of how many items you have and estimate how much storage you will need. You can discuss this with the storage company, and they will help you select the storage unit size that best fits your needs.
- C. Inquire about any legal requirements: Make sure you read any forms and agreements prior to signing. Review the insurance policies and be prepared to ask the storage facility any questions you may have about the requirements prior to moving in and signing anything. On moving day, make sure you have signed and submitted all required documents. For those who are about to move to Pennsylvania, here is the service of storage unit rentals in Pennsylvania for you to check out.
- D. Inspect the storage unit prior to moving in: It’s always important to inspect the unit prior to filling it with your valuables. Ensure that the unit is free from any damage, pests or mold. Report any damage or issues you see. This will provide the storage company with an opportunity to repair any problems. After the inspection, you can rest assured your items are going into a clean, ready-to-use space.
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- E. Clean and disinfect your items to avoid pests:
In order to best maintain your long-term storage unit, you will want to make sure your items receive a deep clean prior to storing. Disinfect all items to deter pests from entering the unit and remove any perishable items from boxes.
Scrub and clean all appliances before storing them to remove any lingering food residue that could attract unwanted pests. Make sure furniture and other larger items are covered properly. Note: Plastic bags can often trap unwanted moisture, which could increase your chance of mold growth.
- F. Make a plan for storing fragile items:
There is a reason boxes containing fragile items are often marked “handle with care.” These items are frequently our most valuable and precious possessions, and they are also the easiest to break. Whether it’s your grandmother’s china, your business’s technology equipment, or your favorite speakers, you need to create a plan to store these fragile items.
Before you choose to place any fragile or valuable item in a storage unit, inquire about whether the unit is climate controlled. Certain items fare better in a climate-controlled environment. Heat, humidity and moisture are a dangerous combination. By having a climate-controlled environment, you can reduce the risk of mold and other potential damage.
Once you decide which fragile items will go into the unit, gather the materials you will need to pack them. It is important to individually wrap fragile items using protective materials such as bubble wrap. This provides a physical barrier between items in the box and reduces the likelihood of breakage if the box falls.
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3. Packing and Labeling Tips
After all of your preliminary tasks are completed, you will want to spend extra time making sure your items are packed and labeled correctly. If your items are packed and stored correctly, they have a very high chance of faring well in the long-term storage unit. Here are a few tips for effective packing and labeling.
- A. Use proper packing materials: This is where you definitely don’t want to cut corners. By using the best materials for your items, you increase the chances of your items retaining their value and original integrity.Some recommended packing materials are sturdy cardboard boxes (or, alternately, sturdy plastic bins that allow for decent airflow), bubble wrap for more delicate items, blankets for furniture and other large items, packing paper and packing tape. Additionally, it may be wise to place some type of ground cloth on the bottom of the storage unit to provide a moisture barrier.
- B. Distribute weight evenly: Make sure to select boxes that match the size of the items. Avoid overfilling boxes or overloading them with excessive weight, as this could potentially result in damage to other items. Try placing heavier items at the bottom of the boxes, with lighter items on top. Additionally, consider dedicating specific boxes exclusively for fragile items to minimize the risk of any damage occurring during storage.
- C. Disassemble larger furniture: Due to the variance in furniture shapes, packing and storing furniture can be an arduous task. Because of this, it is recommended to disassemble larger items such as beds, tables, desks, etc., and store any hardware in a plastic bag taped to the furniture piece.
- D. Fill boxes to capacity: When excess space is left in boxes, items are more likely to shift and get damaged. Whether you fill your boxes completely with items or stuff them with extra packing paper, it is extremely important to make sure each box is full and secure.
- E. Label items for easy retrieval and maintenance: Use clear and descriptive labels on each box or storage bin to easily see where each item is located. Alternatively, some people find it helpful to use a color-coding system, grouping boxes by room or category. No matter which method you choose, make sure you cover multiple sides of the box so you can clearly see the label regardless of its positioning. Finally, make sure the label names and/or colors correspond with your inventory list.
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4. Regular Check-Ins and Maintenance
Once you have placed your items in long-term storage, it can be tempting to leave them and forget about them. However, regular check-ins and maintenance of your unit will set you up to detect any issues early so your items remain in the best condition possible.
It is recommended that you visit your unit every month or two to check on the condition of your valuables. By checking in regularly, you will be able to tackle any small problems, such as mold or pest issues, before they become big ones.
When conducting a monthly check, here are some things to assess:
- A. Security measures: Are all of the locks functioning as they should? If you have a passcode for the unit, does it still work? Are there any signs of trespassing in or around your unit, such as damaged cameras or broken locks?
- B. Climate control: If the unit is temperature controlled, what is the temperature reading? What is the humidity level inside? If it is not climate controlled, check for any mold or excess moisture on your boxes and items.
- C. Pest inspection: Check for any signs of pests, such as animal droppings, small openings or chewed items. If you suspect pests have invaded your unit, make a plan to speak with the storage facility and inquire about their pest control measures.If they have none, you will want to call a pest control service immediately and get it taken care of. Additionally, you will want to remove any boxes or items that may have been damaged by the pests and update your inventory list.
- D. Organization review: Reflect on how your items are organized. Are they still clearly labeled and stacked? Is there a walkway that is clear and easy to access for item retrieval? If the organization is not working well for you, consider moving items around and reorganizing them to prioritize optimal functionality.
- E. Documenting your visit: Record the date and time you visited and anything of note you want to track. Maintaining this information is crucial in case you encounter any concerns that require discussion with the storage facility management or insurance providers.
In summary, maintaining the condition and security of your treasured possessions during extended storage is a task that necessitates careful planning and vigilance.
When you plan and pack carefully and conduct regular check-ins, you not only ensure the well-being of your stored items but also grant yourself the peace of mind that comes from knowing your valuable possessions are protected.
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