The Forgotten Element?

Avoid These Very Common Mistakes When Using a Self-Storage Unit

Using a self storage unit can mean finally fitting your car easily into the garage, without worrying about bumping into sporting goods or other items that are always piled up against the garage walls. It can also mean clearing out the basement so you can create that "man cave" or playroom for the kids that you've always wanted. Whatever your reasons for using a self storage unit, note a few common mistakes that you'll want to avoid so you know your items are protected and will be ready for use when you need them.

Using garbage bags

Plastic garbage bags can protect items from getting scratched while in storage; however, humidity and moisture can still get into the opening of the bag and allow for mould growth and other such water damage. Insects can also get into that opening, so clothes might get eaten by moths and wood items might become home to termites. Even if you think you've cinched the top of the garbage bag, insects and humidity can still make their way inside, so invest in secure plastic or rubber totes and bins instead.

Ignoring the risk of weather damage

If you don't invest in a climate-controlled storage unit, you need to consider the risk of weather damage to your items, as heat, cold, and humidity can get trapped inside the unit. Storing your items in totes and bins, as mentioned, can protect them from humidity and some heat and cold, but consider if items like batteries, paints and solvents, and oils might get damaged by severe weather, or if this could make them unstable. It can be good to invest in a climate-controlled unit so a spare car battery doesn't drain, your paints don't solidify, and hazardous materials don't become dangerous.

Forgetting about access to items

For long-term storage, consider if you can easily access items you might need throughout the year. Label those bins and totes, even if they're see-through, so you know everything inside. Create a walkway or path between items in a larger unit, so you can access the totes and bins in the back.

For items you'll need more often, leave them at the top of a stack of items, or in an otherwise accessible area, so you're not always working through a pile of your things to get to one particular tote or bin. A bit of preplanning for how your unit will be set up can save you many minutes, if not even hours, of searching for items you need while they're in the storage unit.