We all have things we cherish and put value on. Sometimes circumstances happen and we need to store those things in a storage facility. How do I protect my "stuff" if/when I need to get a locker? Below are a few tips on what to look for in a storage facility.
The first thing to decide is if you need your stuff protected from temperature and/or humidity changes. Climate controlled usually means the facility has temperature and humidity controls. Find out what their temperature and humidity ranges are and be certain they are within your expectations. If the facility says they have temperature controlled units that will usually mean temperature control only (no humidity control). Be certain you know exactly what the facility is offering. The down side of temperature and climate control is cost. You may have to pay twice as much (or more) for climate or temperature controlled units.
If storing your stuff in a garage environment is all you need then most storage facilities can accommodate you.
Our facility does not have climate or temperature controlled units but we can recommend some in the area.
If you are storing in a unit that does not have climate control here are few things you need to know about.
Many storage facilities are built on concrete slabs.
Concrete will absorb and release moisture. Check with the facility to see if they had a vapor barrier laid before the concrete was poured. Without a vapor barrier or sealant the concrete floor will "sweat" during high humidity and large amounts of rain (much like your garage does).
DO NOT place anything of value directly on concrete (with or without a vapor barrier). Over time, wood products will discolor, boxes will become limp and metal objects will rust. Place these items on plastic or pallets.
Temperature and Humidity.
Many facilities are un-insulated, single story garage type structures. As such, the interior temperatures vary greatly.
During winter months the inside temperature will be the same as the outside temperature.
During summer months the inside temperature can be 20 degrees hotter (or more) than outside temperatures. Things have been known to melt.
In geographic areas that have a lot of humidity these type of units will hold the humidity and may damage contents if not stored properly.
Things not to store.
Explosives (including ammunition and fireworks).
Food of any kind.
Anything with a high dollar replacement value.
How to protect items you have in storage.
Mattresses should always be put in a mattress bag and sealed. This includes sleeper sofa mattresses. Remove as much air from the packaging as possible before sealing.
Always put plastic sheeting or pallets on the concrete before you put your valuables in the unit.
Be certain the unit has a ceiling condensation barrier so moisture drops don't settle on your stuff and leave water damage. If the unit does not have this type of barrier, cover your stuff with plastic.
Always prop open the clothes dryer, washing machine, refrigerator and freezer doors. Condensation in these units can cause mold if they can't "breath". Always place rodent control products in the unit. Rodents can cause a lot of damage if they decide to nest in your unit. How to place items in the unit.
Always place the heaviest items on the bottom.
To maximize your storage be sure to place smaller items in drawers, washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, etc.
Always start at the back of the unit and work your way forward. Stack up to the ceiling as you move forward. Try to think about what you may need to get out of the unit while your things are stored.
Try and pack them in the front of the unit. For example, holiday and seasonal things.