By Stacey Dale, Property Manager
As we have all seen so far this year, Mother Nature has been going a bit crazy with the weather. No matter where you live, the weather is changing. We have higher highs and lower lows than we ever before. We seem to get a lot of rain, and some places much more than average and records are being broken all the time. When can you watch the news and not see major flooding somewhere in the United States these days? All the moisture can potentially be damaging to your belongings inside your storage unit. But, there are ways you can help prevent damage and keep your valuables safe.
Now that Spring has sprung, it is a good time to check your storage unit; especially if it has been a while since you have visited. Start with all your cardboard boxes that have been sitting on the cement floor of the unit. Cardboard acts like a sponge and can absorb moisture from the cement, which pulls moisture up from the ground below. There really is no way to stop that from happening – it is what it is. However, there are several things you can do to prevent that moisture creep from causing problems.
First, when packing your storage unit, don’t go for boxes from supermarkets or department stores. These boxes often have had food products in them, and the residue left over can cause mold issues. These boxes are also designed for temporary one time use, and are made to break down more quickly.
Instead of those free boxes, purchase your boxes from us! All Moove In Self Storage properties have durable, crush proof boxes for sale in the rental office in a variety of sizes and styles to fit your needs. Our storage boxes are designed specifically for the self storage industry. They are specially treated to prevent mildew and mold from growing, and are heavy duty and will not crush or warp over long periods of time in storage
Next, make sure when you never pack anything that is dirty or damp. The trapped moisture can cause clothing and fabrics to get moldy. One sure way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to pack clean items, and ensure they are completely dried before you pack them inside anything. Make sure fabric furniture is cleaned and fully dried, then covered or protected with a furniture cover or even shrink wrapped. This will help prevent moisture from absorbing into the fabrics of your furniture, and they will keep excess dust from collecting as well.
We also suggest you elevate your items off the floor with shelving or even a wooden pallet. A lot of times you can find wooden pallets for free from businesses who are throwing them away. This is a great idea to stack your boxes and items on so you will have air flow underneath your items. This will help prevent moisture from seeping into boxes from the cement floors. And the added airflow will help keep any moisture build up from the outside temperatures and weather at bay.
Another easy thing to do is purchase an item like Damp Rid®. Most department and home improvement stores such as Lowes, Home Depot and Walmart carry it or a similar product. If placed toward the front of your storage unit, it traps any moisture from seeping into your unit from the door. Damp Rid® can be expensive, and you need to dump the water and replace the container regularly for it to effective long term.
If you are going to be storing your items for a long period of time, there is a cheaper way you can reap the benefits of this concept. Purchase a large disposable aluminum pan, such as the one you would buy to cook a turkey. You can find these in most stores for a couple bucks. Also purchase an inexpensive bag of unscented cat litter. A 5 pound bag should be more than enough. Lay the whole UNOPENED bag down into the pan flat, and put a small slit in the top center of the bag. Place the tray with the bag of litter toward the front of your unit. This will also absorb any moisture trying to get into your unit. Be sure NOT to open the bag or empty the cat litter into the tray. Any moisture absorbed by the cat litter will settle into the tray and not into the unit.
No matter where you store your items, whether in your garage, attic or basement or inside a storage unit, moisture will always be present at some time during the year. You cannot stop moisture from happening, but you can prevent the damage it can cause. If you have more questions about preventing moisture build up inside your storage unit, you can talk to your property manager or contact us at any time. And if you have great ideas to share, please post then in the comments so others can benefit!