By Ashley King, Property Manager
There are a few key ways to help prevent any damage to your items in your self storage unit. Damage to property is something a lot of people fear when they are storing their belongings for the first time. We understand that some things are irreplaceable, so you want to make sure no damage occurs.
The first thing to help prevent damage is to be sure and select the right type of storage unit for your needs. You can usually select between interior access, temperature control and a drive up unit at most properties. If you are going to be storing long term (over three months) and you are storing furniture and sensitive items (couches, chairs, stereos, etc.) then an interior or temperature control unit would be best solution. These items can be affected by heat, cold and humidity more than other items. Using a temperature control storage unit will keep your valuables at a consistent temperature between 55 and 80 degrees all year long. This helps prevent possible damage to the electronic components and delicate fabrics or wood. If you are storing for three months or less, or you only have items like plastic chairs, patio furniture and other seasonal items, a drive up storage unit is going to work great.
Another important preventive measure is do not store things while they are damp or wet. Meaning, if it is pouring down rain or snowing, it would be ideal to wait unit it stops before moving things in. If your items go into the storage unit wet and then sit with no sunlight, they will not be able to dry properly. That could allow mold and mildew to grow on the items and cause damage or even ruin them. If you cannot avoid moving while it is raining, have a few towels on hand to dry off all the boxes and items as you place them into your self storage unit. Take extra care with this step to prevent possible issues. You can purchase moisture grabbers, like DampRid®, at most hardware stores, which are designed to help pull the moisture out of the air so mold cannot grow.
The next thing would be to select a storage location with good security features, and a property manager who is on site at least five days a week. When people think of damage to their belongings, they mainly think of mold and pest damage. However, making sure your items are safe where they are being stored is also very important. Choosing a storage company with a gate, perimeter fencing and security cameras will reduce the risk of the facility being broken into. An electronic gate only permits current customers access to the property and keeps unwanted visitors out. Having a property manager at the location also helps deter nefarious activities. Our property managers walk through the property at least twice every day when they are on site, which allows them to possibly notice something that is not right before you would.
Property managers are also a great resource for you to learn great storing tips. They can help make sure you pack your storage unit properly, that you choose the correct storage unit type and size, and help you get the proper storage supplies such as boxes and plastic covers to protect your valuables.
While having a property manager is very important to help keep your belongings safe and secure, they are not able to look inside your storage unit. Checking on your unit at least once a month can help prevent irreversible damage. The quicker that you find something, the less damage that could occur. Catching something early can allow you the time to fix the problem and prevent a future issue. For example, if you check on your storage unit and boxes are starting to sag or crush, you can purchase new boxes and repack your items. If you don’t catch this issue, the boxes could continue to crush and even topple over. That can cause damage to what’s inside the boxes but also other items they may fall onto. If you find an issue that is outside of your control, be sure to notify your property manager immediately. That could be anything from a broken door hasp to something leaking into your unit from a neighboring storage unit.
Taking extra measures on your own for pest prevention is also very easy. Be sure to choose a location that takes prevention measures, such as routine spraying and treatment at the property. You can also utilize inexpensive, very simple ways where you can go the extra mile to protect your belongings from unwanted critters. Some of those ideas are to place a bar of soap (Irish Spring works best) or dryer sheets in your storage unit can actually prevent insects and repel rodents. Yes, the soap and dryer sheets you have in your home can help protect your things! Putting a dryer sheet in each corner of your unit and/or a bar of soap near the door will create extra protection, and also leave your unit smelling great. Simply plan to replace them every one to three months, depending on how long the scent lasts.
Taking these simple and easy precautions can prevent damage to your belongings while in your self storage unit. None of them cost much, if anything, besides your time to plan and execute. If you have additional tips you would like to share, please post them in the comments for others to see. If you are ready to put your methods to the test, you can rent a storage unit online now and get started!