By Shelly Reiff, Property Manager
Where do you go with those unused appliances that are taking up so much space? You want to hang on to them because you know how expensive they are; and who knows when someone in your family or a friend may need one. Or, maybe you’re building a new home or moving and it’s not ready yet, or you have a rental property and need a back-up on hand just in case the main one breaks. Whatever the case may be, you need a place to store these bulky beasts. A self storage unit is the answer!
Whether it is long or short-term storage that you need for your appliances, self storage is an affordable solution. However, if you do not properly prepare your appliance for storage – be it a washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, oven, etc. – you will have thrown away your investment! Without the proper preparation, you could come back to your self storage unit to find one yucky stinky mess of no use to anyone any longer.
Let’s review how to prevent that from happening. Preparing your appliances for storage is key to keeping your expensive items in tip top shape.
You want to “Get ‘em clean and get ‘em dry!” You should consider running an empty dishwasher or washer through a full wash cycle using a cup of bleach. You should also run a dishwasher through the drying cycle, and fully dry the interior of a washer prior to moving to storage. A washer has a lot of areas you cannot see that could be holding water or moisture. You should leave the lid open for at least a few hours to ensure those droplets dry up.
For any appliance that can hold water or other liquids, be sure to fully drain it all. Empty any water from hoses or holding tanks to prevent freezing and mildew. You may just want to toss the existing hoses and purchase new ones to keep with the appliance for the next time you need it. That will truly ensure no moisture is hiding inside.
Clean the inside of the appliance thoroughly and dry completely. Any food remnants left behind will attract bugs and other pests. So, you will want to pay special attention to ovens, refrigerators and dishwashers to remove all food particles. Pay special attention to the rubber cushion seal around the perimeter of the doors where moisture or food could collect. Also, don’t forget to clean and dry the defrost pan in the refrigerator, and remove the vent cover and clean out any dust from the intake areas. These are often forgotten because they are out of sight.
Once your appliance is well cleaned and thoroughly dried, you will want to treat for insects to prevent any issues over time. Spray with an insect killer, or wipe down with insect repelling cloths. Make note of this so that when you go to retrieve the appliance and use again, that you thoroughly clean all surfaces and interiors to remove any residue from the insect killers.
Once interior is fully clean and dry, move to the exterior. Paying special attention to the air intake areas. If it is greasy be sure to clean with an old toothbrush and soap. Again, fully dry when done.
Then, upon getting ready for transport to your self storage unit, you will want to remove any glass shelves or fragile parts to transport separately. Wrap the shelves together tightly with bubble wrap or packing paper (both for sale in our retail stores inside the rental offices) and tape securely to keep them from shifting and breaking. Put any small parts like shelf brackets and screws in a Ziploc® baggie and write with marker which appliance they go with, then tape inside. Make sure to wrap the outside of appliances that will scratch or dent in bubble wrap or plastic covers. Make sure not to wrap the doors to the body though, as you will want to allow the doors open for air flow while in storage.
Remember to transport and store your refrigerator upright. Laying it on its side can cause damage, as it is not designed to ever be any position but up. The same goes for most, if not all, other appliances as well. While transporting appliances, secure all doors with a strong tape or wrapping film to hold the appliance door closed and prevent damage during the move. But remember that once you place it in your storage unit to unsecure the doors and keep them ajar. This will allow air flow and prevent mildew. You may want to tape a small piece of foam in place at each door opening to keep the doors from accidentally slipping closed while you are accessing other items inside your storage unit. You can also place an open container or fridge pack of baking soda inside each appliance to help control extra moisture from the air and prevent smells over time.
It’s a good idea to raise appliances off the ground with pallets or even on cardboard to keep them directly off the concrete floor – especially when using outdoor drive up units. You should also plan to use a plastic dust cover or blanket to protect the surface from scratches or damage while in storage.
Another great tip is to use a temperature controlled storage unit for appliances if they will be stored long term. These units are kept constant between 55 and 80 degrees year round, keeping your mechanical and electrical parts better protected from rust, fissures, high humidity and temperature swings.
These are just some of the great tips we recommend to prepare your major appliances for storage. If you have more questions, you can contact us or reach out to your property manager for advice. And if you are ready to get those bulky appliances out of the way and into a storage unit, you can rent a storage unit online now!