When you put stuff into storage, you want to pull it out looking just as nice as when you put it in. As a result, you need a strategy to minimize the risk of mold and mildew. Here are six tips to help protect your clothing, firearms, art, books, and other moisture-adverse items in storage.
1. Clean and Dry Items Before Storing Them
Dirt can damage items by scratching them or leaving a stubborn film. Similarly, food crumbs can attract rodents or other pests. Because of these risks, you should make sure that you thoroughly clean items before putting them into storage. However, you should also dry everything extremely well.
Clothing or upholstery left damp may attract mold and start to rot. Guns, woodwork, or metal items may rust if they're moist. Additionally, moisture left on some items may migrate to other items and ruin them.
2. Pack Desiccators in Your Storage Containers
To deal with any residual moisture, consider putting desiccants in your storage containers. You can buy small packs of desiccants—similar to the ones you find in a new shoe box—from packing supplies stores. These little packs contain crystals that absorb moisture.
Note, however, that desiccants usually expire. If you plan to store your items for the long term, you may want to check the expiration period on the desiccants and replace them as recommended.
3. Choose Your Boxes Carefully
The boxes you use can also help to protect items from humidity. If storing clothing, you may want to use airtight plastic boxes. They prevent moisture from getting inside. However, if you're storing art or books, you may want to use breathable, acid-free boxes.
4. Keep Airflow in Mind When Setting Up the Storage Unit
Ideally, you should arrange your items in a way that promotes airflow. Try to avoid pushing furniture directly against walls, and leave room between stacks of boxes. If you are storing items in an area with a cement floor, place boxes on top of a pallet.
The pallet creates a buffer between the concrete and the boxes. As concrete is porous, it can sometimes harbor moisture from the ground below it. Additionally, the slats of the pallet allow air to move underneath the boxes, encouraging condensation and helping to prevent the buildup of water droplets.
5. Make a DIY Dehumidifier
In addition to putting small desiccant packs in your boxes, you may want to make a DIY dehumidifier for your storage unit. You can make a powerless dehumidifier by putting a bowl of charcoal briquettes in a bucket. Make sure to use the briquettes that have not been soaked in lighter fluid. They are more effective, and the lighter fluid can create unwanted odors.
Alternatively, you can use a bag of kitty litter. Stay away from the scented varieties. Simply, use the relatively inexpensive clay litter. Finally, if you don't have a bucket, put open containers of baking soda around your storage unit. To be effective, all of these dehumidifiers need to be changed about every six months.
6. Opt for Climate-Controlled Storage
All of the tips above are especially helpful if you need to store your items in a musty basement or a damp garage. However, to give your items the best degree of protection against moisture and humidity, you should rent a climate-controlled storage unit. That ensures that you can avoid ups and downs in temps and humidity levels.
To set up secure storage for your stuff, contact us at Cardinal Self Storage. We have sites in Burlington, Graham, North Durham, South Durham, East Raleigh, and West Raleigh. We look forward to working with you.