While many people take the time to prepare large appliances like refrigerators and ovens for time in storage, smaller appliances like toasters and microwaves often go overlooked. If you just toss these items into boxes or bags and set them inside the storage unit, there's a good chance they won't be usable--or at least in a condition where you'd want to use them--when you pull them out again.
Proper preparation is key to keeping your small appliances in good shape while in storage. Here are some tips for preparing common small appliances.
The key to successfully storing a microwave is getting it impeccably clean beforehand. Otherwise, food residue may invite rodents and insects, not to mention smelly mold. An easy way to clean your microwave is to place a bowl filled with water and several sliced lemons inside the appliance. Microwave this bowl on high for about five minutes, and then let it sit until cool. The grime should wipe off easily with a sponge or rag.
After cleaning your microwave, unplug it and leave the door open for a few hours to ensure it dries completely. Before placing the microwave in storage, remove the glass carousel tray and wrap it separately in packaging material to keep it from shattering.
Most toasters have a crumb receptacle at the bottom, and unless you clean yours on a regular basis, this receptacle is probably full of crumbs that could attract insects and mice.
Before storing your toaster, hold it over a trash can and pull the crumb tray off the bottom. Crumbs should come raining out. Turn the appliance upside down and give it a good shake to dislodge any remaining crumbs. Then give the outside of the toaster a quick wipe-down to remove any grease and smears.
Most modern toasters feature a plastic housing, and this plastic is more delicate than you may imagine. To prevent it from cracking during packing and storage, wrap your toaster in either Bubble Wrap or a thick layer of newspaper. Secure the wrap with a strip of packing tape.
Toaster ovens can be tough to clean if you use yours to prepare anything other than toast. Drips or grease or cheese in the bottom may adhere to the heating elements. The best way to remove stuck-on grime inside your toaster oven is with oven cleaner. Apply it in a well-ventilated area, and let the cleaner sit for a couple of hours before wiping it away. Wear gloves to avoid contact with the cleaner, which can irritate your skin.
Another challenge of storing a toaster oven is preventing the glass door from breaking. Give your toaster oven some protection by stuffing it with crumpled-up tissue paper and then storing the entire appliance in a cardboard box. If you have the original box, that's best, but any snug box will do.
When storing an electric knife, the concern is more about your safety than the safety of the knife. To prevent injuries, make sure you remove the knife's blades and encase them in thick cardboard. Secure the cardboard with tape. Black electrical tape is less likely to leave a residue than masking or packing tape.
One common mistake people make is cleaning their coffee pot and then immediately putting it into storage without giving it time to dry. Even the smallest amount of moisture can quickly cause mold to grow, and contrary to popular belief, hot water won't just kill the mold the next time you run the coffee maker.
Clean your coffee pot at least two or three days before you plan to put it in storage so you can leave the top open and let it fully dry out. To protect the glass carafe, fill it with newspaper or tissue paper, and store it in a separate box from the rest of the coffee maker so it does not jostle around.
Follow the preparation instructions above, and your stored appliances should remain in good shape. If you're looking for a clean, well-maintained storage facility, contact Cardinal Self Storage to learn more about our options.