How Long Will My Things Last in Storage?

If you’re looking for a long-term storage solution for your belongings, finding a secure, climate-controlled storage facility is key. Most of the common items people place in storage are sensitive to temperature fluctuations and need to be properly stored to guard against pests, dust, moisture, and other harmful elements. If you start by renting an indoor self-storage unit and take extra precautions to prepare your belongings before placing them in storage, you may be surprised at just how long they will last. Here we will look at some of the most common items people place in storage and discuss tips for extending storage life.

How to Store Electronics

When stored properly, electronics like TVs, DVD players, computers, laptops, cameras, iPods, iPhones, radios, fans, and printers, have an indefinite shelf life. These items should always be stored in a climate-controlled facility as extreme heat or cold can cause components to warp or melt. To best protect these items from breakage, wrap in foam and place upright in a cardboard box or plastic bin. Make sure you remove any batteries from your electronics prior to storage, to prevent them from corroding and damaging your items. You can additionally guard against moisture damage by dropping a silica gel package in each box, and storing cardboard boxes off the ground. With these simple precautions, your electronics will be as good as new when you’re ready to use them again.

Storing Large Appliances

Large appliances, like your refrigerator, washer, dryer, and stove are expensive to replace, so storing them properly to prevent damage is imperative. The key here is preventing rust and mold by making sure all appliances are thoroughly cleaned and dried prior to placing in storage. You’ll also want to ensure that appliances are always moved and stored in an upright position to keep compressors, motors, and other expensive elements from breaking. Large appliances aren’t as sensitive to temperature changes, so these should be fine in a non-climate controlled unit. When stored properly, large appliances can last for several years.

Storage is a great option to keep out-of-season clothes from cluttering your closets.
Storage is a great option to keep out-of-season clothes from cluttering your closets.

Storing Clothes Long-Term

Clothing can be one of the trickiest things to store, because it faces not only the threat of mold and mildew, but is a favorite snack of moths, insects, and other pesky creatures. However, if stored properly, clothing can last for several generations. Before storing your clothes, make sure each piece is laundered or dry-cleaned to prevent stains from setting and to detract moths. If you decide to keep your items hanging, make sure to use padded hangers for blouses, dresses, and coats instead of wire hangers. Additionally, hang dress pants on a clip hanger by the hem to prevent stubborn wrinkles. Hanging items should be stored in a breathable garment bag, that keeps dust and pests out, but allows the clothing to get air circulation. Alternatively, you may opt to neatly fold your clothes and place in boxes. Cardboard boxes allow breathability, which certain materials need, but may be more susceptible to bugs, dust, and moisture than plastic bins. Whatever type of box you choose, you’ll want to air out your clothing at least every 18 months to let the fabric breathe. Avoid using vacuum seal bags, as these may permanently compress or wrinkle your clothing.

Prepping for Furniture Storage

Furniture is one of the most commonly stored items and needs extra protection to ensure it lasts. Start by disassembling pieces to lessen the stress on joints, like removing the legs of wooden tables. Make sure to keep all hardware in a plastic baggies and affix to the furniture for easier reassembly. Prep each piece of furniture by taking time to thoroughly clean and dust it. For wooden and leather furniture, polish with a protective furniture spray or wax, to keep it from cracking or drying out. Cover each piece, particularly couches and other upholstered items, with protective plastic covering to protect from moisture and pests. Once you’ve taken these preventative measures, place furniture in a climate-controlled storage unit, and it should last indefinitely.

It's important to use a  cover to protect upholstered furniture from mold, mildew, and pests while in storage.
It’s important to use a cover to protect upholstered furniture from mold, mildew, and pests while in storage.

China, Dishes, and Glassware in Storage

While china, dishes, and glassware are safe from the harm of pests and moisture, they are susceptible to breakage, chipping, and staining. To protect these delicate items, wrap each dish or glass individually with a piece of acid-free paper. Avoid using newspaper to pad your items as the ink can permanently stain your china. Once wrapped, place the dishware in a small or medium-sized box. Dishes are heavy, so you’ll want to avoid using large boxes as these will be harder to lift (and easier to drop). Fill up the empty space in each box with extra crumpled paper or packing peanuts. This will help prevent items from shifting and breaking during transport to your storage unit. If these items are properly padded and protected, they can last indefinitely in long-term storage.

Taking time to properly prepare your items for storage will prevent damage from moisture, pests, and breakage, and will enable you to use them for years to come! Your belongings will be safe and secure in long-term storage.