4 Tips for Winterizing Your Storage Unit

You aren’t the only one who needs to bundle up when it gets cold, so does your storage. Even if you are using a climate-controlled unit, the winter weather brings other challenges you need to prepare for. Here are a few tips to keep your stuff safe during the winter:

1. Winter has three main storage challenges

Before you can find a solution, you have to know what you’re up against. Winter has three main concerns to deal with. The most obvious challenge is the cold. When temperatures drop below freezing, pipes can burst, and items like glass and plastic can grow brittle and crack.

These low temps also lead to a different problem—pests. When it’s too cold to stay outdoors, animals seek shelter indoors. Storage units are particularly attractive because they are usually dark, quiet, and have plenty of space and materials to build a nest.

The third thing to worry about is moisture. Differences in outdoor and indoor air temperature can cause condensation inside a unit, even if it’s climate-controlled. Too much moisture in the air can lead to mold and mildew damaging your possessions.

Winterizing your storage unit helps you combat all three of these challenges.

2. Use the right storage supplies

When winterizing your storage unit, consider what type of containers you’re storing your items in.

Cardboard boxes are a popular way to store your stuff, but they’re not the best material for long-term storage, especially during winter. Rodents and insects can easily chew through boxes and get at the items inside. If a pipe bursts and your unit floods, cardboard won’t keep your items dry and will start to mold if left damp.

For most household items, sturdy plastic bins with lids will do. Use vacuum-seal bags for soft items such as clothes, linens, stuffed animals, and bedding to keep out dust and moisture.

Avoid using plastic covers for things like furniture, antiques, and cars. Plastic traps moisture, which can then damage your items. Alternatively, use cloth covers or any kind of breathable material, like polyester.

3. Store your stuff appropriately

There’s more to storage than shoving your items in a unit and walking away. How items are stored and placed can also have an impact.

For example, moisture may seep up through the floor in the winter, even in climate-controlled units. It is for this reason that you should take care to keep sensitive or important items off the ground. Use shelves or pallets to keep things elevated.

Use climate-controlled storage for sensitive items such as photographs, antiques, leather and wood furniture, electronics, physical media like books and DVDs, art and musical instruments. These items can break or degrade when subjected to extreme temperatures or moisture.

Make sure all items are clean and dry before putting them away. This decreases the chances of mold or mildew, and it’s one less thing to do when taking items out of storage.

Do not store batteries in electronics. Heat and moisture can make batteries susceptible to corrosion and damage any devices they are housed in. Best practices are to keep batteries in their original packaging in non-metal containers and away from other items. Don’t believe us? Ask the battery experts.

4. Get storage insurance

Another great way to winterize your storage unit is to provide extra protection with storage insurance. While you hope you never need it, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your belongings.

Some renters’ and homeowners’ insurance policies cover storage units, while others don’t. Either way, it’s important you check with your policy ahead of time to know the limitations of coverage. You can also look into purchasing a stand-alone storage policy. Some storage facilities, like Storage Post, offer additional protection plans that customers can purchase. However, it is always recommended that you do not store high-value items like jewelry and other irreplaceable items in a storage unit. Save those for a safety deposit box.

Spring will be here before you know it, but until that thaw arrives, we hope these tips will help you keep your unit nice and cozy in the cold. For more helpful storage tip and advice, check out the other posts in our Storage Post blog!