Long-term storage is available when you need to keep items safely stowed for any length of time beyond three months. Here are a few tips for making the most out of long-term storage:
- Avoid packing items in plastic bags. Although it might seem like plastic is more protective against water damage than boxes, the opposite is really true. Plastic can trap humidity and moisture and speed up the mildew/mold process.
- Buy sturdy boxes. Although you can recycle free boxes from grocery stores, it’s often best to purchase boxes that are similar in size and in good repair. They will be easier to stack and access—and your items will be safer over the long term.
- Treat fragile items well. Individually wrap fragile items in bubble wrap and/or newspaper and mark their boxes accordingly. These should always go somewhere safe and away from the rest of the stored items.
- Seal clothes and fabrics. Vacuum-sealed bags are great for storing a wardrobe or valued curtains—and can help protect against damages. If you’ll be keeping clothes in storage, you may want to invest in these.
- For long-term appliance storage, always wipe down the interiors well (and with an item like baking soda or bleach). Leave the doors ajar and the cords carefully wrapped. Mold brought in on appliances can spread to other items in storage.
- Place items on pallets (which you can often get for free from home improvement stores). Getting boxes and furniture off the ground helps prevent against damages and keeps the air moving.
Short-term storage is a term used for when your items will be kept in a storage unit for less than three months at a time. You can skip some steps, but should also be careful of your more precious items.
- Dust covers can replace more intensive packing for short-term storage. Because there isn’t as much time for dirt to settle and moisture to seep in, you may be able to drape large pieces of furniture with a cloth and call it good.
- Leave an aisle in the middle of your storage unit. Because you’ll be coming and going within a short space of time, you want to be able to get in and get out quickly. Arrange items against the wall and use the vertical space, leaving a walk-through clear.
- Continue treating fragiles well. Fragile items need just as much care in short-term storage as they do in long-term storage. In fact, they may need more. Because they are being moved around more often, it’s important to protect them against breaking or shifting.