We all have too much stuff. Nobody wants to throw something out if it’s perfectly functional, just not presently in use. Self-storage, as an industry, offers a nice compromise. You can take everything you don’t need from your home and put it away for future use instead of throwing it away forever. Whether you’re putting your summer clothes away for the winter or embarking on a long-term storage project for your unused appliances and the overflowing clutter of your home, here are some tips on how to pack for storage.
Packing for storage differs from packing for moving in a few different ways. First, you have to consider the sturdiness of your boxes and the potential risks of moths, mould, and mildew, as well as the importance of keeping a thorough inventory of what you’re storing. Remember also to pack these things with the balance of accessibility and efficient use of space in mind.
Pests and Pestilence
It’s that familiar sorrow of putting a good jumper at the back of your wardrobe for a couple of months then pulling it out to find it riddled with holes. Moths can lay eggs in clothing so that the larvae will hatch and chew on your favourite outfits unless you store the clothing correctly. Storing things in plastic won’t allow for air flow, thus heat and humidity can breed inside the plastic – ideal conditions for mould and mildew. That said, vacuum storing clothes in plastic is an effective way to both save space and defend against pests. Putting some lavender oil or another moth deterrent in with your clothes is sure to protect them long-term, and as an added bonus, they’ll smell nice when next you wear them.
General storage of things other than clothes shouldn’t be done with plastic either. Mould and mildew are a risk for anything with a surface to stick to. Cardboard boxes are tried and true and the best way to pack for storage. They’re not completely air-tight but nor are they open to the elements – they occupy the optimum middle ground. Heavy duty cardboard boxes, as opposed to their light duty counterparts, are the better option for long-term storage because they won’t deteriorate quite as quickly. It’s also worth a little extra cash and effort on your part to get boxes that are around the same size so they can be stacked effectively.
Larger appliances like washing machines and ovens should be thoroughly cleaned before being stored. All kinds of particles can persist in an old appliance, so it should be left free-standing, doors open, in your shed or storage unit. It’ll be a lot easier to clean out some cobwebs when you eventually pull it out again than it would be to scrub away the mould that happily grew in the sealed space.
With pests in mind, electrical appliances with cords should have their cords wrapped up neatly and taped in place somewhere off the ground, such as on the side of the appliance. If mice or rats get in, a cord will be their first victim.
Investing in some wooden pallets to stack your boxes on top of will save you a lot of trouble. It’ll keep your boxes off the ground, where they could be scuffed and scratched and will fall apart more easily, as well as get them out of reach of any stray mice who might find a cardboard corner a delightful snack. It’ll keep air circulating evenly within the shed, storage unit, or basement you’re using, and prevent the build-up of mould and mildew. Using these to arrange your boxes neatly against the walls is a good idea too. Additionally, leave an avenue to access your boxes if your space allows it – having things easily accessible and thoroughly labelled will save you a lot of time in unpacking and repacking after searches.
With these tips and tricks for long-term storage, you’re ready to start saving household space. So stop throwing things out and regretting it later – put away your best junk in cardboard boxes with the confidence that it’ll still be intact in the years to come, when you finally retrieve it.