When you begin to pack up your belongings for long-term, offsite storage, there are several things to keep in mind as you select the types of containers you will use to hold your items, from the types of belongings you’ll be storing to the climate in your region.
Here’s a look at some of the storage containers available to you and tips for using them effectively.
Heavy-duty cardboard is a cost-effective, sturdy storage solution. Cardboard boxes offer flexibility that rigid crates lack. They can be cut to size or customized to fit a very specific shape.
And you can pick up all the different sizes you need from Montgomery Storage Solutions. Visit any of our locations to see our wide selection.
Keep cardboard boxes away from dampness. Avoid placing them directly on a concrete floor, as moisture can accumulate underneath — even if the floor isn’t actually wet when you set the boxes down.
Likewise, don’t push the boxes up against concrete or cement walls, for the same reason. Allow air to circulate all around your boxes by raising them slightly. Use pallets if you have access to them, otherwise simply lay down a few strips of wood. You can also stack your cardboard boxes on top of plastic crates.
You can find a variety of space saver bags on the market. These are designed for compression-packing bulky textiles and protecting them from humidity while in storage. Compression sealing takes the air out of the bag, which eliminates moisture and decreases the size of the items.
There are a couple options for removing the air: Some styles use a vacuum to suck out the air, while others are just rolled up to push out the air. These are a great space-saver: Your puffy comforter can be reduced to the size of a pillow.
Just remember that your bags must be sealed and air-tight — don’t try to preserve your items in a plastic shopping tote.
Something else to keep in mind: Cloth needs air to maintain its structure and integrity. Sucking all of the air out of the bag compresses the fibers. It can take some time to decompress, and delicate fabrics could get damaged.
Plastic containers are weather-resistant and non-absorbent. But they also hold in any trapped moisture. If you use them for long-term storage, be sure to prevent mildew build-up. You can buy pre-packaged chemical moisture eliminators at hardware stores, or consider a couple of free alternatives.
Regular table salt, charcoal briquettes, and rice act as cheap, natural moisture absorbers. Fill a mesh bag or a sealed coffee filter with one of these items (or a mix) and place it in the bottom of your plastic bin. This will draw in moisture and wick it away from your stored items.
Or, next time you buy new shoes, check the box for those small packets of silica gel — they’re labeled clearly “Do not eat.” Don’t worry, they’re not actually harmful chemicals; the caution is advised because they pose a choking hazard. But they do a great job absorbing moisture.
Keep in mind that you are less likely to have problems with moisture if you store your possessions in a constant temperature over 55 degrees. Unless you live in a very dry climate, soft items you plan to store over time — like material, clothing, and furniture — should be kept in climate-controlled storage.
See our recent FAQ on climate controlled storage post for a discussion on choosing your storage unit.
Remember, whether you choose cardboard boxes, vacuum-sealed bags, or plastic tubs, it’s a great idea to plan regular trips to your storage unit. Don’t just drop off your items and forget them. Regular visits, at least every six to 12 months, helps you monitor the state of your items and helps you remember just what exactly you’re storing.