Long Term vs. Short Term Storage
If you are putting items into storage, it pays to take special care with certain items to ensure they are not ruined with the passage of time. Depending on the length of time you intend to store your belongings, you should know the differences between types of storage facilities and what you can do to protect your goods.
Types of Storage Facilities
Keep in mind that the length of time you intend to store you goods will impact your choice of facility. The longer you have your items in storage the more likely they are to suffer. Storage warehouses are available in all shapes and sizes and often have different methods of access. Some facilities that can be found in suburban or rural areas are built on one level and allow for drive up access. Drive up access is certainly a plus if you will be regularly removing or adding items. Facilities found in more densely urban areas are often in multi story buildings with freight elevators to facilitate moving your items. Climate controlled spaces offer greater protection if you will be storing your items for a longer period of time, but usually come at an additional cost. You may be able to save money by splitting up your belongings and only keeping the most sensitive items in a climate controlled space. Humidity and temperature controlled storage rooms provide protection for heat or cold sensitive goods such as electronics, videotapes, photographs, paper, wood furniture, and musical instruments.
Clothing and linens are particularly vulnerable to the stresses of long term storage. Make sure fabrics, and the containers you are putting them in, are clean before you pack them. Soiled fabrics can attract bugs. Take special care if the clothing will be regularly exposed to light which can worsen insect infestations by providing an ideal environment. Non-climate controlled storage spaces can quicken the advance of mildew if the humidity levels are higher than normal. If plastic bags are used to store clothing, ensure there is no moisture in the bag before sealing. Loosely packed clothing that allows for air circulation tends to fair better than tightly packed fabrics. If humidity is expected to be a problem, use silica gel or calcium chloride packets to absorb moisture, making sure they are not in immediate contact with the fabrics.
If you will not be able to regularly check on the security of your items, make sure the facility you choose meets certain basic requirements. Check out the existing security of the area, such as the fence, lighting, and onsite security personnel. Lighting should be adequate both inside and outside. Burglars are not the only uninvited guests you have to worry about. Pests can be a perennial problem for any building. Ask management how they deal with pests, such as using bait boxes on the outside of the buildings. Overgrown vegetation will also attract vermin, so make sure the facility you choose is well maintained. The facility should also be equipped with smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and ceiling sprinklers - if you can't readily spot them, ask.