One of the most frustrating things anyone can experience when returning to their self storage unit is opening it up to the musty scent of mold.
It smells bad, it gets into things like clothing and paper and you can’t fully get it out, and it can therefore ruin stuff you had planned to keep.
Fortunately, mold doesn’t have to be a huge problem in a storage unit, not even in an area that gets humid. Here are the three most important things you can do to prevent it.
1. Clean and Dry Your Stuff
Before you store anything, make sure it’s clean and dry. After all, mold needs moisture to grow. There will always be a little moisture in the air, and that’s good, but too much is what allows mold to thrive.
So, do your laundry, scrub the dirt off that bike, and wipe down that musical instrument. Then, let them all dry completely before putting them in storage.
2. Use Desiccants and Plastic Bins
Airtight plastic bins, especially if you get a bunch that stack well, are great for storage.
Often they’re clear, so you can easily see what’s inside, but more importantly, they keep the outside climate conditions out.
It’s also a good idea to throw a silicon gel desiccant packet or two inside each bin.
These may be small, but they go a long way toward removing excess moisture that may get inside. You’ve probably seen these inside various things you’ve gotten shipped to you, or electronics you’ve purchased at a local store.
Desiccant packets are cheap, and you can purchase them online from Amazon and other retailers.
3. Choose a Climate-Controlled Unit
We saved the best solution for last. We recommend following the guidelines above, but the very best way to prevent mold in self storage during the more humid months is to rent a unit with climate control.
If you live in an area that rarely gets very cold or hot, or dry and humid, you may not need this feature. Climate-controlled units typically rent for about 30% more than standard units. However, in areas with balmy summers and frigid winters, boy, is this feature worth it.
Units with climate control are generally indoors rather than drive-up.
Inside each climate-controlled unit, the temperature is kept between 50 and 80 degrees, though some facilities keep it in an even tighter range, between 55 and 75 degrees.
The humidity is maintained between 30% and 50%, a range that helps prevent mold and keeps items that need some humidity, like wooden furniture or instruments, from drying out and cracking.
With all, or a combination, of these steps in place you should be able to keep the mold away from your storage unit, whether you’re storing short or long-term.