Not to storage shame you, but there’s a good chance you could be storing some of your stuff incorrectly.
Renting a storage unit is the best way to keep your items safe whether you’re moving or just decluttering, but the truth is, you might as well not even bother using it if you’re not going to use it wrong.
At this point you’re probably thinking, yeah right, how hard can it be to put boxes into a 5x5 space and close the door? And you’re correct. For the most part, it’s not hard. In fact, it’s actually super easy, so long as you don’t make the following mistakes when storing these common items.
What You’re Doing Wrong: Whether it’s your wedding dress or your grungy old gym clothes, you’ve got to wash every single item of your clothing before putting it into a storage unit. Dirt and debris (even that dot of a mustard stain) can cause fabric to deteriorate and can attract pests.What to Do Instead: You’re not allergic to the laundry room. Wash your clothes before storing them.
2. ElectronicsWhat You’re Doing Wrong: Before heading to the storage facility, you put electronics into a box haphazardly, or worse, sit them on the floor of your storage unit without packing them up. What to Do Instead: Always store electronics in the exact position in which they would be in when in use. In most cases (your computer, your flat screen TV etc.) this means upright. Try to store them in their original packaging, or at least in a box that is close to the size of the original packaging.
What You’re Doing Wrong: Your wine-snob friend has been going on and on about how wine must be stored at 55 degrees for years, so that’s the temperature you store it at. So why is your wine going bad?What to Do Instead: The truth is, the ideal temperature for wine depends on the type of wine. Yes, 55 degrees is fine for white wine, rosé, sparkling wine and lighter reds, but if you’re storing something full-bodied, you need a setting of between 60-65 degrees.
4. BooksWhat You’re Doing Wrong: You try to fit as many books as you can into that big plastic bin, but then you can’t carry it. What to Do Instead: For one thing, nix the plastic in favor of book-friendly acid-free cardboard boxes. And choose small ones that you can snugly fit your books inside. Yes, this means more trips when moving, but it also means you won’t break your back.
5. PlatesWhat You’re Doing Wrong: Who hasn’t broken a plate during a move? This happens because you’re packing your plates on top of each other. This puts the plate on the bottom at risk for cracking under all that weight. What to Do Instead: Wrap the plates in newspaper or bubble wrap and store them in boxes sideways. Fill any gaps with newspaper so that they can’t shift around. And don’t forget to pop a label on that box before sticking it in your storage unit.
6. PhotosWhat You’re Doing Wrong: We’ve all got photos on our computers, but occasionally it’s nice to go old school and have the IRL version. If you store your photos in a stack, any moisture in your storage unit will cause them to stick together. What to Do Instead: Store photos in a photo album with mylar, photo-safe sleeves. And get a storage unit with climate control too, just in case.
7. Sleeping BagWhat You’re Doing Wrong: Whether you’re a serious backpacker or just someone who never got too old for slumber parties, you’ve probably got a sleeping bag rolled up and tucked into the nylon sack it came with. Too bad the manufacturer didn’t tell you that that nylon sack is for travel, not storage. What to Do Instead: Your sleeping bag needs to be stored loosely in order to maintain its rated temperature. Put it in a large laundry bag (or in a pinch, a trash bag) before putting it in your storage unit.
8. MakeupWhat You’re Doing Wrong: You hang onto makeup forever and now for some reason your skin is breaking out, your eyes are itchy and you’ve got some weird sore on your lip. What to Do Instead: The storage problem here is that you’ve decided to store your makeup in the first place. Most makeup won’t last forever and ever in a storage unit, or in your own home for that matter. Liquid makeup products have an especially short shelf life. And while powders have a longer one, you’re still going to want to toss them rather than store them if they’ve expired.
Looking for more tips on the shocking storage mistakes you might be making? We’ve got you covered. Check out our guides on how to store everything from ski gear to gardening tools. We’ll lead you in the right direction.