When you put your stuff in storage, the last thing you want to think about is pests. When we say “pests,” we’re talking about the hordes of bugs and rodents that can sneak in for warmth, food, or water.
Pests include termites, cockroaches, bed bugs, rats, and mice, which come in through gaps from natural areas or from other tenants that might bring them in.
Here’s how to protect your space and your belongings.
Clean and Dry Everything
Clean everything before you pack it in boxes for storage. If you’re looking for how to clean a particular type of item, such as a bicycle, clothing, or an appliance, we have many articles that can help.
Bed bugs deserve a note here. If you suspect you have them in your bedding or clothes, you’ll need to take tougher measures than simply sending these things through the wash. Some techniques include heat or cold treatments and steaming. The U.S. EPA has thorough information online, and we encourage you to visit the linked page and read it thoroughly.
Use New, Clean Moving Boxes
To save money, it can be tempting to collect used boxes from local stores. Please don’t do this, at least not with boxes that might have had food in them. These can have leftover crumbs and other food particles inside. Yes, you guessed it, those particles will attract pests.
Instead, opt for new moving boxes. If you plan to use plastic bins and you have some lying around, you can clean those with warm water and a mild detergent. Dry them thoroughly to ensure they’re ready to store.
If you live in an area where the weather ever gets hot and humid, opt for a space with climate control. In fact, climate control protects against weather-related damage to your belongings. It can prevent wood and paper from drying out in winter, keep electronics and musical instruments from warping, and a lot more. Properties keep climate-controlled spaces between 50 and 80 degrees and between 30% and 50% humidity, ideal conditions for most of your belongings. This will help keep your stuff dry and discourage pests. Climate-controlled spaces rent for 25% or so more than standard spaces, but in general the expense is worth it.
Ask the Property What Measures They Take
Self storage properties are well aware of the threat of pests, especially if they’re located in an area surrounded by trees, grass, and other natural settings. Most work with exterminators to prevent infestations in the first place, and to end them quickly when they do happen.
We encourage you to ask each property that you’re considering what measures they take, and consider them when you select where you want to store your belongings.
When it comes to protecting your belongings from pests, the basics are pretty straightforward: clean, store in clean boxes, and rent a space with climate control. If you’re looking for a self storage property, check our listings, which span the U.S.