When temperatures plummet, nothing feels better than staying inside, lighting a fire and enjoying the comfort of the great indoors. You can make your winter hibernation experience much cozier this year by reducing clutter and gaining some valuable extra space. There’s no better way to do that than by renting a storage unit. Once you’ve found the perfect sized unit, it’s important to consider the role that winter weather is going to play in your storage experience. Read up on the following tips for renting a storage unit this winter before you stash your stuff in order to ensure that your belongings are safe and sound no matter how cold it gets.
Climate control is often associated with summer storage, but it’s just as important when winter hits. While all types of storage provide a basic level of protection for your stuff, some items can be adversely affected by drastic temperatures and changes in humidity. A climate controlled storage unit works hard to make sure that the temperature and moisture level inside your storage unit stays at a safe, moderate level. If you’re storing items like antiques, artwork, photos, furniture, delicate clothing, electronics or really just anything that you’d hate to see compromised, you should definitely get a climate controlled storage unit this winter. Yes, it costs extra, but knowing that the contents of your storage unit are safe is worth the investment.
Indoor versus Outdoor Storage
Choosing an indoor versus an outdoor storage unit is totally personal preference. Some people appreciate the convenience of an outdoor storage unit, because it allows them to simply drive up to the door, eliminating the need to haul items any farther than necessary. Other people prefer indoor storage units because they provide more protection from wind and weather. Indoor storage is typically preferable in the winter if you’re making frequent trips to your unit, as it eliminates the need to stand outside in the cold while loading and unloading. Whichever you choose, make sure your storage facility is proactive when it comes to snow removal if you’re living in a region where the flakes fly.
Take Inventory of Your Items
Before you stow away your stuff, go through it and make sure you know exactly what you’re storing. The goal here is to identify any temperature sensitive items, like small electronics, and remove them if possible. This is especially important if you’ve decided against getting a climate controlled storage unit. Remember, even if you’re living somewhere with mild winters like sunny California, the occasional cold front can still catch you by surprise. In addition to taking stock of temperature sensitive items, make an inventory of everything you’re storing. If you have to visit your storage unit in the dead of winter, you’ll appreciate how much time this will save you when you’re sorting through boxes in the cold.
Make Sure Your Stuff is Clean and Dry
That tiny dot of a wine stain on your favorite summer dress doesn’t look like a big deal, but trust us, after a few months in storage, it will be. Dirty, stained clothing and damp items (like that tent you totally meant to air out after your last camping trip) can cause deterioration and attract pests. Wet items are especially at risk when being stored for the winter as they can freeze and lose their shape. No matter what you’re storing, take the time to clean it and make sure that it’s totally dry before you put it in your storage unit. Not sure how to properly clean a particular item? We’ve got articles on how to prepare just about everything—from camping gear to comic books—for storage.
Elevate Your Items
This step is crucial if you’re storing your stuff in an outside unit, but it’s worth considering no matter what type of storage you’ve chosen this winter. If you have items that would be absolutely ruined if they came into contact with moisture (think photos, books, vintage furniture), don’t place them directly on the floor of your storage unit. Use shelving, a wood pallet or some other means to get those items at least a few inches off of the ground. On that note, never store your stuff in containers that hold moisture. Instead of using plastic bins and bags, opt for breathable materials. Many storage facilities sell packing supplies and can help you find the ones that suit your needs.
Be Aware of Holiday Hours
It’s always a great idea to know your storage facility’s hours before you go. 24 hour access is an option at some facilities, but unless you’re someone with an atypical schedule who visits their storage unit frequently, this is rarely a necessary feature. When storing over the winter—especially if you’re storing Christmas presents—take note of any changes in your facility’s hours of operations. Many storage facilities have management who live on-site who are also trying to enjoy the holiday season. Don’t bug them after-hours just because you need access on Christmas Eve.
Online Bill Pay
In this modern world, streaming movies has replaced renting them, ordering delivery from an app has replaced takeout and the ability to buy any product online has pretty much replaced the need to leave your house to go shopping. It’s no surprise that paying for your storage unit is also something you can do online. Trust us, in the depths of winter, when it’s snowing outside and you’re hours deep into binge-watching a TV show on your computer, you’re not going to want to go to the post office to mail a check or brave those treacherous roads to manage your storage unit lease in person. Choose a facility that offers online bill pay and skip the icy roads, the winter weather and the need to put on pants. After all, self storage is meant to make your life easier. Opt for online bill pay and follow the other tips in this article and this winter, it’ll do just that.