Tips for Storing Goods Long Term

If you’re putting goods away in storage for a period of months or years, you’ll need to take some measures to ensure they remain in good condition. While some of these steps may seem obvious, you want to know you’ve taken every precaution to ensure your prized possessions aren’t ruined when you come back to them. Especially with items like clothes, books and important documents that are prone to deterioration in less than ideal conditions. Simply boxing your goods and leaving them locked up in a secure storage facility may protect them against theft and weather, but elements such as dust, moisture, mould and infestation can slowly destroy your precious goods if steps aren’t taken to prevent them.  The following handy checklist for storing goods long term, outlines all the steps you should take to ensure your goods remain in good condition.

Pre-Storage Check List

1. Sell or Throw Away

If you have stuff you don’t truly need, its far better to get rid of it than put it in storage. Go through your goods and see if there’s anything you can sell, donate or throw away. You could have a garage sale, or put superfluous stuff on Gumtree. You might also consider donating some items to charities such as the Good Sammy, Salvos or St Vincent de Paul… especially old clothes.

2. Cardboadrd Boxes Should Be Sturdy and New

Cardboard boxes are fine for moving house, but for storing goods long term they have some limitations. Pre-used boxes can contain moisture, bugs and mould, or have wear and tear that can cause them to rip or collapse. So if you’re going with cardboard boxes make sure they are sturdy and new. Never store cardboard boxes at floor level as moisture can rise through the floor even in a well sealed storage unit. Best to put them on top of something to elevate them. Plastic tubs are more expensive but a far better option for to store valuable or vulnerable items.

3. Never Use Plastic Bags

Its best not to store goods such as clothes in plastic bags as moisture can collect inside the bags and cause the contents to rot. This is of particular concern in coastal areas.

4. Check, Clean and Dry Items Before Storing

Check all items for moisture, mould and dampness before storing them. Items such as clothing, furniture, books, paper, kitchen utensils and tools can can rot or rust. Dry and clean, or throw away anything that is damp, mouldy or rusty because they can contaminate and destroy other items stored with them. Tip: Put all your clothing and sheets in the dryer before storing goods long term to make sure they are 100% dry. Also avoid storing bottles of liquid as these could break and create moisture damage in your other goods.

5. Check for Insects

Inspect everything for insects before storage, including clothing and furniture. If something is, or suspected of being infested with bugs, spray insecticide or consider throwing it out.

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6. Food Quarantine

Food can attract rodents, insects and other pests. It can also rot and create nasty odours. Never put food (even canned or dried food) in long term storage. Also check all your goods for food debris or residue. Kitchenware, backpacks and clothing pockets are likely culprits here.

7. Protect Your Valuables

For valuables such as jewellery and coins, or irreplaceable items such as photos, you might consider alternative storage such as in a safety deposit box or with a friend or relative. If you do put them into a storage facility consider using a lockable and fireproof box to keep them extra safe.

8. Make Copies of Important Documents

Make a backup copy important records such as bank statements, tax records, marriage licenses, titles, wills and deeds. Digital back-ups are great for this as you can keep many boxes worth of of paper documents on a disk or thumb drive. If you don’t have a scanner, there are many commercial document scanning services available that will do this for you quickly and efficiently. You might even consider destroying the paper documents and storing a digital copy instead to save loads of space.

9. No Flammables!

Never store flammable substances such as petrol, kerosene, firelighters or gas bottles as these can endanger not only your goods but the entire storage facility. Before storing petrol powered tools such as a lawn mowers, be sure to drain the fuel tank first. Take all gas bottles and cylinders back to a recycling agent. You might even get some money back.

10. Fragile Items

Ensure all fragile items, such as glasses and china, are wrapped in bubblewrap, newspapers, old clothing when boxing them. You might even consider using foam peanuts.

11. Furniture and Appliances

Before storing goods long term, first vacuum all soft furniture and wipe down hard furniture to ensure it is dust free. Then cover the furniture with clean sheets or drop cloths before you store them. Similarly, appliances carefully before storage. White goods such as fridges, freezers and washing machines should be been drained and dried before you store them.

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