Heat and Storage Units


Summer has officially arrived and THE HEAT IS ON!!!

We have entered our two to three month annual journey of 80 + degree-days and 90+% humidity. When the heat descends, there is an issue that needs to be confronted before temperatures rise. That issue is the heat inside a storage unit. Most Storage Facilities are not climate controlled and what you have inside is baking!


You may have things stored in your unit that are very near and dear to your heart! Possessions like family heirlooms, antiques, books, paintings and other collectibles make up a large percentage of what we store these days. But, there are also computers, bicycles, photo albums, vinyl record albums, and wines. Before you rent a storage unit, you may need to consider whether or not a “climate controlled” unit will more appropriately fit your needs.

Having a storage unit with temperature and humidity control can prevent damage when items are stored for a lengthy period of time. Climate control has become more common in self-storage in recent years. Approximately three-fourths of newly built facilities now offer this feature.

Humidity: The 55 Percent Mark

Units that offer humidity control keep humidity levels around 55 percent. Humidity can be dangerous to a variety of items. High humidity can cause photos to stick together, or wood furniture to warp, or leather goods to crack. Electronics, artwork and items such as pianos also may sustain damage from too much moisture in the air. If you own an item that’s especially sensitive to humidity, look for a storage unit that actively dehumidifies the air. Units that simply cool the air with air conditioning may not bring moisture levels low enough to protect all items.  

Keep Air Circulating                                                                                                                         

 The best way to protect against humidity damage is to keep air from going stale. This is difficult, as your storage unit will remain closed and unattended most days out of the year.

  • Space your items out as much as possible.
  • Use shelves that have holes in the actual shelf so that air can circulate under, up and through items
  • If you’ve stored framed paintings or pictures, add spacers or felt pads behind the glass to prevent sticking and blankets or packing robes between each.
  • Do NOT use plastic as this may melt onto the painting itself.
  • Don’t use sealed plastic bags for books or clothing, as condensation within the bags will lead to mildew.
  • Also apply an extra layer of polish to metal items, to prevent rust


Whether we like it or not, we are at the mercy of the forces of nature.This can spell bad news for valuable items in a storage unit, especially in areas where temperatures and humidity levels vary widely.

Effects of Extreme Temperature on Storage

  • Cracking, tearing, breakage and warping of wood from expanding and contracting in extreme heat and cold.
  • Yellowing and degradation of fabrics and papers from extreme temperatures.
  • Mold and mildew stains on papers and fabrics caused by fungus breeding temperatures.
  • Rust, corrosion and weakening of metal which has been exposed to moisture, as well as very hot and very low temperatures.
  • Ruin of electronics by dampness or extreme cold.
  • Warping of items, as well as fading and degradation of sound and image quality.
  • Damage to furniture and fabrics by rodents or insects.

Garage Test                                                                                                                                 

Often, before I make a trip to the storage unit, I put items that are to be taken there in the garage to get it out of my way. In the summertime, our garages can get pretty heated up.  So,the way I see it, if an item can survive my garage in July, it can survive a storage unit all year!!

List of Items for Double Check

I found a list that I have printed out and saved for my storage unit inventory. I double check to make sure that I have taken care of my stored items properly.




  • Antiques
  • Artwork (paintings, drawings, posters, etc.)
  • Classic cars
  • Wine


  • Audio equipment
  • Cameras and other photography equipment
  • Computers
  • Stereos

Household and Personal Items.

  • Appliances
  • Books
  • Clothing
  • Family heirlooms and history records


  • Cassettes
  • CDs
  • Negatives
  • Photos and photo albums

Sensitive Materials

  • Glass
  • Leather
  • Metal
  • Plastics


And when you finally decide on what type of Storage Unit you will need, here are some helpful hints to setting up a Unit!

Self Storage Tips                                                                                                                               

Here is a Helpful list of tips to take with you as you pack up your storage unit.


Do you need climate control or regular storage:                                                                  

 Non Climate-Controlled outside storage units cost less and gives you drive up access to your unit to store items that are not sensitive to temperature changes, and will handle storage.

Climate controlled storage is designed to store sensitive items such as books/paper, clothing, decorative items, furniture, or anything else you want safely stored in a space without the risk of high temperatures.


Packing accessories: Boxes, paper, bubble wrap, tape, furniture covers, file boxes, etc.


Packing boxes: Partially full or bulging boxes may tip or collapse. Protect your fragile goods with strong and even packing and place them near the top of your storage space.


Label boxes: As you pack your possessions, make sure you keep a list of what is inside, and label boxes for easy reference when you need to locate these items once they have been placed in storage.


Packing your storage space: It is best if you leave air space around your items to aid ventilation. Place items on pallets on the concrete floors, and it's best not to lean items up against the walls. For some of the larger units, make sure you leave a walkway to the rear of your space for easy access. Use all the space available, including the height. Items that are frequently used should be placed near the door.


Appliances: Appliances should be cleaned thoroughly before they are stored. Refrigerators, freezer, and washing machines should be dry, and stored with their doors slightly ajar to make sure that mildew and strong odors no not occur. Depending on the appliance, some iems can be stored inside them to take advantage of every available space. Boxes can be stacked on top of dryers, washers, stoves, refrigerators, and freezers.


Tools, Bicycles and Other Metal Items in non climate-controlled units: To hinder rust, wipe all metal surfaces with a rag containing a few drops of machine oil.


Books and Documents: Books can be quite heavy, so use smaller boxes that will hold fewer books to make them easier to pick up and move. Do not pack fragile items in the same box with books and do not overload. Pack books flat to protect their spines. File boxes with important documents should be labeled accordingly.


Bedding, Clothing, Curtains, Drapes and Linens: Clothing should be stored on hangers if possible. Curtains, drapes, bedspreads, towels and other bulky items can be stored in vacuum style storage bags that allow you to remove the air so they need very little room to store. This will also keep moisture and insects away from these items. Hanging cartons for clothing are available, but if you prefer, items can be carefully folded and stored in dresser drawers or cedar chests along with bedding and linens.


Dishes and Glassware: All glass items should be individually wrapped: nest cups and bowls and stand plates, sauces, and platters on edge with an extra layer of packing inside the bottom and the top of the boxes. There are special packing boxes with honeycomb inserts for glasses and stemware. Label all boxes containing glassware and dishware, and then do not place heavy items on boxes when you store them.


Furniture: Stand sofas and mattresses on end, but first place a pallet, corrugated cardboard mat, or plastic sheet on the floor to protect any wood or cloth surfaces.. Disassemble beds and tables and place all the hardware for these items in a plastic bag and attach to one of the pieces. Be careful what type of tape you use, some packing tapes will leave a sticky residue on items. If a table won’t come apart, place padding on the floor and place the table on its top with the legs pointing up, wrap the legs with paper to protect them from other items in the space. Use dresser tops for stacking cartons and dresser drawers for small, delicate items. Keep upholstery off the floor. Most lightweight chairs can be stacked "seat to seat" or placed upside down on tables, which cannot be disassembled. To keep dust calmed, place a light cotton dust cover or bed sheet on your furniture.


Holiday Decorations: It is always best to save the original cartons for items if possible. It not only protects these items, but also makes identifying them easier. Fragile items and delicate ornaments should be wrapped in tissue paper and then packed in regular glass pack boxes that come with dividers. An easy way to store strings of lights is to wrap them around a flat piece of cardboard. You can them stand them up inside a carton lined with packing paper.


Lamps: Pack delicate lampshades separately and store them in the upper section of the storage unit. Do not use newsprint to wrap lampshades or any other goods that may be damaged by ink stains. Wrap large lamp bases in padding, wrap smaller lamps then place them in boxes.


Mirrors and Paintings: These items should be stored on edges, not flat. Framed mirrors can be packed in un-assembled cardboard boxes. Wrap the mirror or painting with paper to protect the frames, slide it into one of the open ends of the box, then tape both sides closed.

If you print out this entire Blog, I think you will have an EXCELLENT List to refer for SUCCESSFUL Storage!!!

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