Storage Tips and Ideas

Preparing Your Storage Unit for Cold Weather

Winter is right around the corner. Soon, it will be time to pack up your beach gear, your ATV, and your patio furniture and instead pull out your seasonal holiday decorations from your storage unit. This changing of the guard presents an excellent opportunity to prepare your storage unit for the colder weather ahead. As you might have guessed, different seasons require different storage preparation protocol. Summer is all about tackling heat and humidity. Winter? The freezing cold and water are your biggest enemies. In this guide, our storage experts here at Stor-It cover essential preparation steps to take when preparing your unit for cold weather. Keep your items in great condition with this guide, and enjoy the holidays to their fullest!

Winterization 101: Tips for Preparing your Non-Climate-Controlled Storage Unit

So, you’ve decided that it’s best for your back, wallet, and gas tank to get a traditional storage unit. Maybe you already have one that you’re using, or maybe you’re helping a friend prepare theirs. “Winter is coming,” as Game of Thrones fans will say, and you need to get your storage unit ready. Proper winterization will help your unit and the items inside it stay in great condition during the year’s most brutal season. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Invest in a Weatherproof Lock

First thing’s first: your storage unit is only as good as the lock that’s keeping its door shut when you are not there. Many storage units will offer (or sell) you a lock when you purchase your first month on the unit. All of these locks will likely be able to lock up your unit when it’s 75 degrees outside, but that’s not always the case when temperatures start to plummet. Not all locks are meant to withstand the cold. Some are susceptible to freezing and may become completely unusable. Trying to fit a key into a frozen lock is bad news all around — for your lock, your key, your unit, and the stuff inside. If you are in an area that sees cold winter weather, invest in a weatherproof lock. Only slightly more expensive than regular locks, these all-weather solutions will save you major headache and hassle in the colder months. Here at Stor-It, we are proud to offer weatherproof locks FREE with the new reservation of a storage unit at any of our facilities.

Know Which Items Inside of Your Storage Unit are Most Affected by Cold Weather (And How to Properly Store Them!)

Knowing how to winterize your storage unit means knowing which are items are the most susceptible to cold. It also means knowing how to prepare those items properly. Below, we cover both topics for some of the most commonly stored stuff.
  • Delicate Memorabilia Items. As you could probably guess, many of your most delicate (and valuable!) items in your storage unit are the most sensitive to cold weather. Things like trading cards, documents, old photographs, and vinyl records should all be wrapped in plastic and sealed tightly. This will help keep humidity out, which will stop the freezing that causes cracking, tearing, and general degradation.
  • Things Containing Liquid. If your recall from your middle school science days, liquids expand when they go from a liquid to a solid. So, whether you have a collection of snow globes, a few old lava lamps, or some palates of beverages that need storing, you are going to need to be conscientious about how you store your items with liquids in them. Cover these items up well. Give them a thick layer of insulation from blankets, old clothes, or other materials that make for good insulation. This step not only cushions and insulates these liquid-based items, but it also provides a barrier to keep your other items dry in the event of an accident.
  • Vehicles (With Liquid). Just like pipes that go unused in the wintertime, your vehicles that run on gasoline (or some other liquid) need to be flushed out before they are stored in your storage unit during the off-season. Whether you’re storing ATVs, boats, lawnmowers, dirt bikes, convertible cars, or other vehicles, make sure they are completely free of fluid before putting them into storage. Vehicles that are not flushed properly stand a far greater chance of having important interior parts cracking from the expanded liquid inside. Learn to flush your recreational vehicles yourself or take them into the shop to get it done professionally. When springtime rolls around, you’ll be happy that you did.
  • Electronics and Battery-Operated Items. Many people don’t know this, but battery cells have liquid inside of them that can also expand and crack the battery (and possibly even crack the entire apparatus that contains the battery). This means that you need to take extra care to properly store your things with batteries in them. If the batteries can easily be removed, remove them and store them in a well-insulated part of your unit or back at your indoor property for the winter. Even if some of your electronics don’t have batteries in them, it is very important to store them properly for the winter so they don’t get water trapped in them and lose years off their lives — or break entirely. If you can, store electronics in their original packaging. If you no longer have the original packaging, store them in a box of similar size and fill up all of the empty space with either packing peanuts or bubble wrap.
  • Wood Furniture. Make sure your wooden furniture is dry (without being dehydrated) and wrap it using plastic wrap or a blanket. This will prevent mold and mildew during the colder months.

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