Weather disasters create many hardships for individuals and businesses. If you’ve encountered such problems , it can bring peace of mind realizing that you can store belongings temporarily during the cleanup or rebuilding process. By following some simple guidelines, you’ll optimize your ability to use self-storage space effectively.

Clean And Dry Items Thoroughly Before Storing Them

One good rule of thumb relates to storing belongings in a clean, dry condition. By taking a little time to thoroughly sanitize household or business items before packing them for storage, you’ll reduce problems associated with mold, mildew and insect infestations. Wet conditions promote the growth of these invasive organisms. By carefully cleaning and drying your possessions in the aftermath of a disaster, you’ll help preserve them for future enjoyment. The cleaning process should depend upon the nature of the item going into storage:

  • Paper: For instance, drying out books, important documents, and other paper goods with the assistance of a fan may help preserve these items for future use if extensive damage has not already occurred. You’ll probably decide to discard many paper items if these belongings sustained extensive water damage.
  • Glass: Consider using dish washing detergent and clean water to carefully wash glass (and some hard plastic products) before drying these surfaces with a clean towel or microfiber cloth.
  • Cloth: Wash and dry clothing using cleaning products prior to storage, especially if you harbor concern the fabric may have come into contact with rain or dirty water. (Some cloth items will require professional dry cleaning prior to entering storage.)
  • Metal: Clean metal items on a case-by-case basis, depending upon the composition of the metal. Some jewelers provide professional cleaning services for precious metal pieces. After washing metal surfaces, you may decide to autoclave metal products such as cutlery to completely sanitize these items. (An autoclave helps remove microbes from surgical instruments and it can effectively decontaminate metal surfaces.)
  • Electronics: Electronic goods and some computerized household appliances pose a particular challenge. Water often damages sensitive devices such as game consoles, computers, and digital screens. It makes sense to check to ensure these products still work before paying money to store them. It’s better to be safe than sorry with these items. A typical rule of thumb is if the cord was in the flood water, it probably isn’t safe to use again. 
  • Wood: Wooden materials may also prove difficult to store following flood conditions. Water can cause wooden surfaces to warp and rot. You may need to assess wooden furnishings on a case-by-case basis to determine whether extensive damage has already occurred. In some cases, professional furniture restorers can salvage treasured wooden belongings. Before sending these materials to storage, you may wish to obtain an evaluation of an item’s condition from a professional furniture restorer.

Consider Investing in New Storage Boxes And Packaging Materials

If you’ve endured a flood in your local area, it may seem tempting to use the most readily available packaging materials, such as discarded boxes provided for free by local merchants. However, following a disaster in your vicinity, purchasing brand new packing materials might be the best option. You don’t know whether used boxes inadvertently sustained water damage previously. If mildew gained a foothold in these materials, it could eventually destroy the box and expose your belongings to damage.

Investing in new packaging when you store items helps reduce the chance of any mildew. You’ll also typically fit more belongings into storage units by utilizing boxes or cartons to contain loose materials. Additionally, you can choose from different sized boxes created specifically for what they will contain. Files, dishes, wardrobe, electronics, wine, flat screen televisions, and more. Use the proper tape to ensure the boxes remain completely enclosed. Plastic containers are also available.

Prepare a Storage Inventory

If you must store items you use frequently, one helpful option includes compiling an inventory list of your stored materials. You can assign a number to each box and mark it clearly on the exterior. Describe the contents of each box in a list you retain for future reference. Keeping this type of detailed record will help you retrieve stored possessions faster when you visit your self-storage unit. You can also easily put your notes in your smartphone and easily look them up anytime you visit your valuable belongings.

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