The Organized Life

Looking After Your Stuff When You Store

If new purchases or seasonal items are taking up valuable space, and you’re ready to move less-used things outside your home, it’s a good idea to keep in mind the need to protect everything from the elements of your chosen storage environment. Depending on where you choose to store your things, water, humidity, extreme temperatures and small animals can all cause damage to your belongings—unless you take care and follow some storage tips!

For help, we consulted with pro organizer Jessica Decker of Become Organized, who has helped a number of clients prepare their items for storage. She put together a list of ways in which you can protect everything from clothing to furniture.

One common mistake she often sees people make is stacking items too high without thought to weight or how to best engineer their organization for longevity.

“I had one client who had her storage space filled with cardboard boxes of various sizes, all ripped and crumpled. It was a tower of possessions just waiting to fall down on our heads! Not only was it a safety issue but it also caused her to ineffectively use her storage space.”

Jessica suggests the following methods to keep items in like-new condition: 
(You can also get tips and info on mattress and furniture covers on our website.)

Storing Clothes — When storing clothing, use a hanging rack (to prevent wrinkles and help clothing keep its shape), cotton hanging garment bags (so fabric can breathe), and cedar or lavender potpourri (to keep moths away or at least to make your clothes smell good). 

Storing to Protect Against Dampness, Dust and Dirt — Store your things in proper storage boxes or containers designed for the job and elevate them on cinder blocks or pallets. This will keep the dust and dirt out, while also keeping items dry by letting air circulate around all sides of your goods. And should water intrusion occur in your storage area, this will help ensure your goods are out of harm’s way.

cardboard moving boxes on a pallet

Storing to Protect from Humidity — Run a dehumidifier or store your items in a climate-controlled space. Use chalk or silica packets near your items to absorb moisture. Make sure to wash and completely dry all linens and clothing before storing.

Storing Where it Gets Warm — When possible, disassemble wooden furniture to prevent warping and polish metal surfaces to prevent oxidation.

When you store, taking a few small steps to safeguard your belongings can help keep possessions and sentimental items around to enjoy for years to come.

What methods have you used to protect your items? Share them in the comments below.