Storage Tips

Packing a Storage Unit
  • Pack in such a way that you leave yourself access to items you might need from time to time. Accessing boxes can be made even easier by labelling them.
  • Use pallets/skids if possible to keep contents off the floor.
  • Store items you may need to access at front of unit.
  • Worn boxes can collapse and lead to damage. Use similar size boxes so they pack easy and make better use of space. Try to fill boxes to maintain sturdiness and stack lighter boxes on top. Pack heavy things in small boxes and lighter things in larger boxes
  • Rubbermaid bins make excellent moisture-resistant storage containers. They will also resist buckling better than standard boxes.
  • Anything important should be wrapped or boxed in storage to protect from dust and dirt.
  • Never pack material or upholstered items in sealed bags or bins, especially during spring and summer. Humidity present during these seasons can cause condensation leading to must and mildew. If you do wrap beds and sofas, they should be stored on end if possible with the top end left unsealed. Upholstered items and beds should be kept off the ground.
  • Old bed sheets, towels and comforters make excellent padding to protect furniture.
  • To save space and possibly money, disassemble any large furniture such as beds, tables. It is a good idea to keep all screws, bolts, and the like, in one accessible container or bag.
  • Cover all furniture and disassemble, if possible.
  • Wrap table legs with packing paper as scratch protection.
  • Lay down blankets or a pallet between the furniture and the floor of the storage unit.
  • Place assembled tables top down on floor with legs pointing towards the ceiling.
  • Stack chairs seat-to-seat with cloth or paper separating them.
  • Avoid stacking or leaning furniture against outside walls.
Books and Valuable Papers
  • Use file boxes. They are the best containers for your important documents.
  • Pack books flat and fill any empty space to minimize movement.
  • Avoid overfilling cartons. Books are heavy. Carton sizes from 1.5 cu ft to 2.0 cu ft are ideal.
  • Keep pallets free of moisture by placing plastic sheeting on top of them.
  • Avoid excessive wrinkling to your clothes by employing wardrobe boxes.
  • In outdoor units, refrain from placing boxes of clothes directly on the floor. They can make attractive homes for rodents. It can be wise to place mouse traps when clothing or upholstered furniture are being stored in shed-style storage.
  • Wrap plates, saucers, and bowls individually before placing it in a china carton.
  • Use a china carton divider kit for increased security.
  • Fill paper into bottom, top and empty spaces in the carton.
Large Appliances and Equipment
  • When storing appliances, be sure they are defrosted and empty of water as moisture and humidity will damage your valuables. Refrigerator and freezer doors should be propped slightly open to prevent odour build-up. An opened box of baking soda can be placed inside for added odour prevention.
  • Valuable storage space inside appliance's can be used for small items.
Things You Should Never Place in Storage:
  • Explosive or flammable items like fuel, paint or aerosols.
  • Food or Drink. These can attract vermin into even the cleanest facility.
  • Anything living. Plants and animals will not survive in storage.
RV Storage
  • Review owner's manual for engine, LP gas, generator, water heater and sanitation system storage tips.
  • Remove all perishable food from cabinets.
  • Turn off refrigerator; verify all power sources are off by checking 12 volt, 110 volt and LP gas.
  • Remove all food from the refrigerator, clean the inside and leave the door open to ventilate.
  • Clean rooftop air conditioner filters and cover the outside unit.
  • Clean the interior of the RV, pull shades and close blinds.
  • Turn off the propane cylinders and cover the regulator
  • Cover or tape vents to the furnace and range hood for long-term storage.
  • Ensure all roof vents and windows are closed. Prevent condensation if necessary by using chemical-type dehumidifiers.
  • Check tire pressure and cover the tires if they will be exposed to the sun.
  • Inspect roof, body, interior, soft moulding and caulking.
  • Service locks with spray lubricant to prevent rust and freezing.
  • Remove batteries, store in an area not subject to freezing and test periodically; charge if necessary.
  • In motorhomes, check all operating fluid levels under the hood and top off the gasoline tank. Add a fuel stabilizer.
  • Empty and thoroughly rinse all holding tanks. In winter, all water tanks, lines and pumps should be drained and filled with non-toxic RV antifreeze to keep any remaining water from freezing the system. (Never use automobile antifreeze of any kind in your water system!)
  • And finally, note dates of registration, tags, certificates and insurance, etc. and plan for renewal if they expire during your storage term.
Boat Storage
  • Prepare your engine in accordance with the owner's manual. In winter, this will normally include draining and flushing the cooling system; draining and refilling the crankcase; applying oil to inside of each cylinder through the spark plug holes; and other preservative actions
  • Thoroughly clean the hull, decks, cockpit, bilge, all compartments, lockers and the exterior of engine and coat with an appropriate wax or preservative.
  • Drain fuel lines, pumps, carburetor and tanks or fill completely and add fuel stabilizer.
  • Leave all floorboards up, doors ajar, ports and skylights open, hatches partly open, drawers and lockers open.
  • Carefully fit a well-made cover, provided with ventilation ports. If boat is to be stored outdoors, make sure there are no low spots in the cover that will hold rainwater.
  • Place a cover over engine. Do not leave the engine exposed to the sun or rain.
  • Don't forget the trailer; check tire pressure and cover tires if they will be exposed to the sun, check and pack wheel hubs if necessary and lubricate jack.
  • And finally, note dates of registration, tags, certificates and insurance, etc. and plan for renewal if they expire during your storage term.
Car Storage
  • Ensure that the trunk is clean and dry. Often the rubber seal on older vehicles can become hard or dry rotted, allowing moisture to accumulate.
  • To prevent rust in the engine area, use a lubricant spray such as WD40 to coat all exposed metal surfaces.
  • If you have a convertible top, leave it up with the windows and vents closed. A convertible top can develop creases when folded for long periods of time.
  • You should give the car a thorough cleaning inside and out, and make sure it is completely dry before storing.
  • If being stored for longer than 6 months, to help ensure the long life of mechanical parts as well as the tires, periodically visit the stored vehicle and take it for a drive.
  • Use the proper coolant/antifreeze in the engine cooling system. Using water is not recommended and can cause rust or build-up.
  • Be sure to top off all fluids and fill the gas tank. This will prevent condensation from forming in the air above the fluid surface, and will reduce the chance of old gas turning to varnish. There are also gasoline additives you can purchase to help with this problem.
  • The engine oil should be changed before storing for long periods. Old oil may have accumulated moisture, acids, shavings etc., which may deteriorate the engine parts. You may want to apply an upper-engine lubricant to keep the pistons and rings from seizing.
  • Over-inflating the tires will prevent flat spots from forming.
  • Finally, you should disconnect the battery once the vehicle is stored. This will prevent corrosion of the electrical terminals and cables.
  • And finally, note dates of registration, tags, certificates and insurance, etc. and plan for renewal if they expire during your storage term.