Mildew city?
December 16, 2011 2:30 PM   Subscribe

The house I'm renting has very little storage space inside but has a huge deck. How much damage would I do to my stored items to keep them in plastic Rubbermaid containers on the deck? It doesn't snow here but it gets quite rainy.
posted by Pomo to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
My mom had to throw out lots of memorabilia due to it being stored inside a covered shed in Rubbermaid and similar containers. Mold and damp killed everything.

I would expect even worse conditions if they were stored without a shed.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 2:39 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

It'll be a nightmare for any kind of textiles -- clothing, upholstered furniture, etc.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:40 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't know what your budget is, but you might consider an actual outdoor storage box or even a small shed (if it will fit your deck or yard). Rubbermaid is not leakproof. It also collects water on the lid, which is a wonderful mosquito nursery. And all plastic will degrade when exposed to lots of rain and sun over time.

You could also rent a storage unit, or, install shelves inside the house that can be removed when you leave.
posted by emjaybee at 2:41 PM on December 16, 2011

Man, I think you already know that it would be mildew city in there. Rubbermaid stuff is not generally watertight.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:43 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I did that...very bad idea. Living in a small place has forced me to chose what is important and what I can live without. It has also made me develop creative storage solutions.
posted by cairnoflore at 2:56 PM on December 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

I would only do it if you also put the boxes in watertight garbage bags or special designed vacuum bags. And of course it depends what you are storing--not likely to hurt well secured dinner ware, storage containers. drinking glasses or other items impervious to humidity and/or suitable for a dishwasher.
posted by rmhsinc at 3:09 PM on December 16, 2011

Best answer: I stored some stuff outside in those giant Rubbermaid storage containers. They were protected from direct weather, but still exposed to extremes in temperature - they got very cold in winter, and very hot in summer. Because I used transparent Rubbermaid, the stuff on the outside layer got bleached by the sunlight. (It wasn't even in direct sunlight.)

And in the end, after a few years, it all became horribly musty and mildewed due to lack of air circulation.

So basically, you can do it, but it's a pretty short road to ruining all your stuff. You could do this for, I don't know, plates and glassware maybe. But the best solution is to take everything you were going to store on the porch, and sell it or donate it to a thrift store.

If you need it so rarely that you're willing to store it outside, it's a good bet that you don't really need it at all.

Peter Walsh's book "It's All Too Much" was a real inspiration for me.
posted by ErikaB at 3:35 PM on December 16, 2011

Seconding the do not keep it outside gang, unless it's stuff that's impervious to water. Even then, I'd cover it with a good quality tarp, and you probably need to think about theft, also.

What about brainstorming ideas for keeping things inside? Raise your bed up on blocks of wood and put a stool next to it. Shove Tupperware with papers and clothes underneath the bed. Pretend you're a princess in your elevated bed. Make a wall of boxes behind your bed, put a colorful piece of fabric on top of it and push your bed up against it. Might cut the square footage of the bedroom down, but you just sleep in there anyway, right? If you have books or plants you want to live with, get milk cartons and boards. Fill the milk cartons, lay the boards across them to make shelves. Kind of tacky, but hey, storage. Make a box from scrap lumber and fill it, use it as a coffee table. Remember under the couch and armchairs. I knew someone who kept winter blankets folded in a sheet under her couch cushions, because there wasn't enough space in the closets.

Get a bunch of those vacuum sealing bags and store clothing and fabric items in them, including out of season clothes you're not wearing. Double up your closet space by adding another shelf at the top and bottom, or add another hanger rod. Look at your kitchen cupboards and see if you can add a temporary extra shelf. What about putting a high shelf around one room or several. Not that you'd want to put Tupperware out where you could see it, but a high shelf in the kitchen could display nice dishes, or staples--flour, beans, etc--in bottles,and you could use the storage for something not so pretty. You might not like any (or all) of these suggestions, but it may give you an idea for storage in a non-storage area.

Last but not least, think about sorting through and weeding out a bit. Lots of stuff you might not be able to get rid of, but there might be a container-full you don't need...
posted by BlueHorse at 7:49 PM on December 16, 2011

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