Cleaning and preparing things for storage?
June 26, 2015 9:34 AM   Subscribe

My belongings are going to be boxed and stored in a family member's extra bedroom for several months. I know how to wrap everything so that it won't chip or shatter, but should I be doing more?

My bike and most of my books, pots, utensils, spices, kitchen appliances, blankets, acrylic paints, and prints will soon be packed away. Should any of them be wrapped or cleaned in a special way before they're stored?

Have any of you ever taken a favorite cutting board, quilt, platter, notepad, etc., out of storage only to find it unexpectedly stained, rusted, smelly, dried out, or otherwise damaged? If so, what went wrong?

Thanks in advance for any help and for any packing advice.
posted by newtonstreet to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Things that have been in the kitchen should be given a thorough cleaning before they get stored. Sometimes there's a layer of kitchen grease that settle on the kitchen goods that seems to reveal itself over time when placed in storage and make things grody-feeling.

Throw out or donate food stuffs (depending on how long you'll be gone). All liquids and things that could potentially stain other things go in their own box.

Plastic stretch wrap was my favorite packing tool - extremely useful. Wrapped all of my liquid containing bottles in this stuff for extra protection, as well as parts of things that needed to stay together.
posted by Karaage at 9:47 AM on June 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Despite not storing anything remotely edible in them I had several boxes of mementos stored in cardboard boxes trashed by nest making mice. What they didn't shred they peed and pooped on, this was in someones house and he was surprised as I was to see the damage as he would have sworn he didn't have mice. If you can afford it I'd suggest you pack things in rubbermaid containers that you can shut securely. If nothing else put anything valuable or that isn't easily washed in them. I'd also seal your spices in glass jars in case they attract vermin.

Make sure not to put the heavy things on top, my SIL warped a dining room table in a storage unit by stacking boxes of books on top of it.
posted by wwax at 9:58 AM on June 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

I move a lot and often put my things in storage for several months at a time.

I pack everything (and I mean everything) in Rubbermaid containers of various sizes (18 gallon ones for most things, larger ones for bedding and soft items) with tight, locking lids. It's a bit of an outlay of expense, but this has kept my items free from mice and safe from several inches of flooding. There was a massive forest fire that stopped just a mile upwind from my storage unit and my items stayed fresh and smoke free.
posted by mochapickle at 10:05 AM on June 26, 2015 [6 favorites]

For fabric stuff, buy a package of large ziplocks. Often they sell them in the camping/outdoors sections of Target/etc.

Fold your blanket, stick it in the ziplock, then sit on the ziplock to get all the air out. Zip it up while you're sitting on it. Saves a ton of room while packing and protects them from having that musty storage box smell or getting damp and mildewy. And it's way cheaper than buying a vacuum storage system.

This is also a great tip when you're going camping or on longer trips where packing space is at a premium. One outfit per ziplock, sit & smash, write what's in there on the bag, and then you can pack your clothes like file folders!
posted by phunniemee at 10:12 AM on June 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

@phunniemee, I looked at and the only Ziploc stuff I see that could fit clothing and blankets are all part of the vacuum storage stuff. Could you share a link to the specific product you're recommending? Thanks.
posted by vivzan at 11:45 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's those 20 gal bags just a few down the page.
posted by phunniemee at 11:54 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Fabulous. Thank you. For those looking, it's these.
posted by vivzan at 11:58 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

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