We all have our skeletons in the closet, right? Embarrassing childhood photos, teddy bears that have long outgrown their use, or maybe even a haunted heirloom. Whatever it is, there’s a reason self-storage exists! Sometimes our closets just aren’t big enough.
But before you try out for Storage Wars, you might want to check this out first: the top ten things people actually keep in storage.
Yes, boring, big, old, and clunky furniture. Maybe you’re moving to a smaller place, moving out of an office, or just can’t part with your old college pull-out sofa bed. Furniture is one of the biggest space hogs of storage.
If you’re in this boat, then there are a few things you’ll want to do ahead of time. First, protect your furniture. Wax that wood, keep metal polished to prevent oxidation, and grab a few furniture pads to prevent bumps and scratches from ruining your beloved. If your sofa or armchair is upholstered with fabric, make sure you clean it well before hand so that mildew and mold don’t take hold.
Despite the fact that there’ll probably be something WAY more technologically advanced in the next year, it can be hard to part with a perfectly good pair of speakers, a computer, or a video game console that might become an antique one day. Because most people buy electronics well before their original ones wear out, electronics usually end up in storage.
Make sure you place your electronics in their original boxes! If you can’t find the original packaging, then grab some styrofoam. Label everything, especially wires. Those things are a bitch to differentiate even a couple of years down the line.
Maybe you thought you’d become the next Martha Stewart and bought a juicer, blender, food processor, and mixer. But it turns out cooking isn’t your thing. Appliances make up for a huge percentage of storage and like electronics are often replaced before their useful life is up.
If you’re storing big appliances like fridges or dryers, make sure they’re clean before going into storage. Pests and rodents can sniff out even the tiniest particle of food!
4. Paper Files & Documents
Most of us come from a paper-heavy generation, which is why paper documents and files have made it onto this list. And if you run a business, it may be your legal duty to hold onto all of your documents, filings, receipts, and invoices.
Before archiving your documents into storage, make sure everythign is properly labeled and organized. You might wake up one day and realize you need that one invoice from a project over 5 years ago. And as with most other things, climate control! Paper is prone to mold and mildew.
5. Valuable Art, Antiques, And Collector’s Items
This is how storage bidders make their living: on the off chance that an abandoned storage unit is filled with a missing Van Gogh or Jackson Pollock.
In cases like these, humidity and temperature control are incredibly important! Make sure you talk to the manager or owner of the storage space beforehand. Wrap all art in breathable storage tissue and use the appropriate padding for sculptures or antiques. When in doubt, ask a professional art archivist for help.
6. Vehicle Or Car Storage
For some people cars are like an extension of themselves and selling your first car or vehicle is akin to getting rid of a part of your soul. For others, they’ve decided to move or go on a long vacation and have no need for their car for a few months or a year.
Vehicles make up a huge fraction of storage and if you’re storing it for a long period of time, make sure you clean your car thoroughly! Doing so will avoid rust, mildew, corrosion, and pests. Leaving gas in the tank will also help prevent internal rust. But as always, if in doubt, talk to your mechanic. They’ll be able to help you out.
7. Seasonal Decorations
Halloween, Christmas, Hannukah, and Easter. While seasonal decorations are adorable at best, they’re downright annoying when off-season. Most storage units will contain a box or two of seasonal items, and if you’re like me, probably a huge box of tangled Christmas lights.
Before you drop your favorite Christmas ornaments or Halloween decorations into storage, keep everything well organized, padded, and in the right boxes! This’ll save you a lot of headache come next (fill in your culturally relevant holiday here).
8. Photographs & Prints
If only sentimental value translated into monetary value. Photographs and prints are an absolute staple of storage units. From baby photos to old family albums to large format prints, photographs are the epitome of nostalgia and connection to the past.
Remember, light is the nemesis of photos. Ensure that all your photos and prints are kept in boxes and cases that prevent any light from coming in. This goes for books and newspapers as well.
Even though you may never want to pick up that Biology 101 textbook again, you’ll still have a hard time parting from it forever. For most graduates, professors, and anyone with a love of reading, books make up a huge bulk of what ends up in storage.
So if you’re planning on putting away your first edition Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, make sure you look for a dry and clean place free of water and high humidity.
10. Digital Media
Out with the old, in with the new. Storage is sort of the happy hunting ground for DVDs, records, CDs, laser discs, and VHS tapes. Make sure you keep these guys in their original containers and for long term storage, make sure you find an air-tight container for them to prevent moisture damage.