How to Keep Rodents and Bugs from Your Storage Unit

March 06, 2020 by: Lisa Roberts

The longer you need to store your belongings, the higher the chance bugs and rodents will discover them, unless you make proper preparations on time. Storing your items is the last step in the process. It is preceded by several important actions that can assure safe, long-term storage only if they are combined. It all comes down to a simple rule: to keep rodents and bugs from your storage unit, you should make your belongings unattractive to them.

The most essential preparation steps

Before you leave your items in a storage unit, take time to inspect every single piece. An item that is safe for long-term storage should comply with facility regulations, but also needs to be clean and protected. The preparation checklist is short and straightforward:

  • Determine the right items for storage
  • Clean and dry where applicable
  • Wrap with appropriate material
  • Pack into adequate containers

Only once you ensured that your belongings' place is in self-storage, that they don't bear food or other stains, and that they're properly protected, pack them within adequate storage containers.

What you should not place in a storage unit

You should not only protect fragile items while in storage but all of your belongings as well. Preparing your items for storage goes beyond simple selection. There are several types of contraband items that storage facilities do not allow for understandable reasons:

  • Food
  • Valuables
  • Scented or wet items
  • Hazardous materials
  • Live animals and plants

Food and scented items are the main reasons for rodent infestation. Sometimes, renters store their pantry supplies by mistake. Usually, they have packed in a rush, haven't labeled the boxes or simply forgot them in a hurry. Rodents are attracted to scents, crumbs, and food drips and spatters. You will send them an invitation by packing any piece of kitchen furniture that you haven't previously cleaned.

Look for a reputable, local storage facility

Just as finding movers in your area isn't hard, it shouldn't be difficult to find a well-kept storage facility in your vicinity. The importance of finding a local self-storage lies in the need to inspect the facility before you rent a unit and visit it frequently.

Your choice should fall upon a facility that performs regular pest control. The more frequent the controls, the lesser the chance of bug and rodent infestation. Monthly treatments are optimal.

Inspect the facility inside and out. Focus on unit doors, check if they shut tightly, and look for any holes, gaps, and cracks. General cleanliness is a priority and is usually a sign of well-maintained storage. Take a tour around the facility and make sure there isn't any trash that will keep bugs and rodents close to your self-storage unit.

Choose the appropriate wrapping and packing material

The best way to protect your belongings is to invest in the right storage containers and wrapping material. It is vital to avoid boxes that were either previously used or obtained from grocery stores and wrapping that can do more harm than good.

Packing material

Those free boxes you found online are weaker due to wear and tear, softer than the new ones and won't adequately protect your belongings. Storage itself puts a strain on boxes even if they just sit in the unit. Frequently used boxes you obtain from online sources are not an obstacle to bugs and rodents during long-term storage.

It may also happen that the items and boxes you used to keep in a basement and now wish to move to a storage facility are already infested by pests. Before you relocate your items, re-pack them. Check and clean each item before you place it in a new, clean storage container.

Using boxes from local markets is the worst thing you can do. Those cardboard boxes don't need much time to soak in the scent of food. Even if they look clean and new, they will easily attract rodents and bugs to your storage unit.

Wrapping material

There is a difference in the type of wrapping material you should use for various items. Non-upholstered pieces and mattresses should be safe tightly covered in plastic wrap, as long as they have been thoroughly cleaned before storing. Otherwise, bed bugs can infest the storage unit. You should cover furniture such as couches, padded chairs, and other upholstered items with breathable fabric. Avoid plastic in this case as it traps moisture in the cushions, allows humidity build-up, and speeds up the mildew and mold process.

Consider storing apparel and linens in vacuum storage totes. They will reduce the amount of storage needed, help you organize your storage better, as well as protect your clothing. Additionally, you can put all items together in plastic containers with airtight lids for maximum protection.

Acquire the right insurance policy

It is advisable that you acquire a comprehensive insurance policy for your storage unit, such that covers pest damage. Sometimes, even if you and the storage company do all that was in your power, rodents and bugs sneak in. That is the moment when storage insurance comes into the picture.

This is highly important because owners of self-storage facilities are not responsible for damage caused by pests. That means that they don't have any legal obligation to reimburse you for the damage done to your items. However, your insurer does, but only if you haven't caused the infestation with your negligence.

In conclusion: how to keep rodents and bugs from the storage unit

Being surrounded by bugs and rodents, the fight to protect our belongings may seem like a lost cause. However, it is enough to prevent them from feeding on your items or nesting in your belongings by following a simple piece of advice: make sure that your belongings and the storage unit are clean and protected. While storage facilities invest in high-quality pest-control to rise above the competition, only you can protect your belongings with adequate treatment and a comprehensive insurance policy.