Question #1: Will my washer and dryer survive in a storage unit?
Answer: Much like anything that stays in contact with fluids for long periods of time, the washer may see some rust issues on the interior (drum), and in the hose work through the system. Most hoses are made using silicone, but their joints and fasteners are made from metal. These metal joints may rust if water, detergent or other fluids remain trapped. Taking the time to completely dry out the washer system (hoses and all), your washer will still be in working order when you need it again.
You can clean out any residual detergent by running the washer, using water alone, several times. This rinses the soap from the drum and hoses. Also, once the soap has been removed, lift the lid of the washer to allow the interior of the washer to air dry thoroughly (this may take several days).
To prepare the dryer for storage, you should remove all lint, dust, debris, coins, and any remaining pieces of clothing.
Question #2: What do I need to do to drain the water from the washer to prepare it for long term storage?
Answer: Pour any water leftover in the washing machine hoses into a bucket. This is accomplished in a few simple steps. Be sure to turn off the water to the washer hook ups. Pull the machine away from the wall just far enough to reach behind it and undo one of the hoses. Take the hose and pour the water from the hose into the waiting bucket. Leave it there and allow all the water to drain completely. Do the same to the other hose.
Question #3: How do I safely prepare and package my china and crystal for long term storage?
Answer: The first step to preparing china and crystal for long term storage is to visit a packing materials store (or local shipping store) and purchase a roll or two of bubble wrap. Next, carefully wrap each piece of china or crystal in the bubble wrap making sure that no edges are exposed. Using newsprint can damage the china. Placing Styrofoam blocks around the inside periphery of the box will surround the china or crystal in extra protection that will ensure that knocks and dings won’t damage anything inside.
Question #4: How do I prepare an old vehicle for placement in long term storage?
1. Completely drain the vehicle’s radiator system. Once emptied and flushed, fill with fresh, clean antifreeze to keep the vehicle’s system from freezing during cold weather, even while in storage.
2. To keep the radiator’s overflow line free from bugs, securely cover it.
3. Perform and oil and filter change.
4. Oil and grease all hinges and door fixtures.
5. Despite how strange it sounds, add a few quarts of engine oil (light weight) to the gas tank.
6. Once the light weight oil has been added to the gas tank, turn the vehicle on and run it until the tail pipe exudes blue exhaust smoke. This process coats the carburetor, manifold and cylinders with the oil, which will help prevent the problem of corrosion.
7. Completely fill the tank and add a bottle of fuel stabilizer. Also, be sure to cover any vent lines.
8. Make sure to plug the exhaust openings to prevent any rodents or other small animals from creating a nest in your vehicle.
9. Be sure to remove the air filter, cover the top of the carburetor with plastic wrap and then replace the air filter.
10. Carefully remove the vehicle’s battery and store it in a safe place.
11. Cover the chrome and paint on the vehicle with a light coating of wax.
12. Thoroughly clean the inside of the vehicle. Vacuum the carpet and seats, clean the windows and the dashboard.
13. Strategically place an open box of baking soda (for odor removal), and some rat poison in the vehicle (please be careful). Make sure to leave the windows cracked in order to allow air flow.
14. Lubricate the seals on the doors, hood and trunk.
15. Raise the vehicle on cement blocks to be sure the tires are up off the ground. Release the parking or emergency break.
16. Drape the vehicle with a large sheet or specialized car cover. This will keep the dust accumulation to a minimum. Please keep the car cover off the ground to allow for air flow on the undercarriage.
To prevent theft, remove the distributor rotor and put in a safe place along with your keys. Be sure to keep a copy of this checklist in the vehicle’s glove box so you can do these steps in reverse when taking the vehicle out of long term storage.
When returning to the vehicle after long term storage, replace the battery, remove all covers (the ones you placed there before storage), reinstall the distributor’s rotor and turn the engine over enough times to raise the pressure, or until the check engine light goes out. Before you reinstall the air filter, pour starter fluid in the carburetor and restart the engine. It will take a few tries to get rid of all the kinks.
Question #5: If my vehicle in on a concrete floor, what material should I use under the vehicle for long term storage?
Answer: Put your vehicle on jacks (hydraulic jacks can be bought fairly cheaply). This keeps the tires from getting flat bottoms.
Question #6: What should I use for jacks on my vehicle when it is in long term storage?
Answer: The best jacks to buy for your long term storage are the jack stands. Always buy high quality jack stands, but a few concrete blocks placed under the vehicle will have the same effect. You don’t want your tires to rot or flatten.
FAQs on Storage Units
Question #1: Can I store my electronic devices safely in an unheated storage unit?
Answer: Heat isn’t the issue when it comes to storing your devices, it’s the moisture. To prevent failure on start up (after long term storage) be sure to waterproof your electronics. When attempting to use your electronics after removing them from storage, leave them out in room temperature for a few days to make sure that all internal components are completely dry before using the device.
Question #2: Are storage units secure enough to keep my valuables safe from theft and damage?
Answer: Always look for a storage facility with some form of visual security other than just a security guard. Also, some storage units are climate controlled so your specialty items won’t get soggy, overheated, too dry or too moist. For your information, pod units that you that be delivered to your home should never be placed in the street. These types of storage units are also vulnerable to theft.
Question #3: I am planning to put several rooms’ worth of furniture into storage, how much space will I need?
Answer: Take out your measuring tape and take measurements of all the things you would like to store. Once you have those measurements, visit your self storage facility and see the different sizes of storage units they have available.
Question #4: How should I store my furniture in my storage unit?
Answer: Make sure to place all of your furniture on wooden pallets to keep them off the floor where water and dirt can cause damage. Also, wrapping your furniture in plastic (either furniture shipping plastic or plastic wrap) is a great way to keep out dust, bugs, moisture, and other things that can creep in and damage your stuff. Be aware that there are products that can provide moisture resistance and absorption. Another good idea would be to place rat/mouse traps along the walls to keep rodents from making a nest in your furniture.
Question #5: How do I keep my couch from getting damaged while in storage?
Answer: Cover each couch cushion or pillow in plastic (you could just wrap them in plastic bags). This keeps them out of the dust and moisture in the air. Purchase rolls of plastic from shipping supply stores and wrap your couch in it, using duct tape to secure it. Also, don’t place any heavy items on the couch while it’s in storage, otherwise you’ll have large indents in the cushions when you decide to remove it.
Question #6: What should I do to keep my storage unit from getting musty?
Answer: Strategically placing a few odor absorbing cans (you can find these in the automotive department, or the household department) throughout the unit. Also hanging a few car fresheners from the ceiling will help you keep the unit smelling good. Make sure to pick scents you will want your stuff smelling like as most scents will penetrate most materials.
Question #7: How should I lock my storage unit? What lock should I use?
Answer: A heavy duty lock is the best kind of lock to use on your storage unit.
Question #8: Do I put an insurance policy on the things I place in storage?
Answer: Ask the storage unit facility if they offer insurance that covers your belongings. Most places will cover your things for an additional fee.
Once you figure out the facility policies you’ll want to make a detailed list of all the things you are placing into the storage unit and their value. This is called the summary of goods. Once you present this list, the facility has the chance to agree or disagree with the stated value of your belongings. At this point, they may require you to pay more for more coverage. Keep in mind that if you allow your coverage to lapse, your belongings are no longer covered.