A self storage unit can provide a simple, inexpensive off-site storage solution during a move or if you don't have room for storage in your home. Generally, your items are safe and protected in the unit, but you should take note of the five things you can do to protect your belongings from pests.
#1: Check What Controls Are In Place
Inquire into the pest control practices of the storage center before you reserve your unit. They should spray the perimeter of the complex buildings regularly for the pests that are common in your area, such as roaches, mice and spiders. They may also treat the interior of the units between tenants.
Before moving in, inspect the unit for any signs of pests. If you see signs of pests, such as mouse droppings, it's a good idea to find another unit. Keep in mind, seeing dead bugs isn't necessarily a sign of a pest problem. If the units were recently treated, there may be some dead bugs present.
#2: Store Food Wisely – If At All
Storage units can be a handy place to keep non-perishable food items that you don't have room for at home. Before storing the food, package it in glass or metal containers with tight-fitting lids. Mice and insects can chew through plastic and cardboard packaging, so these don't make suitable storage containers. Freeze grains for 24 hours before storing them, otherwise you may end up with storage moths in your jars.
Not all storage units allow food items in their units. Check with your unit manager before using self storage for food storage.
#3: Elevate Everything
Keeping things off the ground helps prevent ground-based pests from invading your boxes and furniture. At the very least, place pallets on the ground and stack your items on these. For small items and boxes, use metal shelving units to keep items off the ground and organized.
#4: Know the Source of Your Boxes
Boxes can bring pests into your unit, even if your home was previously pest-free. Roaches in particular often hide in the spaces of corrugated boxes. Second-hand boxes are the most notorious offenders, often transporting the pests from one home into another. Purchase new boxes instead of taking boxes from behind stores, where insects may have invaded them, or from other free sources. This will eliminate most pest issues.
#5: Use Dust Covers
Carpet beetles, clothing moths, and other small pests can quietly destroy every item you have in storage if you don't take precautions. Place breathable dust covers, such as thin sheets, over the top of boxes and furniture to help keep dust and pests away. Don't use tarps or other non-breathable covers – these can trap moisture and lead to mold and mildew problems.
Most self storage units will allow you to use pesticides in your unit. Bait traps work especially well, because you can monitor these to see if any pests are present. Check on your belongings monthly, so you can catch a problem early if pests do invade.