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Self-storing is an art form. Yes, that may sound a bit overdramatic and over the top, but the fact is that not everyone can self-storage properly. For most people, self-storage is related entirely to having the space, but that’s definitely not all. It’s not even the first thing about self-storage. Preparing a facility to be your storage needs time, knowledge and some hard work. Probably the biggest problem with self-storage is keeping pests away. That’s why we asked our friends at Fantastic Services, one of the most sought-after storage service providers in the UK, to give us tips on how to minimise the chances of finding a rat, a wasp or any other pest in our items. Here’s everything you need to know
Never store food in your storage unit
That’s a no-brainer, really. The main reason pests infest a location is the abundance of food. If there is no food, they would need to venture out of their layer, and that’s particularly hard during winter. So if you keep any food in your storage, you are actually inviting all sorts of pests to make themselves at home. Now, storing non-perishables is fine, as they are sealed, and pests can’t get to them. Guess again. Rats are particularly sneaky and can easily dismantle even tightly sealed cans.
So, when you are self-storing, make sure to wipe the floor and shelves clean. Even if you’ve eaten a bar while inside, the crumbs will attract ants. Don’t leave any sustenance in your storage unit. Keep those in your home, where you can easily detect and eliminate pests if they try to enter.
Store everything in airtight plastic containers
Storing items just as they are is generally not a good idea, as they will get a lot of dust which may render them useless afterwards. Naturally, that depends on the stored item, but generally, any mechanical part would succumb to rust and become inoperable. So sealing everything in airtight plastic containers will do wonders for the item’s durability. More importantly, it will prevent pests from nesting inside them, and those who came with the things (because that’s one of the main points of infestation) will die out due to the lack of oxygen. Most importantly, mice and other rats would find it very hard to get to your items. For example, if you place them in carton boxes, mice can easily chew through them. However, plastic is much harder, and mice restrain from eating it due to their inability to digest it.
So sealing everything in airtight plastic containers is a must if you want to find your items untouched after storage.
Wrap upholstered furniture in protective covers
Fabric is one of the mice’s favourite snacks, so whenever you want to store some furniture, it’s a good idea to put a protective cover over it. Otherwise, your beloved furniture will become one truly special nest for a family of rats, mice or other pests.
The best way to prevent this unpleasant fate for your furniture is to wrap it all with a plastic cover. This will not only discourage pests from getting too cosy with your stuff, but it will also protect the furniture from the elements, dust and dirt. Moreover, it’s an inexpensive way to ensure you are not just storing trash but will use that furniture again after some time.
Keep items elevated from the ground
When it comes to pests, their entry point is usually on the ground level. So naturally, they prefer to keep close to their escape route as a precaution, so keeping your items elevated from the ground might help you protect them. Naturally, that’s not a 100% safe method, as rodents especially are well known for reaching impossible heights, and insects can actually fly. Yet, making it that much harder for them to get to your stuff might discourage them from nesting there.
Moreover, keeping your stuff off the floor will protect them from potential floodings, which, if they are in an airtight plastic container, is not that big of a deal, but still, it’s nice to have your containers dry and not soaked in dirty water.
Set traps for common pests
If you already know about a pest infestation, an excellent solution to the problem is to put some traps. Mice are particularly hard to catch and, in general, are not that easy to dispose of. Most often, you will need to ask for pest control to get rid of mice. Yet setting traps in your storage can show you just how bad the situation is. For example, if you only get one trap activated in about a month, that means you generally don’t have an infestation, but rather a rodent has tried its luck with your belongings. Having some fly traps is also a good idea, as the pesky pests can easily enter, and you don’t want them to multiply out of control. Remember that most poisons are actually very deadly for your pet as well, so make sure you don’t bring it to your storage with you or try some non-toxic repellants.
Consider using natural deterrents
By now, we have focused on keeping pests away from your items, but a good use of your time would be to prevent pests from coming into your storage space in the first place. The best part is that those are non-toxic and, more often than not, smell great. For example, a cotton ball soaked in peppermint or lavender will keep most rodents and insects at bay. They truly dread the smell, while the scent is pretty pleasant for us. You should put such natural deterrents in all corners and next to potential entry points. Most importantly, make sure to put such in airtight plastic containers, so even if pests manage to breach it, they will be instantly repelled by the smell.
Seal any potential entry points
Pests are a determined bunch. They will find a way in if you haven’t followed the previous steps. Still, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make it as hard for them as possible. Sealing all entry points is your first job when expecting your storage. Fill up cracks that may lead to the outside with silicone, seal cracks near windows and doors, and cover all gaps. This will drastically reduce the chance of any pests finding their way into your storage.
Visit the storage unit regularly
Finally, the best way to protect your items is to simulate human activity. Pests, especially rodents, are not huge fans of crowded spots, so they would look for a secluded place where humans rarely set foot. Make sure your storage is the opposite. Make regular visits and spend 10-20 minutes there so you can simulate the activity. This will discourage most pests from ever trying to establish a winter home there.
If you can’t afford all these steps, consider storing your items in a professional storage unit where all the standards are met. If you can’t ensure your items will be safe, a small investment should not be out of the question.