You’ve invested in a storage unit as a way to keep your belongings safe and secure. But rodents and bugs can do major damage to your items, especially the longer they are stored. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to protect your items from rodents and insects and keep these critters out of your storage unit. Read on for 8 tips for keeping rodents and bugs from your storage unit.
Choose a unit in a facility that has pest control. This is the single biggest thing you can do to keep rodents and bugs out of your storage unit. Choosing a storage facility that performs regular pest control increases your chances of having a bug- and rodent-free experience, and it takes the worry and expense of pest control off your shoulders. Just like with climate-controlled units, you may pay for for a unit that has pest control, but it’s a worthwhile investment.
Choose your containers wisely. Cardboard boxes may seem like the cheapest, easiest storage solution, but they are an open invitation for bugs and mice. If you must use cardboard boxes, carefully seal up the seams with heavy-duty packing tape. However, plastic containers with airtight lids are a better choice. They are chew-proof and don’t have crevices that will allow creepy-crawlies into your stuff. Plus, they are perfect for stacking!
Prepare your unit. Before you move in, take some time to check our your empty unit. Check for any cracks and crevices that might allow bugs and rodents in. Remove spider webs. You can spray the unit down with bug spray to create a barrier. If you want to go the non-toxic way, a few drops of peppermint oil on cotton balls can serve as a pest deterrent. Plug any holes or crevices with cotton — remember only a few drops of peppermint oil is needed! Also place a cotton ball on each side of the door. You can set mousetraps as a preventative measure, and you can place mothballs or cedar blocks around the unit as well.
Never, ever store food in your unit. Not only does this violate the terms of many storage unit lease contracts, it’s like hanging a Welcome sign up for hungry critters. Make sure all kitchen items are thoroughly washed. Storing them wrapped in plastic or in plastic bags can help provide even more protection. Also think beyond human food — don’t store pet food, bird seed, or similar items in your unit. They’re an all you can eat buffet to pests.
Get items up off the floor. Storing items up off the floor also deters pests. If your unit has shelves or racks to hang things from, make use of them. You can also use small pallets to elevate items slightly off the floor.
Wrap your upholstered items. Upholstered items, especially stuffed furniture, is a goldmine for pests looking for nesting space and nesting material. Keep your couches, stuffed chairs, and the like safe by wrapping them well in heavy-duty plastic. Mattresses should be well-wrapped as well. If you can raise these items up off the floor even slightly, this will also help keep the bugs and rodents away.
Visit your unit often. Check in on your unit often, or have someone do so for you if you are unable to. Check the mousetraps and dispose of anything they’ve caught. Look for signs of rodents or bugs — droppings, webs, and the like. Refresh your peppermint oil, moth balls, or cedar chips.
Insure your items. Even the best-kept storage unit can have a pest problem sometimes. It’s a good idea to make sure that your insurance policy covers pest damage, just in case the unthinkable happens and you lose items to the local crawling and nibbling population.