Adventures are best when they are long. Longer than a month, preferably. If you spend more time in a place, you can get to know the people and the cultures better. And, who knows, you may even make some lasting friends.
But when you go on long adventures, especially ones that last longer than a year, you may want to keep your belongings in a safe place. Safe storage exists. And you can definitely keep your stuff dry and safe from many kinds of liabilities.
But what are the ins and outs of storage, especially if you aren't going to be around to check on your stuff?
Let's take a look at what you can do to keep your stuff stored safely and have peace of mind while you travel.
Off-site storage is pretty common in the United States.
In fact, 1 in 10 Americans utilizes off-site storage for extra things. They store anything from cars to boats to precious antiques and jewelry. Even dead bodies sometimes.
But whatever you're storing for the long haul, you want to make sure it lasts the entire time you have it in storage.
Give each item you're about to store a good dusting and cleaning. Wipe down pieces of furniture with a piece of fresh clean cloth. And use an appropriate cleaner that won't corrode. Some items may need to be waxed or oiled to ensure they don't crack in the most likely dry climate of a storage shed.
The average space in a storage unit measures 100 square feet. With some being bigger and some being smaller. But you are going to want to utilize the space as best you can. And a lot of furniture does disassemble.
With some being bigger and some being smaller. But you are going to want to utilize the space as best you can. And a lot of furniture does disassemble.
Remove legs from tables and sofas. Take out those drawers and stuff them with things to maximize space. Remove planks from bed frames to keep them from breaking or warping. Croup the pieces together and tie them together.
When you come back you want to be able to quickly re-assemble the pieces of your furniture.
You're going to need the right materials for protection.
Bubble wrap will keep smaller things safe from the weight of other things. Especially if you live in an earthquake zone, double bubble wrap those more valuable and breakable items.
Other things you should bubble wrap include anything with glass like picture frames, mirrors, lamps or blunt parts that could push into and break other items.
Avoid plastic packaging materials whenever possible. They can suffocate your more dainty materials like wood or fabrics.
Condensation is a big reason why you should avoid sealing your furniture and things that could mold or rot with too much moisture.
Drop clothes and sheets will work better. They will keep the dust off and still allow air to circulate around your furniture.
Maximizing your safe storage space can sometimes feel like Tetris.
If you're lazy or in a hurry, you'll be tempted to just toss stuff in Helter skelter. But that the best way to get things broken.
You don't want to come back to find everything toppled over and broken because things were off balance.
Make sure you leave space between items. Yes, you are maximizing your available storage space. But you don't want to be tempted to let things lean against each other. That's a recipe for disaster if you do.
You also want space between items so that air can flow between them. This will help protect your items from damage.
It will also make extraction easier later. You will be less likely to break things as you remove them.
Good upholstery is worth protecting.
Know what kind of fabric is on your furniture so you can protect it.
Different fabrics react to different chemicals and processes. Find out what chemical you should use to protect and preserve your upholstery while in safe storage.
Be thorough with your upholstery. Get a vacuum and vacuum the whole thing. Remove the cushions, collect the change and othering things you might be missing. Then vacuum up the crumbs and food particles from all the times you ate on the couch.
Make sure you work out as many stains as possible. The longer those sit the harder they will be to get out after you come back.
Be wary of humid climates.
Your wooden furniture could suffer if you don't care for it before placing it in storage.
Make sure you get a cleaner that matches the wood type. If it's a veneer, make sure the cleaner won't break down the glues in holding the veneer onto the furniture.
Dust it all off. Dust can work its way into furniture permanently. Especially woods.
Seal it with a protective finish. Clear coat seals will help preserve the wood and give it a good shine for the dust bunnies while you're away.
Plastics are in so many of our possessions these days.
If you have electronics, you'll want them still working when you get back. If you have plastic outdoor furniture, you want it usable when you get back.
For things like plastic furniture, give it a once over with vinegar or apple cider.
A baking soda mixture will also help preserve that plastic.
That, of course, depends on if you kept the original packaging.
The original packaging includes foams that were meant to protect your electronics during transport.
If you don't have the original packaging, use foam blocks and pack them in sturdy boxes.
Moisture kills books and documents.
They will look like someone urinated on them if they get wet while you're gone. Get some file boxes and seal them with high-quality moisture resistant tape.
Safe storage is definitely something you should consider if you're heading away on a long leave of absence.
What are some things you would do to prepare for long-term storage? Let us know in the comments below. And, as always, store it all!