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How to Preserve Your Things While in Storage

Keep your valuables in good condition with these simple rules

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Photography: Jilson Tiu (Main Photo)

It's a misconception to think that just because you store something in a sturdy box that it will remain in good condition even if you take it out months or years after. Ask anyone who owns rubber sneakers that turned into powder, leather shoes that peel at the seams, and books that became moldy and smelly. Yes, even in good storage, our valuables can still perish. To ensure our things don’t wither in storage, we first have to address the root of the problem. Moisture and humidity are top reasons why our valuables deteriorate. The trick to keeping your things in good condition is to avoid these two. Keep your belongings from biting the dust by following these rules:

Keep your things clean and dry.

Before you place your things in storage containers, make sure that they are absolutely clean and dry. Dirt, even a speck of dust, can damage belongings or leave stains and marks. Be sure to wipe everything down or wash them, if necessary. Moisture can be a huge problem, if not addressed. Remember to dry off everything that’s wet or even just damp to avoid mold and mildew from forming.

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Choose the right containers.

Your chosen containers play a huge role in maintaining the mint condition of your things. Some items are best kept in cardboard boxes, and there are a few that might get damaged in one. There’s no absolute rule about what container to use so think about what’s best for the material of the item. For example, electronics are best placed in plastic containers that will prevent moisture and dust from getting to them. Clothes will do well in fabric storage bags instead of cardboard boxes so they don’t develop any smells. Books, on the other hand, are great in cardboard boxes because it will keep them dry as long as they’re kept away from places that could get wet.

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Use dehumidifiers.

If you’re planning to keep your things in storage for a while, you can look into purchasing dehumidifiers to keep moisture at bay. Silica gel packs are great for smaller items, but if you’re storing in big boxes, dehumidifier tubs are great. Just make sure to replace them when they’ve reached their expiration.

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Let it breathe.

Having enough space that allows your items to breathe can help keep them in good condition as well. Avoid cramming your belongings into one container and putting various items in one box. Try segregating your essentials and allotting one container for each category. Give your valuables room for air to circulate to keep things nice and dry. Take this as an opportunity to declutter—get rid of broken items and pieces you won't be using anymore that are just taking up valuable space.

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