When the weather starts to get cold, it's time to bring your winter clothes and sports equipment home from storage and pack up your summer clothes, patio furniture, pool toys, and garden equipment. Ideally, you'll rent a climate-controlled self-storage unit, but that isn't always necessary, especially if you don't need to store electronics. However, you'll want to protect your belongings from pests, freezing temperatures, and rust. Here are some tips for using a self-storage unit in the winter.

Clean and Dry Everything First

You don't want the odor of food from a grill to attract insect pests or mice to your unit. Clean and inspect everything you plan to put in storage and make sure it's dry before putting it in your unit. You'll appreciate picking up clean garden tools and pool equipment next summer, and by cleaning your things, the dirt, food, grass, and other substances won't cause damage during the long cold months in storage.

Seal Belongings In Totes

It may not be possible to put large items in plastic totes, but try to put as many things as possible in plastic containers that seal. If you store clothing and other goods in cardboard boxes, mice might be attracted to them because they make good nesting places. If you don't keep things sealed in totes, you may pick up your clothing and other belongings next summer and find spiders, mice, and other pests in your things or find the damage they left behind.

Use Insulation, Rust Protection, and Pest Control

Think of other ways you can protect your belongings when the temperatures are low. You may want to put some things in totes filled with packing peanuts that act as insulation. You might also wrap belongings in clothing or bubble wrap to protect them and keep them a bit warmer. Also, think about how you'll protect metal items from rust. Make sure your unit is dry and place your things on a pallet rather than a cold concrete floor. You may also want to coat metal tools with oil or something that guards against rust. Protection against insect pests is important to think about too. Consider putting down insect traps and sprinkling diatomaceous earth or other substances known to kill insects so you keep silverfish, roaches, and spiders out of your things.

Getting your belongings ready for storage can take quite a bit of time since it requires careful preparation. If you rent a unit that has climate control, you may not need to be as meticulous, but it's still a good practice to make sure your belongings are clean and packed in sealed storage containers just so they stay safe, and they're in good shape when you pick them up in several months.