Whether you're storing inventory, putting your belongings in a safe place while travelling or just discovering that you have more things than places to put them in, long-term storage can provide secure space at a low cost. However, although storage firms do their best to keep conditions stable in their facilities, you'll want to protect your stored items by taking a few basic precautions. Each type of stored item has its own needs and vulnerabilities.


Exposure to air and sunlight can fade and damage fabric, so you want to keep your clothing protected from these as much as possible. Sunlight isn't much of a threat in most storage facilities, but you can keep clothes in good condition longer by storing them in vacuum-sealed plastic bags. Moth damage to clothes is rare, but it can happen, so it's also worth preparing for. Mothballs don't only repel insects; they can also help reduce the risk of mildew damage in damp conditions. They smell a little strong, though, so be sure to give your clothes a good airing once you unpack them. 


Moisture is the bibliophile's worst enemy: it can cause warped covers, yellowed, crinkled pages, foxing or damaged bindings. To minimise the risk of moisture damage, you need to ensure good airflow around the boxes your books are stored in. Raise them off the floor on storage pallets if possible and keep them away from walls. A small pouch of silica gel desiccant can help absorb moisture. When stacking and packing books, make sure they're level, with heavier books on the bottom and lighter ones on the top. Prolonged pressure can lead to warped covers and spines. Another threat to stored books is silverfish, small insects that feed on the glue used in book bindings. These pests thrive in damp conditions, so whatever keeps books dry will also help keep them at bay. 


Remove all power leads and data cables from your electronic devices before storing them. Label them clearly, since you may not remember which cable goes where in months or years. Labels or pieces of coloured tape can help keep track of cables and ports, but if you're in a hurry, just snap a photo of the device with all its cables plugged in. If your gadgets have batteries, take them out; batteries left in place for long periods can leak or corrode, causing damage to the device.