It's not uncommon to put items in storage around a big move, whether it's to open up space in the home you are selling or simply because you will have some time between permanent addresses. Mildew and mold can be a concern when storing items, even for a short time. Fortunately there are some storage tricks that will help with prevention.
1. Choose the Right Boxes
The right boxes will protect all off your belongings from moisture, and thus mildew. If you opt for cardboard, make sure it is clean and dry with no outward signs of damage. It often makes sense to invest in new boxes, rather than reusing second hand boxes, in order to ensure there is no moisture present. A truly waterproof alternative to cardboard is to use plastic storage totes instead of boxes.
2. Clean Everything
Never store anything dirty. Clothing must be washed and dried, as must dishware, linens, and any other easily cleaned material. Furniture, toys, and household goods should also be wiped down thoroughly and then dried prior to storing to make sure there is no food residue or other grime that could increase the chances of mold during storage. Even if mold isn't a concern, stains can worsen during storage and food residue can attract pests.
3. Check for Moisture
There is only mold if there is moisture. Check your unit thoroughly before moving in for signs of moisture – such as water spots on the ceiling or walls, mold present on exposed surfaces, or just a damp and musty odor. If you find signs of an active water leak, request a new unit. You may also want to wipe down the walls and floors of the unit with a dilute bleach solution to kill any mold spores present, just in case.
4. Consider Some Control
Another option for preventing mold in storage is to splurge on a climate controlled unit. These units are heated in winter and dehumidified year around so that moisture is rarely an issue. In climates with lots of rain, fog, or high humidity, climate controlled units may be the only effective way to ensure that mold and mildew doesn't affect your stuff.
5. Allow for Air Flow
Finally, make sure air can flow around the boxes so dampness doesn't accumulate. Leave a space between stacks of boxes as well as between the boxes and the wall. You may even want to elevate the boxes, perhaps by stacking them on top of a pallet, so they won't be exposed to any dampness on the ground.
For more information about a moving storage service, if you need to safely stow some items during or after your big move, contact movers in your area.