Protecting Electronics in Self Storage

By Molly Hammond,

Electronics can easily get ruined while sitting in self storage. Internal wiring and microchips, as well as external screens and casing, aren’t able to handle long-term exposure to dust, moisture, and extreme temperatures. Because of this, it’s important to know how to protect electronics in self storage.

Keep Electronics Clean and Properly Packaged

If you store electronics without giving them at least a quick wipedown beforehand, you may not like the state of things when you return. Dust and other debris can settle deep into certain internal workings of electronic equipment and compromise its quality or ruin it altogether. If you’re worried about how to clean a specific item like a keyboard or camera, always look to the owner’s manual, but you’ll usually be safe with a lightly dampened microfiber cloth.

If you have the original packaging from your television or computer, that’s the perfect vessel for storing it. If you don’t have the packaging it came in, simply look for a box that will hold the item without too much extra space (A box that’s too big for a fragile item could result in a cracked screen during a move).

If you’re not interested in finding a box for larger items like tube TVs or old desktop computers, you can store them under a dropcloth or waterproof tarp on the floor. Also, use pallets to keep electronics off of the floor (in case of flooding).

Get Climate-Controlled Storage for Electronics

For the same reason dropping your smartphone or tablet into a puddle is panic-inducing, it’s important to keep moisture out of the equation when storing electronics. A climate-controlled storage unit will maintain a safe temperature and humidity range so that condensation doesn’t form inside electronics and damage sensitive components. Condensation—water that makes its way into a unit by way of rain or snow—can lead to rusting both outside and inside electronics.

Consider climate control for all electronic storage, even if you live in a temperate location, since fluctuating humidity can be just as detrimental to the inner workings of equipment as direct exposure to water. Plus, in climates that are particularly dry (like the American Southwest), climate control actually means adding humidity to the air so static buildup doesn’t ruin internal circuitry.

Look for Storage Facilities with Good Security

Whether it’s the newest tablet or an item that’s already lived a long life, electronics are a monetary investment that you don’t want getting stolen. Storage facilities offer different kinds of security, such as gated access, unit locks, alarmed units, and video surveillance. Feel free to ask the managers at facilities you’re considering what security features they offer and if they have any history of lost or stolen items.