Prevent Rodents

By Molly Hammond,

When you rent a storage unit to store your items—whether it’s for a move or because you don’t have enough space at your home or office—it’s because you care about your possessions. You want to keep them in good shape, which is why you took the time to find the right storage unit and storage conditions for your things. However, there are some issues with storage that are hard to control, like rodents getting into your items.

Protecting your storage unit from rodents is a little more work than scooping them up and bopping them on the head, but preventing rats or mice from getting into your unit is simple when you know what steps to take.

Rodent Prevention

If there’s no evidence of rodents in your unit (droppings, tracks, holes chewed in fabric, etc.), then you only have to worry about keeping them away, which can be done with a few tricks.

  • Keep Your Unit Clean. Making sure units are swept clean is a good way to keep things like dust, crumbs, and hairs from collecting on the floor, which mice will use to build their nests. Be particularly mindful of corners since they’re a great place for these items to accumulate.
  • Remove Rodent Temptations. Though almost all storage facilities have a no-food policy for sanitary reasons, it’s especially important to not keep any food items in a storage unit that might see pests. Even non-perishables or bags of sealed pet food that would be okay at home shouldn’t be stored in self storage because rodents will eat that stuff up…literally!
  • Hide Your Clothes. Mice and rats love nothing more than to chew holes in cardboard boxes and through clothing. A good idea is to keep clothing in plastic storage bins or canvas garment bags instead of cardboard boxes (since cardboard boxes break down easier). Also, stacking bins and hanging up garment bags keeps everything off of the floor, which makes it harder for rodents to get to clothing.

Rodent Removal

If there’s already been a rodent sighting, or you’re looking for extra preventative measures, these methods should keep rats and mice away.

  • Traps: Traps are the tried and true way to solve a pest problem like rats and mice. There are a number of different kinds of trap with varying degrees of body disposal necessary. Live traps lure mice inside and allow you to release them in an area far from your storage unit, whereas traditional spring traps require you to dispose of any rodents who find themselves caught. When dealing with caught pests, remember to wear gloves, especially since rats and mice are famous for carrying illnesses that can be passed on to humans.
  • Deterrents: It doesn’t have to be all glue traps and wedges of cheese. There are a number of more natural things that will deter rodents from your unit. Fresh mint, bay leaves, and mothballs are all known to repel mice. Simply tuck these items into corners around the unit. Sprinkling peppermint or spearmint oil in crevices and corners is also effective, but you must use a large amount of oil for any results.
  • Seal entrances: Rats and mice often enter storage units through holes in the walls or near the doors, so making sure they can’t access these holes is a good place to start. You can patch holes up a number of ways, but one of the easiest and most economic ways is to cut stainless steel scouring pads or steel wool to fit in the openings and seal with caulk. If you’re not keen on caulking, just pick up a steel wool made specifically to protect against pests, like Xcluder, and seal your unit that way. Just be sure to check with your facility before doing this, as they may have a maintenance person who can do this for you.

When combined, these tips should keep unwanted critters out of your unit. Considering what a hassle it can be for pests to infiltrate stored items, it’s certainly worth it to put preventative measures in place!