Spring cleaning is not a task that should only be confined to the home. Now the temperature is warming up, and the leaves are growing back on the trees, all business owners should pay a visit to their commercial storage unit to make sure no problems occurred over winter. It does not take a lot to cause irreparable damage to your important paper documents, but there are a couple of things you can do to ensure no further damage occurs in the future.
During the winter, rats don’t like the cold any more than you do, so they find somewhere to hide out until spring. Once they have found a location, they then go in search of material for their nests and food to eat.
Even the most sanitised of storage companies can be visited by rodents. It’s not about a facility being clean, but more about whether a rodent has decided it is a good place to reside for a while. Since rats love to hide behind boxes, and paper within boxes is easily shredded for their nests, a commercial storage unit makes perfect sense for a winter home.
During your spring cleaning inspection, let your storage unit manager know if you discover signs rodents have been inside your unit. These indicators include:
- Chewed corners of storage boxes.
- Black, thin rodent droppings.
- Small holes in the storage unit wall or ceiling.
Your storage unit management will arrange for the area to be treated by a pest controller. Replace the damaged boxes to re-protect their contents from moisture damage, and lay some rodent traps of your own within the unit to prevent the issue from happening again.
Spring weather also brings with it the start of increasing humidity levels. Humidity is a danger to your stored records because the extra moisture in the air causes mould and mildew to grow. There are plenty of different ways you can control humidity in your storage unit:
- If the unit has an electrical outlet, purchase a humidifier from your local hardware store. The benefit of this is the machine draws excess moisture out of the air and stores it in a tank. The downside is the tank needs to be emptied every couple of days, so this method will not suit those who irregularly visit their unit.
- Purchase a vapour barrier at your hardware store. A vapour barrier is a thin plastic membrane that can be attached to the walls of the unit to prevent moisture building up and trickling down to the floor. They stick to the wall and should be attached all the way from the roof line to the floor.
- Bags of kitty litter make an excellent moisture absorber. Purchase a bag of clay-based kitty litter and pour it into a bucket. Set the bucket in the unit, and leave it to absorb the moisture in the air. The kitty litter needs to be replaced every two to three weeks to remain efficient.
- Charcoal briquettes used for barbeques also absorb moisture when left out in the open air. Make sure you keep the briquettes away from easily stained items in the unit as charcoal is not the easiest substance to clean away. Charcoal lasts longer than kitty litter, and you should only have to replace it once a month.
- Upgrade to a climate controlled storage unit. A climate controlled unit has temperature regulation, and this means no humidity issues will occur.
Head over to your commercial storage unit as soon as you can so you can clean up any aftermath from unwanted winter visitors. While there, put a humidity action control plan into place and then tick another spring cleaning chore off your to-do list.