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Organizing Your Long-Term Storage Areas

Posted: Monday, Mar. 18, 2013

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Jennifer Burnham

Jennifer Burnham is the founder of Pure & Simple Organizing. She encourages families to live life a little easier by clearing out clutter that is accumulating in their home. Find her at or email her:

What is considered long term storage? Attic space. Basement. Garage. Storage unit.

Long term storage is where you keep those items that you rarely use but are not willing to toss. Holiday decorations and mementos are examples of items that are kept in long term storage.

Long term storage areas are usually piled to the max along with layers of dust and dirt. It is not an attractive picture to paint, but a necessity in our culture’s way of living. We need some place to store the extra “stuff” that we are not parting with.

Some tools to consider when organizing your long term storage areas:

1. Tupperware bins

Plastic bins are great for holiday decorations, childhood memories, and off season clothes. Be sure to add a moth trap or cedar balls to deter clothes moths before storing.

Consider same brand, same type. This makes is easy to visually see what you have in storage. The bins will also stack better if they are the same brand and type.

Consider clear containers so you can see what is in them. Colored bins require you to either make an inventory list or open the lid to determine the contents.

2. Shelving

Most storage spaces lack the required shelving to house all of our extra “stuff”. Consider free standing shelves for an easy mobile option. I also prefer wall-mounted if you need the floor space for furniture, bikes, or lawn care equipment.

3. Protect photos and heirlooms.

I cannot tell you how many times I have opened a box of photos stored in a client’s garage only to find them ruined by moisture, or even worse, mice. Plastic bins are better than cardboard. I never recommend using cardboard for long term storage. If it gets wet, then the contents are ruined.

Use acid-free photo or document boxes for photographs, drawings, and other paper items. Keep linens sealed in plastic and other mothproof containers.

Wrap dinnerware in bubble wrap and carefully store according to item (cups, plates, flatware).

What do you store in your long term storage areas?

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