An increasing number of self-storage businesses now offer resources and services to help customers choose more earth-friendly options. These services usually show an awareness of environmental issues by offering the option to pack in pre-used boxes or hosting a donation room to collect unwanted items that will then be delivered to a secondhand store. But whether or not your self-storage business is doing its part to help the environment, you can still make your self-storage experience an earth-friendly one. In addition to using pre-used boxes (which you can often obtain for free through classified ads from people who have just moved to your area), here are three ways you can minimize the negative impact your storage can have on the environment.
1. Use non-climate-controlled storage (when appropriate)
Climate-controlled storage has a narrower range of allowable temperatures than traditional (non-climate-controlled) storage units experience, and it even includes humidity control. This means that it's suitable for storing even the most fragile items. But it also eats up energy, meaning that it has a slightly higher impact on the environment than traditional storage. Educate yourself on the allowable environments for whatever it is you're storing; you should choose non-climate-controlled storage if you don't have anything that needs the special treatment of climate control. Remember, some types of materials require climate control, especially if you live in a humid area of the country. These include belongings such as:
- Other wood belongings (such as musical instruments)
- Candles or anything made of wax
- Other delicate or valuable possessions
2. Pack appropriately
No matter what you pack, you should never wrap or store it in materials that are only good for one use or that will end up in the landfill later. This means you may want to consider using small soft items (like old mismatched socks) in place of packing peanuts. Or if you use packing peanuts, use them again and again and then recycle them when they're worn out. Paper is another good packing material, and it's both reusable and recyclable.
3. Use only the space you need
Remember tip #1 about using non-climate-controlled storage? Well, here's a qualifier. Don't use non-climate-controlled storage if you already have a climate-controlled unit that's big enough. Leaving Grandma's sampler and your kid's old violin alone in that climate-controlled unit while you rent another unit isn't going to improve the energy efficiency involved. Likewise, if you have a lot to store and suspect you'll need to hire multiple units, pack carefully. This is a great time to use space-saving tips like utilizing your stored clothes to pad the china instead of storing them in separate boxes with extra packing materials to keep the dishes from breaking. And keep yourself from collecting too much clutter in your storage units. Going through and doing a "spring cleaning" once per year is a great idea. You can analyze each item according to when you last used it, when you expect to use it again, and whether its sentimental value is worth the space it's taking up. Then, once you've collected your unwanted items, donate them to a charity or thrift store.
These three tips will help you use your self-storage unit in an environmentally responsible way. Even if your self-storage facility doesn't emphasize earth-friendliness, you can do your part to minimize your environmental impact through self-storage. And if your facility does offer earth-friendly options, you can use these tips to enhance those options. Contact a business, such as Acorn Self Service Storage, for more information.