Article by Stephanie Hyland and Molly Hammond,
Infographic by Ryan Kholousi

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This post discusses the items that need climate-controlled storage most. For other climate control resources see the list below:


A self storage unit can come in handy for anyone in the middle of a move, making room for a new family member, or who needs some additional space at home. But it’s not as simple as renting storage and moving everything to a unit.

There are several items that need special attention in storage, particularly those sensitive to temperature fluctuations and humidity. These items need climate-controlled storage.

What is climate-controlled storage? It’s a storage feature that keeps a unit’s indoor temperature between 55-85°F year-round and maintains a consistent humidity level. Basically, it’s a heater, air conditioner, humidifier, and dehumidifier all in one.

So what kind of items should be kept in a climate-controlled storage unit? Take a look.


When exposed to too much moisture over time, wood can crack, warp, or rot. For anyone storing wooden furniture like bed frames, tables and chairs, end tables, nightstands, dressers, entertainment centers, and more, this makes having climate-controlled storage absolutely necessary.

“When you get climate control, you aren’t just getting a controlled climate; you’re also getting humidity control,” says Mary Kuhnle, Property Manager of Assured Self Storage in Plano, Texas. Kuhnle says controlling the humidity in a self storage unit with wooden furniture is key to protecting it. “The lower the humidity, the better,” she adds.


“Leather is sensitive to swings of hot and cold, so that’s a big issue when you’re living in an area with [drastic] weather changes through the seasons,” advises Jiffy Self-Storage, which is based in Toronto, Ontario.

Even if you’re storing in an area that’s not prone to major changes in temperature throughout the year, temperature control is an important safeguard for pricey leather pieces. “Leather that’s not stored in a climate-controlled [unit] is also more susceptible to moisture, which can discolor the pieces and cause mildew,” Jiffy Self-Storage says.

Wood. Leather. Special Collections. Keep them safe.


Washers and dryers, dishwashers, ovens, microwaves, and refrigerators all need climate-controlled storage in regions that experience extreme heat or cold. That’s because climate control protects electronic and mechanical parts from cracking and rust that could cause permanent damage.

Even though you should thoroughly clean and dry the appliances (as well as remove water hoses) before storing them, climate control can aid in stopping mold and mildew from building up inside appliances, too.


Storing Special CollectionsThe point of collecting certain items is to preserve them for years to come. Temperature control can help with that preservation. Everything from coinsstamps, and comics to wine collections needs to be stored in a climate-controlled environment to prevent damage caused by temperature changes and humidity.


“Coins should be kept as close to a constant temperature and humidity level as possible,” explains Rod Gillis, numismatic educator with American Numismatic Association. Gillis adds that too much exposure to extreme temperatures and humidity can start the oxidation process, which ruins the metals used in coins.

Copper and silver in particular are at risk of tarnishing. “While some collectors enjoy toning, it’s a destructive force that will eventually cause the coin to become very dark,” says Gillis.


Nick Vespucci, owner of Nick’s Stamps, says storing a stamp collection in a climate-controlled storage unit is important if you live in a region where the humidity is high all year.

“Temperature and the level of humidity are very important factors,” says Vespucci. “I would never store a collection in a room that isn’t climate-controlled. Once stamps have been exposed to high temperature and humidity, [they] will curl and stick.”

Vespucci says irresponsible storage and maintenance of your collection will damage it, meaning it will ultimately depreciate in value.


Much like the pages of a stamp album, the pages of comic books are also susceptible to damage if left in an environment where moisture can find its way to the pages.

“Storing your comics safely is key to preserving your collecting,” says‘s Bob Bretall. “Storage units are a great alternative to home storage if your collection is growing.”

Comic books—usually those that are older and rarer—can’t handle moisture, so Bretall says using a unit equipped with climate control that can moderate humidity is a good option for protecting your collection.


Fluctuating temperatures can accelerate wine aging and can give wine an oxidized, metallic taste, according to Patrick Gilroy, co-owner of Wine Storage Bellevue in Bellevue, Wash. For collectors who’ve invested a lot of time and money in growing their wine collections, spoiling due to improper storage would be a nightmare.

“The biggest mistake in wine storage is to have the wine in a place that does not have a consistent, cool temperature,” says wine collector Jake Austard, who’s also a WSET certified specialist with Vintage Cellars in San Marcos, Calif.

So what is the best temperature for wine storage? Austard recommends somewhere between 55-57°F.


Storing Musical InstrumentsMusical instruments, though sometimes large, are very delicate and need to be handled with great care. Whether it’s short-term or long-term storage for instruments, temperature control is a must.


Let’s use a standard piano as an example of a percussion instrument in storage (It’s also a string instrument, too, which means it needs extra care). Pianos can be damaged very easily by extreme temperatures and humidity, both of which can ruin a piano’s strings, keys, and wooden exterior over time.

“Humidity is a piano’s worst enemy,” says Dan Loibl, owner of Dan The Piano Man in Spokane Valley, Wash. “With the average piano having approximately 15,000 glued joints, it isn’t glue anymore if the piano is stored in a humid climate. The strings are also not rust-proof by any means. If not stored in a climate-controlled unit, they can become rusted and corroded.”

“A climate-controlled storage unit is important for a piano because [temperature] can affect the shape and condition of the instrument,” says Sal Margaglione, President of Father & Son Moving and Storage in Wallingford, Conn. “For example, if it is made of wood, the wood will expand or contract in either hot or cold weather.”


An acoustic guitar is a good example of a string instrument that can be damaged by temperature and humidity. Like a piano, its strings can snap when kept in the wrong conditions. High temperatures can also cause a major problem for the glues and adhesives that hold the instrument together.

“The good folks at C.F. Martin Guitars recommend temperatures between 72-77°F and a humidity level of 45-55%,” says Billy Penn, owner of 300 Guitars in Toms River, N.J. “When in doubt, do not keep an instrument in an environment you would not be comfortable sleeping in.”


Areas with high heat and humidity can take a toll on brass instruments, like trumpets. “[In hot, humid regions], climate control becomes more important, as bacteria growth and corrosion in the trumpet accelerate,” says John Snell, manager of Bob Reeves Brass Mouthpieces in Valencia, Calif.

Though a properly cleaned, oiled, and packed trumpet is generally unaffected by weather, a trumpet in long-term storage could have issues. Snell says certain materials found in trumpets break down when exposed to extreme temperatures. “Materials like felt, rubber, and cork that are used in some trumpets may break down faster in these conditions.”


Maintaining humidity levels is essential when it comes to storing woodwind instruments, says Nathan Pietz, Sales and School Liaison at Funky Munky Music in Shawnee, Kan.

“The dangers of storing woodwinds and other wooden instruments is that they have a sweet spot between 40-55% humidity,” says Pietz. “Humidity less than 40% will cause the instrument to dry out, and the wood parts can shrink and can cause the instrument to crack. The pieces can also become ill-fitted and uncomfortable to play.”

Pietz says that musicians who store woodwind instruments like clarinets, oboes, and flutes need to be mindful of humidity levels that exceed 55% as well. “[Too much] humidity can cause the pads of the instrument to swell and expand. In extreme cases, mold can begin to build up inside of the instrument because of the moisture.”


Whether it’s fine frescoes or a Pinterest-inspired craft, climate-controlled storage is a good idea for artwork and art supplies.

Storing ArtworkAccording to Vanessa Amor, Business Manager of Museo Vault Fine Art Storage in Miami, Fla., even if you’re keeping artwork in file cabinets or diameter tubes (which you should) in your unit, it’s important to maintain the unit’s temperature. The best environment, she says, is about 50% humidity and a temperature between 70-75°F.

Craft supplies also need climate control. Take it from craft blogger extraordinaire, Susan Yates, of Crafterhours. “All fabric needs to be protected from UV exposure and moisture,” she says, which makes a climate-controlled unit the perfect fit for storing extra fabric or finished sewing projects. Yates also suggests clear plastic bins to seal out dust and moisture in storage.

Crafting equipment, like sewing machines, can use a little TLC (that is, tender loving climate control) as well. “Sewing machines have belts inside that can shrink and expand with extreme [temperatures], so a relatively even temp is helpful,” Yates says.

Wood. Leather. Special Collections. Keep them safe.


When you’re swapping out summer dresses for sweaters or storing a wedding gown, climate-controlled storage can keep your clothes in good shape. After you’ve cleaned everything thoroughly—a step in clothing storage that Jeff Ley, Sales Manager at STORExpress in Pittsburgh, Pa., says shouldn’t be skipped—it’s important to maintain the humidity levels inside your unit.

The last thing you want is mold and mildew finding their way to your clothing in storage, especially if they’ll be sitting unattended for several months. Using plastic storage bins over cardboard boxes also prevents moisture from reaching your clothing, but Ley says that climate control is the best option for keeping fabrics dry.


Nora Ashcraft Muccino, manager at Ashcraft Self Storage & Truck Rental in Monongahela, Penn., recommends storage units for businesses that have a lot of documents to file and store, like real estate agencies.

With file storage, it doesn’t matter whether you’re storing files in boxes or file cabinets. Muccino says a climate-controlled unit is the only thing standing between humidity and documents, which will fade, discolor, or dissolve with exposure to moisture.

Muccino says climate control is good for any business storing inventory as well. That’s because it’s crucial to uphold the quality of the items your business intends to sell, and the easiest way to do that is to utilize a climate-controlled unit.


When storing photos, climate control is a must. Lenorah Durel, owner of Elmwood Self Storage in Harahan, La., stresses using climate control, saying “a climate-controlled storage facility and the use of boxes or albums that have passed the Photographic Activity Test (PAT) will help to ensure your memories are preserved.”

Also, if temperatures get too high in an area where photos are stacked on top of one another, the prints can blend together and deteriorate. That’s why Michelle Schmidt, owner of Michelle’s Portrait Design Studio in Plymouth, Minn., says to store photos facing away from each other, even in albums.


Storing ElectronicsFrom TVs and computers to recording equipment, you might be filling your storage unit with some expensive electronics. With climate control, you can reduce the chance of damage to your electronics while they sit in storage.

Blake Hall, manager of Cherry Hills Storage in Omaha, Neb., recommends climate control for TVs, especially when they’re being stored in areas prone to major temperature shifts. The screens and internal components of plasma TVs in particular don’t do well with temperatures on the extreme ends of the thermometer.

But it’s not just drastic temperature changes that can damage electronics. Taylor Morken, Marketing Director for UniqueSquared, calls humidity “the enemy of any piece of professional audio gear,” which makes a good case for climate control.

Choosing to store electronics in a standard storage unit may work for a short time, but over time, the moisture that accumulates as a result of rising humidity levels can have the same effect as a direct water spill. Internal parts can rust, and wiring can break completely.

While these are only ten groups of items that need climate control, the truth is that climate-controlled storage is beneficial for almost all self storage ventures. Though more necessary in some cases than others, a quick chat with a storage facility operator will help you determine exactly what kind of storage is right for you.

Infographic explaining why 10 common items require climate-controlled storage.

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  1. Climate control storage unit is essential to keep your all things safe for the long time, Thanks for sharing this essential information, yes all the items that you mentioned are temperature fluctuations and humidity sensitive.I was facing the issue of moisture problem in my album, So I think this is the best solution to to safe my album & cherish my memories of friends and family forever

  2. These items are so sensitive that one can’t do compromise with them when thinking to move from one place to another. Climate Controlled Storage is the best solution one can consider for the sake of their household items that are derived from hard earned work.

  3. Stephanie, this is quite an interesting article that you wrote about certain furnitures and items that are to be climate-controlled. Are there any climate-controlled storage units that would allow me to control the temperature the unit itself? So far, the only way to control the temperature in my unit is to just open the door or bring in a heater.

  4. Great post,

    It’s important to highlight the items, which you wouldn’t assume need to be maintained in a controlled temperature container. Businesses involved in packaging should always choose distribution containers, which are appropriate for the product they sell.

  5. Thanks for this article… This will be really helpful for those who are in trouble while trying to save their furnture..betalife is also a big store in Auckland which provide their customers all types of furniture goods…

  6. I’m glad that you talked about artwork being something that needs to be in a climate controlled storage unit. My wife and I are getting ready to put some things into storage, and we’ve been trying to decide whether we want it heated or not. I’m going to have to see if we can find some heated storage because of the artwork we’re planning on putting there, just to keep it safe!

  7. Thanks for sharing this blog. Nice piece of information. I would like to share what my experience where i stored mt items as my friend suggested.

    I am sharing some things which are very important in climate control.
    Security must.
    Security Cameras
    Customer Shipping

    All I found in ( ) And the best thing is there are both units available climate as well non climate units.

  8. I didn’t know that wood could crack or warp if it was exposed to an adverse amount of moisture or things like that. Having good storage would be really important to keep the wood looking nice then. I’ll have to remember this if we ever need to store our tables or chairs.

  9. If you’ve got anything that is worth anything at all, I would recommend climate controlled storage. Especially if it’s wood and other perishables. Basically you want to make sure that the atmosphere in your storage units are set at a level that best preserves your items. What matters most is if you think that the value of that item is worth preserving at the end of the day!

  10. Thank you for this amazing article, it helps and it gives a lot of important information. If you need more information about self storage’s pros and cons, just visit this amazing site that tells a lot about self storage importance.

  11. It’s good that you point out that climate-controlled units will let you control the humidity so that you can reduce the amount of damage your documents will get. I’d think that this would be really good for restaurant owners especially if they have to keep signed receipts from their customers or other important types of paperwork. They’d just need to find a good storage unit to use.

  12. Keeping organized is something that is very important to me, just this past weekend I went and reorganized the kitchen to make sure that everything was the way I wanted. I have always wondered what would happen if you keep your cleaning supplies in a location that gets hot and cold, would it crack the container or just release poisonous fumes. I’m sure the dangerous nature of doing so is why the government has regulations on how you store things.

  13. My husband and I used to play music together often, so we have a lot of woodwind and string instruments that we would like to place into storage. Your information that these instruments are especially susceptible to damage from humidity is really helpful. We’ll make sure to find a self-storage unit that offers climate control before we rent it.

  14. I’m glad you pointed out that if you plan on storing artwork in a self storage facility, you should opt for a climate controlled unit and keep the humidity at around 50%. My husband and I will be downsizing to a smaller home soon, and we’ll be using a storage unit to house some of our furniture and artwork for a while. I didn’t realize that artwork needed to be kept in a controlled environment, so thanks for letting me know!

  15. I have two questions that I am wondering if anyone might be able to answer. I am moving to a newly built facility and the unit that they have given me is on the outside wall of the climate controlled building. I wonder if I should ask for an inside unit? Also inside my unit there is a window to the outside and at first I was happy about the light coming in but now I am wondering if that might compromise the climate controll feature?


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