The Best Way to Store Your Electronics

Jon Fesmire |

Who would have known 40 years ago that within two decades, our lives would begin to center around electronics? We’re talking about computers, tablets, printers (both paper and 3D), gaming consoles, and televisions.

Yes, people spent a lot of time around the television in the early 1980s, and some of us used computers at school and work, but cellular phones were bulky, about as large as two bricks strapped together, and nearly as heavy. We had game consoles, but they were primitive and, while fun, they were tethered to the television.

Now, we all carry around an advanced computer in our pocket that connects us socially, games, entertainment, books, music, and the combined knowledge of humanity. Most of us use computers for at least some part of our jobs.

If you run a small business selling electronics, or you have some devices you need to put in storage, then you’ll want to make sure they stay in good shape. When taken care of, our devices can last for years, but in the wrong conditions, the interior components can rust, warp, and become useless. Here are our tips for storing electronics.

Get a Space with Climate Control

The first thing to know is you really should get a climate-controlled self storage space. They rent for about 30% more than standard spaces, but they’re great for keeping your stuff in the best shape possible.

Properties keep the temperature in these spaces between 50 and 80 degrees and sometimes in a tighter temperature range. The humidity stays between 30% and 50%, not too dry, and not too damp. Large heat fluctuations can cause electronic components to expand and contract. Dryness can cause parts to crack, and dampness can cause metal parts to rust.

Label and Inventory

Whether you’re storing personal or sales items, take an inventory of what you’re putting in storage. We suggest you do this for everything, including electronics. Write what parts go with each item, and when you put them in boxes, label each box, note what is in it.

If you’re doing a business inventory, note the cost you paid for each item and the price you sell it for. If it’s for personal use, note which room the item belongs in or whom it belongs to.

We also suggest you take photographs of the items. If you’re running a business, chances are you’ll have the items in their original packaging, so take pictures of the packed items. If they’re personal electronics, take pictures before you pack them. In the rare case of theft or various types of damage in storage, you can use these for insurance claims.

When you’ve finished packing everything, input the inventory information into an Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheet.

Packing Your Electronics

As mentioned, if you purchase electronics wholesale and sell them, keep them in their original boxes. If possible, return your personal electronics into their original packaging.

We don’t always keep the boxes our electronics came in. After all, those boxes take up space. If you’re not in the habit, we encourage you to do so at least for your large items, like computers, printers, and televisions. Those boxes are designed specifically for the items that came in them, with foam and cardboard shaped to hold all parts in place safely.

If you don’t have the original packaging, that’s all right. You’ll need to be especially careful to pack up your items gently.

Purchase storage boxes or sturdy plastic bins. Small-to-medium cardboard boxes are best for most electronics. The larger the box, the less sturdy it is, so bigger boxes can rip while you’re moving them, especially if packed with heavy items. Also purchase packing tape, zip ties, resealable plastic bags, bubble wrap, packing paper, and colored labels for cords.

You can generally fit many small or a few medium items in one box. Make sure the bottom is strong, and add tape across it, on the outside, several times if not. Then scrunch up some packing paper and cover the bottom interior. Wrap each small item in bubble wrap and place it inside.

Bundle cords neatly and keep them together with zip-ties. Then, wrap them in bubble wrap or put them in a resealable plastic bag. Add a label that tells what device each cord or set of cords belongs to. Use crumpled packing paper to fill in the empty space and add extra padding.

You may need to keep large items out of boxes, but just because large boxes may not be sturdy enough to protect them, that doesn't mean you can’t keep them safe. Wrap these in bubble wrap and, once in storage, in moving pads. Put them toward the back of the room somewhere sturdy and pile nothing on top of them. These types of padding are soft and should help avoid scratches.

Recycling

The thing with electronics is that many become obsolete within three to five years. Even this year’s upgrade to your phone probably has more storage space, memory, and capabilities than last year’s.

If you know you will not use old personal electronics, then recycle them. There are professional centers that handle this. In fact, some stores like Best Buy take old phones, computer parts, and more. This will save you space, and you’ll know that the rare metals and other components that make electronics work will go into new products.

To find a self storage property near you, check our extensive listings.