Whether you've rented a self-storage unit to help temporarily store some furniture or other items while moving, or simply don't have the space in your home or apartment to store heirloom furniture or holiday decorations, you certainly want to keep your items in top condition while in storage. Although theft or rising rental rates may be the primary concern for many storage unit owners, do you know that your property may be at even greater risk of damage from bug or rodent infestations? And often, neither your own insurance nor the storage unit's insurance will cover these damages. Read on to learn more about how to keep your property safe from these pesky invaders.


Although the entire purpose of a self-storage unit is to store items that won't fit in your home, there's no need for clutter. Mice, rats, and most insects and spiders are drawn to dark, secluded places -- so minimizing the number of unnecessary items and neatly stacking the remaining items can ensure that pests find other refuge. Although you may need to take additional steps if you have already noticed the presence of rodents or insects, reducing the amount of clutter in your unit is a good start at tackling your pest problem.

Decluttering can also help save you money in the long run. By discarding items that are broken or no longer used, you may find that you are able to move your remaining items to a smaller (and less expensive) storage unit.

Eliminate any food sources

This may go without saying, but if you have any bulk food items in your storage unit -- including dog or cat food -- move them to another location. These provide prime feeding ground for rodents and even some insects. Animals may also be able to get sustenance from potting soil (including any remaining dirt in old flower pots) and the crumbs from old toasters and other appliances. Consider storing these items elsewhere, as well, or at least make sure they are thoroughly cleaned.

Use natural deterrents

Spraying pesticides or insecticides may be effective on insects, but can leave harmful residue on your items as well as an unpleasant odor. Most insects shy away from the scent of cedar, so you may wish to put cedar blocks or chips in strategic locations near the entrance of your unit.

Another natural deterrent to many rodents and insects is the smell of pine. You can mop the entrance of your unit with a pine-scented floor cleaner, or even use car air fresheners or other pine-scented items.

Finally, many insects find the scent of lavender unattractive. A lavender room spray or air freshener will not only make your unit smell like a summer meadow, but help steer away any moths or other destructive critters.

Set out bait and poison

If your problem is primarily rodent-related, you may wish to use rodent bait or poisons in your unit. These poisons usually work by causing internal bleeding -- a rodent who consumes bait poison will die within a few days.

However, if your unit is not climate-controlled, or if it is difficult to navigate among the stacks of items, you may prefer to use snap traps instead. This will prevent rodents from consuming poison and then dying in an area of your unit that is difficult to access.

Talk to the unit managers

If the above methods don't seem to put a dent in your pest population, it's likely that these pests are originating from (and feeding in) another storage unit. Speak to the unit manager and request that bait or poison be put in central locations. It's in the manager's financial best interest to ensure that storage units are pest-free, so you'll find that most managers are amenable to these requests. 

For additional info and tips, contact a storage facility.