If you enjoy fine art, you’ve likely visited an art museum. Have you ever wondered why art museums never feel too warm or too cold?

It’s because artwork needs protection from temperature and humidity extremes. Generally, museums follow the 50/70 rule—50% relative humidity (RH) and 70°F.

If you own fine art, you strive to control the temperature and humidity in your home. What about when you need to store your artwork?

Art enthusiasts often store their fine art pieces in climate-controlled storage units.

Most people own other things that require special care when in storage but end up making several storage mistakes. This article covers what items need climate control to protect against damage. 


It might surprise you that some types of furniture aren’t safe unless stored in a climate-controlled environment. Antique wood furniture and pieces made from leather don’t do well under temperature and humidity extremes.

Antique Wooden Furniture

Exposure to the weather can damage the structure of antique wood furniture pieces. Fluctuations in temperature and excess humidity can cause the wood to warp, crack, or rot.

Leather Furniture

As strong as it is for furniture making, leather is sensitive to changes in humidity. Humidity fluctuations can cause leather upholstery to shrink, thin out, and warp.

You may also notice discoloration or mold development on leather furniture that sits in non-climate-controlled storage.

Computers and Other Electronics

What do you do with your extra laptop when storing your belongings? Many people keep their computer equipment and other electronics in a regular outdoor storage unit.

While that might be fine for a few weeks, it’s not the ideal solution for long-term storage.

Small amounts of moisture can severely damage electronics by causing them to short-circuit when you turn them on after keeping them stored for a long time. Electronics can also rust, which can make them useless.

Avoid exposing any of the following items to moisture buildup:

  • Computers and computer parts
  • Televisions
  • DVD players
  • Printers and scanners
  • Gaming consoles
  • Video cameras
  • Digital cameras
  • Stereo equipment 

A climate-controlled storage unit is also essential for DVDs, CDs, vinyl records, cassettes, and software.

Clothing and Fabric

If you watch one of the popular reality shows that take place at storage facilities, you’ve probably noticed a lot of people store clothing. At least clothes seem to show up in many abandoned storage units.

Some clothes can take being stored in a regular unit for a short period. However, you should wash, dry, and fold them before storing them.

If you plan to store for several weeks or months, remember that many fabrics attract pests—you don’t want to make life too easy for moths and rodents.

The best thing you can do to protect clothing is to store it in a unit where temperature and humidity fluctuations aren’t an issue. Climate-controlled storage units work well for any fabric, but they’re particularly useful for storing wedding dresses, heirloom fabrics, baby clothes, and antique quilts.

Documents and Books

Attics, basements, and garages often hold boxes of newspapers, magazines, and books. Heat, humidity, and light can cause discoloration on anything made of paper. Bugs also love paper.

Silverfish and moths will devour essential documents and books. Silverfish typically live around drains and other dark, damp areas.

Excessive moisture can also lead to mold and mildew development on paper items. It’s best to keep old photographs, sentimental artwork, educational degrees, newspaper clippings, and books in a climate-controlled environment.

Old Photographs

Old photographs and photo albums often end up in the darkest, most humid part of a building—the attic or the basement.

Climate control is essential for photo storage.

If you don’t put photos in acid-free albums, heat can cause the images to deteriorate. It’s not uncommon to open a box of old photographs stored in a damp area and discover that they’re all stuck together. Heat can also cause pictures to fade.

Canned Food 

You may have noticed more bugs if you usually keep food, including pet food, in your basement or garage. Storing food in either place is like sending out a dinner invite to pests.

Most people know not to keep boxed or bagged food products in a storage unit. But what about canned food?

Temperature changes and excessive humidity can affect canned food too. Temperatures over 100 degrees may cause spoilage. If you let canned goods sit in temperatures above 75 degrees for a long time, you may lose nutrient values.

If you must store non-perishable food items, climate control storage is advised.

Musical Instruments

Guitar players know it’s terrible to store their instruments in an environment with fluctuating temperatures or humidity levels.

When humidity is too high, the wood can swell, leading to a condition called wet guitar. Low humidity may cause the wood to crack.

Other musical instruments can suffer damage, too, including corrosion and bacteria growth. 

While you might expect a small number of bacteria to live on the mouthpiece of an instrument, if you clean it every time you play, you should kill the bacteria. 

When bacteria have time to grow—as they do during long-term storage in a humid place—whoever picks up a contaminated instrument and plays it may contract a severe illness.

Recreational Equipment

Camping gear should be fine in a regular storage unit, right? You might assume that’s true because camping often includes time spent in extreme temperatures and humidity.

If you check the labels of tents, sleeping bags, and backpacks, you’ll likely find a list of materials that fade and deteriorate if you don’t store these items correctly.

Other recreational gear vulnerable to temperature and humidity extremes include:

  • Snowboards & Skis
  • Kayaks
  • Paddleboards
  • Bicycles

Don’t forget about kayaks! Heat and UV rays can ruin kayaks if you store them outside.

A climate-controlled storage unit will protect your recreational equipment so that you’re always ready to hit the slopes or the trails.

Need More Information About Climate-Controlled Storage Units?

You’ll want to take special care to ensure you’re storing your belongings in a place free from temperature and humidity fluctuations. Climate-controlled storage units help protect all the items mentioned in this article and more.

Tri-Star Storage in Mt. Juliet offers storage units that are climate controlled. We provide 24-hour access and security as well. 

Contact our team today for more information on storage solutions that fit your needs and budget.