How to Store Hand and Power Tools in Self-Storage

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A woman loading boxes into a U-Haul storage unit

Storing tools in self-storage may seem like a no-brainer given their heavy-duty construction. The truth is - most tools are still vulnerable to rust and other types of damage, so don’t overlook the importance of proper hand and power tool storage. Not only will efficient storage tactics keep your tools in great condition, it will also help you stay organized while clearing some garage or shed space at home or during a move.

Whether you’re a professional craftsman or the DIY type, these tool storage ideas will show you how to store tools in five easy steps and protect your tools over time.

1. Clean Your Tools

If you want your tools to stay in great shape while in storage, they should be in good condition on move-in day. Take the time to clean any leftover dust, oil, grease or dirt from your tools with an approved cleaning solution. Allow them to completely dry before placing them into your storage room. Also, consider spraying lubricant on metal surfaces for added protection.

2. Organize Your Tools

Maximize the space in your unit by storing your tools in an organized, thought-out manner. Just like at home, storing your tools in a tool box, work bench or cabinet in self-storage is a great way to keep everything organized. Just make sure it’s mobile and secure.

Because tools and hardware are easy to lose track of in storage, customers sometimes use stackable plastic bins to store their smaller hand tool items while in storage. This way they can account for them and know where to find them should a need arise. Long-handled garden tools can be bundled together and wrapped in a tarp. Even an empty coffee can work in a pinch for loose nails, screws, nuts, etc.

3. Prepare Power Tools for Storage

Power tools require a bit more preparation than traditional tools, as humidity and dust can damage the engine. Most importantly, use fuel stabilizer to prevent fuel from going bad if you are planning on storing long term. If you still have the original boxes, re-pack your power tools there. If not, shield your power tools from dust and moisture by using small boxes lined with a plastic liner.

4. Keep Tools Protected in Storage

In addition to protecting metal surfaces with a lubricant or protective spray, consider acquiring some plastic tarps and draping them over your tool box and storage containers to protect against dust. If you’re storing caulk, paint or other liquids, be sure they are sealed tight, then follow with a layer of Mover’s Wrap if necessary. For loosely stored hand tools, you can individually wrap each in Packing Paper or Mover’s Wrap for added preservation.

5. Choose the Right Storage Unit

Tools can be stored in both an indoor and outdoor storage unit. An outdoor storage unit is going to be more convenient as it features drive-up access. This should come in handy given that tools can be quite heavy and bulky. Not to mention, if you need to frequently access the tools, you can roll up with your vehicle, load up and go.

Keep in mind that outdoor storage units usually aren’t climate controlled, so be sure to prepare your tools for potential humidity and heat beforehand. If you are worried about humidity and heat affecting your tools, and don’t need the convenience of driving up, choose a climate controlled storage facility instead.

Ready to put your tool set in storage? U-Haul has self-storage facilities all across the county ready to accommodate everything from a simple tool box to a full service work bench. Find a U-Haul storage facility nearby and make U-Haul Your Storage Place.