Do you know how to keep mice and bugs out of a storage unit? We do. Follow these tips to learn how to pest proof and rodent proof storage units.

keeping mice and bugs out of a storage unit

Rodent proof storage is the goal of all our customers whether they realize it or not. However, sometimes the things we inadvertently do while packing items into a storage unit can attract unwanted pests. Before we know it, an infestation can occur and reoccur. It’s vital that everyone learn how to keep pests and rodents out of storage units whenever possible.

Before you purchase a ton of traps and poison, try some other methods to keep unwanted critters out. In most cases, a little preparation goes a long way in keeping your items clean and safe.

The best way to keep rats and other vermin out of storage is by making sure you follow all the steps listed below. By removing food, storing items correctly, and picking the right facility, it’s highly unlikely you’ll have an issue.

  1. Pack items in plastic totes with airtight lids.

how to keep rats and cockroaches out of a storage unit

The most effective way to keep pests out of your belongings is by packing them in well-sealed containers. Plastic containers are best, especially for linens, fabrics and clothing.

We recommend buying new cardboard boxes for storage. New boxes will be stronger and are less likely to have gaps or punctures that pests could enter, plus they are manufactured with added strength to withstand stacking for long periods of time.

If you’re using moving boxes you can get for free, at least be sure to avoid using free cardboard boxes from grocery stores or restaurants. These have been known to attract unwanted pests.

Read Also: Choosing the Right Boxes for Storage and Organizing

  1. Do not store food inside a storage unit.

how to keep rodents out of a storage unit

This tip might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people make the mistake of keeping food items inside storage. If you’re moving in a hurry, don’t leave your entire pantry inside a storage unit expecting no rodent to take notice.

Look for food where you might not have intended to leave it.  Vacuum or clean out furniture beneath the cushions. Check kitchen storage containers, pots and pans for any crumbs or residual food on the surfaces.

This step goes beyond obvious storing of food. Make sure that the surrounding unit is broom swept and no crumbs are leftover from previous tenants or a lunch you ate in there on moving day. Also, try not to eat inside your unit at all. The lingering smell can be a major attraction for unwanted creatures.

  1. Keep items raised a couple of inches off the ground.

how to rodent proof a storage unit

While bugs and rodents can crawl, it is helpful to keep your items elevated off the ground. One easy way to do this is by using open shelving or placing clean pallets on the ground.

Not only will this step help deter pests from making a home in your boxes, but it will also protect your belongings from moisture.

  1. Cover mattresses and upholstered furniture.

how to prevent bed bugs in a storage unit

The most common way that bed bugs get in storage units is through mattresses. Make sure any mattress you keep in storage is free of insects before storage. To prevent them from coming in, use a plastic mattress cover that is specifically designed for keeping pests out.

Bugs can burrow into any upholstered furniture and rodents will chew through it. Make sure anything that has fabric is covered in some way. Take a moment to make sure furniture is covered correctly.

  • Some items can be covered in plastic, like mattresses or non-upholstered furniture. Check out our guides for storing mattresses and storing furniture for in-depth directions on storing both.
  • Use breathable material for couches and fabric-covered chairs.

Remember that you want to keep pests out, but you also want your items to breathe. Wrapping furniture too tightly in plastic or cloth can cause moisture build-up underneath and ruin your furniture that way.

  1. Use natural pest deterrents.

how to keep mice and pests out of a storage unit

As many sports fans would agree, sometimes the best defense is a good offense. But this doesn’t mean you need to come equipped with tons of poison and traps.

Check with your storage facility before using any type of bug spray, chemical or commercial deterrent. Reputable storage facilities employ routine professional pest control services. Their methods are effective and, more importantly, consider the safety of people.

Deterrents like moth balls might seem harmless, but the smell can ruin clothing and furniture, not only in your storage unit but also neighboring units. There are other things you can do to prevent pests naturally.

How to keep mice and pests out of a storage unit:

  • Keep the area clean, and broom swept.
  • Eliminate unwanted odors using DampRid.
  • Put cedar blocks in a bowl on a shelf.
  • Drop lavender or peppermint essential oil on cotton balls.
  1. Visit your storage unit regularly.

Pest and rodent infestations are easiest to remedy when they are caught and addressed promptly.

We recommend visiting your storage unit every other month or so. Every time you visit your storage unit, make sure you inspect for any signs of rodent or pest damage. Look for new holes, rodent droppings or the presence of bugs.

If you notice any of these things, contact management immediately. Make sure that the company inspects the problem and fixes it promptly.

  1. Choose a storage facility that cares about pest control.

Are storage units secure - Make sure your self-storage facility takes good care of their facility grounds.

One of the most critical choices you can make in regards to pest control is the facility. Sometimes there isn’t much you can do to prevent pests if the storage unit has been poorly taken care of by management.

There are some red flags you should consider before renting, like if the storage doors have visible gaps or degraded seals. A well-kept facility would be much more apt to not only prevent an infestation but to address it promptly if one were to occur.

When picking a storage facility, consider the following:

  • Make sure the facilities have well-kept landscaping.
  • Ask if the company engages pest control services monthly or quarterly.
  • Inspect the borders of the storage facility to see if it is free of trash.
  • See if the doors and access areas are kept in good condition.
  • Inspect garbage areas for concealed trash that is removed weekly.
  1. Make sure your insurance policy covers damage from rodents or pests.

how to prevent mice in a storage unit

Even the most well-kept storage facility will have an occasional problem with pests when tenants unknowingly bring mice and insects into their unit.

If an infestation happens, your most significant line of defense is going to be a comprehensive insurance policy. Many storage facilities will require you to have stored property tenant insurance, but not every policy is going to cover a rodent or pest infestation.

On top of acquiring the proper insurance, make sure you always have an accurate inventory of what is inside your storage unit. In the event there is damage, this will make the replacement process much easier and less stressful. We hope these tips helped shed some light on how to maintain pest proof and rodent proof storage.

About the Author

Lauren Thomann

Lauren Thomann has written about self storage and moving since 2015, making her our storage expert. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and Linguistics and has published over 150 articles on moving, storage, and home organization. She is also a contributing writer at and Martha Stewart.

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