Whether you're a band teacher in need of extra space for your middle school students' instruments or a member of a professional band looking for storage for instruments, music, and electronics, musical instruments are expensive, highly prized pieces of equipment. If you must put your instruments in storage, even for a short amount of time, care must be taken to avoid causing any damage to their sensitive wood and metal parts. This is where climate controlled self storage comes in handy.
What Is Climate Controlled Storage?
Climate controlled storage is an upgrade to a traditional box-style storage unit, which typically has no controls other than an on/off light switch. In a climate controlled storage unit, you can control your temperature and humidity. Each facility will have its own limitations, but most offer units that range between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with a relative humidity of anywhere from 33 to 55 percent.
A climate controlled storage unit is often 35 to 50 percent more expensive than other units, but in the case of storing instruments, it is well worth the additional cost if you make your livelihood through your music.
How Do I Prepare My Instruments For Storage?
The first step to safely storing your instruments in a climate controlled unit is determining the optimal temperature and humidity level. For example, guitars do best at or around 75 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity level of about 50 percent. Pianos, however, thrive at about 68 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity ranging between 45 and 70 percent. And woodwinds need to stay between 40 and 50 percent humidity. If the humidity is too low, the instrument can dry out; too high and it can absorb moisture and swell, causing the pieces to not fit together well.
Know what your instruments need and see if you'll be able to store them all together or if storing them in separate climate controlled units would be better. In all cases, you want to avoid sudden, large fluctuations in temperature or humidity.
Climate control can go a long way to preserving your instruments while in storage, but properly preparing the instruments can help a lot:
- Thoroughly clean your instrument of any dirt or other residue using a soft cloth. If your instrument is wood, condition the wood with paste wax.
- Completely disassemble (within reason) your instrument to clean it—remove reeds, relax the strings, etc.
- Store your instrument in the appropriate case for added protection against humidity and dust. For large instruments like a piano, use a dust cover.
- Place your instruments in the storage unit away from the door and off the floor, to avoid direct contact with the cold air and ground.
If you've taken the above steps, chances are your instrument will be safe in storage; however, it's still a good idea to insure your instrument if it is of particular value to you. Keeping a record of what instruments you have in storage is also a good idea—a simple photo and description will suffice.
When you do decide to retrieve your instrument, if it's been more than a few weeks, it's a good idea to give it another cleaning and a professional tuning before playing.
For more storage tips, contact a company like Allsafe & Storaway Self Storage.