Thank goodness you don’t have to move a refrigerator into self storage everyday. It’s a big job that requires a little planning, but it doesn’t have to turn into a heavy-duty headache. The fridge needs a complete cleaning, careful moving and its own safe spot in a climate-controlled storage unit. There’s not an app for all that yet, but these four tips keep work to a minimum and ensure you and your refrigerator survive the project without a scratch.
1. Time and a Manual Help
Part of an efficient refrigerator’s job is maintaining a moist environment. That’s great for food storage, but it works against you once the unit’s unplugged. Without a thorough cleaning and drying, every surface becomes a petri dish for mold and mildew. It’s important to give the fridge time to air out before moving it to climate-controlled self storage. Removing the doors speeds up this process and makes it easier to clean inside and out. Now’s the time to find that owner’s manual. This little book diagrams your refrigerator’s anatomy for easy disassembly. If you can’t locate the guide, a quick online search will turn up the right manual for your model.
2. Choose Your Cleaners Carefully
Hot, soapy water is great for cleaning the exterior of your refrigerator, but the interior needs a different approach. Shelving and storage bins prefer a solution of one quart of warm water mixed with two tablespoons of baking soda. Don’t use abrasives or harsh cleaners because they scratch plastic and etch stainless steel. Put an old toothbrush to work scrubbing tight corners and door seals. When you’re ready to clean the back coils and tubing, unplug the fridge, and use a hand vacuum or soft cloth. If your refrigerator has a water and ice dispenser, don’t forget to drain the holding tank. Let your handy owner’s manual be your guide to safely disconnecting everything.
3. Move It Like a Pro
Most refrigerators weigh between 250 and 300 pounds. That’s a lot of bulk to move around, so don’t try to muscle it across any surface. Take out all the drawers and shelving, and enlist the help of a willing friend and a sturdy dolly. Tilt the fridge slightly, slide the dolly in place, and slowly set it level. It’s important to keep the tilt to a minimum because too much angling will push compressor fluids into the condenser. A refrigerator can topple over more easily than you think, so be careful with the moving process. Cover the fridge with a blanket, securely strap it to the dolly, and use a strong ramp to load it on the truck. Tie everything down, and take your time with the drive.
4. Use Smart Storage Strategies
Your refrigerator and your back deserve a self storage unit with drive-up access. The convenience of unloading at your unit’s entrance saves time and work. If you haven’t removed the fridge door yet, now’s the time. Climate-controlled self storage combats humidity, but your refrigerator stays fresher without the door, and its removal adds a layer of safety if you have kids that might visit the unit. Keep drawers from becoming dust bins by storing them upside down inside the fridge, and place hardware in plastic bags stored on the shelves. Toss a clean sheet over the refrigerator, and congratulate yourself on a big job well done.
Getting a refrigerator ready for storage is easy when you invest a little time in proper cleaning and a careful move. Kitchen duty is hard, so let your fridge relax in secure, climate-controlled self storage. You’ll both enjoy a fresh start when it’s time to retrieve your coolest appliance.