When you lock your belongings in a self-storage unit, you expect them to stay safe while they're out of your sight. You may never encounter a problem with mice in your unit, but they could be a concern. Just like mice can get in your home, even if you keep a clean house, mice might get inside a storage unit. Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep from attracting rodents. Here are some tips.

Avoid Cardboard Boxes

Mice can chew through cardboard boxes with ease. If your things are in storage over the winter, a cardboard box filled with clothes might be a perfect nesting place for tiny mice if they can squeeze inside the storage unit. If you keep things sealed in plastic totes or metal garbage cans, mice won't be able to gnaw on the metal or plastic, so your items will stay safer. Plus, you could keep other pests, such as spiders, out when you store your stuff in sturdier containers. 

Don't Store Food

Your storage facility probably prohibits storing food in your unit because of the risk of it drawing bugs and mice. Storing food in cans or sealing boxed food inside metal trashcans might be acceptable. You still don't want to store anything perishable in a storage unit because of the fluctuations in temperature and humidity that would cause produce to go bad much quicker. Plus, if mice can smell the food inside through a small crack, they may gnaw until they can get in the unit and then settle in and destroy your things.

Don't Store Dirty Items

In addition to food odors, mice could be attracted to other odors coming from your belongings. Make sure everything you put in your storage unit is clean and dry so there are no odors of food, grass, soil, or anything else that might interest mice. Mice will invade a clean storage unit too, but if you keep the space clean, tidy, and smelling fresh, mice may be less likely to get inside or stay inside.

Use Natural Repellents

You might try freshening the air with peppermint oil spray or cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil. The oil makes your unit smell nice, and the strong scent of peppermint may drive away mice. Since you don't want to kill mice in your unit and permeate everything with a foul odor, using repellents like peppermint oil might be a good idea.

Check Your Unit Regularly

If you live near the storage unit, drop in and check on your things periodically. If you see gnawing or droppings, take quick action to eliminate the mice and figure out how they got in. If you suspect mice have been in the unit, you may want to stop by daily until the problem is under control.

It's better to take preventative steps than it is to deal with an infestation and the damage it can cause. Contact local storage unit services to learn more about safeguarding your belongings against pests.