For storage tips, social & more:

Winter Weather and Storage in Chicago

Chicago isn't called the Windy City for nothing. In wintertime, wind gusts off of Lake Michigan can take Chicago cold to a new level. The city's lowest temperature ever was a startling -27 degrees back in 1985, which says something about just how cold this town can get.1 When the temperature drops, people think about getting inside, warming up, and forgetting the chill.

However, it's important to remember the belongings you're keeping out in the cold. If you have anything in storage, you need to bear in mind the conditions of the storage facility. What effect will the dropping temperatures and icy snow have on your stored items?

Management

Winter brings a whole host of questions about cold-weather storage in Chicago. Pipes can regularly freeze in the winter, and snow and ice build-up can cause heating problems, roof and wall damage, and even structural collapses. Are your stored belongings in a safe building? Is the management prepared to do wintertime maintenance on the property and keep you informed if there are any problems? When renting a storage place, be sure to ask these questions.

The Storage Space

No matter what time of year you rent your space, consider the conditions likely to occur at other times of the year. A ray of sunlight or two peeking through a damaged roof in the summer might not seem like a big deal, but remember that when winter comes, those tiny cracks could signal snow build-up and water damage.

The common-sense approach is to take a quick inventory of what you are storing. Is anything going to be affected by exposure to low temperatures? As you make your decision, keep the following concerns in mind:

  • Electronics - Cold temperatures will sap the batteries very quickly. However, electronics generally won't suffer any long-term damage as long as they're kept dry.2
  • Liquids - Did you tuck your Chicago commemorative water globe away in a box? What about any toys or novelties that have liquid in them? It's important to remember that anything liquid - even some chemicals - will freeze in winter temperatures. Be sure to remove freeze-risk items before winter or ensure that the space is properly insulated.
  • Vehicles - A vehicle in long-term winter storage is almost certain to have a dead battery by the time spring comes. As mentioned, some chemicals can freeze, so be sure to check that chemicals have not burst their compartments under the hood (or in the trunk if you carry extra liquids). Tires go flat when exposed to prolonged cold air, so be ready to inflate them before you take the car out of storage.
  • Fragile Items - If there is anything breakable or delicate in your space, be sure to bundle it up well and make sure it's well-situated for a long winter. Cold air can make glass or other items more brittle and prone to break.

What to Expect from a Chicago Winter

Chicago winters are hard to predict. In 2011-2012, only 19.8 inches of snow were recorded. However, the four winters prior to that saw more than 52 inches of snow each year. January is typically the coldest month of the year in Chicago, with lows averaging about 16.5 degrees.3 December, February and March all see temperatures below freezing, but the rest of the year stays above 32 degrees.4

What This Means for You

It's best to be on the safe side and realize that in the Windy City, winter is going to get very chilly. As a storage renter, the following answers to the following questions are important to bear in mind:

  • What am I storing?
  • Is any of it at high risk for damage or destruction in cold weather?
  • Is my storage space ready for winter?
  • If anything unfortunate does occur, what is the next step?

If you're planning on storing anything through the cold months, be sure to use heated storage in Chicago that has the means to protect your belongings from damage.

1 National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office. http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lot/?n=chi_records

2 Popular Mechanics. "Does Cold Weather Injure Cell Phones?" http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/how-to/gadgets/4337496

3 National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office. "January Normals for Chicago for Temperature, Precipitation and Snowfall," http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lot/?n=jannorms-ord

4 National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office. "February Normals for Chicago for Temperature, Precipitation and Snowfall," http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lot/?n=febnorms-ord

Save 50% or more on storage rental

Get a great deal on any new storage rental in Chicago at Uncle Bob's. Rent month-to-month with no long term obligation. Storage sizes start at 25 sq. feet to fit any need - Find one now!


Free Truck Rental with any storage rental

Are you a do-it-yourself mover? We offer our moving truck rental free of charge for new storage customers - it makes moving a snap. Learn more about Chicago truck rental.


More About Storage In Chicago
Photo: Storing Items during Chicago's Balmy Summer Months Storing Items during Chicago's Balmy Summer Months

Understanding weather patterns and their potential impact as well as using a few common sense packing and storing tips will help keep your items safe during even the warmest summer months. This will also go a long way toward keeping you calm, cool and collected about your belongings in case severe weather is predicted.

Photo: Things To Do In and Around Chicago: A Neighborhood Guide Things To Do In and Around Chicago: A Neighborhood Guide

The Big Onion, the White City, Chi-Town, the Windy City and New York Done Right are just a few of the names Chicago goes by. Like its many names, Chicago is a city of many neighborhoods, each with its own particular feel. Some are perfect for college students on the prowl for a night on the town; others are ideal for a young family just starting out. One thing is for sure, there is something for everyone in Chicago.

Photo: Organizing Tips: How to Get Ready for Houseguests in Chicago Organizing Tips: How to Get Ready for Houseguests in Chicago

Whether you live alone or in a crowded house filled with family, there are times when you must open your home to houseguests for an extended time. From a college-aged child home for a year-long break, to an old friend looking to relocate to Chicago, extended-stay guests offer the perfect opportunity to get organized, declutter and store unneeded items.

Photo: Smart Storage Solutions for Students: Think Beyond the School Year Smart Storage Solutions for Students: Think Beyond the School Year

Just when you finally figured out how to organize your dorm room, winter comes along and you need room for your hockey gear. Or you get picked for a coveted overseas study program and have no idea where to keep your stuff. Whether you are headed home for the summer from University of Chicago or looking for more space in your DePaul dorm room, finding a self storage unit just makes sense.

Photo: Chicago's Finest Suburbs: A Brief History Chicago's Finest Suburbs: A Brief History

In 1674, Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet, with the help of local Native Americans, discovered greater Chicago. More than 100 years later, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable founded the first permanent settlement, capitalizing on the geography; it was the ideal location for a trading settlement, situated directly on Lake Michigan, which is connected to the Mississippi River by the Chicago River. Little did he know that, less than a century after the settlement was founded, Chicago would be home to more than 300,000 residents.