Making sure you get the right gifts for your loved ones and keeping the snow from piling up in your driveway aren't your only winter worries. If you have placed your belongings in a self-storage unit, you may need to stop by and take a few steps to protect them from the harsh cold weather. Here are two tips for ensuring your belongings remain safe and usable throughout winter.

Remove Batteries

Batteries can supply power to electronics, equipment, and other devices when you don't have access to an outlet. However, they are sensitive to extreme temperature swings. Cold weather can make batteries less powerful—which is why cars often have the most trouble starting on very cold days—but can also destroy them because of an accumulation of condensation and freezing.

These batteries may also damage the items they're sitting in, so it's best to remove them from those devices and store them in a warmer area. Alternatively, you can move your belongings to a climate controlled unit that will keep the space at an acceptable temperature throughout the cold months that will minimize damage to the batteries and your stuff.

Insulate Temperature Sensitive Items

Another thing you can do to protect your temperature sensitive items, such as computers and stringed instruments—is to insulate them. This is easily done by putting them in boxes filled with packing peanuts or wrapping in blankets. In addition to minimizing the effects of the cold weather itself, the packing materials will prevent water damage by absorbing condensation.

Be careful to choose the right packing materials, however. If you're using packing peanuts, get ones made from polystyrene. Although packing peanuts made from cornstarch are more environmentally friendly, they dissolve in water. Since condensation is a major winter issue, cornstarch peanuts may make things worse by melting after coming into contact with the moisture and glomming onto your belongings.

You should also be careful with the type of coverings you use if you choose blankets. Avoid using plastic or vinyl tarps, as these can trap moisture leading to water damage. Instead, use wool or cotton blankets that will absorb the condensation. If you must use plastic or vinyl, add a few packets of desiccant to the box, which will also absorb any moisture that forms on your stuff.

For more tips on protecting your belongings during winter or to move your stuff to a temperature controlled unit, contact a local storage facility.