What is the best way to store items long term?
Our horse “stuff” that we accumulate over time sometimes does just that - accumulate. Some of us have small collections of stuff, and we know that your horse can typically only wear one saddle pad, bit, or saddle at a time. What is the best way to store all that stuff that we want to preserve, are not using right now, or needs it’s very own tack layup? In general, you want to do a few things with your horse items that are not being used for a long time:
- Store them in climate controlled areas if possible. This is more important for leather.
- Keep away from bugs, rodents, and dogs that need new chew toys.
- Contain them or cover them, top and bottom.
- Set a reminder to check on things periodically.
- Consider framing or displaying your valuable show pieces. Prizes and memorabilia are easily box framed.
Let’s look at some things individually, too.
For cotton goods and other fabrics you can’t beat storage containers or those bags that shrink when you vacuum the air out of them. First step is to make sure everything is hair free and dirt free, then thoroughly dried. I’m a bit over the top sometimes, so I like to also perfectly fold things, use containers with snapping lids, and then label the container so I know what’s in it.
Blankets and other sheets are put into vacuum bags to save space and keep bugs and rodents away.
For leather, prevention of damage is key. Before I store any leather, I clean, condition, and oil it. I also do this every few months to prevent drying out, cracking, etc. Thank goodness for smart phones that can remind you...otherwise “out of sight, out of mind” takes over!
I like to store all leather totally wrapped up. Many folks have saddle covers that can zip up and totally enclose a saddle, these are great! Other saddle coves only cover the top, in which case a sheet or towel can be used to wrap the underside. Bridles, martingales, reins and miscellaneous leather pieces are easily stored in bridle bags or in smaller storage containers. Dust can be drying! For your leather goods, it’s ideal to keep them in a climate controlled area, so that you are not too damp or too dry, not to mention the temperature extremes that can happen. It’s not such a worry with tack we use daily, as we are cleaning and inspecting that after every daily use. (We are, right?)
Sometimes, your trailer is the only place available to store leather goods long term, in which case I would say that you can “unpack” and clean/condition your items more frequently. Depending on your climate, this may be weekly! For tips on storing stuff in your trailer, read this doozy.
For your grooming equipment like brushes, curry combs, and other tools, you can easily store them in sealed containers after a thorough cleaning and drying.
Other grooming products like fly sprays, hoof dressings, etc. sometimes leak, ooze, or separate into layers. While it’s certainly worth trying to store these things, it is definitely best to store them in something that you don’t mind getting oozy or sticky. You could even wrap them individually in freezer bags to protect your larger container. While some grooming products won’t have an expiration date, the label may specify ideal storage temps or what to do if layers start to separate.
How have you successfully stored horse items long term?