When thinking about storage systems and customized closet design, the impact of climate conditions on stored items can often be overlooked. If the goal is to both protect and organize, some thought needs to be given to issues such as temperature, humidity, sunlight, ventilation, and the types of containers used to provide the best protection. Consider these subtropical climate storage tips to keep your treasured belongings in top condition.


Extreme temperatures can affect many things detrimentally.

A closet without adequate ventilation, which lacks sufficient air conditioning or ducts to refresh the closet air, can get really hot during North Carolina summers. Plastics may soften and warp. Sealed items may burst.

Extreme cold has other risks. A pipe running through a closet wall that is on the perimeter of the building may freeze and burst. The water damage may destroy items in a closet.

Some items, like fine wine, do better when stored in narrow temperature ranges, avoiding extremes. Properly planning for temperature variations and monitoring the storage conditions may help prevent these problems.

Custom wall unit with fridge.


Humidity may be great for storing cigars in a humidor, but it can wreak havoc on dried goods, paper (books), and delicate fabrics. High humidity sets up the perfect conditions for forming mildew and potentially-toxic black mold.

Open a book stored for a while in a garage without any climate control, and you may see black mildew defacing the pages. It’s a pity when, after many years, you find your old high school yearbook and the pages are covered with this ugly mold.

Using containers can help control humidity, and in North Carolina a de-humidifier is good to have during the hot summers.


Put plants in sunlight if they like it, but don’t let the sun blast through the windows to fall on items that can fade, such as delicate fabrics, leather products, or painted objects. The temperature may be fine and stay within a good range; however, UV light can still do damage. Those who get sunburned even on a cool, cloudy day know that UV light can damage without needing heat.

UV protection includes keeping delicate items away from windows, or choosing shades that block UV rays. Some items may even do better in fully closed cabinets or drawers, out of any kind of light.

Enclosed custom storage.

Ventilation vs. Airtight Solutions

While airtight containers are often excellent for storage, some items require more airflow. When a moist item is stored in an airtight container, the lack of ventilation may cause mold and mildew to grow. The item may need to be stored in an area with proper ventilation and sufficient air circulation to inhibit the growth of mold and mildew. Taking this need into account requires a storage solution that allows airflow. This is why having a drop zone near the door for wet towels, swimsuits, and other summer gear can be so useful.

However, if the item is already dry and the circulating air contains moisture, then using an airtight container to avoid exposure to humid air is appropriate. To maintain the dry condition, a silica gel pack may be placed inside the container along with the item.

Action Steps for Subtropical Climate Storage

Now that you understand the challenges of storing items properly to avoid damage from climate conditions, you can see why it’s important to work with a professional to ensure that your storage is optimized for the hot and humid North Carolina climate. A reputable home storage system company like Closet & Storage Concepts of Charlotte can help you determine and execute the best storage options. Call or fill out a form today for a free in-home consultation with the experts!

Photo credit: © batuhan toker