computer partsIs your computer room at work or your office at home a snarly mess of computer cables, extra motherboards and drives, keyboards, monitors and other unused computer parts? If so, you’re not alone. Especially in businesses, spare computers and computer parts tend to pile up as some employees leave and others upgrade to newer systems.


If you’ve got more computers and computer parts than you’ll ever need, you can recycle them – or better yet, salvage whatever working systems you can and donate them to a local school that’s low on funds.


However, don’t make the mistake of getting rid of potentially valuable computer systems and components and then having to fork out for new systems when new employees join your company or someone at home suddenly needs a computer for school, study or work.


Instead, save space and avoid damaging sensitive components by storing spare computers and computer parts in an affordable self-storage unit. First though, ensure that you pack all parts appropriately to protect them from damage.


How to store motherboards, drives and cards

Any computer parts that include chips or electronic circuitry are susceptible to damage as a result of electrostatic discharge (ESD). So to keep components like motherboards, spare drives, RAM and sound or graphics cards safe, you should place each of the components in an anti-static bag.


Anti-static bags are cheap and widely available. One tip is to avoid the pink, foam-like bags (which only have an antistatic coating) and purchase the slightly more expensive, metallic or grey anti-static bags instead. These provide more effective protection.


Other issues to consider when storing sensitive electronic components are moisture, temperature and susceptibility to physical damage. If the air is too humid, parts may oxidise. If it’s too dry, more ESD is likely. And many a motherboard has been broken due to a heavy item being dropped on it or a person tripping over it.


A self-storage unit is a good choice for storing these items because it’s temperature controlled. For extra protection, add a layer of foam or bubble wrap over the antistatic bag you use, and then store components in properly labelled, sealed plastic bins or even cardboard boxes. It’s also a good idea to add a silica gel packet to each bin or box, to help keep it dry.


Avoid packing electronic components on top of one another or under other items. Also never place anything metal on top of a motherboard. Otherwise, the resulting charge may short circuit the motherboard.


How to store cabling

The main issue with cabling is preventing it from ending up in a spaghetti-like tangle, which can make it near impossible to find a particular cable you need. It’s also worth noting that cable doesn’t like to be squashed under heavy items or tightly folded – this can cause kinks and damage the cabling itself.


You can store cable properly just by loosely winding each length of cable, securing it with a simple cable tie and then placing all the wound up cables in a spare wastepaper basket or bin. It can also help to add a simple label to each length of cable, to identify its purpose.


Another clever option is to save up some of the inner cardboard rolls from kitchen paper towel. Simply cut a straight line down a cardboard roll, loosely wind a length of cable and insert it in the roll for safekeeping. You can leave any plug or connection hanging out the end, and use a marker to label the roll.


How to store monitors

Like for components with electronic circuitry, it’s a good idea to protect a monitor by placing it in a large anti-static bag and providing it with some cushioning, for example with a layer of bubble wrap.


Although ESD is a concern, it’s far more common that monitors are damaged simply because people drop them. So be especially careful when moving monitors into or out of storage.


For all the spare bits and bobs that are left…

To store flash drives and memory sticks, fans, screws, ties and so on, you can use

  • clean, plastic ice-cream containers or shoe boxes, both of which are free, stackable and easy to label
  • wheeled or stackable plastic drawer units
  • plastic toolboxes with handy compartments.


XtraSpace offers affordable personal and business self-storage solutions for your spare computers and computer parts. Find your nearest branch online or get a self-storage quote.


Contact us now