It is important that you keep your storage unit organized and clutter-free, whether you are using self-storage short term or long term. Putting some thought into how you pack your storage unit now will save you the stress of sorting through a mess when you need certain items. Below are some good packing and storage tips from The Storage Mall.
Prep Your Storage Unit
You will want to take a few extra steps before moving into your unit to make sure your belongings are safe from mildew and pests.
Clean the Unit Thoroughly
Facilities that maintain clean units are the ones you should partner with, however, it does not hurt to go the extra mile to ensure your belongings are stored in a dry, clean space. Sweep the unit to remove all dust and dirt from the floor. Check the walls, corners, and ceilings for any cracks or leaks. Alert the storage facility of any issues that you do find.
To add extra storage space to your unit put up freestanding shelving units. Shelves will allow you to use the full height of your self-storage unit and will make accessing boxes easier.
Plastic is Best
Investing in plastic storage bins is more expensive than cardboard boxes but will make your life less complicated in the long run. If you use clear plastic bins you can easily see inside them and quickly identify contents. Plastic bins last longer and are more stable than cardboard boxes making them better for stacking. Storage boxes can also be sealed with locked lids so it becomes more difficult for dirt or pests to get in.
If not stored in the proper environment your items may become damaged. Climate-controlled units better protect your belongings from extreme conditions. If a temperature-controlled unit is unavailable you can lay a sheet of plastic or a wooden pallet in the unit to guard against moisture building under your belongings.
Packing Your Unit
Items need to be packed differently when put into self-storage to lessen the chances of damage or decay. Short or long-term storage keep these packing tips close as you get your items moved into your unit.
Often taking up a lot of space, bulky furniture can be difficult. Break down as much as possible to create more storage space in your unit. Take apart bed frames, and headboards, and remove table legs if possible. Cover furniture with old sheets, quilts, or even towels to keep dust and moisture out. Before storing any furniture make sure it is clean, when possible use a good quality wood cleaner for chairs, desks, and tables. Vacuum out any cloth items such as mattresses, couches, and chairs.
Moving clothes to self-storage is an excellent home hack! If you are running out of closet space or have seasonal items you only need certain months of the year a storage unit is something to utilize. Consider storing more expensive clothes like suits or dresses in garment bags hung on a rolling garment cart. Fold or roll clothes and loosely place them in sealed containers, boxes, or trunks; add silica packets to prevent mold from growing on your items.
If you need to store appliances like ovens, microwaves, washing machines, dryers, or refrigerators a climate-controlled storage unit is a good place to store them. To prevent freezing or mold growing remove and drain all water from the hoses and tanks and make sure they are completely dry prior to storing. Leaving any refrigerator doors open slightly will improve circulation and avoid mold. You can store your grill as well by removing the propane tank and deep cleaning it.
Glassware, mirrors, dishes, and antique items, you will want to take some extra time to ensure these items are not broken in storage. Wrap these items individually in bubble wrap or newspaper and carefully arrange them in a sturdy container. These containers should go on top shelves or on top of heavier items to ensure they are not damaged.
Books can become warped, strained, and damaged by mildew, giving them an off-putting musty small. Air out your books in a dry room before packing them. You can avoid spine warping by packing your books flat. Because books can be cumbersome to move, pack books in several smaller boxes.
Organizing Your Unit
When loading your belongings into a self-storage unit rather than having no rhyme or reason follow the below steps to improve organization.
Back to Front
Items that are intended for long-term storage should be placed in the back and along the sides of the unit. Any items that you have determined you will need access to in the near future should be in the front and within reach.
Using masking tape, stickers, or a label maker create descriptive labels like “Christmas Tree Decorations.” Chances are you will need some reminders when you return to your storage unit and will not remember what box you put everything in.
Create an Inventory
Take photos of items you store and keep an organized spreadsheet so you can stay up to date as you remove or add things. When you need something you will be able to easily recall where it is in the unit.
Have a Walkway
Use the middle of your self-storage unit as a path so you can have access to the entire space. You may want to create multiple aisles if you have a larger unit. This will make items on the sides of the unit much easier to reach as well as allow for more organization if wanted or needed.
Make a Map
In addition to creating an inventory of your belongings that works for you as you move items in and out of your unit, creating a detailed outline of a map will allow you to find specific items more quickly. You can make just a simple outline of the unit with your aisle ways and label the items in stacks just like the labels we used for the outside of bins and boxes.
Utilize “Dead” Space
Rather than having extra boxes with items like books, DVDs, and documents, place them inside of dresser drawers when able. Place boxes or containers in space under desks or tables. Filling empty space around the furniture you have is a good way to see how clever you can be with your storage unit.
Avoid Stacking Boxes
Be sure if you are stacking boxes to place sturdy, heavy boxes on the bottom. Items at the bottom of stacked boxes should be lesser-used as they will be more difficult to get to. You will more than likely need to stack boxes to make the best use of your vertical space, just be aware of what is on the bottom.
We hope these unit packing tips and tricks make for a clutter-free, easy-to-use storage unit. If you are unsure what size unit you may need or would like more information on how to pack effectively, give us a call today! The Storage Mall is happy to assist with your storage needs.