Whether you’re moving house or simply trying to reduce household clutter, renting an external storage unit may be just the way to go. In order to get the most out of your storage facility, it’s important to make sure that all of your items are packed, stacked, organized, and stored as strategically as possible. Here are a few pro tips and insider tricks to point you in the right direction.
1) Choose the right size for your self-storage unit
First and foremost, you’ll want to be judicious in your size selection. Units come in a range of sizes, and while you don’t want to overspend on more space than you really need, you also don’t want to get something that’s too small for the items you wish to store.
Get a tape measure and discern the parameters of your larger items, including furniture, and be sure you pick a unit into which these items will fit. Also note that a 10×10 storage unit, which is somewhat standard, is usually enough to fit the contents of a living room and two bedrooms. This can be a useful frame of reference as you determine the size you need.
2) Make sure everything’s in a box
Next on our list of tips: Make sure everything in your storage unit is packed into a box… or at least, as much as possible. You may have some larger items, like furniture or appliances, that just won’t fit into a box, and that’s quite alright!
However, you want to avoid loose items as much as you can; unboxed items are more likely to get lost, to get dust-covered, to get damaged, or simply to get in the way. Plastic bags are generally to be avoided, as they tend to entice moisture, mold, and mildew.
And as you consider boxes for your self-storage unit, we’d recommend limiting yourself to one or two sizes, as opposed to a hodgepodge of different box types. This will make it much easier to stack and organize your belongings.
3) Stay organized while packing
We’ve already mentioned organization a couple of times, and it is indeed a key watchword for placing your stuff into storage units. A couple of our basic storage tips and tricks: First, keep a list of all the items you’re placing into your unit.
You may be surprised at just how often people misplace an item and can’t quite remember whether they put it in their self-storage unit or not. A running inventory will eliminate this problem. Additionally, make sure each box has a label on it specifying the general contents.
4) Plan your space
When it comes to maximizing the available space, we have a couple of tips and tricks to mention. The first is that you’ll want to make ample use of vertical space, which often means investing in some durable shelves. It’s also important that you pack each box to the top.
A half-full box may be lighter and easier to move, but these boxes are also much easier to collapse or topple over, especially as you stack boxes on top of one another.
Finally, note that it’s generally best to keep all boxes and stored items as accessible as possible, which means leaving aisles/paths where you can reach the things you need.
5) Prevent problems with moisture, mold, mildew, and pests
Most storage units take reasonable precautions to keep their facilities free of pests and mold/mildew issues. Still, when you store your items in a self-storage unit, some of the onus falls to you to make sure it’s a clean, moisture-free zone.
The biggest problems tend to come when you store appliances such as freezers, fridges, or washing machines. Make sure everything is completely drained and/or defrosted before placing it in your storage unit. And, make sure you leave the door to your freezer or fridge slightly ajar.
6) Use the right supplies when you pack
Tricks and tips are fine and dandy, but at the end of the day, what you really need is access to the right tools. Thankfully, this is a pretty short list. For starters, we suggest having packing tape and ensuring that each box is properly taped shut.
The main reason for this is that it helps protect your belongings from dust. Additionally, you’ll want to have some padding to protect your fragile items, such as mirrors, picture frames, and fine dishware. Bubble wrap goes a long way, but you can also just use old blankets or towels to provide that extra padding.
7) Be careful when you store your tools
If you’re packing power tools or lawn equipment into your storage space, you’ll want to adhere to a couple of important tips. First, make sure there’s no fuel left in your tools. (Indeed, the self-storage company you use probably prohibits you from storing anything with gasoline or diesel in it.) Also, it’s recommended that you rub down your tools with oil, which helps prevent them from rusting over while they’re out of use.
8) Give yourself some extra space
What do we mean when we recommend that you give yourself some extra space? Well, whenever possible, disassemble items to make them a little less cumbersome to pack.
For example, if you’re storing a table, you might consider removing the legs, which can allow you to store the table without taking up nearly as much space. You can also create extra space just by packing things in a smart, strategic way; for instance, line up mirrors and frames on their ends rather than storing them flat.
9) Know the rules and policies of your self-storage unit
A very important addition to our list of storage tips: Make sure you know the rules and general code of conduct for your self-storage area, and that you adhere to these rules as you pack. (You’ll be provided rules when you first rent the storage space, but you can always phone the company with questions.)
They will let you know about any items that you’re prohibited from storing. You’ll also want to be sure you know when the company can lock you out of your storage unit; typically, they can do this when you fall behind on your rent by quite a lot. Again, phone your storage company with any questions about specific rules or code violations.
10) Avoid nasty situations
A final note about pests: While your storage company should go to some lengths to keep their units rat-, mouse-, and bug-free, there are also some precautions you can take while packing.
One of our most hearty storage tips is that you deploy moth balls and mouse traps in strategic areas. Also, place some dryer sheets in your storage unit; believe it or not, these can serve as a deterrent for rodents, keeping your storage area free and clear of unwanted varmints.
Make the Most of Your Storage Space
Hopefully, these tips will help you to maximize the space available to you in your storage unit. And, we also hope you’ll find some good tips here to keep your items safe and well-protected, some tips to keep your storage area well-organized, and some tips to make sure everything is packed smartly and strategically.
If you have any questions about how to make use of your storage area, or about any of the specific tips we’ve listed here, reach out to us today. We’re always happy to talk to you about additional storage strategies or storage solutions.