How to Store for Success
Prepare Your Storage Unit
Before you begin loading your storage unit with items, you’ll want to take a few steps to ensure your belongings are kept safe from mildew, pests, and degradation until you return.
Climate Controlled Storage
Sensitive items may become damaged if not stored in the proper environment. Rent a climate-controlled storage unit to better protect your belongings from extreme conditions. If the storage unit isn’t temperature-controlled or for extra protection, lay down a sheet of heavy-duty plastic, a tarp or a wooden pallet to guard against moisture building below your things.
Clean Unit Thoroughly
Sweep the unit to remove all dust and dirt from the floor, then mop or scrub the floor with an all-purpose cleaner. Check the walls, corners, and ceilings for cracks or leaks. If you find any, alert the storage facility of the issue.
Add glue traps and poison around the perimeter of unit to help minimize bugs and mice.
Add extra storage space to your unit by putting up freestanding shelving units. Shelves allow you to use the full height of your self-storage unit to your advantage, and it makes accessing boxes and items easier.
Invest in Plastic Storage Bins
Cardboard boxes are less expensive and will get the job done, but clear plastic storage bins will make your life less complicated in the long run. It’s easier to see inside them and quickly identify their contents. They also last longer and are more stable than cardboard boxes, making them better for stacking. Plus, they can be sealed with locked lids, so it’s more difficult for pests and dirt to get in.
Pack Your Storage Unit
Different types of items need to be packed differently when put into selfstorage to lessen the likelihood of damage or decay.
Furniture is often bulky and takes up a lot of room, so break it down as much as possible to create extra storage space. Take apart headboards, bed frames, and mattresses. Remove table legs and store the table tops vertically. Cover all furniture with old sheets, quilts, or towels to keep out dirt, dust, and moisture. Before you store furniture in your unit, clean items thoroughly.
Start by making a backup file of the information you have on any computer, laptop, or phone you put into storage. Remove all cords and cables from your electronic devices and enclose them in separate waterproof bags. Cover electronic equipment with sheets to keep out dust and dirt.
Fold or roll clothes and loosely place them in sealed plastic containers, trunks, or boxes. Add silica packets or oxygen absorbers to prevent mold growth. Consider storing more expensive clothes like suits or elegant dresses in garment bags hung on a rolling garment cart.
Remove and drain the water from all hoses and tanks to prevent freezing or mold growth. Spray all appliances for pests and ensure they’re completely dry before storing. Leave refrigerator doors slightly ajar by wedging an object in between the door and the compartment frame to improve circulation and avoid mold. Also, deep clean your grill and remove the propane tank before putting it in a storage unit during the winter months.
If you’re storing glassware, mirrors, dishes, or antique items wrap them individually in bubble wrap or old newspapers and carefully in a plastic container. Store these containers on shelves or on top of heavier items to ensure they’re not crushed from above.
Air out your books in a dry room before packing them, then wrap them in acidfree archival paper. Avoid spine warping by packing books flat, not with the spine or binding pointing up. And because collections of books can be heavy and cumbersome to move, pack books in several smaller boxes rather than a few larger ones.
Organize Your Storage Unit
All too often, belongings are loaded into a self-storage unit without much rhyme or reason, making it nearly impossible to find items when you need them. Keep these tips in mind to improve storage unit organization.
Prioritize What’s in Front
Determine which items you’ll need access to soon and put them in the front, where you can easily reach them. Items intended for long-term storage should be placed in the back or along the sides of your storage unit.
Utilize Furniture “Dead” Space
Create extra space by filling drawers, dressers, and cabinets with books, DVDs, documents, and other small items. Place items in the space underneath tables and desks.
Use Descriptive Labels
As much as you think you’ll remember what box you put everything in, chances are you’ll need some reminders when you return to your storage unit. Use masking tape or stickers to create descriptive labels to quickly locate what you’re looking for.
Create a path down the middle of your self-storage unit so you have access to the whole space. If you have a large unit, create multiple aisles.
Create an Inventory
Keep a detailed record of not only what you put in your storage unit, but where you placed it. When you need something, you’ll easily be able to recall where it’s at. Take photos of everything you store and keep an organized spreadsheet so you can stay up to date as you add and remove your belongings from the unit.
Make a Map
In addition to creating an inventory, make a map that details exactly where everything is stored.