When people think of storage units, they tend to envision them jam-packed with hordes of stuff.
Things are stuffed in bulging garbage bags and suitcases. Items are tucked away in boxes of every size. Stuff is overflowing out of laundry baskets. Things are haphazardly piled high on top of each another defying gravity. And well, some stuff is just scattered all over the floor.
The truth is that not all self-storage units look like they do on an episode on Storage Wars.
Some are well organized and planned so that stored belongings, either personal or business, stay protected and are easy to access.
Here are 10 ways to optimize your self-storage unit:
1. Carefully choose a reputable provider.
- When you choose a professional and reputable self-storage company, you instantly have peace of mind knowing that your belongings are safe and secure.
- You also feel safe and comfortable visiting at any time.
- This makes you much more likely to WANT to spend time at the storage facility to organize your stuff.
- Here are some tips for how to find a secure, reputable self-storage company.
2. Choose the correct size of unit.
- With the right sized unit, you will have the right amount of space for what you need to store.
- This prevents having to cram things in every nook and cranny to make everything fit, which can damage some of your items and create a danger to anyone who needs to access the storage unit.
- Having the right-sized storage unit also makes it easier to find what you need when you need it, especially when you’re using self-storage for moving, selling your house or renovating.
- If you’re a business, the perfect-sized self-storage unit means your valuable inventory does not get damaged while it waits to be displayed on your sales floor or used in your next project.
- Not sure what size storage unit you need? Use this comparable size chart to help you determine the optimal size to rent for your self storage needs.
3. Pack in a systemized manner.
- Investing the time to pack your items in your storage unit in a systemized way offers huge advantages, especially if the items you are storing are still needed and used (just stored off-site).
- When packing your storage unit, put the items that you will (or may) need access to, near the front of the unit, which makes them fast and easy to grab.
- Organize boxes and bins by room or use.
- Number each box or bin.
- Visibly label everything, even covered furniture.
- Itemize what is in each box or bin and keep a copy of that taped to the outside (and keep a copy in your own files too).
4. Use appropriate packaging.
- Use the right sized storage box for the objects you are looking to store. Check out these tips for how to pack a box.
- Consider investing in specialty boxes like dishpacks, wardrobe boxes and mirror boxes, and custom crates (perfect for artwork, collectables, delicate or bulky items).
- Bubble wrap, packing paper or plain, ink-free newspaper are great packing options to use.
- Towels & linen are perfect fillers for boxes, giving an extra cushion for breakable items.
- Old sheets are ideal for covering wood or upholstered furniture.
- If you’re storing electronics, use the original packaging that they came in, if you still have these.
- Avoid using the following:
- Plastic bags & shrink wrap – they trap in moisture and humidity and can cause mold and mildew.
- Regular Newspapers – Ink smears on other items, especially dishware, resulting in additional cleaning or damage.
- Packing Peanuts – when used to pack electronics, they can cause static electricity.
5. Use vertical space
- To fully take advantage of the height of the self-storage container use shelves.
- Stack boxes, beginning with heavy boxes on the bottom and light boxes on top.
- Store furniture on its side.
6. Deconstruct furniture when possible.
- This is a huge space saver AND also helps you protect stored furniture from accidently getting damaged when moving things in or out of storage.
- To prevent losing pieces, tape table legs or furniture feet and corresponding hardware to the undersides of the furniture.
7. Give yourself adequate space to move around.
- The best way to do this is to leave an aisle down the middle, which gives you direct access to all your stored belongings, especially if you use tips #5 and #6.
- This space also gives your personal items some room to breath and improves overall air circulation in your unit, which helps protect your belongings.
8. Map your unit.
- This makes it super easy to get what you need fast, especially if you have packed your unit in a systemized manner.
- Mapping your unit is very helpful if you access your unit often or if you are moving, selling your home or renovating and still need access to your stored items.
- Keep a copy inside your storage unit so it’s handy, helping you find what you need easily so you can be in and out quickly.
- Pro Tip – Take a picture of your packed storage unit, which can be of great help figuring out if something you need is in your unit.
9. Insure your belongings.
- Like homes and businesses, there are certain unfortunate circumstances that can occur at a self-storage facility, such as fire, flood, and other extreme conditions.
- It may surprise you to find out that personal property stored within a self-storage facility is not covered by the facility for loss or damage.
- Check out our blog post, What is Self-Storage Insurance, to learn more about insurance your stored items.
10. Pack your items in a safe way to protect you & your stored items.
- Leave space around your stored items so that you can access items easily and safely. Having to crawl on top of boxes, furniture and bags or tunnel through them can cause injury.
- Pack boxes correctly so that they can handle what is in them (heavy books, fragile items, etc.), and seal them so that they can be properly stacked.
- When stacking boxes, always pack lighter boxes on top of heavier boxes to reduce the chance that someone will be harmed (or things get damaged) if they topple over.
- Don’t crowd the unit’s door or pack items right up against any door as this poses a huge danger to you and your stored goods should your door be opened, and they fall out.
Remember that you need to use common sense and follow the law when using self-storage. Learn more about what you can’t store in self-storage.
We hope you’ve found this information, and these self-storage tips helpful! After 20+ years in business, we’re confident that these will help you get the most out of your self-storage unit and safeguard your belongings while they are out of your home or business.
Your friends in self-storage,