Knowing how to pack a self storage unit can save you time and money. Utilize the potential of the full storage unit that you choose. Avoid overpaying for a unit that is more than you need. The first step involves discussing your storage needs with a property manager. He or she will help you choose the best unit size and type for your belongings. Step two is all about using your storage unit space efficiently and safely and packing it like a pro to get the most for your money.
Organization is the key to maximizing your storage unit. Begin with a list of items that you plan to store. Next, sort the list into 3 sections:
- Items you will need access to frequently
- Items that are seasonal
- Items that you will not need access to for a long time
The list is also how to pack a self storage unit. The items you won’t need access to for a long time go in first. If possible, store these items at the bottom of the unit so you can stack essential belongings on top. Seasonal items go in the center section. Finally, the belongings you need to get to frequently go in front of the unit and are stacked on top of everything else.
Our instinct is to put the large items on the bottom. That is true if it is an item you don’t need to access for a long time. A larger item, like a soccer net, that you will need every season should be closer to the middle of you unit. You don’t want to have to move all your belongings out of the storage unit in order to access a needed larger item in your storage unit. Taking time during this step will ensure you pack properly, keep it organized and gain access to everything with ease. We suggest drawing a layout describing what is packed where inside the storage unit. Use graph paper and keep it taped to the inside wall at the front of your unit. Back-up copies of your storage layout should be kept at home or in your car as an easy reference tool.
Properly packing your boxes and totes is the second key element to obtain a well-organized storage unit. Avoid packing extremely heavy boxes. Be prepared to label at least two sides of the box or tote. Sort your belongings by commonality. For instance, Halloween decorations go in one tote and 4th of July decorations go in a separate tote. Rather than one mixed tote that simply holds decorations. As you load the storage unit, place the boxes so that the labeled sides are facing out for quick identification purposes. This will save you a lot of time when you retrieve the items you need from storage. You also want to keep like boxes together. For example, all the kitchen boxes should be together, all the clothes together and so on.
Using the right boxes is also vital to storage success. Boxes vary greatly in quality and intended purpose. Boxes used by grocery stores are designed with a short life span in mind are made to break down and soften in a very short amount of time. Items stored in grocery store boxes will feel the effects of decay. Belongings may have an unpleasant order and will most likely take on moisture. Both will lead to mildew. Plastic totes or specifically manufactured storage boxes are better tools for storing your belongings. We recommend purchasing the storage boxes we offer in our rental office. Specifically designed storage boxes are made for long-term storage and are manufactured from stronger, crush resistant material and will stand the test of time. They are also specially treated to prevent mold and mildew. The last thing you want is to come back to your storage unit months later and have all those free boxes smashed in from the weight of what is stacked on top. Or worse yet, they failed so badly that the stack has fallen over inside your storage unit and your belongings are damaged inside. If you have any questions about what to use, ask our certified self storage manager about using the right tool for the job.
Thoughtfully consider is the size of your boxes and totes. Using same size totes and boxes will make stacking and organizing the unit easier. Place small boxes and fragile items inside cabinet drawers or any open space in your furniture. The inside of appliances is also a safe place for fragile items.
Everything that is not packed inside a box should be protected with clean canvas, tarps, bubble wrap or plastic covers. Use them as dividers between your belongings, especially for anything stacked on top of furniture. This will protect the finish and material. We offer several protective covers for sale in our retail shop.
Another great tip is to keep larger items like couches and mattresses along one side of the unit or in the back corners. Without damaging the furniture, stand them on end to maximize floor space. Put a packing pad underneath to create a barrier between the furniture and the concrete floor. This helps cushion the furniture and prevents scratches. We offer plastic covers and moving blankets for sale in our retail shop inside the rental office. When you stand them up on end, you are maximizing the vertical space in your storage unit, which is often left empty because you cannot easily reach that high to access boxes. If you have a bed frame or other large furniture that can be disassembled, you should do so. Breaking them down will eliminate a lot of wasted space. It also allows you to group your belongings together in flat pieces. If you are unable to break down certain items, like wooden bookshelves, be sure to at least put them against a wall and stack boxes and totes on the shelves and on top. Stick to the rule of heavy items on the bottom shelves with the lighter ones on top to prevent the furniture from toppling over.
Don’t forget to leave walking space in your storage unit! You will need to get in there to access your stuff. Larger units can have a “U” shape aisle. Place items along the back wall, both side walls, and in the front center. Now you can walk around your entire unit and see everything with ease. Smaller units should have a galley style arrangement. Try to keep the center open like an aisle. The large over-sized units can be arranged in various ways. You can create an “A” or “M” shape aisle so you can reach everything even when your unit is 30 feet deep. Or simply create the “U” aisle with an aisle in the center of the “U”, or put two “U” aisles side by side. This helps you from having to move items to access others, or at the very least minimizes it.
Let’s review the important steps to maximize your storage unit. First, make a list of the belongings you plan to store. Compile the list by most needed to least needed. Use the list to properly place your belongings in the unit. Organize and label boxes appropriately. Utilize the best materials and tools. Finally, create an access aisle so you can get to everything you have stored.
Work smart not hard. Even if it seems like too large a task to tackle, you will be thankful you took the time to organize and label your belongings. You will quickly realize how much easier you have made the entire process, from packing to organizing to accessing your stuff later. By having a plan on how to pack a self storage unit efficiently before the day you move in, you can save a lot of time and money.
Now that you know how to pack a self storage unit, if you are ready to secure your storage unit, you can rent one online now, talk to our friendly property manager or contact us today for more information.