How to Prepare Your Items for Storage in A Self-Storage Unit
June 12, 2023
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Effective Preparation For Item Storage
When you first reserve a storage unit, it’s important to pack and prepare your items to-be-stored carefully. Storage units serve their purpose best when they are organized, clean, and accessible.
Let’s discuss some tips and tricks for preparing your items for storage in a storage unit.
Get Rid of Any Junk
Before you load your belongings into your trunk and lug them to the storage facility, take a step back and consider whether there is anything in your pile you don’t really need.
For each item, ask yourself whether you’re storing it for a specific purpose or whether you just don’t want it at all anymore. If the latter, consider selling, donating, or tossing the item instead of putting it in storage. Storing items that aren’t practical or valuable or that don’t have any use to you means you are paying a monthly fee for no reason. Be sure that the cost of renting a storage unit is at least worth the benefit it is providing you.
Remove Any Restricted Items
Before, be sure to ask the storage facility you’re renting from which items are restricted, and then remove any of those items. Here are a few items that are commonly prohibited from storage units:
- Hazardous materials (fertilizers, paint thinner, fireworks, acetone, propane tanks, gasoline, etc.)
- Illegal substances
- Flammable materials
- Perishable items like food
- Stolen or illegal goods
- Firearms, other weapons, and ammunition
- Plants or animals
- Fur clothing
Your storage facility should be able to provide you with a complete list of prohibited items. Many of these materials are dangerous because they could cause fires, attract pests, or grow mold and mildew, so it’s important that you do not bring them to store in your unit.
Inventory Your Property
Next, make a list of every item you will store in your unit. This list can double as a packing checklist as well as an inventory of your storage unit to compare when you eventually move your items out. You can keep a copy at home to remember what you’ve stored and where everything is located or leave it in your storage unit for convenient access when you’re there.
Clean All Belongings
When items are destined to sit in storage for months on end, it’s important that you clean them thoroughly beforehand. This helps prevent existing mold or mildew from growing, especially on upholstered furniture and clothing. In addition to washing any items and ensuring nothing is wet or damp, be sure to vacuum out cushions and pillows, wipe down dirt and grime, disinfect any surfaces, and disassemble furniture like tables and desks for better storage capacity.
Sort Items into Labeled Boxes
Everyone is familiar with the frustration of moving a million cardboard boxes into their respective rooms on moving day. When you pack your belongings, be sure to organize them in a logical way that will make them easy to transport, organize, and unload.
Try using clear plastic storage bins that allow you to see the contents easily. Be sure to label each box and keep similar items and boxes together.
Protect Antiques, Electronics, and Other Valuable Items
Long periods of storage won’t be kind to some items if you don’t properly protect them. Certain items require climate control in order to be stored safely. If you plan on storing any antiques, books, furniture, musical instruments, medical supplies, or fabrics and clothing, make sure your unit is climate controlled. Climate control protects these items from being damaged by mold or mildew over time by maintaining a consistent temperature and humidity in your unit.
Additionally, electronics should be backed up, with their cables removed, and stored in waterproof containers or sealed bags. Fragile items like dishes or artwork should be properly wrapped to protect them from damage during the moving process. This is important because damage that occurs to your property during the moving process is unlikely to be covered by your storage unit renters insurance, unless you hire a professional moving company with its own insurance.
Security is another factor to consider. If you’re storing any item of value (e.g., art, artifacts, antiques, etc.), be sure that the storage facility offers adequate security to safeguard these belongings from theft. Look for facilities with video surveillance, on-site security, or smart locks.
Plan How You’ll Organize Your Storage Unit
You should plan out how you’ll store your items before you get to the storage facility. You should know the approximate size of your unit before you reserve it, so your first step should be to ensure the belongings you want to store will actually fit in the unit. If you have the space, arrange them how you would in the unit so that you can finalize an organization and more quickly move in once you arrive at the storage facility.
The best strategy is to organize based on accessibility – which items will you likely need access to most frequently? Put these items near the front of your unit, and reserve space in the back for items you’re unlikely to need access to. If you’re going to stack boxes, put the most fragile items on top of sturdier, less fragile ones.
It’s also a good idea to leave an aisle down the center of your unit so that you can easily walk through it. Try to place taller items (mattresses, bed frames, etc.) closest to the walls and shorter items closer to the aisle. This will allow you to see all your stored belongings without having to dig out buried items. It will also help you remember what you’ve stored in the back without taking apart the entire unit.
Storage units are a great solution for anyone looking to declutter their home or temporarily keep belongings safe during a time of transition. By following these few simple tips for preparing your items to be stored, you can make your renting experience as smooth and effortless as possible.