Self Storage Tips for Storing My Stuff
So you are in need of self storage, but don’t know where to start. How do I choose a storage facility? How do I pack to get the most out of my storage unit? What’s the best way to organize my self storage unit? These are all questions that go through our minds when we realize we are in need of outside storage. The below article will give you some self storage tips to help you answer some of these questions.
Choosing a Self Storage Facility
The first thing you need to consider is which storage facility to use. The items that you are storing are some of your most valuable possessions and you want them to be kept safe and return to you in good condition when you are done using your storage unit. If you are unsure which storage facility to choose, visit some local self storage facilities and check them out first before you choose. By the time you make your choice you should be confident of the following:
- The self storage facility has put in place adequate security measures.
- You can access your self storage unit at times that are convenient to your schedule.
- The units at the self storage facility are the right size for you and could handle future needs you might have to increase or decrease the space you rent.
- The climate control in the self storage facility is adequate for your needs – particularly important if you’re looking to store upholstered items, business goods or archive documents as a few months in a damp self storage environment will do untold damage.
- The storage units are clean and well-maintained. Professional self storage facility operators take pride in keeping their facilities clean and neat.
- Pest control shouldn’t be an issue – the self storage facility should be able to tell you what types of measures they take – the last thing you want is vermin going through your belongings.
- If you’re planning on storing a large amount, check that the self storage facility has adequate access for the removal vehicle you’ve chosen. Many storage sites don’t have the space or access for large removal trucks.
Packing Your Possessions
Consider purchasing your boxes at a big box store or asking friends, family, or a local grocery store for free boxes. Boxes at self storage facilities include a large markup. If you can obtain them for free you are better off. Packing for self storage is an art and you’ll need to put some thought into it before you begin. One of the biggest advantages of using a self storage facility is the fact that you can continue to access your items even in storage.
The first thing to remember is to pack in such a way that you can find things at a later date quickly and without unloading everything in your unit in order to get a particular item out of your unit. I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen self storage tenants take an afternoon in order to get a few items out of storage. All of their belongings will be spread out in the parking lot as they try to find that one item that they can’t remember where they packed. A little prior planning goes a long way to ensure that you can quickly get to the items you need in the future. Make an inventory of what you’ve packed and where it is as you go along. Other packing and storage preparation tips include:
- Make an estimate of the replacement value of each item you store to help with accurate insurance policies and in case of unforeseen damage in the storage facility.
- Box everything that you can – everything that is left unboxed in a self storage facility will get dusty and potentially dirty.
- Fill boxes to capacity wherever possible to avoid breakages but avoid making them too heavy. You can use materials such as paper or towels or can buy special packing to fill spaces if necessary. Boxes that are only partly filled may tip over or collapse.
- Label all boxes clearly so you can identify the contents and keep an inventory. Label them on more than one side so you can see what’s what quickly. Mark ‘Fragile’ on any boxes containing breakable items.
- Don’t be tempted to fill large boxes with heavy items such as books as they’ll quickly become difficult to carry and may break. You can buy small book boxes from your self storage facility that will do the job just as well. If you do pack heavy items in a large box put in just a few and then fill the box up with lighter items.
- Don’t pack items into sealed plastic bags, as humidity can cause mildew.
- Pack books flat to avoid damaging their spines.
- Don’t store wet items in a self storage facility as they can cause water damage, mold and mildew.
- Large appliances need care before placing in a self storage facility – make sure you defrost fridges and freezers thoroughly before storing them otherwise you’ll be leaving yourself open to water damage. Tie doors up for the move, although you should leave them slightly ajar once in storage to stop condensation forming and help ward off bad odors. Drain washing machines before storing them and tie down hoses etc. Appliances should be clean and dry.
- Wrap all fragile items and breakables such as dishes, glasses, ornaments etc. separately. Paper will do but bubble wrap is a good investment. Pack them tightly into strong boxes, filling any gaps with paper or filler. Try to avoid putting heavy items on top of fragile ones in a self storage facility.
- If you’re going to be storing clothes think about buying wardrobe or clothes boxes – you’ll then be able to simply hang the clothes in them and they’ll keep their shape. It’s not wise to simply put your clothes in bin liners in a self storage facility as moisture can get trapped inside when they’re sealed and your clothes could be ruined.
- For the best protection for mirrors and pictures in a self storage facility, wrap them in a protective covering such as bubble wrap and stack them on their ends. Mirrors and pictures should never be stored flat. Mark them as ‘Fragile’.
- Separate lamp bases and lampshades and wrap them for protection.
- If you’re storing upholstered products such as mattresses and sofas in a self storage facility consider investing in covers, bags or sheeting to give them some additional protection. Stand sofas and mattresses on end wherever possible to save space and don’t stack too much on top of soft furnishings. Mattresses are best stored on the long end and should be ideally raised above floor level or laid on protective sheeting.
- If you’re storing a few items of furniture on top of each other a simple dust sheet or cover placed between items will minimize scratching and damage in a self storage facility.
- You’ll save space if you can dismantle furniture such as beds and tables before you store it in a self storage facility. Make sure you keep hold of all the parts and screws so you can put it all back together again. Wrap and cover furniture sections and keep them together, clearly marked, for quick retrieval. You can put components such as screws and bolts together in a plastic bag, mark them clearly and tape to the relevant piece of furniture. Store large pieces of furniture vertically to save space in the facility.
- Electrical equipment such as TVs, stereos and computers should be packed in their original boxes wherever possible. If this isn’t possible, pack them into boxes that are about the right size making sure that you pack gaps with paper etc. Make sure you tie down the player arm of a record player and secure your turntable.
- Don’t store vacuum cleaners with the bag in – throw it away before you store them in the facility.
- Think hard about whether you really want to store photographs in a self storage facility. If you do store loose photographs, place them between pieces of clean cardboard and tape them together to avoid curling. Photographs will suffer temperature damage and, if the facility you have chosen is not climate controlled, you might want to keep them out of storage to avoid losing them.
- Think creatively and you’ll make more space. Plan to use furniture drawers as an extra box (they are especially good for fragile items) and you can use the inside of wardrobes to store boxes. Kitchen appliances such as stoves and fridges can also be used in this way.
- Seal all your boxes with packing tape before you put them in a self storage facility – this will help keep dust out of the contents.
Organizing Your Storage Unit
At this stage in the storage process, it’s good to take some time to plan exactly how to pack your items into the unit. Unit sizes are determined by price so you can save money here by determining what you have to store and planning to pack it in efficiently. A smaller and well-packed unit will be cheaper than a larger one that is poorly organized.
There are two key things to remember when organizing your self storage unit. First, you need to make sure that you can easily access the items you’ve stored in the facility. Second, you must pack them carefully to avoid damaging your belongings.
- If you’re concerned that the floor space in the facility is not clean enough and might cause damage in itself put down protective sheeting or boards.
- Try to create an aisle and leave enough room to be able to get round the back.
- Store your largest items first.
- If you’re stacking your unit high with boxes, always make sure to put the heaviest boxes at the bottom to avoid damage.
- Stack boxes and similarly sized items together to save space.
- Try to assess what you’ll need to access frequently and keep it at the front of your unit.
- Fill anything that’s hollow – i.e. wardrobes, drawers, washing machines and fridges with small boxes and other items to maximize your available space.
- Make sure to stack boxes and containers so that you can see the labels you put on them.
- Wedge the doors of all kitchen appliances open to avoid bad odors and mildew etc., building up.
- If you’re worried about the atmosphere/environment in the unit put down moisture absorbers, deodorizers and vermin bait.
We hope the above self storage tips are useful in helping you plan and get the most out of your storage experience. If you have questions or would like to discuss a Cleveland, Tennessee storage unit call us at (423) 614-0069 or visit us rent online at www.WestlandDriveStorage.com.