Start Smart – Begin With a Plan
Look at the belongings you plan to store. Ask these questions:
- Will I access these items or will they stay stored until I move them?
- How long will I store these items?
Action: Take a piece of paper or use software to draw a space about the size of your storage unit. If you plan to access your items, determine whether you will need to access all boxes or items in your unit or only a portion of them. If there is a portion you will not access, make plans to put these items toward the back. For the items you will access, allow walking space so that you can easily reach the intended boxes.
Organize Now – Save Time Later By Creating a List
Taking time to organize your items by box and label each box will save you untold hours later – especially if you plan to access items. Imagine trying to find a particular holiday decoration by tearing into 10 boxes, rummaging through them and still not finding it! That can be very frustrating.
Action: Get a piece of paper or use your phone or computer to make a list of boxes and the contents inside of each box. Only you know how specific you need to be. Some people make very detailed notes about their items, others can recall what’s in the box with a bullet list of items. Do what works for you.
Once you have your list of boxes and their inventory, number the boxes and mark the numbers on your storage unit diagram as you move into your storage unit. This will ensure you can put your hands on any item you want, when you want it!
Pack Right – Reduce Damages By Packing Items Properly
Moving, no matter what the reason, can be a stressful situation. Often people will throw belongings into a box and worry about damages later. Use these DOs and DON’Ts to minimize damage and make self storage a more positive experience:
Self Storage DOs
- DO create a grid of 2 x 3s on the bottom of your storage unit. This will minimize the effect of temperature changes and will provide extra ventilation in your unit.
- DO use the right size box. If you will be moving boxes on your own, choose boxes small enough that you can easily maneuver. A large box might seem like a good deal budget-wise, but think about how you will actually use these boxes in your storage unit.
- DO choose the right box for the job. If you will be storing clothes, consider using a garment box. If you have china, consider using a china box. These boxes are designed for certain items. For items you want to further safeguard, consider using plastic storage tubs – these tubs offer a barrier to changes in temperature or humidity.
- DO use proper packing materials to safeguard belongings. Packing paper, peanuts, bubble wrap can help protect fragile items.
- DO pack boxes full, but do not overfill them as this can damage items when boxes are stacked. If the box cannot be closed and taped without force, take the offending item out and put it into another box.
- DO inventory the contents of each box and label each box with those contents. Consider making a master inventory for the entire contents of your storage unit. Keep this inventory in a safe place and share a copy with someone else who knows you.
- DO make a diagram/plan for how to access items you will take out of your self storage unit. This also will help you determine what size self storage unit will work best for you and your belongings.
- DO add individuals to your self storage unit contract if you intend to have individuals other than yourself access your unit.
- DO follow these guidelines for packing your items: