When you’re planning how you will pack your items, consider how frequently you plan to access them. Some packing methods are much easier to change as necessary, and less messy to work with.
- Computers should ideally be put in a box and then packed with any type of foam insulation.
- Archival documents, photos, or other paperwork should be packed in boxes that are roughly the same size so they can be easily stacked in the storage unit.
- Furniture can be turned on end vertically.
Estimating how much space you will need for your storage items can be simple if you know what you want to store. Here are some simple steps to help you plan, and size recommendations based on commonly-stored items.
Make a list of the items you plan to store.
Group the items according to how you will organize them.
Start by identifying items that will be packed in boxes and stacked. Next, prioritize boxed items you will want to access most frequently (they’ll go closer to the front of the unit). Then group by fragility or weight – heavier, sturdier items should be stored on the bottom of stacked items, fragile items on top. Then consider awkwardly-sized items that won’t stack well, including how often you will need to use them, and how heavy they are.
Make note of how these items will be packed and organized.
Boxes and containers should be of uniform size, and should be stacked no more than three-or four-high, depending on the size and strength of the containers you use.
Whether you are planning to store your personal belongings or items for your business, make sure to calculate how much you estimate your items are worth. That way, you can purchase the appropriate amount of insurance and have peace of mind that your belongings are covered.
- Wheeled vehicles must be in drivable condition, (i.e. must be driven onto the lot)
- Most vehicles must be registered and insured, and you must provide proof of each
- Tires must be inflated
- Customers are prohibited from occupying vehicles while in storage.
- Start by identifying items that will be packed in boxes and stacked.
- Prioritize boxed items you will want to access most frequently (they’ll go closer to the front of the unit).
- Group by fragility or weight – heavier, sturdier items should be stored on the bottom of stacked items, fragile items on top.
- Consider awkwardly-sized items that won’t stack well, including how often you will need to use them, and how heavy they are.
Organizing and efficiently packing your items will take time and concentration. However, the up-front effort will be well worth it when you’re able to easily unload and organize your items at the storage unit.
- Use boxes, not plastic bags. Boxes are sturdier and stack well, taking up less space. Many moving companies require that goods be packed in boxes for transport. Also, sealed plastic bags can trap humidity which can cause damaging mildew.
- Boxes should be sturdy enough to hold up for years under the weight of the stack. You may be tempted to get boxes for free from supermarkets and liquor stores; however, the mismatched shapes and sizes will impede your ability to organize most effectively. You can buy standard-sized boxes and specialty boxes for items such as TVs, videotapes and pictures.
- For wrapping breakables, paper will do, but bubble wrap can be used repeatedly, is cleaner, and because it is transparent, makes identifying contents easier.
For your convenience, packing supplies such as boxes, bubble wrap and tape are available for purchase at the storage office.
- Box up everything that you can. Anything left un-boxed in a self-storage facility can get dusty.
- Fill boxes to capacity. The contents in half-empty boxes can shift during transport or lifting. Corners and sides can collapse if there’s nothing to support them. Foam peanuts are handy for filling in the gaps in boxes.
- Distribute the weight in packed boxes evenly. Make sure they are not too heavy for you and others who may be lifting them.
- Wrap all fragile items and breakables such as dishes, glasses, ornaments, etc. separately. Pack these items tightly into strong or reinforced boxes, filling any gaps with paper or filler. Mark “Fragile” on any boxes containing breakable items.
- Clearly label all boxes on more than one side so you can easily identify the contents.
- Pack books flat to avoid damaging their spines.
- Large appliances must be prepared correctly for proper storage:
- Defrost refrigerators and freezers thoroughly to avoid water damage and mildew growth. Tie down the appliance doors during transport, but leave them slightly ajar once in storage.
- Drain washing machines, and tie down hoses and cords before storing them.
- It’s a good idea to wipe down the inside of appliances with baking soda before you store them to keep them dry.
- Wrap mirrors and pictures in protective covering such as bubble wrap and mark them as “Fragile.” Cardboard corners can be purchased to protect the sharpest, weakest areas of frames.
- If storing photographs, consider a climate controlled unit where temperature fluctuations will not damage your photos. If you do store loose photographs, place them between pieces of clean cardboard and consider taping them together to avoid curling.
- Separate lamp bases and lampshades and wrap them for protection.
- If you’re storing upholstered products such as mattresses and sofas, consider investing in covers, bags or sheeting for additional protection. Storage and moving facilities often sell large heavy-duty bags for this purpose.
- Vacuum-sealed bags work really well for draperies, bedding, and clothing.
- Electrical equipment such as TVs, stereos, and computers should be packed in their original boxes whenever possible. If using other boxes, choose ones that are as close in size to the original as possible, and fill all gaps with paper. Make sure you secure the player arm of a record player and turntable.
- Disassemble furniture such as beds and tables before you store them. Wrap and cover the separate sections, clearly mark them and keep them together. Keep assembly components such as screws and bolts together in a plastic bag, mark them clearly, and tape the bag to the appropriate piece of furniture. (Use tape that is safe for use on furniture, or tape the bag to an inconspicuous place on the piece.) Cover chair legs with bubble wrap or rags for extra protection.
- Spray your wood furniture with a good quality furniture polish before storing it to give it some added protection.
- Treat leather items with a leather conditioner before you store them.
- Wipe down metal objects and tools with a little oil before storing them to avoid rust formation that can occur when the tools are not used regularly.
- When storing a vacuum cleaner, clean out the bag or canister first; bacteria, mold and vermin can accumulate otherwise.
- When storing an oven as well as a refrigerator, enclose the exposed back area of the appliances to prevent vermin.
- Consider having awkward or heavy pieces such as exercise equipment packed professionally.
- While your storage unit should already be clean and swept out, consider putting down protective canvas sheeting, cardboard or wooden boards on the floor for cleanliness.
- Keep a fold-up step stool in your space for accessing hard-to-reach areas.
- Based on the climate in which you live or work, consider putting down moisture absorbers, deodorizers and/or vermin bait to protect your belongings.
- Frequently-used items should be placed near the entrance for easy access. This holds true for file boxes and other business items, too.
- To ensure security of valuable items such as computers or TVs, place them farthest from the door, with other items concealing them.
- Unload the largest items and place them against the far wall, as well as along the sides of the unit. See if the storage facility has dollies or other machinery that you can use to unload and place these heavy items. Some self-storage companies will offer these free of charge.
- For archived business documents that you won’t need to access frequently, place them against the far wall of the unit.
- When arranging items, leave an aisle space for easy access to your items. You can either leave aisles between your stacks of boxes and furniture, or line up all your furniture and boxes against the outside walls of the unit in a “U” shape, leaving the inside of the U as open space.
- Break down furniture into smaller pieces, if possible. Take the legs off of tables, disassemble bed frames and lean them against the wall, etc.
- Cover furniture with sheets or tarps to protect them against scratches, dust and other damage..
- Store large pieces of furniture vertically to save space. Stand sofas on end when possible.
- If you have room to store a sofa flat, then a loveseat can be placed upside down on top of the sofa, and a table stacked on top of that.
- Chairs can be stacked seat to seat.
- In most cases, you can stack dryers on top of washers.
- You can tie tools and long-handled items such as rakes, snow shovels and brooms in bundles.
- Mirrors and framed artwork should never be stored flat, as they can collapse under their own weight.
- Be sure when stacking boxes and containers that you can clearly see the labels you put on them.
- When stacking 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.
- You can use virtually all of the space in and around your stored furniture, including other items, as places to store more items. Fill anything that’s hollow with items to maximize your available space:
- Furniture drawers are good for storing fragile items
- Stack the shelves of bookcases with books, small boxes and other odds and ends
- Store boxes containing fragile goods inside of wardrobes
- Store pillows, blankets and other bedding inside washers and dryers
- Store clothes inside dresser drawers
Hints for storing
- Use furniture drawers to hold delicate items. Wrap them in bubble wrap or newspaper.
- When packing toys or smaller objects, remember to fill boxes completely, stuffing open areas with plain newspaper to prevent collapsing when stacked.
- Be careful not to store anything combustible (such as paint and chemicals) or perishable (such as food that is not permanently sealed).
- When storing lawn and garden equipment, drain any fluids prior to storage in order to avoid corrosive damage.
- Use trash cans to store shovels, hoes and rakes.
- Always use high quality locks on your unit.
- When storing delicate heirlooms, use specially constructed boxes, such as wardrobe boxes, and utilize dehumidifiers to prevent mildew build up.
- Store furniture carefully on boards or pallets.
- Cover mattresses and store them flat on level surfaces.
- Store small items like pots and pans in large appliances, such as stoves or refrigerators.
- Break down items (such as table legs) and store large furniture (like tabletops and sofas) on end to save space.
- Use protective covers and treat wood surfaces before storing.
- When storing business files, label all boxes and construct aisles so files are easily seen and accessible.
- Clean furniture, boxes and the storage unit of all food and perishables.
What to not store in a self storage unit
Combustible,Flammable, Hazardous or Toxic Materials,
These include gasoline,compressed gas, propane tanks, kerosene, lamp and motor oil, acid, grease,corrosives, fertilizer, paint, cleaners, chemicals, narcotics, or hazardous,toxic or biological waste. Asbestos or products containing asbestos are not allowed. You also cannot store fireworks, explosives, weapons or ammunition,anything that contains radioactive materials – cannot legally be stored.perishable food products such as cereals, produce or meats are not allowed.These may spoil or attract pests, animals or plants – alive or dead – cannot be stored. Nor can any stolen items.