From my college days and subsequent relocations, I have become somewhat an expert in packing, moving and storing stuff. And as a frequent user of self-storage units, I think I have the necessary knowledge to help anyone that is thinking of using a self-storage facility. Keep reading on and I’ll tell you how to best utilize the self-storage unit you have rented and how to keep all your earthly possessions safe and sound.
Simply because it is safe, convenient and you don’t have to bother or beg anyone to store your things for you. And because you have a complete control over your comings and goings, and fetching everything you need in your own time.
How to plan the space?
When you first look into the self-storage units, you may be tempted to go for the smaller, cheaper units. But tread carefully, as this may be a trap and you may end up renting two smaller units later instead of one bigger at first. Think of what you will store. If it is furniture and home appliances, then you will certainly need the bigger unit. If you’re asking why, then think about the possible dents on your nice dining table or the scratches on your favorite chairs.
But if you think about storing your old, unused college furniture that you don’t care so much about, or books and old appliances that you just can’t part with, then you can select a smaller unit and bunch up all your things there.
It is advisable to plan, and plan smart. This means that when packing your things that will go into storage, you will need to protect them adequately and use every bit of available space to put away your things.
First things first, use adequate pallets to keep everything from sitting directly on the concrete floor. This way your things will be protected in the case of an accidental flood that you won’t be even aware of but will end up damaging your things anyway.
Packing smart means to utilize the refrigerator as a storage for your records perhaps, or the oven of the stove for keeping the pans. This way you save on space and keep the more fragile items doubly protected. Always wrap heavy things and furniture in bubble wrap to avoid bumps and bruises that you’ll regret later on. If you happen to have old bedspreads, sheets, and tablecloths, then you can use these to wrap some of the more fragile things like the heirloom china you got for your wedding.
Use the available space to its max potential!
When carrying your things into the storage unit, start with the heaviest, bulkiest, least used items like couches, sofas, or heavy appliances like the stove. This way, you will stow away the heavier objects and you can stack some lightweight items on top. And you will have a more clear idea where everything is.
Make a walkway when filling the self-storage unit. This way you will have the necessary access to every item in the unit and will not need to step on anything to reach the back.
If you store your dresser, then the drawers are an extra space where you can store your family photo albums, your records collection and things that are more prone to weather changes. Make sure you use double insulation or wrap them in cloth and bubble wrap to protect them from the temperature changes in the non-climate controlled storage units.
Use foam peanuts and bubble wrap even when putting things inside boxes. This way they are protected if dropped. Also, the plastic wrap film will protect against the crawling critters that will curiously find their way and inspect your stuff.
For all the other items that need to be packed in boxes, use one size box. This way you will make storing them on top of each other a piece of cake. Well, not actually, but it will stop them from toppling over and you will certainly avoid the mess differently sized boxes create.
If you are storing boxes up to the ceiling, which you definitely should – to save on space, of course, then you need to bring a stepping stool to climb on. This way you won’t be tempted to step on the edge of the sofa or nightstand that seems to be convenient.
If you think you can remember where you put that thing you are looking for in a sea of unnamed boxes, then you are greatly mistaken. You can “dig” through every box and not find the exact item you need.
Make sure you put the appropriate label on every box and if you are more into retentiveness to detail, then you can even make a list of what goes in which box and keep one copy in the storage unit and one copy with you. That way you save yourself a world of trouble and mess when retrieving an item from the self-storage unit.
Lock up and safeguard the key!
As most self-storage facilities recommend, you need to supply your own padlock to be sure you are the only one with the key to your unit. Don’t be cheap and get a high quality, all-weather padlock that has short shackle that is not easy to break.
You can use a combination padlock, but this is less secure, as someone with patience and time on their hands can open the padlock and rob your unit, lock up again, and you won’t even know it until you decide to go get some of your stuff.
To finish up…
It is your things you are putting in storage, so how much time you will devote to packing and protect them will reflect on how well they will weather the time spent there. So always use bubble wrap, good quality boxes and packing tape and you can be sure that your things will be safe and sound until you need them next.