Is it getting in the way when you’re trying to make home renovations? Or even worse, is it in the way when you’re just to getting around the house? (Who put that chair there?)
Even if you’ve cleared and purged and simplified, you may find that you still need more storage space. But don’t worry.
There’s always self storage.
Self storage is a safe and reliable way to keep the things you value or need from cluttering your living space.
Once you make the decision to go the self storage route, it’s not a matter of just stuffing everything into the unit, pulling down or shutting the door and calling it a day.
Youll want to use your self storage space as efficiently as possible.
Whenyou’re standing at the threshold of your leased self storage unit, it can seem too small to possibly hold everything. But with proper planning,you can make it happen.
It will be done!
1. Label, list, and map
Sure, you know what’s going in the unit. For now.
But in a few months when you come back to the unit to get something, will you know where it is?
Avoid the frustration of digging around andopening random boxes until you find what you’re after by labeling everything. Seriously.
Clearly label each box and storage bin. Because even if you think you’ll remember what’s in them, there’s a good chance you won’tremember when the time comes to find what you need.
Labeling all boxes on more than one side will also help you identify its contents with more ease.
You may also want to consider makinga checklist that hangs inside the door telling you where some specific things are; things that you’re likely to need in the near future(i.e., front leftcorner under the table= ugly Christmas sweaters).
Also, when youkeep a list of what you have stored and where, it not only saves you time, but it also facilitates insurance claims in the eventof any damage.
And finally, once everything is in place, draw up a map of your unit. Sketch a floor plan that indicates the location of each object and leave it right beside the door so you know exactly where everything is.
Doing all of this might seem like overkill now, but it will save you a lot of time in the future.
2. The art of stackingand arranging
Let’s kick this one off by stating the obvious – store heavy thingsin smaller containers and lighter items in larger ones. This is going to make the transport so much easier.
That being said, try to use as many boxes of the same size as you can – i.e. your smaller boxes would all bethe same size and the same for your bigger boxes. Theyll be easier to stack that way.
To ensure that your boxes are strong enough to be stacked, fill ’em up. Leaving empty spaces in a box is a recipe for collapse. You can use foam peanuts to fill up any necessary empty spaces.
Of course, keep in mind that a full box needn’t be a ridiculously heavy one. Avoid filling a box full of just books, for example. (That is, if you even have books anymore.)
Placethe heaviest boxes and bins on the bottom and those with the lighter and/or more fragile thingson top. And ifyoure stacking boxes on top of furniture, it’s a good idea to protect it with cardboard so you don’t damage it.
Store mattresses and furniture vertically. Also, positionpicture frames and mirrors upright rather than flat, and be sure to placethese fragile objects last.
And finally, have a stepladder handy. You’ll want to use itwhen the stacks get too high.
3. Disassemble and open
If your furniture can be disassembled (IKEA, anyone?), take it apart. It’ll take less space that way. Be sure to keep the respective hardware in a bag taped to the furniture, or put it in a clearly labeled box.
As for appliances, be suretheyre empty, clean and DRY. Appliances are likely to hold moistureso keepthe doors of refrigerators, freezers, and dishwashers slightly open.
Once the furniture and appliances are in the unit, you can use dresser drawers or even refrigerator shelves for storing small items. Again, be sure to notethis on thelist so you know where these items are later.
4. Wrap, wrap, wrap
Wrap what youcan in industrial plastic wrap.
Keeping your things sealed up tight will protectthem fromdust or critters while they’re serving time in the storage unit.
Unless youlike cozying up with dirt or bed bugs, you’ll also want to wrapfurniture and mattresses.
Keep in mind that there are a few things that don’t like the cold or the heat and should either be double wrapped or well insulated. Things like electronics, vinyl records,and old photographs are dilitantes when it comes to humidity and they’ll demonstrate this if not well protected.
Wrap fragile items separatelyand pack themtightly into strong boxes.Fill gaps with loose wrap or foam peanuts and then markfragile on any boxes containing breakable items.
5. The joys of pallets and plywood
Keep your items off the floor. Why?
Because you never know when a heavy rain could seep under the door, or something in an adjacent unit springs a leak that’ll make its way to yours.
Pallets are your best bet here. Stack your wrapped goods on the pallets and protect them with blankets.
You can really pack in a lot into even the smallest self storage unit. But you have to be willing to take your stacks to the ceiling.
Laying plywoodacross boxes can help stabilize layers as your building your wall of boxes.It will take the pressure off the tops of your boxes and keep your things secure.
6. Easy in, easy out
You’ll want to leave a passage in the center of the storage unit so you can easily accessyour belongings.
Store items like seasonal clothing or tools you may need at the front of the unit, and your valuables at the back and out of sight. (It’s a good way to fake out those prospectors on Storage Wars too.)
And finally, tominimize odors and stinkiness, you’ll want to leave a few inches between the objects and the wallsto improve air circulation. Let your stuff breathe!
Of course, there are countless ways to use self storage units efficiently. If you have any pointers you’d like to add, we invite you to contribute your wisdom.