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Hacks You Don’t Know About Making Self Storage Work

People love owning things. If the increasing size of the average single-family home says anything about us, we also enjoy living in large spaces. Last year the size of newly constructed homes averaged 2,426 square feet.

Despite our fascination with minimalists and tiny home living, we’re not as inspired as you might think. When people move, even if they downsize, they still hold on to the things they love.

Whether you’re in between homes, or just need extra storage space, check out our storage tips. We’re sharing a few of our favorite hacks designed to help protect your belongings and maximize space.

Take Inventory Before Moving In

Some people reserve a storage unit based on price but forget to estimate how much storage space they’ll need. Imagine the frustration of discovering you need more space after you start moving.

Taking a simple inventory before moving into storage helps you choose the right-size unit. Putting together an inventory list can help you visualize how many boxes you’ll need. It also keeps you organized after the move.

Most self-storage companies offer help determining the best storage unit size for your needs. Once you’ve taken inventory, use their help to ensure you reserve the right size unit for your belongings.

Request a Climate Controlled Unit

You can’t underestimate the advantages of storing things in a climate-controlled environment.

By reserving a climate-controlled indoor storage unit, you can protect your belongings from damage due to humidity, wind, and cold. Mold starts developing within 24-48 hours in damp, humid conditions.

Why not take the extra minute and make sure you’re protecting electronics, musical instruments, books, important papers, and expensive clothing?

If the storage company doesn’t have a climate-controlled unit available, ask them for tips on packing your items for maximum protection.

Best Practices for Packing

The way you pack can make life easier post-move, especially when you need access to your belongings while they’re in storage.

Think about what you might need during the storage period. Avoid the stress of unpacking your unit just to get access to one box. Place anything you think you’ll use at the front of the storage unit.

Create a label that will stand out for boxes containing your must-have-access-to items.

Speaking of labels, most people don’t make detailed labels, but they should! Instead of writing Kitchen or Basement on a box, get specific. Include a brief list of the contents.

We’ll save the conversation about the fine art of packing for another day, but in short, how you pack fragile items and what you pack them in matters.

Whether it’s heirloom china and crystal or your guitar collection, you can help your belongings remain in pristine condition if you use the right packing materials.

To start, refrain from using plastic bags. It’s easy for condensation to develop in plastic, putting your belongings at risk for mold damage. Instead, use bubble wrap and seal the edges with packing tape.

Consider using cell boxes, dish packs, packing peanuts, and other specialized packing materials.

Add a Few Shelves

Your storage company may not allow you to install shelving, but you can bring your own standing units. Shelves help keep boxes organized and make a fantastic place to store awkward sized items.

Shelving also offers a way to maximize your storage unit’s height. Be aware of any rules your storage company has in place for indoor units. If your indoor unit isn’t fully enclosed, you may have a limit to how high you can stack boxes.

Tip: If you don’t already own a shelving unit, consider packing dresser drawers and appliances.

Strategize Your Lineup

When you move into the storage unit, strategize by filling in the area along the walls first. Place boxes bottom to top and create an aisle between rows. You don’t want to dig through the unit every time you need something toward the back.

Of course, if you follow our storage tip on packing, you shouldn’t need to rummage too much.

Here’s a fun tip for making it easier to find boxes! Create a map of your storage unit before you move in. Layout the unit on paper, assign each item a place, and include your pathways.

Keep the map handy, and you’ll save yourself from added stress if you need to locate an item.

Go Vertical

Not everyone stores furniture or appliances, but if you do, take advantage of the vertical space in your unit.

If you stand couches, dressers, and other large pieces of furniture, stand them on end. Doing so gives you more space, allowing you to fit more in the unit.

As far as stacking boxes, place the heaviest at the bottom of the vertical stack. The lightest boxes should go at the top.

If you’re storing breakables, it’s better to pack fewer items to make the box lighter. That way, you won’t risk a heavy box crushing your glassware or other fragile items.

This may sound like common sense, but talk to the person who placed a box full of books at the top of the stack.

Use Plastic Storage

Cardboard boxes offer many benefits, but some items do better in plastic.

Buy plastic storage bins with airtight lids and use them for clothing, shoes, paperwork, books, and anything else you want to protect from even a hint of damp or dust.

Since they’re square, you can stack them in the corners, or on your shelving unit. If you buy clear plastic bins, you can quickly identify the contents without much digging.

Utilize the Nooks and Crannies

Earlier, we mentioned using dresser drawers for extra storage space. Another way you can make storage work better is by not only packing your furniture correctly but using it for extra storage space.

Use dresser drawers or wardrobe space for fragile items. You can fill the drawers with smaller boxes. Drawers give you a safe place for fragile items, too!

If you’re storing large appliances, consider using the space inside. Why not take advantage of the empty oven, washer/dryer, or refrigerator?

Need More Storage Tips?

As you start packing, you’ll likely come up with a few creative storage ideas. It’s all about maximizing the space in your storage unit, but doing it in a way that protects your belongings.

If you need a few more storage tips, or you’re ready to reserve a storage unit, contact our team today. We’re happy to help make your moving experience as stress-free as possible, and maybe just a little more fun.

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