A self storage unit is the ideal solution when you’re short on storage space at home. Your belongings will be safe, yet easily accessible, while you have more space at home for other uses. But, without proper planning and preparation, the contents of your storage unit may become difficult to find or vulnerable to damage. Taking the time to prepare your belongings for storage will help ensure their safety.
Before you begin packing, make sure you’re armed with the tools you’ll need to pack like a pro. Following is a list of items you should have on hand; most of which can be found at AAA Mini Warehouse.
- Boxes – Make sure you have plenty of sturdy, professional-grade boxes. While it may be easy to go grab spare boxes from your local grocery store, these boxes aren’t as sturdy as boxes made specifically for packing. Plastic containers are another good option for protecting contents from dust and moisture. Try to use boxes that are similarly sized to make them easier to stack inside your storage unit.
- Tape – Have several rolls of packing tape on hand for sealing up boxes.
- Scissors or box knife – These come in handy for cutting tape, packing paper, bubble wrap, and other packing materials.
- Labels – Labels are crucial. Labeling each and every box with the contents will make it easier to find what you need later.
- Notebook and pen – Use these to keep a list of what you have packed.
- Sharpies – These work well for labeling boxes and plastic containers.
- Packing paper and bubble wrap – Wrap items in acid-free paper or bubble wrap before placing them into boxes to protect them from breakage or damage. This is especially important for fragile items.
- Paper padding – Use paper padding to wrap any items that are not going to be packed into boxes. This will give them a layer of protection and won’t trap moisture.
- Cedar chips – These will protect clothing and other fabric items from moths and other pests.
- Moisture absorbing packets – These packets will pull moisture from the air to help prevent mildew.
- Furniture polish – Applying furniture polish or wax to wood furniture will add an extra layer of protection against moisture and humidity.
- Mattress bags and sofa covers – Use these to protect mattresses and fabric furniture from dust and moisture.
- Tarp or plastic sheeting – These can be used to cover the floor of your storage unit to help protect your belongings from moisture and humidity. They can also be used as a cover over items to keep off dust.
How you pack your items will affect how easy they are to find when you need them, how protected they are from damage, and how easy they will be to unpack later. First, reduce the amount of items you need to store by weeding out items you no longer want or need. This will save you time packing as well as reduce the amount of storage space you need. Devise an organizational plan before you begin packing. Organize boxes by room or by like items. Putting a label with a detailed list of contents on each box will help you find what you need quickly and easily later.
As you begin packing your belongings for storage, keep the following tips in mind:
- Everything should be clean and dry before being placed into boxes. This will help prevent mold and mildew that could result from any remaining moisture. It will also help prevent stains from forming on clothing and other fabric items.
- Affix a label on each box with a detailed list of the contents. Make sure to designate boxes that contain fragile items.
- Fill boxes as full as you can to reduce the number of boxes required and save space in your storage unit.
- Distribute weight evenly within boxes so that they can be stacked securely.
- When organizing boxes within your storage unit, place the heaviest boxes on the bottom and stack the lighter boxes on top. Consider using portable shelving units to provide easier access to boxes on the bottom.
- Place any boxes you think you may need to access often at the front of the storage unit for easier access.
- Organize boxes within your storage unit so that there is an aisle to provide easy access to boxes in the back of the unit.
In addition to the steps above, some items require special storage preparation to prevent damage during storage:
Clothing – Launder clothing and make sure they are completely dry before packing them. Washing them will help prevent stains from developing. Be sure to fasten all buttons, zippers, and snaps. Folded clothing can be stored in cardboard boxes or plastic containers, while hanging clothing should be hung on sturdy hangers and stored in a special garment box or covered with a garment bag.
Electronics – Pack electronics into their original packaging if possible. If that’s not possible, pack it in a professional-grade box and cushion it with crushed acid-free paper. Be sure to label any boxes containing electronics as fragile.
Tools – Any tools that contain oil or gasoline must be drained before they can be placed into storage.
Appliances – Clean appliances thoroughly and drain all of the hoses completely. Leave the appliance door slightly ajar to allow air to circulate and prevent mold and mildew. You may also want to put a box of baking soda inside to absorb odors.
Dishes and other breakable items – Line the bottom of boxes with crumpled newspaper for cushioning. Wrap each item individually and use more padding than you think is necessary. Be sure to place larger items on the bottom.
Books – Avoid packing too many books into a single box to prevent the box from become too heavy to lift. Books should be laid flat and alternated so that the spines face the opposite direction on every other book to help prevent damage to the spines.
Fabric furniture – As with clothing, clean it and allow it to dry completely before covering it or placing it into storage. If possible, remove the legs, then wrap them and place them into a clearly labeled box. Cover the furniture with padded paper or a sofa bag to keep off dust.
Wood furniture – Clean it and wipe it with a high-quality furniture polish or wax to help prevent it from drying out and protect it from moisture damage. If possible, disassemble it to make it easier to store. Place all screws, bolts, and other small parts in a clearly labeled plastic bag and tape it to an unfinished surface of the item. Wrap the item in padded paper and label it.
Taking these simple steps while you’re packing your items for storage will keep them protected while in storage and ensure they are easy to find when you need them.