How to Properly Pack Your Self-Storage Unit
There are two primary reasons people opt for self-storage from Ten Mini Storage:
- They want to free up space inside their home.
- They need easy access to their belongings 24/7/365.
Placing extra or seasonal belongings inside a storage unit is a good first step.
But if it takes you hours to scour through box after box to find what you need (and then spend hours putting those boxes back inside your storage space), what have you really accomplished?
A little bit of patient planning at the start will save you time and headaches later.
That’s why you should use these easy-to-follow tips when it’s time to pack your storage unit.
Make a list of the items you need to store and when you need to access them
For items you don’t have any plans for, your best bet is to neatly put them away in one corner of your secure storage rental.
For everything else, you’ll want to pack and store based on usage frequency or seasonality.
In summer, for example, you’ll want to have the following things handy:
- Canoe or kayak
- Summer clothing
- Sporting equipment
- Camping supplies
- Tools and equipment (i.e. lawnmower)
Come winter, you’ll need to easily access things like:
- Christmas or holiday decorations
- Winter tires
- Winter clothes
- Snowmobile, ATV, or other winter vehicles
- Skiing equipment
- Hockey bag, sticks, and skates
Knowing what you’re storing and when you’ll need them will help you determine how to pack and where to place them.
Use a single box size for the majority of your items
When you select boxes from your local moving supplies store, try to pick a single, universal box size.
It’s much easier to stack, carry, and maneuver around boxes which are all the same size.
Of course, not everything is going to fit in single-sized boxes:
- Some items (such as electronics or family heirlooms) will require larger boxes.
- Other items (clothing, office documents) need smaller boxes.
A common self-storage myth people believe is that large boxes are better simply due to size and their ability to hold more stuff.
However, there are a few things you should remember:
- Big boxes are ideal for lightweight items.
- Placing large boxes at the bottom of a tall stack or pile could damage it.
- It’s tough to remove large boxes at the bottom of a pile if you need something out of them.
Label every single box you pack
Grab a high-quality permanent marker and label the top and sides of your box with the following information:
- Item or items inside
- Room from which it came (bedroom, garage, backyard, etc.)
- When you’ll need to access it by month or date
If you’re using multiple boxes to pack, say, stereo equipment, you should number the boxes sequentially. That way, you’ll know which box to pull/empty first.
Make a storage unit layout map
If you’re going to visit your self-storage unit on a regular basis, you’ll want to plan where everything goes.
Otherwise, you might end up putting the kids’ bikes behind a wall of furniture boxes. Or, you might have everything packed so tight, you can’t actually walk around inside your storage space.
Keep in mind the following when figuring out where you want to place your belongings:
- Try to keep heavy furniture on one side of the unit and stacked boxes on the other.
- Always have a clear path for you to safely walk.
- If you must place stuff in middle of the path, choose things that are light and easy to move.
Perhaps most importantly, you’ll want to have the most frequently used items at the front of your storage unit.
You won’t believe how much time you’ll save and how convenient it is when you can just open your storage unit door, grab what you need, and walk out fast.
- USE THE “BACK TO FRONT” METHOD: When stacking, start at the back with least important items and move forward accordingly. When you’re done, the most frequently used boxes should be at the front of your stack.
- LABELS OUT: As you look at your stack, you should see the labels you made for each box. If not, you’re going to have a hard time later on when looking for certain items inside boxes where the label is not visible.
- BIG, HEAVY BOXES GO DOWN FIRST: Lighter boxes go on top. Don’t stack too high, though. The higher the stack, the higher the risk it could collapse. That could injure you and/or damage the items inside each box.
When you need a larger unit, get one
At first, you picked the right-sized storage unit for your needs.
As your rental space gets fuller and fuller, it gets harder and harder to add, access, and retrieve your items.
That’s a sure sign you need a larger unit.
Trying to jam every square inch with something will soon become frustrating. You won’t be able to easily find what you need and you’ll spend too much time emptying and filling your unit.
Remember that safe walking path we talked about earlier in this blog?
When that path disappears because it’s full of stuff is when you need to investigate getting a larger storage unit.