Packing a self storage unit is rather like playing Tetris: it takes skill, planning and a lot of swearing to get everything in the right place. When you’re making the decision to rent a storage unit, it’s not just a case of throwing all your belongings into cases and boxes and filling the room up. You need to think carefully about the space you’ve paid for and how your things fit into that area. It’s not a massively difficult task, but if you’ve never packed a storage unit before it can be rather overwhelming to know where to get started.
You want efficiency when it comes to getting things packed for your storage unit, and it’s not just in the belongings that you own being packed. Those have to have a meticulous packing strategy all of their own, because you want to be able to pack so that your things stay damage-free. This involves a little investment on your part, because while cardboard boxes are a good way to get your things all into the right places, you need to consider the fact that cardboard can break down and can also be at risk from vermin. Not that every storage unit has vermin, of course, but there’s always a risk and if you can make that risk zero by using plastic containers for your stuff and plastic wrap for your belongings, then that’s what you should do.
It may seem very simple – open the door, put your things inside and close the door again. But you have a limited square footage here, and every inch of space needs to be used properly so that you can maximise your spend there. Don’t be intimidated: it’s time to play Tetris!
1. Masking Tape Madness
Before you put anything into the storage space you have bought, you need to get the measurements of your unit. Once you have these, use a roll of masking tape and map out the space that you have in your storage unit on the floor of your house. This is the space that you have to fill and you need to learn how to fit all your furniture and belongings into that space so everything will fit beautifully. The masking tape boundaries can teach you where your things can fit and you can ensure that you can get everything in before you even get your belongings to the storage unit you’ve paid for.
2. Think Ahead
Consider how often you need to get access to your storage space. Do you need to be there every week swapping things over? If so, you need to think about how you plan to organise your things. You should put the things that you don’t need access to, to the back of the unit with the things you will frequently need to the front. This will allow you the quick access to those things that you need. Don’t forget to label the boxes and bags, though, the last thing you want to do is be rummaging through your packed boxes and half-unpacking the stuff to get to the one item you wanted.
3. Install Shelves
For the most part, storage units do not come with shelving. You have to rent or purchase this yourself to help you to get organised. Metal shelving can help you to organise your storage unit better and give you better access to your belongings. You can also think about the fact your stuff isn’t going to get crushed before the weight of everything on top of it all. Shelving stops your boxes and belongings from being scattered without order, too.
4. Start With The Walls
Think about starting with the walls. Increased efficiency in packing your storage unit means starting with lining the walls and working your way towards the middle. It gives you more space to move around while you pack into the unit and you can put the things you don’t need to the back walls and move toward the door.
5. Go Up
Packing vertically is the way to go. Large furniture especially should be packed upward so that you can maximise your floor space. If you stand these bulky items vertically, you can move more in the unit and fit more inside the space. Heavier items should be on the bottom and any boxes on top – you wouldn’t put a dresser on top of boxes, would you?
6. Protect Furniture
The one risk of packing things on top of furniture is tearing the upholstery – which is going to ruin your items. If you wrap your furniture properly with plastic wrapping, you can pack whatever you want on top (within reason of weight) without ruining the things you have. You can even put thick plastic wrap around wooden furniture items, so that you can protect them from scratches.
7. Utilise All Space
If you’re storing dressers and wardrobes, you have hollow spaces inside the drawers and cupboards that you can use for storing more stuff. Don’t leave anything empty if you can help it; use the space you have and that includes inside other items. You can wrap fragile items in bubble wrap and store them inside drawers and cupboards; this can afford you the extra protection, too.
8. Expect Temperature Changes
Self-storage units aren’t always temperature controlled. There’s no central heating inside the unit, so throughout the year as the warehouses warm up in the summer and cool down in the winter, you need to think about how these changes can affect your items. Electronic items, records and vintage items and old photographs are common items that are affected by cold temperatures. These can be wrapped a few times over to prevent climate damage. If you anticipate the changes in the temperatures, you can ensure that your belongings stay safe.
Now that you’ve thought of all of these things, you can get ready for packing your storage unit like a pro!