Storage Unit Tips
The first thing to remember therefore is to pack in such a way that you can find things at a later date quickly and without unloading absolutely everything you've put away. Make an inventory of what you've packed and where it is as you go along. Other packing and storage preparation tips include:
- Make an estimate of the replacement value of each item you store to help with accurate insurance policies and in case of unforeseen damage in the self-storage facility.
- Invest in good quality sturdy boxes and packing materials - box strength degrades with use. If you buy boxes of similar sizes it'll be easier to stack them securely in the self-storage facility and will save you space.
- Box everything that you can - everything that is left unboxed in a self-storage facility will get dusty and potentially dirty.
- Fill boxes to capacity wherever possible to avoid breakages but avoid making them too heavy - remember you'll have to be able to lift them. You can use materials such as paper or towels or can buy special packing to fill spaces if necessary. Depending on the space you opt to rent from your self-storage facility, you might be stacking boxes on top of each other and the lower levels need to be sturdy enough to take the strain. Boxes that are only partly filled may tip over or collapse.
- Label all boxes clearly so you can identify the contents and keep an inventory. Label them on more than one side so you can see what's what quickly. Mark 'Fragile' on any boxes containing breakable items.
- Don't be tempted to fill large boxes with heavy items such as books as they'll quickly become impossible to carry and may break. You can buy small book boxes from your self-storage facility that will do the job just as well. If you do pack heavy items in a large box put in just a few and then fill the box up with lighter items.
- Don't pack items into sealed plastic bags, as humidity can cause mildew.
- Pack books flat to avoid damaging their spines.
- Vinyl records should be stored in a box with the records standing straight up. Storing them stacked on top of each other will often cause them to warp over time. Be sure to have the grooves cleaned before storage, or dust will stick to the records, causing them to skip or scratch when playing them.
- Don't store wet items in a self-storage facility as they can cause water damage, mould and mildew.
- Wrap all fragile items and breakables such as dishes, glasses, ornaments etc separately. Paper will do but bubble wrap is a good investment. Pack them tightly into strong boxes, filling any gaps with paper or filler. Try to avoid putting heavy items on top of fragile ones in a self-storage facility.
- If you're going to be storing clothes think about buying wardrobe or clothes boxes - you'll then be able to simply hang the clothes in them and they'll keep their shape. It's not wise to simply put your clothes in bin liners in a self-storage facility as moisture can get trapped inside when they're sealed and your clothes could be ruined. Also keep clothes together by seasonal use in case you need access to them.
- Seal all your boxes with packing tape before you put them in a self-storage facility - this will help keep dust out of the contents.
- Wipe down metal objects and tools with a little oil before storing to avoid rust formation.
- Think hard about whether you really want to store photographs in a self-storage facility. If you do store loose photographs, place them between pieces of clean cardboard and tape them together to avoid curling. Photographs will suffer temperature damage and, if the facility you have chosen is not climate controlled, you might want to keep them out of storage to avoid losing them.
- Don't use mothballs. The fumes are hazardous, the smell is difficult to get out of fabric, and they do nothing to repel
insects. If your clothes are properly washed and dried before packing, they should be safe from anything that will eat them.
Preparing Electronics and Furniture:
- For the best protection for mirrors and pictures in a self-storage facility, wrap them in a protective covering such as bubble wrap and stack them on their ends. Mirrors and pictures should never be stored flat. Mark them as 'Fragile'.
- Separate lamp bases and lampshades and wrap them for protection.
- If you're storing upholstered products such as mattresses and sofas in a self-storage facility it might be a good idea to invest in covers, bags or sheeting to give them some additional protection. Stand sofas and mattresses on end wherever possible to save space and don't stack too much on top of soft furnishings. Mattresses are best stored on the long end and should be ideally raised above floor level or laid on protective sheeting.
- If you're storing a few items of furniture on top of each other a simple dust sheet or cover placed between items will minimize scratching and damage in a self-storage facility.
- You'll save space if you can dismantle furniture such as beds and tables before you store it in a self-storage facility - make sure you keep hold of all the bits so you can get it all back together again! Wrap and cover furniture sections and keep them together, clearly marked, for quick retrieval. You can put components such as screws and bolts together in a plastic bag, mark them clearly and tape to the relevant piece of furniture. Store large pieces of furniture vertically to save space in the facility.
- Chairs can be stacked seat to seat to save space. Cover chair legs with protective wrapping for extra protection.
- Spray your wood furniture with a good quality furniture spray before storing it in the facility to give it some added protection.
- Electrical equipment such as TVs, stereos and computers should be packed in their original boxes wherever possible. If this isn't possible, pack them into boxes that are about the right size making sure that you pack gaps with paper etc. Make sure you tie down the player arm of a record player and secure your turntable.
- If you're storing items with fuel tanks such as lawn mowers and cars etc in a facility, expect to be asked to drain the tanks before you put them in storage. Fuel is one of the few things that you CANNOT store in a self-storage facility.
- You can tie tools and long-handled items in bundles. Don't store a brush resting on the bristles.
- Don't store vacuum cleaners with the bag in - throw it away before you store them in the facility.
- Treat leather items with a leather conditioner before you store them.
- Think creatively and you'll make more space. Plan to use furniture drawers as an extra box (they are especially good for fragile items) and you can use the inside of wardrobes to store boxes. Kitchen appliances such as stoves and fridges can also be used in this way.
- If you are taking electronics out of storage in the winter, make sure they warm up to room temperature before plugging them in.
Before you store your appliances:
- Large appliances need care before placing in a self-storage facility - make sure you defrost fridges and freezers thoroughly before storing them otherwise you'll be leaving yourself open to water damage. Tie doors up for the move, although you should leave them slightly ajar once in storage to stop condensation forming and help ward off bad odors. Drain washing machines before storing them and tie down hoses etc. It is also recommended to pour RV Antifreeze into the washing tub if storing it during the winter to prevent any freezing damage.
- Empty and wash the fridge or freezer 1-2 days before the move and make sure it is always standing up. When in storage, open the door slightly to prevent it from smelling.
- Ensure that your appliance is clean and dry
- When you take it out of your storage unit, be sure to leave fridges and freezers it unplugged for at least 6-8 hours to prevent damage (refer to the user manual for specifics).
Organizing your self-storage unit:
It is a good idea to take your time and decide the best way to store your items in the unit. By limiting empty space, you can save money on the size of the locker that you require, while making sure that everything is stored in a way that will not cause anything to break.
- If there is anything that you will need to remove first, make sure it is in the front of the locker.
- Store the large objects first, unless you are planning on removing them first.
- Use a dolly to load and unload heavy machinery. Also using one to transfer several boxes at once may save you time.
- Pack the sides of the unit first to allow access to the back items.
- Put your boxes on the Wooden pallets that we provide to keep them off the floor.
- Make sure the heaviest boxes are on the bottom if you are stacking them. Fragile ones should be placed on top, or safely on another object.
- Keep the labels on your boxes facing forward so you can easily see what is in them.
- Use any empty space, like under tables, for your boxes.
- Don't rest furniture or other large objects against walls or other items to prevent damage.
- If you're worried about the atmosphere/environment in the unit put down moisture absorbers, deodorizers and vermin bait.