Renting a storage unit is pretty common these days. Many people choose to relocate and downsize and they need a place to store the rest of their belongings. But that is only one of the scenarios where a storage unit is useful. You might want to renovate/remodel your home and need temporary storage space, or you simply want to declutter your home a bit. Either way, having a storage unit handy is extremely beneficial. However, there is a lot to know about storing your items, as well as plenty of things to consider. This is why Master Moving Guide has compiled a list of storage tips, to help you out. We will cover everything there is to know about storage units, as well as give you a few tips on how to use them most efficiently. For more information and moving and storage companies’ recommendations, contact us!
Storage tips you need to know
Briefly put, here is what you may want to do and consider:
- Select your storage unit carefully
- Decide on the right size
- Consider accessibility
- Do you need a climate-controlled unit?
- Purchase packing supplies
- Clean your items
- Consider investing in plastic containers
- Think about insurance
By going through all of the items on the above list, you will be better prepared for your storage experience. Finding a cheap and decent storage solution is a time-consuming process, however, and you might want to dedicate some of your time to it. You will need to research the storage providers in your area and find the one that provides you with the best solution.
Select your storage unit carefully
Thus, the first thing you will need to do is select the unit for your needs. This is a process in which you might want to involve a real estate agent or talk to your moving company or a storage provider. You also need to know what to expect from your storage service. Try to inform yourself of all the various storage types before you start the selection process. That will make it easier to “zero in” on the best possible unit for your needs.
Decide on the right size
The size of the storage unit is one of the most important things you will need to decide. Ideally, you will measure and weigh all of the items that are going inside the unit first. However, in most cases, it is best to rent a unit that is slightly larger than what you think you need. This does not mean that larger is necessarily better, though. What you want is to go for a unit that is no more than 15-20% larger. The fact of the matter is that larger units cost more per month and you need to make sure that you are utilizing them to their full potential.
After all, having half of your unit being empty is simply wasting money. We’ve talked about storage unit size in our tips for hiring movers, and how important it is to select just the right size. It will optimize your storage experience and ensure that you are not paying more than you absolutely need to.
Important storage tips concerning accessibility
But the size of the unit is only the first step. You will want to consider the ways (and times) in which you can access the storage unit. Depending on your needs, you may want to select one with car access, or a unit that has restricted access only to the storage unit owners. Some storage units also provide drive-by access and are available 24/7. Do note that the better the accessibility, the higher the price. If you are moving and are using the unit for relocation purposes, you might want to optimize your moving estimate beforehand. You might also need to make a few compromises along the way. But for the most part, simply go with what is convenient for you.
If you do not have an easy time accessing your unit, you will not want to visit it too often. Which then defeats the original purpose. Unless, of course, you do want a unit where you can simply store and forget.
Do you need a climate-controlled unit?
A climate-controlled storage unit is the best solution for items that are of a sensitive nature. For example, if you have particularly valuable antiques or art pieces, storing them inside such a unit is the best thing to do. However, you will still need to choose a climate-controlled storage facility that “checks” all the other boxes as well. These units go for a premium, of course, and you might need to “shop around” to get the best possible deal.
Furthermore, the availability of these units is usually limited and you might need to work around that. The best thing to do is to create a list of all the available climate-controlled storage units in the city of your new home and compare them before deciding anything.
Purchase packing supplies
You are going to need to pack your belongings into boxes or bins for their stay inside the storage unit. Therefore, you might want to obtain these supplies beforehand, as the packing process itself can take a lot of time. It is usually better to purchase more supplies than you think you need, as you can always use them later. Most of those supplies don’t really have an expiration date and you can always sell them if needed. We’ve covered how to obtain moving boxes on the cheap in our moving tips, but the basic premise is to visit your local stores and simply ask for a box or two. If you have a lot of time on your hands, you can also obtain various supplies from people that have recently moved. Most of them will have some surplus that they might be willing to sell.
Consider investing in plastic containers
If you have a lot of heavy items, it might be good to consider utilizing plastic containers instead of cardboard boxes. While the initial investment might be a bit higher, plastic containers last longer and can hold much more weight. Furthermore, they are easier to stack and move around and are much more durable. These boxes are quite useful even just for short distance moving. You don’t need to replace all of your containers with them, as even a few plastic bins can make a world of difference.
Think about insurance
Lastly, you need to realize that while storage units are quite safe, they are not 100% safe. Accidents can always happen and your belongings might get damaged or destroyed. For that reason, you may want to invest in an insurance plan that will cover you no matter what. Your best bet is to choose a plan that corresponds to the items you are storing. The more expensive they are, the more you might want to pay for insurance. Purchasing adequate insurance is something that we talk about in many of our storage guides. It is that important. You will be able to sleep peacefully, knowing that no matter what happens you are covered.
Packing for storage tips
When it comes to packing your belongings and relocating them to the storage unit, there are a few ways to optimize the process. Here are our top suggestions:
- Keep heavy and fragile items on the bottom
- Utilize the vertical space
- Invest in shelving and extra furniture
- Create a walkway
- Utilize wood pallets
- Keep items you use the most near the front
You may also want to consider the amenities of the storage unit, as well. If you have a lot of heavy containers, it might be in your best interest to rent a unit that has an access to a forklift. Or if you are relocating from across the state, you may need a unit that has the option of delivering your items one at a time. This is one of our interstate moving tips that pertains to utilizing a storage unit effectively, as well. But for the most part, following the above suggestions will help you optimize your storage experience no matter if you are moving long distance or cross-country.
Keep heavy and fragile items on the bottom
You never want to stack boxes or bins with fragile items too high. Try to keep them as low to the ground as possible. The same goes for heavy items. These belongings are much more susceptible to damage from falling from any sort of height. Therefore, keep them near the floor, stacking them only if you have to. You can use the boxes with heavy items as the first ones in the stack while positioning fragile items on their own. That way you will minimize the danger to your items.
Essential storage tips: Utilize the vertical space
While stacking fragile and heavy items is not recommended, the same is not true for most of your other boxes. In fact, it is ideal to try and stack them one on top of another to utilize as much vertical space as you can. As far as packing tips go, utilizing the vertical space is the best way to gain “more” storage space inside your unit. And you can even optimize that space if you:
Invest in shelving and extra furniture
Stacking items one on top of another is but one way of storing your items. A much “cleaner” way is to invest in some shelves for your storage unit, or specialized furniture pieces that can serve as racks. That way, you will have easy access to most of your stuff, without needing to remove a lot of boxes to get to the items that you need. Depending on the items you are storing, and the layout of the storage unit, consider using shelving that is appropriate. You can use metal shelving, wooden shelving, etc. The idea here is to be able to categorize your belongings and have an easier time navigating your unit.
Important storage tips: Create a walkway
Speaking of navigation, you might want to consider the layout of the unit before you start cramming stuff in. Ideally, you will want to create a walkway in the middle of the unit, providing you with easy access to all of your boxes. This is something that needs to be the first consideration, or close to it. Of course, you don’t need to bother with creating an elaborate walkway if you are simply storing your units and are not planning on using them much. But for all other situations, having a walkway will save you a lot of trouble down the proverbial road.
Utilize wood pallets
Another great storage tip is to use wooden pallets to raise your items off the floor. This will help with air circulation within the unit, avoiding any moisture buildup that the items on the floor would otherwise create. Furthermore, it will be easier for you to lift the boxes off the palets than off the ground. These pallets are not expensive and they are readily available in numerous stores.
Keep items you use the most near the front
The last one of our storage tips is to keep the items (or boxes of items) that you know you will need to use sooner rather than later, close to the front of the unit. That way, you will not need to traverse the whole unit when you need those particular items. Tools are a great suggestion for storing near the front, as you never know when you might need them. The more you are certain that you will need something in a short while, the more you should position it near the storage unit door. Ideally, most of the trips to your storage unit will be short.
Get in touch so we can help you choose a quality and affordable moving and storage company
By now, you know how to choose and optimize your storage unit and how to get the most out of it. If you still have any questions or concerns, you can simply contact Master Moving Guide directly. We can provide you with even more storage tips, ones that might be more specialized for your particular situation. You will also find plenty of recommendations, so feel free to request free moving quotes and choose the best moving company to fit your needs.