If you’ve ever used a self storage unit for your personal or business belongings, you’ve probably read a few hundred articles advising on the best way to organize your space. They all have value, but everyone’s needs are different and there’s no perfect system. Here are our tips for self storage unit organization.
Your goals should be to:
- safely store your possessions,
- maximize your space, and
- be able to easily locate your items when you need them.
A common sense approach based on the following suggestions and your unique needs will streamline your packing and storing process.
Best Tips for Self Storage Unit Organization
Tip 1: Create a master inventory list, and categorize your items. Categories can include seasonal clothing, furniture, appliances, seasonal décor, electronics and items you use regularly. This method will enable you to estimate the amount of space and the number of bins and boxes that you’ll need. Check the Trusted Self Storage Size Guide to help you determine the size unit that will work best for you.
Pro Tip: Jot down the replacement value of each item as well as serial/model numbers of electronics and appliances. If you ever have to file an insurance claim, you can check your master inventory list.
Tip: 2: Label all of your boxes, and list the contents of each box. Label your boxes by room and list the contents on each label. There will be multiple boxes for each room, and it’s almost impossible to recall what each one contains. You don’t want to have to open every box to find one sweater or a pair of shoes.
Pro Tip: Label your boxes on the top and on the side so that the list is easily visible when you’re searching for an item. Be sure to number each box. These numbers should then be added to the items on your master list.
Tip 3: When packing your boxes, fill them. Don’t leave boxes partially empty. Fill up the entire box, placing a few heavy items on the bottom and filling to capacity with lighter items. This way, you’ll avoid crushing your fragile items.
Pro Tip: Try to choose one size box or container for most, if not all, of your items. With boxes of the same size it’s much easier to stack efficiently and maximize your space.
Tip 4: Cover the floor. The floors in a self storage unit are concrete, which can cause condensation in extreme temperatures and humidity. Even with a climate-controlled unit you should cover the floor with plastic tarps for extra protection.
Pro Tip: Wood pallets make a good floor cover and keep bugs from gathering under your boxes and containers.
Tip 5: Disassemble large furniture. Tables, headboards, bookcases and any other large pieces should be disassembled to maximize storage space. These items should be stored in an upright position at the back of the unit.
Pro Tip: Place all screws, nails, and anything needed to reassemble the furniture in a small, sealable plastic bag that is attached to that specific piece of furniture.
Tip 6: Store electronics carefully. Today’s electronics aren’t typically packed as one single piece. They are easily damaged and should be packed and sealed to prevent damage and deterioration from dust and pests. For more information check 15 Genius Ways to Store Electronics.
Pro Tip: Use your phone or tablet to take a picture of the connections so that you’ll have no trouble when it’s time to get them up and running.
Tip 7: Use your vertical space. Don’t forget about using the vertical space in your storage unit. Store items upright and stack boxes as high as safely possible. If you’re concerned about stability, you can use sturdy shelving to hold your heavy and cumbersome containers and other items. Shelving toward the front of your unit can hold frequently-used items.
Pro Tip: Consider shelving on wheels so that you can easily move it around your space.
Tip 8: Leave an aisle. By the time you’re packed up and ready to start moving items into your unit, don’t be in such a hurry that you forgot to conveniently organize everything. Leave an aisle down the middle so that you can more easily view and access your belongings.
Pro Tip: Be sure that the labeled side of your containers and boxes is facing the aisle.
Tip 9: Place frequently used items toward the front. Keep in mind that you will use some items more frequently than others. Your large appliances and furniture should be placed in the back of your unit, but things like holiday decorations, seasonal clothing and important documents should be placed in an easily accessible spot near the front.
Pro Tip: For even more convenience, pack frequently used items in see-through containers.
Tip 10: Make a map of your unit. Make a map of your stored boxes and items, place it on a clipboard, and hang it in a visible location in your unit. There’s no need to get too technical; a hand drawn sketch will work. This will make it easy to find the items that are “buried” in the back.
Pro Tip: Remember to keep this map up-to-date as you add and remove items from your unit, and take a photo of it so you don’t have to worry if it is misplaced.
At first glance, these tasks seem like a lot of trouble, but the huge amount of time you’ll save over the years makes the effort more than worth it. When the day arrives that you’re looking for that heavy sweater or Thanksgiving platter, you’ll find your item with ease.