If it’s been awhile since you’ve visited your storage unit, you may be astonished to find that your home isn’t the only area that needs a thorough spring cleaning. Your storage unit should also be on your list for a refresh and maybe some reorganization. When you made the decision to use storage, you were probably so relieved to get the stuff out of your house that you were a bit lax with labeling and organizing. It’s easy to store your stuff, and forget about it…”out of sight, out of mind.” Well, they may be out of sight, but your belongings are still there, right where you left them.
Now that you’ve finally made up your mind to get this job done, keep it from becoming an overwhelming task. Here are a few tips to get your started (and hopefully, finished!)
- Set a Deadline: Pick a date, and stick to it. This is kind of like making an appointment with yourself that you must keep and will help you to get motivated.
- Invite Friends: When other people have committed to help you, you’ll be that much more likely to be committed yourself.
- Remove Everything: Take everything out of your unit so that you can sweep and clean before re-organizing your space. Chances are that everything will be dusty and may need to be re-positioned. It’s a good idea to refold stored textiles and linens to prevent creases from forming.
- Start by Opening Boxes: People generally lose track of the items they’ve stored. If you haven’t visited your unit in a long time, you may be pleasantly surprised to find some family heirlooms or possessions you thought you’d lost.
- Keep, Discard, Donate: Go through the same process that you did when you decided what to store. As you open your boxes and sort your belongings make “keep, discard, donate” piles. If you haven’t retrieved something in more than a year, it’s probable that you’ll never need or use it. Maybe one of your helpers could use some of these items.
- Consolidate: Free up storage by consolidating. There will be items that you never use but just can’t part with. Try to combine them in the same boxes and keep them in the back of the unit.
- The “Wait and See Box:” For those items that you not sure about, use a “wait and see box.” You can review this box during your next spring cleaning; and, if you haven’t used these things in the past year, discard or donate them.
- Label and Redistribute Weight: When you’ve finished re-packing, be sure to distribute weight evenly, with heavier items on the bottom. Clearly label everything to make the next cleaning easier.
- Reorganize With a Plan: Create a written map or drawing of the unit to indicate where items can be found. Items can be grouped in any way that is appropriate for your life. For example, you can group by person, room, or importance. Leave this plan on a clipboard hanging on the wall of your space for easy reference. Store belongings that you don’t use regularly in the back of the unit. Save the front space for things you use more often and for seasonal items. Be sure that unused space in dresser drawers, cabinets, or freezers is filled with belongings. If possible, leave aisles with room to move around and see all box labels. If you’re super organized, take photos with your phone so that you can check to see what’s in your space prior to making a trip.
The most important thing to take with you to your unit is a positive mindset. Focus on the feeling of relief that comes from a good cleaning and reorganization. Visualize yourself walking away with the knowledge of a job well done and a task crossed off your list.
If you don’t have a storage unit, and you need one for all of your extra stuff, check out our Choosing the Right Self-Storage Facility blog. You won’t have to clean it until next year!