There are numerous reasons why a self storage unit is a good idea, and no matter why you need to rent one, there is one thing you need to be aware of; the better you can prepare before your items are put inside, the safer and more protected they will be. You’ll also be able to make the most use of the space if you plan, and that can save you time and money. Here are some ways you can prepare your items for long term storage.
Decide What Needs To Be Stored
Before you can choose the right storage unit for your needs or even the right storage facility, you’ll need to know what it is you intend to store in there. If you’re storing large pieces of furniture, for example, you’ll need a larger unit than if you’re storing boxes of books and racks of clothing.
This is also the perfect time to declutter. Think carefully about what you really need to store and what you’re actually never going to use again, but you’re keeping for the sake of it. Suppose you can dispose of those items, either by donating to charity, selling, or throwing them out as a last resort. In that case, you won’t waste time, space in the storage unit, or money by packing things that will simply stay in boxes once you take everything out of storage again. If you’re not actually going to miss it when it’s stored, it might be that you no longer need it at all.
Create An Inventory List
Creating an inventory list as you pack your items and before placing everything into your storage unit is a great idea. This is an easy thing to do if you do it as you go along; you simply need to write down every item that goes into a certain box and label that box with either a number or code, or similar. That code will link to the list you’ve made, and you’ll always be able to find anything you need.
If you also make a second copy of the list and tape it to the side of the box, finding anything quickly becomes a much more straightforward task. Also, remember to keep an electronic copy of the list so you can access it at any time and so you don’t lose it – that would make things much more difficult.
Get Proper Storage Containers
Storage containers are the best option for making sure your possessions are properly protected during their time in long term storage. Although you may not want to spend a lot of money on this idea, it’s still a good choice to buy the best you can afford. Cardboard boxes are what might initially come to mind. Still, although these are useful for short term storage, if you intend for your belongings to be in a storage unit for longer than a few weeks, sturdy plastic containers are a better option. Remember that although these cost more than cardboard boxes, they last for a lot longer, and you can use them for many years without having to buy any more.
If you do want to use cardboard for environmental reasons, make sure you use brand new boxes where possible. Whether the boxes are new or used, check them thoroughly for any damage, damaged boxes could lead to damaged items, and at the very least, they won’t be as strong as complete boxes, and that could mean it is difficult to stack them, and you’ll lose space if you can’t do that.
No matter which option you choose, make sure you buy enough boxes at the outset. By planning ahead and having exactly what you need, you can ensure everything is stored safely from the start, and you won’t have to worry about any of your things.
Never Pack Hazardous Items For Storage
In every storage facility, there will be items that are prohibited. These will include perishable items, organic items such as plants, and hazardous ones such as chemicals. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the items you cannot store in your storage unit before you pack things up and place them inside.
Although once your items are in your storage unit they will be undisturbed, and you might think that there is no harm in storing these kinds of prohibited items in the unit, the fact is that should something go wrong, and there is damage, your insurance won’t cover it, and you might have to pay additional costs depending on how much damage was done. The rules are in place for a reason, and it’s not worth trying to circumvent them.
Prepare The Items
Once you know what it is you’re going to store, you’ve rented the right size storage unit, and you’ve purchased all the containers you’ll need, you must prepare the items themselves for storage. The first thing to do is to clean everything thoroughly by wiping down all surfaces and using a vacuum cleaner on soft furnishings and fabrics. The reason for this is that you can prevent excess dust and any musty odor by removing dirty before you store everything.
If you are using a damp cloth or washing items thoroughly in water, they must be completely dry before you store them. Otherwise, you run the risk of mold and mildew forming. Not only can this affect the wet items, but mold spreads easily, and you might find that other items become moldy too.
It’s also a good idea to take any large pieces of furniture apart if possible. You’ll have more room to store other things, and it makes them easier to move.
Here are some more ideas for specific items:
The best way to store clothes is to hang them on a rail with a plastic bag over them. Even better is if you can use vacuum-sealed bags as the clothes will be completely protected no matter how long they are in the unit.
As well as taking furniture apart and storing all the elements carefully, it’s also wise to wrap the more delicate parts such as legs in bubble wrap for additional protection. Thick blankets can be used to protect larger items such as tables and display units.
Before you place your mattress into a storage unit, leave it uncovered and in direct sunlight for two to three hours. This will ensure it is entirely dry. You can also find special mattress storage bags so that you have an additional layer of protection. Remember to store your mattress lying down; they are not made to be kept on their sides or ends for long periods of time, which could damage them.