The holidays are long gone, the buzz is off the New Year and you still have a month or two of winter ahead. If you’re like most people, you use the winter months to help organize your home because you’re inside anyway.
Of course, one of the biggest problems in any home reorganization is finding a place for everything. If you’ve gone through the exercise before, you’ve no doubt thought about renting a self-storage unit to take the pressure off the storage space in your home.
But finally making the decision to use a storage unit is just your first step. No one wants to pay for storage space that they won’t use. But how much space do you need? You can check our handy storage unit size guide to get an idea, but your exact storage needs depends on exactly what you want to store. And that’s your first step once you make the decision to rent a unit.
Some things we recommend are:
1. Deciding What You Need to Store
If you’re lucky, this might be very straight forward. There’s no room for the piano, so let’s store it. But for most people, deciding on what to store can get a little complicated. That’s because you tend to keep a lot of things in your home that you don’t necessarily need – or that you wouldn’t rent a storage unit for.
So, if you have a room or basement full of stuff, you need to go through it all and make a list of everything you really want to keep.
But what about the rest? Your first option for items that are in good condition is to sell them. You can also see if any friends or family would like to have them. Finally, if you’re out of options and you don’t want to keep something, recycle it.
2. Practice Good Packing
This is a two-step process: how you pack your things for storage, and how you pack your storage unit. First, most smaller items should be packed in a cardboard box or plastic container. If you’re going to end up with lots of boxes and/or containers, using similar sizes makes stacking them easier and the stack sturdier. If possible, disassembling larger items, like a table, can greatly reduce the amount of space they take up in the unit.
When packing the unit, it might be a mistake to use every square inch, top to bottom. Chances are that, if you ever need to get something out of the unit, it will buried at the back of the unit and you’ll have to unpack the whole space just to get to it.
Be sure to pack fragile items with lots of protection and, when stacking boxes in the unit, put the heavier ones on the floor and the lighter ones on top – and make sure the boxes won’t fall on you the next time you open the door to the unit!
3. Get a Climate-Controlled Unit
Many self-storage companies will give you a long list of items that need climate-controlled storage. But if it’s a good list, you’ll notice that there are very few items that don’t need climate control.
For example, you should store anything made with the following materials in a climate-controlled unit: paper, fabric, electronics, metal and wood. When you look at what you have to store, we bet there won’t be much that doesn’t have one of those materials.