If you’re anything like me, being organized is about as likely to happen as my ’89 Bronco getting good gas mileage. However, the effort needs to be taken to get a storage unit organized in order to keep your property safe, easily accessed, and to maximize the potential of the storage unit’s floor space. Use these helpful tips to improve your chances of actually finding what you’re looking for when you visit the unit.
Before You Pack
A lot of people shoot themselves in the foot right off the bat by not transporting their property in an organized way. Think about what items you will need the soonest, or the most frequently, and move those aside until the end. Pack up and transport your largest items first since you will want them towards the back of the unit and to fit smaller items around them.
Too often we open up a storage unit only to be accosted by a damp, musky odor. This happens when items like paper documents or clothes get stored improperly and mold can take hold. Avoid using plastic trash backs to keep your items in since plastic does not breathe and moisture can easily become trapped. Use cardboard or banker’s boxes instead. Not only can air circulate easier, but they stack easily and items won’t get crush as the will in a bag.
The Floor Plan
It might seem counter intuitive to leave a path – either down the middle or along a wall – since it takes up floor space, but you’ll be thanking yourself when you have to get something from a dark corner in your storage unit. In addition, if you have a vehicle to store, pick a storage unit with proper vehicular storage capabilities that allows for spacing on the sides of the vehicle. Nothing is worse than constantly moving cars and or boxes in and out. I have to shake my head and sigh whenever I see some poor sap gutting their entire unit just to get to one particular box. Save yourself the headache and give yourself a way to get back there.
Organization and Safety
Everyone has different needs when it comes to a storage unit, but there are still some general organization tips that everyone can follow to make their lives a little easier when it comes to finding stuff and keeping their property safe.
Label Everything. I don’t care who you are, all cardboard boxes look the same after you haven’t visited a storage unit for a few months. Make sure your labels are descriptive as possible as well. Instead of having five boxes labeled Kitchen, have them labeled Kitchen Cutlery, Kitchen Glassware, and so on and so forth.
Birds of a Feather. A good way to lose track of things, even if they’re labeled, is to scatter boxes willy-nilly throughout the unit. Take time to group like-minded boxes together, and I even suggest mapping out a bird’s eye view of which groups are where within the unit. This might sound like overkill, but it truly helps especially with the larger self-storage units.
Physics! Okay, physics may be a difficult concept for most of us, but we do know that it’s best to place the heaviest items and boxes on the bottom. This helps to keep your items safe since it will be less likely for something to get crushed, and the boxes will be less likely to shift around and potentially fall.
Dust, the Silent Killer. Sorry for the dramatic phrasing, but dust can wreak havoc on appliances and electronics if they’re left stored for long periods of time. A friend of mine lived in Korea for a few years and used a self-storage unit to house his washer and dryer, among other items, while he was away. Upon his return he found the appliances to be filled with dust, and in a fit of glorious irony he discovered just how difficult it is to clean a washer. Take the time to cover and protect your items from dust, rodents, water, and other nuisances.