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How to Organize Your Storage Unit

Jon Fesmire | August 28, 2017 @ 9:00 AM

When you get a storage unit, you probably have a lot of other things on your mind—maybe you’re moving, maybe you’re adding to your family, maybe you’re going through a divorce or some other major life change. Maybe you just have too much at home and need to get organized.

If you’re dealing with stress while preparing to move items into a self storage unit, you may just want to pack your belongings, put them in storage, and forget about them for a while. That can be a mistake. When you need to get items later, your unit won’t be organized well enough for you to find what you need easily.

Here are some suggestions for organizing your storage unit:

Keep an Inventory

When packing, label your boxes and keep an inventory. Write the inventory on a piece of paper and then transfer it to a computer file. Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet programs work great for this. Store the file with your favorite cloud service so it doesn’t get lost and you can access it in different locations.

Use Sturdy Boxes

If you’re going to stack boxes, make sure they’re sturdy. There are two schools of thought on this. Some advise using plastic bins, which tend to be strong and keep moisture out. The flip side of that, however, is they also trap moisture in. Others suggest using strong cardboard boxes, which are more breathable. However, in some instances cardboard can attract pests. Whichever option you go with, if you live in an area where humidity can be a problem, don’t take any risks with your things. Get a unit with climate control.

Stack From Heavy to Light

Your heavier items should go toward the bottom of your unit, and your lighter ones, higher up. There are a couple of reasons for this. If you’re using shelves, you don’t want heavy items to fall on you when you’re getting them down. If you’re stacking boxes, you don’t want the heavy items crushing the lighter ones.


Depending on the size of your unit, have an aisle or two that you can walk through, to get to items in the back. This also allows for air flow, letting your items and boxes breathe.


Shelves are a great alternative or supplement to stacking and are especially useful if you’re storing items that don’t box easily or you’re using commercial storage for your business’s inventory.

The facility you choose may have shelves for rent, so ask. Otherwise, you can provide your own, but ask the facility for advice on what would work best.

Organizing By Type

Where will you put your boxes in your storage unit? To make it easier to decide, consider sorting them by type. For example, you may have one (or several) stacks for books, one section for kitchenware, one for bedding, and so on.

Organizing By Room

In your storage unit, put the living room boxes together, the bedroom boxes together, and so on. You may want to store furniture items together as well, regardless of what room they came from. This is perfect when you’re preparing to move and are using your self storage unit to hold your items temporarily. When you pack everything into the moving truck, you can do so by room as well.

By combining these different organizing strategies, you can come up with a method that works just right for your unit.

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