Self storage units can help you move, provide an inexpensive place to keep your seasonal items, offer space for your business inventory and more. To get the most out of your storage unit, however, you have to organize it.
Perhaps you’re someone who needs to access your storage unit regularly, maybe to grab camping supplies, take out your winter wardrobe when the weather turns cold, or to retrieve items you sold online so you can ship them.
This is why, regardless of why you have a storage unit, it’s important to keep it organized. Here’s how.
Prefer One Box Size
In the self storage world, we have all sorts of boxes for your belongings from small to extra large, and even specialized boxes for drinking glasses, your clothes items that need to be kept on hangers, and more. So, this may seem like odd advice, but this will help more than you realize.
The advantage of primarily using the same box type and size for your possessions is stackability. Boxes of the same size tend to stack well. Not only that, they’ll allow you to maximize storage space.
We recommend using medium, small, or document boxes for the majority of your belongings. These are sturdy and good for heavy items, like books, as well as clothing, toiletries, kitchen items, and more.
Save the larger and specialized boxes for items that really need them.
Label Your Boxes and Keep and Inventory
It’s important to label each box and keep an inventory of everything in them. This is what’s going to make it easy to retrieve a single item when you need it, without having to search through dozens of boxes.
When you go to fill a box, label it with a black permanent marker. We suggest doing so by room. For example, you’d have “Living Room 1,” “Living Room 2,” “Kitchen 1,” and so on. Get a legal pad and pencil, write the box label at the tip, then write down the name of each item as you put it in. Later, input this information into an Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheet. This will allow you to easily look up anything you need later and know exactly where to find it.
Consider a Larger Unit
If you want to be able to easily get to anything in your unit, you will at least need an aisle down the center, and you may even want two aisles or more. Yes, it will cost a little more, but remember you’re still paying a low price per square foot. Use our size guide to see what size you could pack everything into, then rent a unit one size larger.
Know What You Need
Before you put your items in your storage unit, think about what you’ll need the easiest access to. These may include seasonal and holiday items, like ornaments and decorations, tools and craft supplies, recent business, tax, and medical documents, and vacation supplies.
Put these in easy to access spots, which include spots near the door and spots on shelves.
Understand Basic Storage Organization
In general, the best way to organize a unit is something like this.
Make sure you have at least one path down the middle. Put your furniture against the walls. Put boxes with valuable items in the back, and put boxes from the back of the unit to the front, in order of need, with most needed items toward the front. In each stack, heavier boxes need to go at the bottom, with lighter boxes on top. Don’t stack boxes higher than your head, or they can be difficult to get down.
Also, draw a simple map of your storage unit that includes where each box is. This works great in conjunction with your inventory to help you find any item you require.
If you already have full storage unit and haven’t taken these steps, it’s not too late. When you have time, take a weekend to redo it. You’ll have to empty the old boxes and probably get new boxes, but it will make your unit far more functional going forward, and that’s the point of great storage organization, to make using your unit as simple as possible.