How to Organize Your Storage Unit

Tim Schlee | Jan 14, 2014 @ 03:31 PM

A storage unit is a great way to de-clutter the house, but don’t just move your mess from one place to another. Think of storage as a chance to start over. You let things get out of hand at home, so now you have the opportunity not just to clear some space but to get everything organized. With just a little extra time and energy spent today, you can make your life a lot easier down the road. So here are a few ways to keep your unit more organized.

Prepare

The key to getting and staying organized is always to be prepared. Make a plan. What are you storing? How are you going to organize it? You don’t need a detailed map of every single box, but a general overview of what’s in your unit is invaluable. Label your boxes and, if you like, attach a list of all the items inside. StorageFront’s own storage calculator has a great feature that allows you to do all of this easily on your computer!

Use the Right Materials

The appropriate materials will make your storage experience significantly easier. For example, many storage facilities have boxes for sale at their front office. If you use these, you know you can find similar-sized boxes that will stack easily and minimize the risk of your belongings being damaged in a fall. Consider also using plastic totes. Transparent ones allow you to easily see what’s inside, and they also protect better against mold and mildew than cardboard does.

It’s also a good idea to grab some packing peanuts, bubble wrap, and old newspapers to help keep your fragile items from crashing into one another and breaking. If you find you’ve run out of room on your shelves, command hooks can also be a great tool if you would like to better utilize your wall space. Gather all these materials ahead of time, so you don’t waste half the afternoon driving across town for something you forgot instead of finishing your move-in.

Protect Your Belongings

If you do use cardboard, lay down a sheet of plastic before unloading so that no water can seep up into your unit and damage your boxes. For long term storage, you might even lay plastic above the boxes as well to help protect against any other kind of water damage (e.g. the emergency sprinkler or a flood).

It’s always a good idea to take a couple extra steps to protect against mildew, water damage, and pests. One way to do so is simply to sweep out your unit before unloading and double checking that none of your furniture has any crumbs buried in the cushions. When storing appliances, leave the doors ajar and place a box of baking soda inside to reduce odors.

Maximize Your Storage Unit Space

Sometimes you have to play Tetris with your unit to get things right. Some obvious tips are to leave a pathway to the rear of your unit if you can’t keep all your frequently accessed belongings in the front and to stack lighter items on top of heavier ones. Less obvious tips include filling up any small or inconspicuous empty spaces, such as drawers or the inside of your refrigerator, and removing the legs of tables so they can lean easily against the wall and take up less space.

Another option for tables or desks is to stack one upright on the floor and another one upside down on top of it. This allows you to place items below the first table and on top of the second table without any instability or wasted space. It’s also a good idea to invest in some vacuum-sealing bags. These will suck out all of the air in folded clothes and blankets, thereby minimizing the space that they take up.

You don’t need a professional organizer to keep things clean and efficient. Just put a little effort into making a plan and finding the right materials, and your self storage experience will be a whole lot easier. No one likes wading through mountains of unorganized stuff to find that one thing they didn’t think they’d ever need. So take a little extra time now and save yourself a lot of grief later on.

If you have any other organizational concerns, check out our tips page or leave a comment below!