If you are downsizing or cleaning out a relative's home, renting a storage unit can be an economical way to keep your items in good condition and out of the way. Most of the time, storage units are priced by size, so it makes sense to maximize every inch of your storage unit. Since you don't want to damage items in the process, read on for some ways to properly pack up your belongings so they will fit in the smallest space possible.
Pack Your Boxes Properly
If you have ever watched movers pack boxes, you already know that they take a few actions to reduce the chances that items become broken or lost. Check out these tips on packing boxes:
- Don't make the boxes too heavy. Remember that you do need to pick them up once they're packed!
- Pack the boxes evenly so one side is not heavier than the other.
- Fill the boxes entirely. Leaving empty space makes it more likely that the boxes will get crushed. You can fill extra space with blankets, towels, sheets or even crumpled newspaper if necessary.
- Close the boxes well. Don't rely on just tucking the box flaps under one another; you need to use packing tape to make sure the boxes are sealed. First, the tape will give the box some stability. The other reason is that you don't want dust or insects to get into your belongings.
Store Furniture Correctly
Furniture presents a challenge when packing a storage unit, because it tends to be bulky and expensive. If you are storing couches, beds and other types of furniture, keep these tips in mind:
- Bed frames should be disassembled. Stand up the components or lay them flat on the floor right against a wall. Cover the mattress with dust covers and stand them on end.
- Sleeper sofas need to be stored flat on their feet, but regular couches should be stored on end to minimize the amount of floor space they take up.
- Dining room chairs might be able to be stored one on top of the other. Place one chair on its feet, then turn the next chair over and place its seat on the seat of the one already standing.
- Fill bureaus and chests of drawers with small items. Use them for clothing, linens, breakables or dishes. (Wrap breakables first.)
- Don't forget to take advantage of the flat surfaces provided by desks, tables and dressers. Use the space underneath, too!
- Mirrors should never be laid flat; pad them by covering with blankets or sheets, then stand them up tilted against a wall.
Arrange Your Storage Unit Sensibly
When the time comes to pack your items into your storage unit, it might be helpful to draw out what you want it to look like. Just use graph paper to sketch where the larger items should go, then you can put boxes and smaller items in as they fit. You can find some great hints here, and try some of these tips, too:
- Leave some room along the edge so you can walk to the back of your unit. There's nothing more frustrating than having to take out half the unit's contents to access some needed item in the back.
- Keep your permanent market handy. Hopefully you've been labeling boxes as you've packed them, but the labels might not be on the correct surface once you get the boxes into the unit. For example, if you've labeled the top of some boxes, it's a good idea to also label the side that is facing the aisle that you've made.
- Put heavy items on the bottom and lighter items at the top; items that you will probably not need again soon should be toward the back, and those that you may need to retrieve in a few weeks should be toward the front.
- Ask the storage unit staff if they have additional tips. They want you to be happy with your storage unit, so they will usually help if they can.
Keep in mind that you can always hire movers that offer packing services whether you're moving to a new residence, filling a storage unit, or both. If you go this route, just be doubly sure that you designate which items are going where.