Pack Like a Pro and Learn How to Protect Items in Storage Units

June 15, 2021Moving Tips
Kate Holland

A true grunge and rock music fan born in Seattle, Kate has moved across the country and started writing about her experience.

Relocations require extraordinary organizational skills and many preparatory steps, especially when you move across the country. You may need to store away some of your belongings, and that’s why learning how to protect items in storage units is of utter importance. From the day your possessions enter the storing facility to the day you want them removed, it’s crucial that they remain intact.

There’s available historical evidence suggesting that publicly available spaces designated for storing were present six thousand years ago in ancient China, but the modern business model has begun emerging about 60 years ago. While this concept is used all over the world, the US alone has enough square footage in its facilities that could store the whole City of London twice. It’s no wonder we use it so much because storing away excess items is the best way to move efficiently and save up on our relocating budget. But, before you can place them away, it’s essential to prepare them properly, as well as to learn what can be stored and what is out of the question.

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Reasons to Store Our Possessions

Many of us are familiar with that feeling of becoming a proud owner of our grandma’s ancient but pretty wooden chest of drawers, which was a no-touch zone when we were kids, but that doesn’t align with our home-style no matter how hard we try to fit it in. Or perhaps you are in that scenario where your children keep piling up their artwork, and you have no idea where to put it even after implementing creative storage ideas around the house, but you don’t want to throw it away. Moving to a new state often requires us to store our household objects for a while, as well as to look for a car shipping company and read about the differences between enclosed and open car transport. That’s where the self-storing facilities are the perfect solution, but without thorough preparations, it may lead to a catastrophe.

A girl lying under a pile of clothes
Being over-cluttered with possessions is one of the main reasons to store away stuff

How to Protect Items in Storage Units – The First Preparatory Steps

Like with any complex task life throws at us, the key to success is a thorough organization, and it’s no different when it comes to preparing your possessions to place them in a facility. If you have already relocated, you are aware that picking an auto transport company and tipping movers are far from being the only things you should pay attention to. There’s a lot of packing, following lists, looking for moving hacks to help you avoid moving scams, and after you move in, there’s finding a job, as well as making friends in a new city. But, when it comes to packing everything up, the first preparatory step is to gather the right packing materials. You can either buy them or find them for free on sites like Craigslist, but if you have enough time on your hands, visit your local bookstore, a liquor store, or a retailer, and they will probably be very glad to give you lots of cardboard boxes for free.

A woman labeling a box
First steps include gathering the right materials

Prepare Furniture Items for the Self-Storing Unit While Packing

Relocations require us to worry about a variety of stuff, from deciding whether you’ll drive all the way across the country while battling with driving stress or whether you’ll decide to ship the car. However, the process of packaging your household might be the most dreaded part, which can be easily overcome by following one of the best moving tips, and that is to approach packing systematically. First of all, you should thoroughly declutter, and that means to get rid of unusable stuff, along with anything you don’t require any longer. Make sure you have enough medium-sized boxes and crates, and then walk through your home and decide what goes into self-storage so you can start packing and preparing.

Clean the Furniture for Self-Storage Like a Boss

Preparing furniture pieces to be placed in a facility is pretty much similar to preparations to move a car to another state. Empty each piece, and make sure there are no personal objects left inside. Grab a vacuum cleaner with a small brush attached, and make sure you take off any dirt, grime, or dust, and tidy it up with a cloth and a solution of warm water and soap. Grab a furniture protection spray, as well as the conditioner for leather surfaces, and apply them thoroughly.

Prepare Large Furniture Items to Be Stored in a Unit

Deciding on the size of the unit will be easier if you disassemble large furniture pieces that take up a lot of space, but make sure you pack them all together for easier reassembling later. If there are any protruding parts, envelope them with cushioning materials, such as towels or perhaps bubble wrap, and place all the small hardware parts that include hinges, screws, and bolts into ziplock bags. Tape them to the furniture for an ultimate hack to avoid losing them, and cover everything with specialized blankets and covers.

Properly Pack Your Mattresses

No matter what you plan to place in a facility, there’s one rule to be followed – make sure the item is both clean and completely dry. This is especially important when it comes to stuff made out of fabric, such as mattresses. After checking it for any infestation, and thorough cleaning, one of the ultimate tips is to leave it for a couple of hours in the sunlight, just to be certain it’s properly dry. Achieve ultimate protection by placing it into a specialized bag of matching size and seal it up with packaging tape.

Household goods wrapped in plastic
Prepare your furniture the right way

Pack Appliances to Be Stored Away

A good organizer will be bothered with only a couple of things during their move. That certainly includes deciding whether it’s better to pay for an open carrier auto transport or to invest some more for enclosed auto transport and avoid driving anxiety. But, it also includes worrying about the best way to safeguard appliances to be moved and stored away in a facility.

It’s probably needless to say that freezers and refrigerators should be defrosted, and thoroughly cleaned, and disinfected. Washing machines and dishwashers have hoses and internal mechanisms that contain water, so make sure they are properly drained and dried, to avoid freezing during the winter months. Also, one of the good tips for storing appliances is to leave their doors slightly open to allow them to ventilate, and avoid condensation. All the cables and hoses should be tied down and secured.

Gray gas oven
Appliances need special attention

Electronics Can Be Stored Away, Too

Perhaps you view sensitive electronics as something to keep in your car while you relocate, but if properly protected, they can be placed into a facility. After all, if you plan on using a company for either door-to-door auto transport or maybe the cheaper terminal-to-terminal car shipping service, your vehicle should be emptied of your personal belongings. Placing your stuff in a facility for safe-keeping will allow you to travel lightly, which is especially important if you’re moving to another state alone. Electronics are best kept if they are cleaned with care, and dust-free, and as such placed into their original packaging. Using foam sheets, packing peanuts, and paper will avoid damage, and ensure maximum protection.

A keyboard, phone, and a tablet
Place your valuable electronics in their original packaging for safety

Storing Away Fragile Possessions Is a Bit Trickier

We consider many of our breakable possessions valuable, from fine artwork with a glass surface to our china collection, and we would hate it if it gets damaged in any way. So, learning how to protect fragile items in a moving truck and later storing them away is essential to keep them intact. The key to this is properly protecting them inside of their boxes and crates by using plenty of cushioning materials when you pack them. Breakables such as plates and framed photographs should be thoroughly enveloped in bubble wrap and placed vertically. Remember that you should leave some free space that you’ll fill generously with packaging paper. If you wonder how to protect framed items when moving, as well as when storing them, an awesome hack is using pool noodles to envelop the frames and avoid breakage. Another tip is to properly label the crates that contain fragile objects, so you won’t place them underneath heavier objects.

A couple placing dishes into a package
Taking proper care of breakables is a must

What Can’t Be Stored?

There are numerous things we forget to do when we move, and one of them might be getting rid of the stuff that movers won’t transport on their trucks. These are the same things that can’t be placed in self-storage units, and before making a mistake, you should be informed of what can’t be stored in a facility. These include:

  • All flammable, as well as hazardous and toxic materials. Stuff that may seem completely safe, such as art supplies (paint thinner, mineral spirits), but also nail polish remover, and aerosol sprays, should be left out of the storing unit. Weed killers, fertilizers, and the oil and gasoline in your gardening machines may pose a threat, too.
  • Don’t store any perishable foods in a storing unit. You’ll easily differentiate this by a rule – if it needs to be kept in a refrigerator, it’s perishable.
  • Explosives, weapons, and stolen goods. It’s common sense that anything illegal and objects that can be used to hurt people shouldn’t be stored in a facility.
  • Some people may take the idea of storing to a crazy level by trying to live in such a unit, but, aside from it not being allowed, it’s a really, really bad idea. The same goes for any other living creature, such as pets and even plants.

If you are not completely certain about an item, don’t store it before contacting your renting company. They will provide you with a list of non-allowables and give you all the additional information you may require. You can hear some additional tips about avoiding pests while storing in the following video.

YouTube video

Do I Need Insurance?

After you decide on using storage for your belongings, don’t forget to ask if the renting company has available insurance that covers your personal property stored inside. If it is not the case, the best move would be to purchase a separate storage insurance policy. Although companies that rent storages keep their facilities climate controlled, free of humidity, and under surveillance, buying insurance will make sure you have ease of mind.

An agent talking to a couple
Getting insurance will give you peace of mind

Some Additional Tips

Organizing the layout of your unit will put your skills to the test, but there are numerous ways to arrange everything placed inside like a pro. Use an inventory list, write down all of your belongings that will go into the storage unit, and highlight items you consider a priority. These are the things that should be placed near the front for easier access. Another of those smart tips is to label boxes the similar way you have probably done before moving out but in a more descriptive manner. Be specific when it comes to the contents of boxes, to avoid rummaging through the packages and crates, just to find a pair of boots or a winter coat.

A Good Tip to Save on Space

When you want to invest in a storage unit, you need to decide on its size. But using the available space to your advantage is like packing a moving truck – you’ll have to be patient, skilled, and with a few tricks up your sleeve. An awesome idea is to create a map of the place, on which you will designate each area for certain items before you put anything inside it. This will help you save on space and easily reach anything you may require without having to take everything out of the unit.

A man placing cartons into a unit
Store everything with a good plan in mind to save up on space

Storing Your Possessions Is a Perfect Solution For Relocations

Relocations are both hard and exciting and can be viewed as complex and adventurous at the same time. When we move, we have so much to think about, from how much it costs to ship a car, so you can plan your budget accordingly, to which moving services you will actually require. But, let’s face it, investing in a storage service will definitely guarantee you an effortless move, because you’ll have more time to settle in your new home before all of your possessions arrive.

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