When choosing a storage unit, factor in a little more room than your belongings will take up in order to allow space for you to walk between stacks of items. This will help you find what you need after you store it.
Consider the environment where you plan to store your valuables. Will it be very hot or cold? Consider renting a climate-controlled storage room for items that could be damaged by extreme temperatures or humidity. Long-term storage over the winter in a regular storage unit can dry out the finish on your furniture.
To aid in stacking, use same-size boxes when possible.
Place heavy items on the bottom of your storage unit.
Place boxes of fragile items on top of other boxes.
Use pallets to keep cardboard boxes off the floor as cardboard can absorb moisture from concrete floors.
Take a little time to plan and organize as you pack. This should make it easier to find things in the future and less likely that anything will get damaged during a move or while in storage.
Boxes that are tightly sealed with packing tape will prevent dust from entering.
Fill each box completely to prevent the top or sides from crushing. If your box is filled with odd-shaped or loose items like glassware or toys, fill the open spaces with crumbled paper, bubble wrap or other packing material.
Don’t fill boxes too full. This may cause them to burst.
Avoid making boxes too heavy to move. Use larger boxes for things that do not weigh as much and smaller ones for the heavy stuff.
Use the right type of box or packing crate. For instance, use a heavy-duty box for your books as this is less likely to break than a standard box. You will still need to be careful not to overfill it, though. Cell kits may work best for stemware or knick-knacks. Wardrobe boxes allow you to hang up clothing and fabrics while in storage.
Wrap framed art in bubble wrap. Look for protective cardboard or plastic corners at your packing supply store.
Criss-cross masking tape across the face of mirrors or glass-covered art.
Store framed mirrors, photographs and artwork vertically rather than flat.
Label boxes clearly and on more than one side. Consider providing a general description like ‘kitchen goods’ and then providing a short inventory such as ‘potholders, towels, aprons, silverware’ so that no one opens this kitchen box when they need the pots and pans. Be sure to mark boxes full of breakables as ‘fragile.’
Vacuum out your couches and chairs to ensure no food is inside them to attract mice.
Defrost refrigerators and freezers thoroughly to avoid water damage and mildew growth. Leave appliance doors slightly ajar once they are in storage.
Drain washing machines to prevent water damage in the summer and damage to your washer when the water inside the tub freezes in the winter.
Clean items like clothing, blankets, drapery or furniture before packing them to prevent germs and dirt from being transported to a new location and odors from spreading throughout your storage unit.
Polish wood before you pack to provide a little extra protection from the elements.
Treat leather items with a specially made conditioner before placing them in storage.
Wipe metal objects with machine oil or another type of rust preventative.
Take apart items like bed frames and tables, and remove lampshades from lamps. This will help protect them from breaking and make them easier to move and store.
Cover furniture with plastic drop cloths to protect them from dust, stains, tears and scratches.
Liquids (like laundry soap) stored in plastic containers can freeze in the winter and crack the container causing a leak when the temperature warms up.
Drain any fluids prior to storing blowers, lawnmowers and other equipment. If storing a car, place cardboard under the vehicle to catch any fluid that might leak.
Do not store anything flammable, such as paint or other chemicals that are hazardous.