Ready for your move? SpareFoot is here to make sure your self-storage experience goes as smoothly as possible, so we’ve prepared a top 5 list of the most important components of an organized, safe storage unit.

1. Locks. Despite the modern security features in many self-storage facilities today, a sturdy lock should be your number one investment to ensure the safety and security of stored belongings. Follow our guide to choosing self-storage locks, and discuss with your self-storage manager to determine which lock will be best-suited for your needs.

2. Boxes. You might prefer the speed and amorphousness of the reinforced trash bag, but we promise your future selves will thank you for taking the extra organizational step of going with moving boxes. Not only are boxes easier to stack and stow, but they will create much more usable space within your storage unit. The shrewdster can find boxes for free at liquor stores and supermarkets (get there early in the week when fresh inventory usually arrives), or cough up a few for new, more durable moving boxes available at your self-storage facility and most home improvement stores. Get uniformed sizing to avoid unbalanced mixing and matching, which will help facilitate a more accessible unit.

3. Tape. A good roll of duct tape can be a lifesaver in any situation. For the more aesthetically-sensitive mover, clear 2” packaging tape is the perfect tool to seal your boxes. Stock plenty of tape either way; you never realize how much you need until you run out.

4. Wrapping supplies. When it comes to padding, you can never be too safe. Save newspapers while you plan the move so you don’t have to go scrounging, and opt for bubble wrap to protect your more precious items. Small bubbles will reduce the shock of a dropped package to fragile items like glass and porcelain, while larger bubbles are well-suited for protecting antique furniture items. Plus, when your move is finished, you’ll have a fun sheet of bubble wrap to create an obstacle course for your cats.

5. Shelving. An organized shelving system is what separates professional-grade storage spaces from amateur closets. Shelving makes your unit accessible, and facilitates your move by providing a designated spot for each item. Many storage facilities will equip your storage unit with shelving according to your specifications, or you can snag some on the cheap through Craigslist or Ikea. Just make sure to get the correct measurements first.

For more helpful information about moving into your new storage unit, check out our self-storage tips page.