So you’ve seen the possibilities that arise when you use self-storage to clear the clutter from your life. Now, you’re eager to begin your own storage adventure. To help you on your journey, we’ve compiled a list of five tips to help you get the most from your storage unit.

1. Pay for what you need. If you’re storing old sports junk and other weather-resistant non-essentials, you don’t want to pay an extra twenty bucks a month for climate control. Conversely, don’t pinch unnecessary pennies. Plan out your expenses as best you can to avoid unwanted surprise damage to your stuff, and check out our list of essential self-storage supplies for a smooth move.

2. Find the right movers. Horror stories abound from victims of shady, unreliable, or just plain unpleasant moving companies. Whether you’re renting a truck or hiring some muscle to move your heavier belongings, finding a capable and trustworthy moving company is crucial to protecting your belongings and preserving your piece of mind. Follow our quick guide to choosing a moving company to learn more.

3. Keep it organized. It’s tempting to haphazardly throw everything into your unit for the sake of expedience. But if you’re in it for the long haul, a little organization can go a long way. Since you know the size and shape of your unit beforehand, take a little time to plan your move-in process. Think about which of your belongings you’ll want to access more often (i.e. tools, office supplies) and position them at the front of your unit, saving dust-gatherers (extra furniture, vinyl collection) for the rear. Check out our helpful tips for establishing a streamlined seasonal storage rotation. Be sure to label all your boxes, and keep a log of everything you put in storage to prevent headaches down the road.

4. Know your manager. Your on-site manager is there to help, and so are all the employees at your self-storage facility. Building up a rapport with your facility staff will create a more personal and enjoyable storage experience, and it will allow you to stay in the loop about rate changes, security updates and special promotions and events.

5. Know your insurance plan. Insuring your stored belongings is crucial, especially if you’re in it for the long-term. Many storage users give little consideration to their insurance plan when they sign a storage contract, and are consequently at risk of penalties from misinterpreted or unheeded fine print. Are you insured with your preferred company, or are you signing a policy offered by your storage facility? In any case, only sign a policy you can clearly read and understand. Read our article about self-storage insurance tips to learn about finding the right insurance plan for your stored items.

Self-storage is designed to make life easier and more organized. Follow suit by being methodical about moving into your unit. Soon, your unit will cease to be a tomb of forgotten stuff and become a remote extension of your home.