Unless you’re starring in an episode of “Storage Wars,” rummaging through a storage unit can be an infuriating experience. We created this list of self-storage organization tactics, so the next time you’re searching for those holiday decorations, you’ll know right where to find them.
1. Sweep your unit before move-in— A clean space sets the tone for a neat and orderly layout. Treat your storage unit like you would a closet at home, which you wouldn’t want littered with debris from the outdoors or a previous tenant.
2. Label everything— This is key for quick identification of what’s inside those boxes. Use a fresh black permanent marker so labels won’t fade away, and be sure to write legibly. Ideally, use white label stickers instead of writing directly on boxes.
3. Keep a list of everything in the unit— A photo inventory can be helpful to keep back at home, so you can refer to it as needed. It will prove useful when you find yourself wondering, “Where the heck is that _________?” and can quickly confirm it’s at the storage facility.
4. Place the things you might need access to in the front— Take a few moments to plot the layout of your unit, considering which items you think you’ll need to access more often. It will make future visits to your unit quick and easy.
5. Place your heaviest items at the bottom— Sounds like a no-brainer, but important if you want to avoid getting crushed under an avalanche of toppling stacks of boxes. Don’t throw things in your unit without a plan in mind. Unbalanced stacks can cause havoc down the line.
6. Store your items in plastic containers in order to avoid mold and mildew— Plastic bins will protect against these perils better than cardboard. Also consider adding a moisture absorber for additional protection.
7. Keep some distance between your items and the walls to ensure adequate air flow— Let your stuff breathe!
8. Create a walkway in the unit so you can access items in back— Draw a blueprint of your unit and account for some space throughout for easy navigation when you visit later.
9. Review your lease to make sure you’re not storing any prohibited items— For example, most facilities prohibit storing food of any kind. Double-check the lease before you finish moving in. The rules are there for a reason; it’s not worth the potential risks.