It's finally happened. You've started buying things you already have so you don't have to search for it in your chaotic junkpile of a storage unit.
Has your storage unit become so disorganized that you dread the thought of ever opening it again? Or are you considering public storage and aren't sure where to start?
Not to worry! You may have to do some reorganizing, but we're going to walk you through it. Use the following organization tips to change your storage unit from wall-to-wall mess to walk-in closet!
If your storage unit already looks like an indoor junkyard, we're sorry. There's no way around it but to empty it out and repack it, according to the tips below. But if you do, you'll have a storage unit that's actually useful for keeping your extra things where you can access them.
If you do have to start over, you will first need even more space to put your junk while reorganizing it. Since you purchased storage, you obviously don't have room to do this. The cheap option is to park your car on the street so you can stuff the stuff in your garage until it's organized.
The easier option is to purchase an additional unit nearby for one month and move your items into it as you organize them. You'll already know how much space you'll need. And you won't have to load and unload any moving vans.
Now you're ready to reorganize! Use the following tips to repack.
Hopefully, you're reading this before you've rented your storage unit and/or filled it with junk. If so, plan ahead to prevent the mess before it starts.
The best option is to find out how much space you need before you rent. Paying for too much space is a waste of money. And finding out you didn't get enough space after spending all day trying to make it work is quite horrible.
So pack up everything you're planning to store before renting. The boxes can sit around your house or fill your garage for a few days until you're done packing. Then, you can measure it and find out exactly how much storage space you need.
Organize before you box. Group like items together in the same box or a series of boxes. This makes your items easier to find and your boxes easier to label.
Clearly label boxes. Write what they are ("Fancy Dishes") and the month and year you stored them. Note if they are fragile.
List all contents if you can. At least list notable items or groups of items. Include an estimated replacement value for insurance purposes.
Write it on every side of the box; it's much easier than searching for the labeled side while placing it.
Don't use any old boxes for packing. Official packing boxes don't cost much.
And they have the indispensable benefit of uniform size. Having all your boxes the same size or only two sizes makes them easy to stack.
Before placing your boxes, place wooden pallets along the floor of your unit. This will protect your boxes from pests, like silverfish and rats, and even a small amount of flooding.
Place the heavier boxes on the bottom and lighter boxes on top. If you don't, the heavier boxes will crush the lighter and the whole stack will fall over.
Your boxes will also fall over if they are not packed correctly. Use these box-packing tips to keep boxes from crushing, falling and breaking.
Allow no empty space in your boxes. Fill empty space with packing paper.
And tape up the top and bottom when the box is full. These two things will keep boxes from crushing or warping.
Use small boxes for books or they will be too heavy. Don't pack fragile boxes too heavy or you'll have to put them on the bottom. And you don't want a lot of things stacked on top of them.
If you ever hope to see your stored belongings again, make an aisle to keep them accessible.
Most storage units aren't very big. You'll likely only have room for one row of boxes stacked against all 3 walls.
Don't put boxes in the corner or you won't be able to access them. If you have a very large storage unit, you may have room for one more row of boxes down the middle and 2 aisles on each side.
Pack mirrors and other glass items in bubble wrap. You don't want broken glass all over your stuff. Skipping this step could be dangerous so don't do it.
It may seem smart to condense your soft items in vacuum sealed bags. But sealing items in plastic for a long time can cause them to mildew.
Most furniture dismantles to take up less storage space. And in the world of storage, space is money. A few minutes with your screwdriver could save you several dollars a month.
You don't have to box everything. Keep power tools and other items you want available on shelves.
Storing a refrigerator with the door closed will cause a moldy mess so smelly that you will never want to use that fridge again. When storing a fridge, first clean it out very, very well.
Then leave the door ajar with a ball of tape. Wad up a ball of duct tape, sticky side out. Stick it in the door to keep it from closing.
Don't store fluids, period. It's a disaster waiting to happen. Don't forget to drain lawnmowers or other items of any gas, oil or other liquids they may be holding.
Stop wasting your money storing items you can't even get to. Use these organization tips to make good use of your storage space.
We've got plenty more packing tips where that came from. Check out Storing Your Stuff: What You Should Know.