There's a reason your self-storage location manager can look you dead in the eye without laughing and tell you that your 1,200-square-foot, fully furnished, two-bedroom apartment will fit into 800 cubic feet of storage space. You just need to know how to pack a 10' x 10' storage unit—easy, right?
Packing for storage is a lot like playing a game of Tetris: good planning and smart execution will go far. Once you've determined what size storage unit you need, our self-storage tips and tricks can help you maximize that space and save time and money.
How to Stack a Storage Unit
Using vertical space is fundamental to efficiently packing your belongings into a small area. To organize a self-storage unit, first invest in good quality boxes to ensure that they can hold weight for a long period of time. Use boxes of a similar size to reduce the number of shapes you have to fit together and allow you to safely stack boxes high.
When stacking boxes, lighter boxes should be stacked on top of heavier ones. They should be fully packed, because partially filled boxes are prone to breaking and collapsing. Fill space in boxes containing heavy items with lighter items such as towels or sheets.
One piece of self-storage advice that may seem obvious: Properly label boxes on the side facing outward. Be as specific as possible to lessen the likelihood of having to dig through boxes to find what you're looking for. For example, instead of labeling a box “kitchen,” write specifically what the box is holding, such as "toaster, mixer, blender."
How to Pack Furniture in a Storage Unit
Dismantle large pieces of furniture, such as beds or tables, to save precious space. Store the pieces together wrapped and protected in blankets and industrial plastic wrap. Keep hardware in a sandwich bag taped to the furniture it belongs to so everything is there when you put it back together.
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Large, bulky items like mattresses, furniture, and appliances belong at the back of the storage unit. Presumably, those items will not need to be accessed frequently. Storing the sofa vertically, if possible, uses less floor space. Use bureaus, dressers, shelves, and appliances creatively for storage. Drawers, cabinets, and ovens are great for storing fragile items and boxes of varying sizes. Top tip for using a storage unit: if something has an empty space, use it!
More Storage Unit Organization Ideas
Need more tips for packing a storage unit? Here are a few more things to keep in mind.
- Save time and frustration by leaving a pathway to get in and look around your storage unit, in case you need to retrieve something. You'll be patting yourself on the back when you need an item that's stored in the back of the unit and there is a small aisle to help you reach it.
- Store items you think you may need at the front of the unit for easy access.
- Lay boards across boxes to help make stacks sturdier by stabilizing the layers. You can also use this tactic to create shelves in order to use vertical space around items that are not stackable.
- Keep a step stool in the unit so you can retrieve items that are stored at the top of stacks or on high shelves.
What are some organizing and storage ideas you have learned that help you get the most out of your storage space?