Whether you are moving, downsizing or just need some extra space in your home, a storage unit is a great option.
I have used storage units many times over the years. I have used them to store my full home till I was able to relocate. I have used them for overflow due to living in a very small place and to store seasonal items. I have rented all sizes depending on my need at the time.
I am going to walk you through everything you will need and answer all your questions.
Let’s get started.
Make a list of your packing supplies: boxes, totes, tape, markers, bubble wrap, and twine.
Call around for the right facility for you. Call the facilities to make sure they have a unit available for what you need and when you need it. They can also help you with sizes.
Check on prices, not all facilities are priced the same.
Ask about security and hours you can go to the facility (some have restrictions on when you can be on the premises’).
There are some storage facilities that offer packaging supplies (at a cost to you), like wardrobe boxes, tape, locks and blankets. Some may even rent you a dolly to help with the move.
Ask if they supply pallets for the unit. You don’t want to store your items on a cold/hot cement floor. If they do not supply them you can use 2×4’s and plywood to keep you items off the floor.
Moving Company: If you are using a company, please notify 30-45 days in advance. Make sure you read their contract and check references. Some moving companies will help you pack and supply boxes.
Verify the truck size to make sure the storage facility is able to accommodate the size of the truck. Keep in mind, if the movers have to carry your stuff further then they expected, they can charge you more.
Visit the facility: Ask them to show you the size you are needing, check out the security. This is also a great time to ask any questions you have.
WHAT SIZE OF STORAGE UNIT DO I NEED?
|5×5 (25 sq. feet) about the size of a regular closet||Personal items, clothes, sports equip., business records, boxes, toys, seasonal items|
|5×10 (50 sq. ft.) a walk in closet||Sofa, chair, boxes, dresser, box springs/mattress, clothes|
|7.5×10 (75 sq. ft.) a large closet||Furniture: Sofa, chairs, bed framer with mattress, boxes, clothes|
|10×10 (100 sq. ft.) ½ of a one car garage||One bedroom apartment with appliances, other furniture, boxes, clothes|
|10×15 (150 sq. ft.) 2/3 of a one car garage||Two-bedroom apartment or house, including appliances, boxes and miscellaneous items|
|10×20 (200 sq. ft.) standard one car garage||Three-bedroom house with major appliances, plus lots of boxes, some outdoor equipment|
|10×30 (300 sq. ft.) standard 2 car garage||Four-to five-bedroom house with major appliances and room for boxes and outdoor equipment|
- Not all storage facilities offer the different sizes I have in the above grid.
Prep the unit: Sweep out the unit. Some facilities rely on the previous renter to sweep it out.
Put pallets on the floor. You can use 2×4’s, plywood or a tarp. The idea here is to keep you items off the cold/hot and even wet floor. You want your stuff protected from the elements while in storage. If the unit is outside, it can get super-hot or cold and you don’t want moisture of any kind.
Use freestanding shelves to place items or to organize the unit better. Put your small appliances, box of books, breakables anything you don’t want to stack or have other things stacked on it.
Prep for moving: Gather all your packing supplies. Label all boxes, totes on all sides. This is to help you or the movers. If you label all sides of the boxes then you know exactly what’s inside.
Clean all appliances, make sure they are dry. Keep refrigerator doors open a little bit to keep from mildew and that yucky smell. Keep doors ajar on washer/dryer and microwave.
I recommend using the Rubbermaid totes or some sort of hard plastic tote to store your valuables in. They have a tight fitting lid and can be stacked securely in the back of the unit so onlookers don’t see the good stuff.
Disassemble your items: such as tables, bed frames, etc. (This will save space.) Wrap and label all pieces for an easier time when you have to reassemble them. Put all hard ware in bags and mark the bags accordingly.
Computers, stereos, things that have numerous cords, place small colored stickers on the cord and the same color sticker where the cord goes. This will save you the hassle of trying to figure out what goes where when it comes time to reassemble your electronics. If possible, use the original boxes to store your electronics and other items. If you do not have the original boxes, this is a great time to use a tote. I suggest laying a bath towel in the bottom to help with moisture. You can store the cords in the same box to help from losing them in the move.
Prevent rust: Use a small amount of machine oil on metal items, such as tools, bikes and equipment.
Wrapping breakables: Use bubble wrap or unprinted paper. After wrapping, tape it up. This way it will help prevent you from thinking that it’s excess paper in the box.
Group similar items together and label box accordingly.
Clothing/Drapes/Curtains: This is when the wardrobe boxes come in handy. The wardrobe boxes helps keeps your clothes protected and keeps your drapes/curtains in shape. You can also store your shoes in the bottom of the box.
Packing the unit: This is like working a puzzle. You want to utilize all the space in your unit. Make a plan as to how you are going to arrange your items. A good plan will save you the time of having to rearrange your unit. Leave an aisle in the center of your unit so that you have a walk way to the back of the unit.
I suggest valuables and large items or items that you know you will not need in the back.
Try not to lean things against the wall especially if they are cinder blocks. The blocks hold moisture. If you have to lean item on the wall place a blanket or towel between the two. This also helps keep the item from scratching.
Protect your items by covering with blankets, bed sheets, or moving pads.
Store mirrors/pictures/paintings: Store them on end, never lay flat. Use blankets or moving pad to protect them. If you lay them flat there is a better chance of them breaking.
Coaches/Chairs: Store couches on end (if possible) this gives you more space in the unit. Stack the chairs seat to seat and you can use the space on the chairs to store smaller items.
When stacking furniture you want to place paper pads or something in between the items so they won’t scratch.
Seasonal clothing: Keep seasonal clothing up front. Especially if you do not know how long you will need the unit. You want your clothes available without having to move everything to find your clothes.
Be sure to keep frequently used items up front. You don’t want to go searching for the things you need.
Things to keep in mind: You want to visit your unit at least once a month. Make sure the lock is still working, check for water damage, heat damage or if your stuff has shifted.
Beware of your surroundings. There are some crazy people out there and I want you safe.
I recommend the insurance. Some outside renter insurance does not cover a storage unit. If you items are worth storing, they are worth insuring.
Get a good lock. I suggest a Master lock that is round. It’s almost impossible to break the lock.
NOT TO DO: Do not store food. You don’t want rodents in the unit.
Don’t store paint, oil, cleaning supplies or gasoline
Don’t use plastic to cover your items, it retains moisture.
Don’t over pack your boxes where they are too heavy to carry.
Don’t stack heavy boxes on lighter ones, it will make them collapse and maybe fall over and break something.
I hope this has helped you. Let me know how it worked out.