When you’re packing your self-storage unit with furniture, there are a few things you want to check before loading. For the most part, you want to treat your self-storage unit like a moving truck or container—with a few key differences:
- Cut down on plastic packing materials: If you’re renting a self-storage unit, you’re probably planning on keeping your furniture there for an extended period. Warping or melting can occur when plastic is exposed to heat and humidity. If you’re going with a climate-controlled storage unit, this won’t be a problem.
- Don’t tape your furniture: For a similar reason, you don’t want to apply moving tape directly to your furniture. The adhesives in the tape and heat can damage the wood finish when it’s time to unpack. Even in climate-controlled units, it’s not a great idea. Instead, apply tape to your moving blanket to ensure minimal damage and maximum security for your furniture.
- Try to keep heavy furniture on its feet: Heat, humidity, and time can do some serious damage. Wooden furniture can sometimes slightly warp if the item’s weight is distributed unevenly. For prolonged self-storage stays, pack furniture as it naturally stands.
While it takes a little more time, lightly wrapping your furniture in a moving blanket makes a big difference in maintaining the condition of your belongings. Be careful not to wrap too tightly so that furniture doesn't warp during its stay in the storage unit!
Luckily, the process of packing and stacking doesn’t change much between a moving truck and a self-storage unit. Here are a few things to remember:
- Keep the heavy boxes near the bottom of stacks: This rule is just as important in a storage unit as it is on the back of a moving truck. If you plan on renting the storage unit for a long time, heavy boxes will crush lighter boxes below them, creating a falling hazard.
- Spend a few more cents for heavy-duty boxes: When packed well, most boxes will hold up fine for most of your belongings. For fragile or heavy items, try going for heavy-duty or specialty options.
- Keep the contents of your boxes (somewhat) organized: When it’s time to retrieve your items, missing labels or mixed up belongings will create a headache—especially if you’re looking for something specific.
Even though packing can be a pain, you’ll thank yourself later. Because your stuff may sit for a while, it’s likely that you’ll forget exactly what and where those key boxes are. Labeling boxes or even creating a little map of your storage space will save you tons of time on the back end.
This tip will work for most people, but there are exceptions. Keep in mind that your storage area is your space, so you should pack it however you like. For example, if you’re renovating and anticipate needing a bookshelf in a couple of weeks, it wouldn’t make sense to put it in the very back. If you think you’ll need an item soon, keep it near the front of the self-storage unit.
You’ll want to consider this tip mainly for ease of access. If your heavy, bulky items are near the door of your storage unit, you’ll need to move them to get to smaller items. By packing your storage unit in ascending order by height, you’ll be able to see just about everything when you open the doors.
This tip is another must for ease of access. Understandably, you’ll sometimes need every inch of space your storage unit offers. If you can manage it, creating walking lanes will help you or your movers to quickly access items throughout your unit. Many moving companies charge by the hour, so a faster move means more money in your pocket.
Just like in the above tip, start by lining the back wall of your self-storage unit with your large, blocky items (think mattresses, box springs, and bookshelves) and then begin to make your way towards the center of the unit with smaller and smaller items. This will give you clear sightlines to just about anything in your storage unit. Use the hollow spaces of those larger pieces to store your small boxes or knick-knack items. Stack as much as you’d like, but keep the light items on the top of those stacks.