Public storage units can be a great investment and an excellent way to get some of the clutter out of your home. They also come in handy when you're moving and in a variety of other situations, too. They're really great and can prove invaluable as long as you make the most out of the small space and if you've properly packed everything being stored.
A storage unit doesn't do you much good if you store things there and then can't find the correct items when you need them or can't get to what you need. It also isn't good if your stacks of boxes topple over on top of you or if your possessions become damaged.
The first step to organizing a public storage unit is properly packing everything before you store it. Using boxes prevents your items from getting dirty and makes them much easier to store. Resist the urge to wrap items in plastic bags because it promotes mildew. Boxes generally provide adequate protection, but if you want to wrap anything be sure use cloth (the exception being your breakables). All of your packing needs to be thoughtful and strategic. It sometimes helps to make lists of the items you'll be storing and what boxes they'll be going in. If you plan to insure anything while it's in storage you'll also need approximate values and a list comes in handy for this as well.
Don't use more than two box sizes. If you have a bunch of different sized boxes, it makes it a lot harder to stack them efficiently. It ends up turning into a huge puzzle, taking too long and your stacks are also more likely to be unstable and fall. Each box should be labeled on all four sides as well as on the top so you know what it contains no matter what side you see it from once it's in your unit. Be sure to label boxes as fragile that contain anything breakable and wrap your breakables in bubble wrap.
When putting items into boxes, you want to fill be sure to fill up every box all the way. Try to create a balance of heavy items with less heavy items in each box and don't pack boxes full of just heavy things. This creates nice, sturdy boxes and helps to prevent stacks from collapsing and toppling. Boxes that end up being the heaviest should be on the bottoms of stacks to create sort of a foundation for the rest of the stacks. The lightest boxes should be at the tops of stacks.
Organizing the Unit
Before you actually move your packed boxes into your unit, you should have a general plan dictating where which items will go. Make use of the shelves, if the unit has them. If you're going to be storing furniture or appliances be sure to account for how much space they'll take up. Disassemble any furniture you can and pack the parts accordingly in labeled boxes when possible. You can also store other boxes inside of furniture like wardrobes and even refrigerators to further maximize the space.
Prioritize your boxes according to their contents. Anything you don't foresee yourself needing in the near future should be placed in the back of the unit. Items you may need should be located toward the front. Don't just create stacks upon stacks of boxes either. Make sure there are aisles between your stacks so that you actually have access to all of your things. This will make it easier to move your possessions out when the time comes too.
Clean the unit thoroughly and move in wooden pallets prior to taking in any of your boxes. Pallets raise your boxes off of the ground to protect them from water damage and also prevent pests from making homes underneath them. Following these simple tips for packing and organization will ensure that your possessions are both protected and accessible - whether you need the unit for a few weeks, few months or even for a few years.
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