Packing Tips

A Great Tip!

As you go, keep an inventory of every item you’ve packed. Ideally, include an estimate of the replacement value of each item you store. Consider taking pictures of valuable items. These steps will help you make accurate insurance claims in case of unforeseen damage or loss.

Packing efficiently for self storage

Self-storage units don’t have to be a space you visit once or twice a year to dig something out of a stack of boxes.  To get the most out of them, plan ahead before you start loading up the truck. Here are steps to help you plan:

Step 1: Plan What You Will Store

  • Start by identifying items that will be packed in boxes and stacked.
  • Prioritize boxed items you will want to access most frequently.
  • Group by fragility or weight – heavier, sturdier items should be stored on the bottom of stacked items, fragile items on top.
  • Consider awkwardly-sized items that won’t stack well, including how often you will need to use them, and how heavy they are.

Step 2: Choose The Right Size Unit

  • Always plan for extra space it makes moving around within the unit much easier. It also gives you room to add those unplanned items.
  • Storage facility managers can be quite helpful in determining how much space you will need.

Step 3: Organize and Pack Your Items with a Plan in Mind

  • Packing your items will take time and concentration. However, the up-front planning  will be well worth it when you’re able to easily unload and organize your items at the storage unit.

  • Invest in supplies
    • Use boxes, not plastic bags. Boxes are sturdier and stack well, taking up less space. Many moving companies require that goods be packed in boxes for transport. Also, sealed plastic bags can trap humidity which can cause damaging mildew.
    • Invest in good quality, sturdy boxes and packing materials. Boxes should be sturdy enough to hold up for years under the weight of the stack. You may be tempted to get boxes for free from supermarkets and liquor stores; however, the mismatched shapes and sizes will impede your ability to organize most effectively. You can buy standard-sized boxes and specialty boxes for items such as TVs, videotapes and pictures.
    • For wrapping breakables, paper will do, but bubble wrap can be used repeatedly, is cleaner, and because it is transparent, makes identifying contents easier
    • Most people end up needing more tape than they thought they would when packing. Your self-storage manager can help you estimate how much tape you’ll need for the number of boxes you’ll be packing.
    • For your convenience, packing supplies such as boxes, bubble wrap and tape are available for purchase at the storage facility.

  • Packing in Boxes
    • Box up everything that you can. Anything left unboxed in a self-storage facility can get dusty
    • Fill boxes to capacity. The contents in half-empty boxes can shift during transport or lifting. Corners and sides can collapse if there’s nothing to support them. Foam peanuts are handy for filling in the gaps in boxes.
    • Distribute the weight in packed boxes evenly. Make sure they are not too heavy for you and others who may be lifting them.
    • Wrap all fragile items and breakables such as dishes, glasses, ornaments, etc. separately. Pack these items tightly into strong or reinforced boxes, filling any gaps with paper or filler. Mark “Fragile” on any boxes containing breakable items.
    • Clearly label all boxes on more than one side so you can easily identify the contents.
    • Pack books flat to avoid damaging their spines.

    Packing Other Items
    • If you plan to store clothes, invest in a wardrobe box with a built-in hanging rod. These are available for purchase in the company store.
    • Large appliances must be prepared correctly for proper storage
      • Defrost refrigerators and freezers thoroughly to avoid water damage and mildew growth. Leave them slightly ajar once in storage.
      • Drain washing machines, and bind hoses and cords before storing.
      • It’s a good idea to wipe down the inside of appliances with baking soda before you store them to keep them dry.
    • Wrap mirrors and pictures in protective covering such as bubble wrap and mark them as “Fragile.” Cardboard corners can be purchased to protect the sharpest, weakest areas of frames.
    • If storing photographs, consider a climate controlled unit where temperature fluctuations will not damage your photos. If you do store loose photographs, place them between pieces of clean cardboard and consider taping them together to avoid curling.
    • Separate lamp bases and lampshades and wrap them for protection.
    • If you're storing upholstered products such as mattresses and sofas, consider investing in covers, bags or sheeting for additional protection. Storage and moving facilities often sell large heavy-duty bags for this purpose.
    • Vacuum-sealed bags work really well for draperies, bedding, and clothing.
    • Electrical equipment such as TVs, stereos, and computers should be packed in their original boxes whenever possible. If using other boxes, choose ones that are as close in size to the original as possible, and fill all gaps with paper.
    • Disassemble furniture such as beds and tables before you store them. Wrap and cover the separate sections, clearly mark them and keep them together. Keep assembly components such as screws and bolts together in a plastic bag, mark them clearly. Cover chair legs with bubble wrap or rags for extra protection.
    • Spray your wood furniture with a good quality furniture polish before storing it to give it some added protection.
    • Treat leather items with a leather conditioner before you store them.
    • Wipe down metal objects and tools with a little oil before storing them to avoid rust formation that can occur when the tools are not used regularly.
    • When storing a vacuum cleaner, clean out the bag or canister first; bacteria, mold and vermin can accumulate otherwise.
    • When storing an oven as well as a refrigerator, enclose the exposed back area of the appliances to prevent vermin.

  • As you go, keep an inventory of every item you’ve packed. Ideally, include an estimate of the replacement value of each item you store. Consider taking pictures of valuable items. These steps will help you make accurate insurance claims in case of unforeseen damage or loss.

Need supplies? We have you covered!

Many clients underestimate how many boxes, rolls of tape, bubble wrap and packing peanuts it takes to securely pack all of their items. Our expert team is available to help you decided just how many of each you will need. We offer a full line of packing prodcuts. Check out our company store for more product inforation and pricing.