6 Tips For Packing Your Storage Unit

Last updated: January 1

If you’re planning on putting some or all of your belongings in a storage unit, preparing before you load up the space may help make the process smoother and keep your items better protected. Having a plan may let you use the room more efficiently and also make it easier to find items if you decide you need them.

Here are six tips for packing your storage unit:

  1. Estimate how much space you need.
  2. Make an inventory and label boxes.
  3. Organize by weight and accessibility.
  4. Clean, wrap and protect.
  5. Safeguard against temperature changes.
  6. Help protect the unit.

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1. Estimate how much space you need

Before you choose a storage unit, measure the belongings that you want to store, The Washington Post recommends. You can pack a lot into a small space if you do it thoughtfully, and choosing a larger unit than you need could be a waste of money, the Post adds, since a larger space will generally cost more.

2. Make an inventory and label boxes

Take some time to create an inventory of everything that's headed for storage, SpareFoot suggests. Make a list containing each item, and, if you want to be extra-organized, note which box it's in. You could also create a photo inventory, so you can look at pictures of the items as needed, the site says. Avoid writer's cramp by printing your own labels — they're efficient, easy to read, and you can affix them to multiple locations on your boxes so you can see them no matter how the box is stacked.

3. Organize by weight and accessibility

Do some layout planning before you start moving in. Pack your storage unit so the heavier items are on the bottom, SpareFoot says. Also, plan ahead so you can access the items you might need in the near future — for example, seasonal items like winter clothes or sports equipment — toward the front of the unit where you can more easily get to them.

4. Clean, wrap and protect

You'll want to protect your stored furniture as much as possible from damage. If your furniture can be disassembled, do so before moving it into storage, Angie's List recommends. Place any nuts and bolts into a small, labeled sandwich bag and tape the bag to the furniture to help make it easy to find when it's time to reassemble, the site says. Wrap your fragile and prized objects in plastic and padding, Angie's List adds. Apartment Therapy advises using pallets to help keep your things off the floor, which may be a good idea, especially for outdoor units that are more exposed to weather. If you're unsure on where to find some pallets, consider asking local stores or distribution centers if they have any extra or are willing to sell it to you for a low cost, says The Balance.

5. Safeguard against temperature changes

Even if you choose an indoor storage space, think about temperature in case your storage unit isn't climate controlled. This means your belongings can be subjected to humidity and temperature changes, Apartment Therapy says, which may damage some belongings, such as photos, vinyl records and electronics. Help protect them by tightly wrapping them in a double layer of plastic sheeting, or consider not storing them in your unit, the site adds.

6. Help protect the unit

Check your unit's contract — you may be held responsible for damage you cause, according to Apartment Therapy. You can prepare for this by sweeping the unit before you move your stuff in and placing a tarp or plastic on the floor, Apartment Therapy suggests. You may also want to consider padding any sharp corners of items you're storing with blankets or plastic wrap to help avoid damaging your other belongings and the unit's walls, says The Spruce.

Whether your storage unit is a short-term or long-term solution, packing it well may help make moving in and moving out easier, and help keep your possessions in good condition.