A Quick Guide to How to Self-Storage

We at Real Storage have plenty of focused articles to speak to particular self-storage needs, but we decided that perhaps we should make a quick “How To” guide that covers all the basics of self-storage.

If it’s your first time moving into a storage unit, then this is the article that will get your feet pointed in the right direction to move in with ease.

Preparing your storage items

The first thing to do is know what exactly is going into your storage unit. Separate items into various piles, determining what is going to be stored in the unit (and what is not), and make an inventory list.

The inventory list will allow you to have all of your items in front of you at once, and be a dramatic aid in determining what sort of storage locker will suit your needs.

Deciding on your unit

There are three main factors to be considered when deciding on the size of unit you will need.

The first, obvious one is the number of items being stored. Here, your inventory list will help, as you can start to imagine the space required based on the items on the list. (Taking a look at our Size Calculator will help as well.)

Second, the sorts of items you are storing may require different types of units. If you are storing temperature-sensitive items, such as antique furniture, artwork, wine collections, etc., then a climate-controlled unit is what you will need. On the other hand, if you are storing more regular items, such as clothing, upholstery, metal/plastic furniture, etc., then an outdoor unit will suffice.

And third, is how you intend to use your storage unit: will you be accessing items there on a regular basis, or is this a more ‘load it and leave it’ move? If you need to be accessing items, then you will want to get a larger space so you can organize your locker in a way that allows you to access your items when you need to.

(Read this article here for more information on how to determine the appropriate storage unit for your requirements.)

Packing boxes

Be sure that when you pack boxes, you fill them as much as possible. If boxes are left unfilled, then they will be more susceptible to being damaged. Fill any spaces with crushed paper to be sure the box is sturdy.

When packing boxes, try always to pack items from the same room and space. If it’s the contents of your dresser in one box, then you know where to find what you’re looking for when the time comes.

Always label boxes, and do this is an intelligent way: there is no need to write everything in the box on the outside of it, rather, simply stating the room and space from which it came should be enough information to indicate what is inside. We pack boxes the same way so that the label merely needs to say, for example, “Kitchen – Dishes,” or “Living Room – Book Shelf.” And when you write the label on the box, do so on the top and on every side.

(Read this article here for more information on how to pack boxes.)

Moving in

When it is time to arrange your move into storage, the first thing you will need is a vehicle for transport. We always suggest hiring a professional moving company to relieve yourself of straining your body and/or damaging your items (they’re the pros, so they won’t do that!), but if hiring a company is beyond your budget, then a rental van/truck is what you need.

Let the rental company know the size of your inventory list and storage unit, so that they can suggest the correct sized vehicle to suit your needs, and be sure to reserve it for the date of your move.

When moving furniture and heavy boxes, be sure to lift with your legs, not your back. Try not to take too much on any one trip to the truck either: a moving day can be a long one, so don’t try doing more than you’re really able to.

Items like 4-wheel dollies and straps are good aids on moving day: check with the rental company to see if those are included with the rental fee.

(Read this article here for tips on how to move furniture without straining your body.)

Loading your storage unit

Before loading your unit, come with a plan. The items you need least access to need to go into the unit first, and the items you need the most regular access to, last.

Protect furniture with moving blankets or cardboard, covering flat surfaces with cardboard before putting anything on top, and taping blankets on securely. (Read this article here for how to protect your furniture for long-term storage.)

Load items in rows that stretch across the width of you unit, and load the heaviest items on the bottom of any tier. If you have shelving units, then utilize these to create aisles (if you are accessing items on a regular basis), and fill them with smaller items and boxes.

Flipping items, such as sofas, on their side is a good strategy to save space, but be cognizant of the item you are flipping. In this case, with the sofa, you need to be aware of the armrest on the sofa: if it’s a big, fluffy armrest, then leaving the sofa resting on this arm may damage the sofa.

If you are storing appliances, be sure to drain them of any water, and leave doors ajar to keep airflow, avoiding any mould growth.

(Read this article here on how best to organize your storage unit.)

This quick guide should get you on your way to a successful stay in storage. Read the complimentary articles cited above, and check our News Center for more self-storage advice. If you need any further help, please speak with your Real Storage agent, who will be happy to offer their own advice to your particular query.