The Ultimate Real Storage Guide to Packing Boxes

Packing your boxes going into storage is a painstaking task that all of us wish to complete as quickly as possible, but getting it done quickly without an eye to the process of unpacking them in the future will result in an even more painstaking task when it is time to take your items out of storage.

If you approach the task with unpacking in mind, then you will save a lot of time and frustration in the future. And it doesn’t add much to the process of packing.

Here are 10 indispensable tips for packing your storage boxes in a way that allows you to know where to find things later and have them completely protected for their stay in storage:

1. Use boxes not garbage bags

Always try to use boxes instead of garbage bags. The ability to stack boxes in your storage locker is important for saving space, but garbage bags are incredibly difficult to stack. Garbage bags can also rip easily, exposing your items to dust, or, worse, having the items fall out of those bags. And perhaps most significantly, garbage bags can trap moisture, and therefore come with the risk of mold growth.

2. Use the same brand of boxes

Try to make one purchase of boxes, and from the same supplier: this way, the boxes will stack together properly. Avoiding boxes that are more random and of multiple shapes and sizes will save you from leaving space between other boxes in your storage unit, which makes stacks of boxes less stable and makes it more difficult to utilize the space in your locker to its fullest.

3. Use appropriately sized boxes

Be aware of what exactly is going into boxes to prevent boxes from being too heavy to lift or having them collapse under the weight of the contents: use smaller boxes for heavy items like books and paper work; use larger boxes for lighter items, like clothes, toys and linens.

4. Pack boxes upright

Always pack your boxes so that any exterior writing on the box is facing the right direction to read. This way, anyone can tell which way is up, and they won’t flip the box around, disturbing the contents. If a box contains particularly fragile items, write the word “FRAGILE” and draw arrows on the outside of the box pointing upwards so as to emphasize this fact, ensuring the box is kept the correct way up.

5. Pack boxes with items from the same place

Avoid packing boxes with items from multiple rooms or storage spaces: when you open a dresser or closet, pack one box with all of the items from that same space to keep those items together. The label on the box now does not require you to list every item. It is easier to label boxes with something like “contents of dining room sideboard” or “contents of master bedroom walk-in closet – her’s,” and still know what’s inside the box, than labeling it with a long list of every item.

6. Avoid wasting any space

Try never to leave a box unfilled, with space left on the top or in the corners. When space is left, the box can be damaged once it is stored with other boxes/items around/on top of it. Filling the box entirely will make the box stronger and more durable, and it will also prevent any movement from items inside the box. Fill any empty spaces with crushed paper.

7. Packing fragile items

When packing fragile items, such as china dishes or glassware, always wrap these items in packing paper. Avoid using newsprint, as the ink will often rub off and stain your items. Wrap items individually, and always try to add more crushed paper between items, filling all of the space between items tightly to avoid any movement.

8. Hanging clothes

Use wardrobe boxes for your hanging clothes to retain their shape. These are large boxes (usually around 4 feet high), and come with a bar across the top for you to hang your clothes. Typically, there will be some extra space in the bottom: only utilize this space if your clothes do not reach the bottom of the box, and if you have very light, but large objects that can fit underneath your clothes (extra clothes hangers or things like mitts/gloves/toques/etc. are good potential items for this space). Do be wary of the weight of the box, and leave the bottom empty if the hanging clothes have created a heavy weight already.

9. Seal boxes firmly

Once a box is full, be sure to seal the box closed. Take a flat object (even the flat side of a roll of tape will suffice), and run it over the tape to adhere it to the box firmly. Seal every seam/corner with tape: tightly sealed boxes will keep dust and dirt from getting to the contents inside.

10. Label boxes appropriately

Once you fill a box, make sure to label it clearly and accurately, with the room and space that it is from: “Shoes and odds and ends from under the stairs,” or “Contents of main floor bathroom drawers on left side of sink.” Label the box this way, and label on the top and all sides of the box, so that you can always read that label no matter where it might be in your storage locker.

If you think ahead when packing your storage boxes (and stick to these tips!), then you will keep all of your items safe, clean, organized and accessible. Speak with your Real Storage agent today if you require any supplies for packing or have any questions regarding your self-storage unit.