How to pack a self storage unit: tips and tricks

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packing materials for self storage

Renting storage space is a great way to help you out when you need some extra room, whether you’re decluttering, moving house, or storing office furniture. But, when it comes to your self storage unit, it’s easy to simply shove your stuff inside, lock the door and leave. But,  if you take the care and attention to pack your unit properly not only will it help you fit more into your space, but will also save you time and money, too. 

Want to find out how to pack a self storage unit like a pro? Read on for our top tips. 

Packing a self storage unit: preparing your belongings

Correctly packing your items and investing in the right materials can go a long way towards keeping them in perfect condition and helping you to make the most of the space in your unit

  • Gather everything you need before you get started: ensure you have all your supplies ready and in hand, before you get packing. You’ll need cardboard boxes, packaging accessories such as tape and marker pens and packing materials and protective equipment like bubble wrap and dust sheets or old blankets. Don’t forget a padlock, too, in order to secure your unit!
  • Choose the right boxes: when it comes to packing your unit, purchasing good quality cardboard boxes can help to keep your items secure. If you’re using second-hand ones, conduct a full inspection before you start packing to check for any damage, damp patches or missing flaps as this can make your boxes weaker and cause damage to your belongings. If you can, using the same sized boxes will make it much easier to stack them securely and avoid any toppling accidents. 
  • Pack your boxes the right way: it might sound obvious, but ensuring your heavier items are at the bottom of your boxes, with your smaller and lighter things on top, will help to keep your belongings safe and avoid any damage, as well as allowing for better stability when stacking. Remember to make sure you can properly lift and move your boxes once they’re packed – there’s nothing worse than injuring yourself while trying to wrestle with a box you can’t move by yourself. 
  • Categorise your belongings: while it might be easier to simply pack everything in together, organising your items into categories will save you time in the future when it comes to moving out, repacking boxes or just finding that specific item. The best way to do this is to separate your items depending on their location within your home or office, and then grouping similar items together.
  • Labelling is key: if you label your boxes as you pack and make a list of where everything is located, it will save you time and reduce stress when it comes to finding what you need. Label them with the following: the room the items belong in, the contents of the box and if there are any delicate or fragile items that may dictate where the box goes. Similarly, it’s a good idea to ensure your labels are clear to read and understand, and that, when you’re stacking items, they can be easily seen. 

If you’ve never used a storage facility before, make sure to check out our tips for first-time self storage users for advice, guidance and everything you need to know before you get started. 

boxes packed ready to go into a self storage unit

Organising your storage unit

Start with a detailed inventory

Before you begin unloading into your unit, it’s a good idea to make a list of everything you’re storing inside. Not only can this help you know what you have and where it is, helping to avoid any stress, but it also acts as proof in the event of any disaster if you do have to file an insurance claim. 

Similarly, creating an organised layout for your unit and drawing a basic map to highlight exactly where everything is inside will help you to visualise the interior organisation of your unit.

A good idea is to put a copy of your list in a waterproof folder inside your unit, that way you’ll never have to remember where everything is – especially handy if you’re storing a huge amount of stuff. 

How to pack a self storage unit

When you arrive at your self storage unit, make full use of the amenities and support provided – most facilities will have a loading bay, and will offer trolleys for you to easily move into your storage space. At many of our locations we have drive up units for our customers. Organisation is the key to making sure your items are secure, and can go a long way towards saving you time and keeping both you and your belongings safe.  

  1. Pack heavier items first: the best way to maximise the space in your unit is to place your heaviest and most bulky items against the walls and at the back of the unit, and then to work by stacking the rest of your boxes inwards.
  1. Make use of small spaces: once you have your larger items in, it’s a good idea to stuff any gaps or unused space with smaller items and ensure your belongings are packed in tightly to best utilise the available space.
  1. Keep your most frequently used items close to the door: there’s nothing worse than rooting around desperately trying to find that one thing you’re looking for. Our best advice? Put those items you’ll frequently need access too, such as seasonal clothing, holiday items or important documents,  at the front so they’re easily accessible. You can also use your map for extra efficiency when it comes to finding exactly what you need without wasting time.
  1. Make full use of the height of your self storage space: if you’re planning on storing any larger boxes or furniture, such as wardrobes or beds, make sure to place them sideways to maximise vertical space. Ensure your bulkier belongings are stored to make full use of the vertical space – a great tip is to fill these with softer items such as spare duvets, pillows or clothes to avoid wasting any space. Just remember to always put heavier items on the bottom and lighter ones on top for optimum balance. 
  1. Utilise shelves and racking: investing in some shelves or storage racks can help you to store those awkward items that don’t quite fit in a box, along with, again, making the most of your space and the height of your unit. 
business storage inside a self storage unit
  1. Keep open aisles for easy manoeuvring: make your life easier and take the hassle out of finding what you need by putting a bit of thought into the way you organise your self storage unit. If you can, stack your boxes and belongings in a way that allows you to leave walkways or aisles clear for easy movement through your unit – this is a great way to avoid having to take everything out the next time you do something.
  1. Utilise dust sheets: while storage units are cleaned before you move in, it’s a good idea to buy a few dust sheets to cover your stuff once you lock up – you can even lay a sheet on the floor before you unpack for extra protection.
  1. Make sure you know what you can and can’t store: remember that there are a number of things you can’t store in a storage unit, such as flammable, hazardous or corrosive materials, along with food and live animals. Be sure to check the guidance of your provider before you move in if you’re unsure. 
  1. Consider upgrading your unit: while you never want to pay for more space than you actually need, it’s useful to factor in a bit of extra space when deciding on the size of your unit. Having the room to move around inside, and not having to play a game of Tetris every time you enter your storage space cab gives a long way towards minimising any accidents while giving you some room to sift through boxes or organise new items. At Ready Steady Store, we offer a wide variety of self storage sizes, from 9ft lockers to 150 sq foot units, while all of our customers are free to scale up and down their unit sizes to suit their individual needs.

There you have it, our tips and tricks for how to pack a self storage unit. Remember, taking the time to properly store your items and organise your self storage unit can save you from sifting for hours through disorganised and unmarked boxes while helping you make the most of your space. Not sure what size unit you need? Take a look at our self storage size estimator to find the unit that’s ideal for your specific needs, find your closest Ready Steady Store now or get in touch with our team today.

Have you got any tips you could share with us? Let us know in the comments below!