Studies by the Self Storage Association have found that one in ten American households are currently renting a self storage unit.
Packing a self storage unit requires some preparation so items are not arranged haphazardly and can easily be retrieved when access becomes necessary. Here are some tips for packing a self storage unit the right way.
- Make a list of the items that need to be stored.
- Go through the items and determine if they are allowable. Certain items are not appropriate for self storage units. These include combustible, hazardous or toxic materials like compressed gas tanks, motor oil or asbestos-containing materials. Perishable food items like cereals, produce or meat cannot be stored. Self storage clients cannot use auxiliary equipment like freezers or refrigerators in self storage units even if this equipment is also being stored.
- Read through the list and determine if items have special needs. Certain items should be stored in a climate-controlled space. These items include electronics like computers, televisions, and audio and video equipment; antique furniture; musical instruments; plastics; furs; and media, such as DVDs, CDs and vinyl records.
- Group the items to be stored according to how they will be organized. Pieces of furniture can be freestanding, but other items will need to be packed in boxes or plastic crates, and stacked.
Boxes and plastic containers should be uniform in size if the space is to be used most efficiently. Heavier items will need to be stored beneath lighter items. Fragile items can go on top of these. Plan on stacking boxes and containers no more than four or five high.
Some items may have irregular or awkward shapes that make stacking problematic. Put some thought beforehand into how heavy these items are, and how they can best be arranged in the storage space. If many items are irregularly shaped, a larger self storage unit may be indicated.
- Visit the storage space: Visit the storage unit beforehand to get a visual sense of the limitations of the space. Better to rent a storage space that is slightly too big than one that is slightly too small. In most cases, the larger one will not be that much more expensive.
- Preparing and packing the items. Use strong boxes that are made from corrugated cardboard. Always inventory the contents of the box on the outside with a magic marker-type pen. Certain items like computers and other electronics must be packed with foam insulation.
Tape all appliance doors shut, and secure all movable parts with tape or paper. The space inside appliances can be used for bedding, clothing and towel storage needs as well, but make sure these items are inventoried legibly.
Wrap all chair and sofa legs with paper to protect them. Use plastic covers to protect upholstery.
Mirrors, paintings and other framed artwork should always be stored in an upright position.
When taking things apart, make sure to mark the pieces so they can easily be put back together.
Don Temple has been in the self storage business since 1968, and still owns and manages each location. For more information, Give U-Store & Lock a call at (562) 684-2019, and go with the self storage experts.