Self-Storage: Some Handy Tips

Self-Storage: Some Handy Tips

Jessica Tata
Aug 14, 2009

We have had the pleasure of storing everything we own within the last year during a transition time in our cross-country move. All in all, we did pretty well organizing and our traveling and storage exodus went pretty well! Except for that one box...we didn't think about the very aromatic candle that we packed along with the small jewelry boxes and knick knacks that were on our dressing table. We didn't think about it until we opened our storage unit after a month and were hit with a very strong, albeit pleasant, aroma of lavender....

Our encounter with a box full of small tchotchkes covered in melted lavender soy candle prompted us to put together a little list of handy tips when it comes time to put your things in storage.

• When storing your belongings, take note of anything that may not stand up to extreme heat or extreme cold if your unit is not climate controlled! It will be worth it, we promise!

• If you will be accessing your storage unit, put most frequented items toward the front for easy access.

• It takes a little more initiative, but propping furniture on palettes, cinderblocks or milkcrates instead of directly on the floor can help to prevent devastating water damage in the rare occasion that your storage unit is flooded or leaks. In the same vein, prop any cardboard boxes on top of plastic containers. We have purchased some sturdy plastic containers that we keep our keepsakes and mementos in at all times.

• When packing books, put a few layers of newspaper between and around them. The newspaper will absorb extra moisture in the air before the books do.

• Cover all furniture and exposed belongings to prevent dust and pests. A painters tarp over your dresser can save a lot of cleaning once you bring your things into your new home, and a mattress bag is pretty much a necessity.

• Purchase a good lock. There are some brands and styles that are known to be much more difficult to cut or pick than others. Typically the employees of the storage spots will be able to guide you--and in this case we're open to an up-sell if it means our unit is harder to break into.

• Photograph all of your belongings as you are putting them in your storage unit for reference and in case of any damage.

• Thorough labeling--and we're talking about getting really specific--will take a few more minutes while packing, but will make you feel like the smartest and most organized person in the world when you're unpacking!

These are our best tips---but as the candle situation illustrates, it's always good to hear more! What are your worst horror stories that we can learn from, or your favorite tips to remember when storing your belongings?

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