Helpful Tips For Packing and Organizing Your Self Storage Unit

March 14, 2013


Preparing your belongings before they go into storage is very important. With proper preparation, you cut the possibility of your items being damaged during transport and while in storage. Also, with some organization, you will be able to find anything you might want to pull out of the unit. When you are ready to put your belongings in a self-storage unit in Dallas, Texas, take time to protect your belongings and pack your unit safely and securely.

Here are some packing storage tips:
Select Your Unit Wisely

  • Size Counts - When selecting a unit, get one slightly bigger than you know you will need. This will give you room for a narrow pathway into the unit. It will lower the chances that over-packing the unit will cause damage.
  • Climate-Controlled - If you have items that cannot take hot or cold temperatures or high levels of humidity, you may need a climate-controlled unit instead of a standard one.

Packaging Materials

  • Sturdy - Choose sturdy cardboard boxes or plastic bins. They need to withstand the weight of any containers placed on top of them.
  • Size Matters - Select boxes of the same size when possible. They will stack easily and maximize the storage space. When using boxes of different sizes, try to choose those that will stack well with others.
  • Right Box, Right Job - Select the right box for the right job. Small sturdy boxes are great for books. Cell boxes offer great storage for delicate glasses or knickknacks. Use wardrobe boxes for hanging clothing and fabrics.
  • No Plastic - Do not wrap anything in plastic bags. These bags often trap moisture and this can cause damage to the wrapped item.
  • Firm Packing Materials - Have newspaper, bubble wrap, tissue paper, and other packing materials on hand during the packing process.
  • Tape - Have packing tape on hand for closing and securing cardboard boxes and other containers.
  • Furniture Covers - Gather up tarpaulins and cloth furniture covers to protect furniture while in storage. Do not use plastic covers since they trap moisture. For the most part, in packing storage tips, plastic wrap is a big no-no.

General Packing Advice

  • Fill Completely - Fill boxes and containers completely. A full box is better able to handle the weight of another container on top of it without the sides or top collapsing. Fill in empty spaces with crumpled newspaper, packing peanuts, or other sorts of dry firm material.
  • Do Not Overfill - If the sides or top of the box are bulging, you have too many things in the box. Over-packing can cause the package to burst. It also makes stacking the boxes difficult.
  • Not Too Heavy - Do not pack boxes too heavy to lift. Small boxes are great for heavy items. Use larger boxes for lighter items. If you want, you can place a few heavy items in the bottom of a box and top it off with lighter ones.

Prepare Items for Storage

  • Clean - Clean any items before packing them away. Launder duvets, blankets, sheets, etc. Dry clean drapes and similar items. Vacuum upholstered furniture. This cleaning will remove pests and dirt before putting those items into storage.
  • Polish - Polish wood. This will protect the wood while it is in storage.
  • Oil - Oil metal. Anything metal can rust while in a damp, humid storage unit. Wipe down metal surfaces with lubricant or machine oil to keep rust away.
  • Treat - Treat leather. Any leather items, clothing or furniture, needs a thorough treatment before going into storage. Leather can dry and crack without treatment and protection.
  • Disassemble - Where possible, take larger pieces of furniture apart. Many dining tables allow for removal of legs. Take down dresser mirrors. Take lampshades off of the base. Keep any hardware with the largest part of the furniture, clearly labeled.

Packing Particular Items

  • Books - Stack books on their face or back, not on the edge. If packed on the edge, it can damage the spine and cause pages to start coming loose. For any gaps in the boxes, use acid free paper or packing peanuts.
  • Plates - Stack plates together. Wrap each individual item with bubble wrap or ink free wrapping paper. Cups, bowls, and saucers should stack together as well. Fill in any empty spaces with crumpled paper or packing peanuts to reduce potential shifting.
  • Framed art - Wrap the entire piece of art with bubble wrap or moving wrap. Place cardboard or protectors on the corners to prevent damage.
  • Glass Mirrors, Large Photographs, and Glass-Covered Art - Any sheet of glass has a chance of breaking. Place a criss-cross pattern of tape across the surface of the glass using a low-adhesive tape. The tape will stabilize the glass, but come off without leaving residue.

Label Containers

  • Label Everything - Every box, crate, or plastic tote needs a label on at least two sides. The label should tell you what items are in the container and which room it belongs in. For example, a box of dishes may have a label of "Kitchen - Everyday Dishes." The fine dishes may have a label "Dining Room - Fine China."
  • Fragile - Mark boxes containing any fragile items clearly.
  • This End Up - If a container needs to remain upright due to its contents, mark it with an arrow "This End Up."

Organizing Your Storage Unit

  • Sweep - Sweep out the storage unit, first. Remove any cobwebs and pests.
  • Pathway - Plan to leave a pathway into the unit. This will leave room to get in and out for retrieval.
  • Heavy Down - Heavy items on bottom. Large pieces of furniture usually go on bottom. Boxes with heavy contents need to go to the bottom of the stack.
  • Least Used Back - Least used items in the back. If your items will be in storage for a while, keep least used items to the back and often used items to the front. That will make retrieval of necessities much easier.
  • Cover Furniture - Cover each piece of furniture with a cloth tarp or furniture cover to protect it from scratches and dents.
  • Labels Out - Make sure at least one label on a box is facing out and easy to read.
  • Go Vertical - Place framed art, mirrors, and large photographs vertical in a secure place. Large pieces of glass can easily break if stored horizontally.
  • Leave Air Space - Do not pack items tightly against the wall or the ceiling. When possible elevate flat items off the floor. Air circulation will help reduce the chances of moisture build-up.

Taking a bit of time to pack your items properly and organize your storage unit allows you to protect your belongings and cut the chances of damage happening. If you need help with packing storage tips, our office staff here at Park Cities Self Storage in Dallas, Texas, can help you. We have plenty of experience in helping our clients use their storage units in the best way possible. If you have any questions or want to talk about renting a unit, give us a call today.

photo credit: paul goyette via photopin cc

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