Whether you’re downsizing, leaving the country for work or extended travel, moving to a new city or a new part of the city, or just need a place to stash your holiday decorations and sports equipment, there are plenty of reasons to use a storage unit. But storing your stuff is more complicated than just tossing it in a box.
If you want to store your stuff successfully — that is, with minimal risk of damage, loss, or theft of your items — you need to make sure it’s protected from the elements, accidents, pests, and thieves. And, unless you’re putting all your stuff into storage and then taking it all back out again the next time you need it, you should organize your unit so that the stuff you’ll need access to is, well, accessible.
Creating inventory lists and maps of your unit so that you can find the stuff you’re storing can be really helpful, too.
If you are looking into getting a storage unit, here are a few tips that will make the experience seamless:
Get the Right Storage Unit
You’ll obviously need to get a unit that will fit all of your stuff — but if you’re storing electronics, instruments, wood furniture, art, or any other items that can be damaged by exposure to excessive heat or cold, you should get a climate-controlled unit, too.
Indoor, climate-controlled units offer maximum protection against weather, water, rodents, insects, and other threats. Even in an outdoor unit without climate control, however, you can take steps during packing to protect your stuff.
Many self-storage facilities offer both indoor and outdoor units, although some only offer outdoor units. Look for local self-storage facilities that meet your needs at https://www.selfstoragefinders.com/sacramento-ca-self-storage.aspx
Pack Your Stuff Up Safely
Even if you’re only moving your stuff across town, you’re still moving it, and it could still get damaged in transit. Pack up fragile items with packing tape and bubble wrap, just like you would for any other move. Use blankets, sheets, and drop cloths to protect furniture from scuffs. Wash appliances inside and out; once you have them in the storage unit, you can prop them open and place open boxes of baking soda inside to mitigate smells, mold, and mildew.
Pack items in new, sturdy cardboard boxes, or, for maximum protection, plastic storage containers. Store electronics in their original packing material, if possible. Clothing should be freshly laundered and stored in plastic boxes with snap-on lids. Include cedar balls in with textiles to protect them from moths and keep them smelling fresh. Place cardboard boxes and other items that could be damaged by water, like furniture and appliances, on wooden pallets to help keep them dry if the unit experiences some minor flooding.
Inventory Your Items as You Pack Them
If you’re using your unit to make up for a lack of storage at home, you’ll want to inventory items as you pack them and give boxes detailed labels to help you find your stuff when you do need it. Number your boxes and make your inventory as detailed as possible, so that you can easily figure out where stuff is when you’re looking for it — even if it turns out to be at the very back of the unit.
For good measure, label each box with a detailed list of its contents. Include in your inventory the details of where your storage unit is located and how to access it, in case something happens to you and someone close to you needs to access the unit.
As you pack your storage unit with your belongings, create a map of the unit so you know where everything is. That way, when you need to get out your turkey roaster for Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll know that it’s in box 15, on the left side of the unit, third row from the back.
Organize your unit so that the stuff you’ll need most often is most accessible, at the front, but also make sure you have a plan of attack for getting things out of the back of the unit when you eventually do need them.
Invest in a Good Lock
Finally, invest in a good lock to protect the contents of your storage unit from thieves. Protect your keys and any access codes you may need to get to your unit. Check on the unit regularly, and if you can’t, enlist someone you trust in the area to do it for you.
Self-storage is a great option if you need to safely stash your stuff during a transitional period, or just because you don’t have enough closet space at home. Just take care to pack your stuff up properly, and it’ll all be ready and waiting when you need it.