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Storage Organization

From beds to books, here's how to organize it all.

An organized and well-planned storage unit starts with proper packing. Here are some tips to get you started:

General Packing Tips:

  • Pack your least-used items first.
  • Organize boxes by room and label everything.
  • Anything that can be taken apart will be easier to store and move.
  • Break furniture down as much as possible.
  • Leave as little space as possible while packing boxes. This will prevent shifting.
  • Pack electronics in specialty boxes.

Storage Unit Organization Tips:

  • Do not rent more space than you actually need. Decide if a smaller unit, if packed efficiently, will do the job just as well as a larger unit. 
  • Put items you don’t need at the back of your unit. Boxes and belongings that you need frequently should remain at the front of your unit.
  • Choose sturdy, plastic bins for long-term storage. They stack neatly and prevent water and dust from entering. 
  • For large storage units, leave a clear walkway in the middle so you have easy access to all of your items. 
  • Group like-belongings in the same area of the unit and leave a map in your storage unit.
  • Stand sofas on end, if possible, and take advantage of the tops of dressers and the like to stack boxes and other items. Also, stand mattresses on end and break down bed frames.

Other Handy Packing Tips:

  • Appliances - Make sure all refrigerators and freezers are thoroughly dry. Store them with the door ajar so air can circulate inside. Be sure the doors on other types of appliances are securely shut, and always clean your stove before moving.
  • Bedding and Linens - Use your dresser drawers when possible to store blankets, pillows, sheets and the like.
  • Books - Books are heavy, so be sure you pack them in small boxes.
  • Chairs - Invert light chairs so they are "seat-to-seat." There usually is space between the legs for small, lightweight items.
  • Chest of Drawers - Take advantage of drawers for packing many light household items such as photos and clocks. If the items are fragile, be sure to use towels or other padding to protect them from breakage.
  • China and Glassware - Plates should be wrapped individually and stacked on edge, rather than flat. Always make sure you have plenty of cushioning below and above all your glassware. Glasses should also be wrapped individually with cushioning and put on the top layers of any of these boxes with more cushioning above them. Make sure your boxes are firmly packed so they will not be crushed.
  • Clothing - It’s best to hang clothing whenever possible. Use the wardrobe boxes when possible.  
  • Drapes - Fold your drapes carefully and pack them in dresser drawers, if possible. Once in storage, it’s best if you can hang them on hangers.
  • Fragile Items - Many small fragile items can be stored safely in your dresser drawers surrounded by blankets and pillows.
  • Lamp Shades - Use clean white tissue paper to wrap each lamp shade individually. Often you can "nest" several lamp shades together. Use a special box for all of these shades, rather than packing them with other items.
  • Mattresses - Use special mattress bags or even old mattress covers to keep them clean during moving and storage.
  • Mirrors - Always stand mirrors on edge. It’s best if you can crate them, or at least pack them individually with strong cardboard and mark them so they won’t accidentally be bumped.
  • Tables - Take the legs off tables when possible and wrap the legs separately. This prevents possible damage and also saves space. Tape the hardware to the underside of the table, so you will not misplace it.
  • Tools - Don’t put too many heavy tools in one box, since it may be heavier than you expected. It’s a good idea to wipe your tools with a slightly oily rag to prevent rusting if you are storing your belongings in non-climate controlled storage. Long handled rakes, hoes and shovels should be cleaned, oiled and tied together.