Storage Wars

May 31, 2017 By Shara Koplowitz

Storage Wars

Americans have a hard time letting go of their stuff. 

A convenient way of dealing with excess stuff is to rent a storage unit and forget about it

Storing items while staging and selling a home makes sense, and there are other legitimate reasons for renting a storage unit, but for the most part, families are spending thousands of dollars year after year to avoid the inevitable task of making difficult decisions.



Instead of paying to house empty pill bottles, old textbooks and unused school supplies, a little decluttering and organizing can cut your storage size and expense in half... if not eliminate your need for extra storage all together.


How To Get The Most Out Of Your Storage Unit



You can avoid most damage that occurs over time by cleaning and packing items with the proper materials before you store them. 


- Photos, Yearbooks, awards, certificates, etc. all deteriorate over time. Using polypropylene bags and archival folders and boxes you can prevent photos and documents from sticking together, warping and fading.

- Art and Framed Photography also fade and warp over time.  By cleaning and wrapping artwork in polypropylene, bubble and stretch wrap, and using protective corners, you can both preserve and protect your art against dust, fading and damage

- Clothing, linens, pillows and drapery often collects mildew which causes that awful musty smell that you can never get rid of. Protect these items by: dry-cleaning, wrapping in acid free tissue paper, using breathable cotton covers and storing in plastic bins with cedar blocks.

-Leather & wood furniture can dry out, warp,crack and actually start to rot over time. Using a leather conditioner, wood polish and breathable cotton covers, items will be protected from dust and moisture and remain in good condition over time.

 - Appliances should be rinsed with bleach to prevent mold and mildew growth. Propping open appliance doors so air can circulate will help keep odors at a minimum.

- Mattresses should go into mattress bags or old mattress covers.

- Electronics should be packed in original packaging when possible or wrap them in anti-static foam with additional filler material and seal the box or container completely to prevent moisture damage.  Remove CDs, DVDs, ink jet cartridges and detach wires and other accessories and bundle together.


Packing a self storage can be quite an undertaking , but a little planning can put your mind at ease.


 - When filling your storage unit, think about how often you will access certain items. Arrange frequently accessed items near the front.

- Leave a walk way. When you are packing your unit, be sure to leave a small path through the middle of the unit. This way, if you need to retrieve something later you won’t have to unpack your entire unit to access it. 

- Pack tallest to shortest. The tallest and bulkiest items like furniture and mattresses should be closest to the walls. Starting with the tallest items in the back and the shorter items in front, closest to the aisle.  This will give you a clear view of what’s inside your unit at first glance and help you use the space in the most efficient manner

- Disassemble Furniture Items.  Look for ways to reduce the size of bedframes, couches, tables and chairs by removing legs, etc.

- Fill In the Gaps Creatively.  Be creative with how you use the space. For example, if you are storing a dresser, use the drawers as storage for smaller fragile items.

- Make a Map Of Where Everything Is/Create An Inventory List.  Finding the one item you need can feel like a bit of a treasure hunt if you're not organized. Make your future visits easier by creating an inventory list and making a map of exactly where all your items are located. Tack the list to the door so your next visit is easy in, easy out.

- Group Boxes by Weight/Fragility: A box of family china is going to weigh a lot, but will not serve as a good foundation for stacking other boxes. A box of books, on the other hand, always makes a great foundation piece.

- Packing Things Tightly maximizes your storage unit space and prevents dust, settling and wear and tear .

- Keep Dangerous Items Out:  Avoid storing things that are flammable or potentially explosive. Anything that can degrade over time or produce a toxic smell should be kept out. Even used tires or paints should be stored elsewhere.

- Label, Label, Label.  The more information you provide on a box's label, the less hunting and unpacking that will be needed down the road.



Is it time to tackle your storage unit?





Author: Shara Koplowitz

Date Published: May 31, 2017


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Comments (6)

  1. Amanda Drew:
    Oct 17, 2017 at 04:09 PM

    I'm lucky enough to be able to go to France for about six months with my new husband. We're going to be touring the country and enjoying the culture. Still, we need somewhere to put our furniture, dishes, and things like that. So, I think that your suggestion to put the bulkiest and the tallest things closest to the walls is a good idea. Just like you say, you'd be able to see everything as soon as you go in. My husband and I will have to find a good self-storage unit and then organize it using your tips.

  2. Max:
    Oct 18, 2017 at 12:34 PM

    I've been wanting to get some self storage for a while now, and I think that being able to get some organizational tips would be good for me. I'm glad that you talked about being able to think about what items you're going to want access to in a storage facility, and how you should arrange them toward the front. I'm going to have to keep that in mind when we start putting stuff into storage, and hopefully we can keep it organized and orderly!

  3. Becca Holton:
    Dec 04, 2017 at 09:01 PM

    I know that I'll need to get a storage unit after moving into my new place. It's not big enough to fit all of my stuff. However, I've been a little concerned about how I'll keep everything organized. That's why this was helpful, and I appreciate that insight about how packing things tightly will prevent dust.

  4. Dean Cullon:
    Apr 18, 2018 at 11:02 AM

    Great Post....... thanks for sharing!

    Self Storage units should be designed with the security of your belongings, your budget and convenience in mind. For all your personal and commercial storage needs.

  5. Penelope Smith:
    May 26, 2018 at 03:00 AM

    This is some really good information about storage units. It is good to know that it would be smart to warp up artwork and photography. I have a few pieces of artwork so this is good for me to know before I move.

  6. Ridley:
    Aug 09, 2018 at 06:33 PM

    You've got some great tips for using a storage unit. We've never used one before, but we will in the near future when we move. I'll be sure to remember what you said about planning what items we may need and putting them in front of the unit.

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