Putting all of your belongings in a self-storage unit often seems like a daunting task. Not only does it take time, but you always wonder how to pack all of your stuff inside without running out of space or how to keep your stuff from getting wet. Fortunately, you can enjoy worry-free storage by following these 8 simple and effective tips:
Choose Your Lock Carefully
Your average padlock or combination padlock is an affordable choice, but it also offers the least security since it can be broken easily, whether with bolt cutters or through striking or drilling. A closed-shackle padlock offers better security as it's more difficult to defeat with bolt-cutters due to its design. Disc locks are also a more secure option, thanks to their robust, pick-proof design.
Stack Your Items on Wooden Pallets
Placing your belongings on the concrete floor seems convenient, but it can be an invitation to flood damage. There's always a possibility that water from rainfall or snow melt can come under the door. There's also a good chance that a neighboring unit could have a leak or that someone nearby could spill something. Keeping your belongings on pallets ensures they won't get wet if something like that happens.
Stay Clear of Cardboard Boxes (Unless You Have a Climate-Controlled Unit)
Outside of a climate-controlled self-storage unit, a cardboard box isn't the most ideal container for long-term storage. As with any paper product, cardboard is susceptible to humidity and it'll readily absorb moisture if given the chance. Too much moisture will not only weaken the cardboard structure, but it may also ruin your belongings. Your best bet is to stick with plastic containers with lids.
Keep Moisture at Bay with Silica Gel
A high-humidity environment can not only destroy paper and other moisture-sensitive items, but it also creates the perfect conditions for mold to flourish. Desiccants such as silica gel are designed to absorb and hold up to 40 percent of its own weight in moisture and bring humidity levels within a closed container down to around 40 percent.
Toss a pack in each container before you finish packing, along with a moisture-indicating card. Silica gel can last almost indefinitely as long as they're not exposed to new air. In other words, the longer you keep your containers closed, the longer the packs will last. The moisture-indicating card should also tell you when you should change the silica gel.
Wrap It Up
Tightly wrap as many belongings as you can in industrial plastic wrap. This will prevent spiders and other unwanted insects from getting into your stuff as it sits. It'll also keep your belongings from gathering cobwebs or dust.
Maximize Your Space
Chances are you're already paying a decent chunk of change for your self-storage unit, so why not make the most of it by maximizing the space you already have? It'll keep you from having to reserve a larger unit or even multiple units just to accommodate your things. There's plenty you can do to reduce the amount of space that each item takes up:
- Vacuum seal any and all clothing or bedding prior to placing it in the storage unit.
- Disassemble and box as many furnishings as you can.
- Store couches, love seats, mattresses and box springs in the upright position against the back wall of the storage unit.
- Fill the drawers of your dresser with small items.
- Stack your belongings by weight, with the heaviest items on the bottom and the lightest items on top.
Create Easy Access to Your Belongings
Make sure you create an aisle or two so you can get to the back of your storage unit with relative ease. The last thing you'll want to do is have to crawl over boxes just to get to something deep within the unit. You'll also want to label all of your boxes and containers and keep those labels facing towards you. This will make it easier to pull whatever items you need from your storage unit.
Don't Forget to Take Pictures
Last but not least, you'll want to take an inventory of everything you've placed in the storage unit. Make an itemized list of your belongings and take pictures — they'll come in handy if anything is damaged or stolen. It'll also help you keep track of everything you've put into storage.
Visit a site like http://www.getepicstorage.com to learn more about storage unit options you might be able to take advantage of.