Storage units are often forgotten about when it comes to organizing and cleaning them properly because they're not part of our everyday lives. They're off on their own, accumulating clutter and dust and they very rarely get the spring cleaning treatment that they deserve. After all, you're storing your belongings in the unit, so why not treat it like any other room in your house and give it a nice thorough cleaning every once in a while?
If you wish to properly preserve the belongings that you're keeping in your storage unit, it's important to regularly (at least once a year) clean out your unit and keep it well organized. By doing that, you'll be able to easily access your belongings whenever you need to and you'll know exactly what is in there so you can keep track of your inventory. Also, you'll be able to make sure that your items stay secure and well-kept and that they'll still be in relatively good condition for years to come, in case you ever need to dig them out of storage and put them to use.
Cleaning your unit
The first step of organizing and cleaning out your storage unit is to give it a complete and thorough cleaning. This is the most labor-intensive part of the process, and it will likely be pretty hard work, but in the end you'll be glad that you spent the time and effort that it takes to clean.
Depending on just how much stuff you have in your storage unit, you'll want to start by clearing out the unit completely. Removing everything from your storage unit will really help you clean out the space as thoroughly as possible, as you won't have to worry about reaching those difficult spots that are being blocked by a mattress or coffee table. Remove all of the items from your unit and place them outside of the locker while you clean. After you've finished cleaning the inside of the unit, you can individually clean and dust the items that you've taken out, before you organize them and place them back inside the storage unit.
You should begin your cleaning by sweeping out the unit and clearing any debris from the floors. If you are renting a climate-controlled unit with a carpeted interior, then use a vacuum to clean the floors. If the floors are hard concrete, then sweeping will suffice. Pay close attention to the spots close to the walls and in the corners where debris and mildew can accumulate.
Chances are, the unit that you are renting has been rented out before and still may have residual debris left over from the last owner's belongings. That means there is likely a build-up of dust and dirt that you'll need to clean. It's also a good idea to place some rodent traps throughout your unit and also spray the unit for bugs, especially if your storage unit is located outdoors.
No matter how secure your unit is, there's always a good chance that there will be some rodent or insect visitors stopping by from time to time. That's because small rodents and insects love dark, cool environments, which perfectly describes your storage unit for the majority of the time. With all of your belongings removed from the unit, you'll be able to better assess the space and make sure that there are no bugs or rodents infiltrating the unit and causing potential damage to your belongings.
Once you've swept the unit, cleared any debris and made sure that the unit was squeaky clean and ready to go, you can go through all of your belongings and clean them as well. Before you place them back in the unit, thoroughly dust all of your boxes and furniture and check them for any damages or signs of decay or deterioration.
Organizing your unit
Your storage unit is now spotless and looks just like it did the day the storage facility opened its gates for the first time. You even placed some potpourri or an air freshener in the unit so that you can keep it smelling fresh all-year-round. Now, the next step is to place your belongings back into the unit. However, the last thing you want to do, now that you've spent all that time cleaning and tidying up the space, is to just haphazardly stack everything back in there the way it was before you cleaned it.
Now that your unit is clean, it's time to organize your belongings and really maximize the space in your storage unit, while simultaneously creating an organized method of storage that will make it easy to find just about anything you need when you come back to the unit in the future.
Here are some tips on how to properly organize your storage unit to keep it neat and tidy at all times:
- Keep all of your furniture against the walls of the unit, so that you'll leave yourself plenty of room in the middle of the space to be able to move around and maneuver in and out of the unit with ease. For larger pieces of furniture like beds, dressers, mattresses or tables, turn them onto their sides and place them against the walls. To protect them, cover them in blankets or towels. Large appliances like refrigerators or TVs should also be placed against the walls with a protective covering to prevent dust, debris, or moisture from damaging it.
- Label all of your boxes clearly and include the contents of each box on a card that is taped to the side, so that you can easily see what is inside of each box without having to take it down from the stack and open it up. If possible, use plastic bins instead of cardboard boxes, as it will be easier to see the contents from the outside.
- Take note of the contents of each box and create an inventory list that you can keep with you at home, that way you'll always know what belongings are being kept in the storage unit. If you're ever looking for something and need to know if it is being kept in your storage unit or not, you can simply consult your master inventory list rather than having to drive all the way to the storage facility to check.
- Organize your boxes or containers in neat stacks along the inside of the storage unit, and make sure that when arranging the contents of the unit, as well as the furniture and appliances inside, that you have ample room to move within the unit.
Getting rid of clutter and unwanted items
One of the keys to getting your storage unit properly cleaned and organized, is going through the clutter that you've accumulated and deciding which items you need to keep and which you can part with, ultimately creating more space within the unit, as well as an overall feeling of tidiness.
To achieve this, go through each of your boxes after cleaning your storage unit and before organizing your belongings in the unit, and decide which items you no longer need. The more items you can set aside the better, as you'll free up a lot of space in your unit for future belongings, and you'll have a more organized and less cluttered unit when you're finished.
As you sort through your belongings, keep separate piles for items that you no longer need and take note of these items. You can discard them in a number of ways, the most common being donating them or selling them in a garage sale.