Taking the extra steps and time to keep your storage facility clean and well-organized has a number of benefits. Plan out a day to take care of these things, and you could save yourself quite a few headaches later on.
Before you load
Organization starts before you even put anything into the storage unit. Keeping records of your things before you put them away will save you a lot of trouble later on, especially if something gets damaged while you are storing it.
- Take a detailed inventory of everything you are going to be putting into the facility.
- Each box should be clearly labeled with its contents and a number that corresponds to your inventory list.
- Take photos of the condition of all your items, including boxes and furniture.
- Keep this documentation in a safe, accessible place.
- If feasible, use clear plastic boxes instead of cardboard when you pack. They allow you to see what's inside, so you spend less time rummaging. Also, they afford a lot better protection against moisture and general decay.
Once you get a unit assigned to you, you will want to clean it before putting any of your stuff in there. You'll want to bring a broom, a mop, and some bleach. Look for any spider webs and mold that might be in it, though you have hopefully opted to go with a business that takes good care of its facilities. Give it a good sweep on the floor and in the corners, bleach any discoloration (or the whole floor, if you like), and let the place air out for a bit. Then, you can start packing.
How to pack
The principles at work in packing a storage unit are similar to those of packing a truck or van: big, heavy items go on the bottom, and the lighter things go on top of them. Be careful with finished furniture that you don't want to get scratched. If you are going to stack boxes or other furniture on top of something like that, use packing blankets or ask the facility if they have furniture wrapping.
If you plan on accessing certain items more frequently or sooner than others, hold off on packing them until the end, so you aren't wading through everything else to get to them. You might consider putting some shelving units in as well. These should go in first, against the walls. Pack the other items in a way that leaves access to the shelves open.
TIP: If you decide to pack things in the drawers of your furniture, write down the contents of each drawer.
Make sure to check your inventory as items go in. It also might not be a bad idea to draw a little map of where everything is. Organization will prevent your belongings from getting lost, make finding them easier, and protect you should anything get damaged while staying at the storage facility.
Photo by: Scott Chan (Freedigitalphotos.net)