Are you moving away soon? Whether you’re considering using temporary storage or long-term storage, making use of a storage unit is the best and most effective option for those relocating to a new home. With such a big variety of storage facilities available nationwide, you should be able to find a self-storage rental that fits into your budget and that would be convenient for you. However, before just tossing any belongings inside a storage unit, customers should be aware of the proper ways to prep and pack items for storage and the safest ways to do so.

Here are 10 tips for preparing your items for storage in a safely manner:

1. Research storage restrictions
First, be sure to do some research on what can and can’t be stored inside your storage unit. A list of restrictions of items should be provided by the storage, but if they don’t, make sure to ask for all the possible rules and regulations. A few examples of what most likely can’t be stored inside your storage unit include dangerous items, such as gasoline, fertilizers, paint, chemicals, fireworks, explosives, narcotics and propane tanks. Tip: if any items are flammable, it probably can’t be placed inside a storage unit. Other no-no items include perishable food, plants and medicine.

2. Decide which personal items to put in storage
Next, determine which items you need to store and which ones aren’t necessary to store before putting it inside your storage unit. The reason for this is because the more you store, the bigger the storage unit you’ll need; And, of course, a bigger storage unit will cost you more money. To save money, carefully consider each item before storing it. If it’s not sentimental, valuable or useful, try donating or selling it instead.

3. Create an inventory list of all items
During all the chaos of packing and moving, it’s easy to lose track of everything you are putting away. Make sure to create a list of all the items you are placing in the storage unit. From large items such as furniture and refrigerators, too smaller items such as chairs and pictures… this way you will be able to keep things organized. I would highly suggest keeping a copy for yourself and leaving one inside the storage unit. This way when you go to pull things out, you’ll have your inventory list right in front of you!make a list of your items

4. Clean and vacuum belongings
It is very important to clean all items before placing them in your storage unit. If the items are clean, it will be less likely for them to smell bad later. I recommend wiping down all surfaces with an all-purpose cleaning spray, vacuuming couch and chair cushions, as well as cleaning appliances with disinfectant wipes.

5. Use clear plastic bins instead of boxes
Ready to begin the packing process? Use clear, plastic bins. This way you can see what is inside when you visit the storage unit and need to grab something from there. Also, this way you wouldn’t have to look for items, so all in all it’s a great time saver! 

6. If using boxes, label them clearly
If you end up using cardboard boxes instead of plastic bins, make sure the boxes are durable enough to handle long term storage. You can’t see what’s inside a cardboard box, so label each box carefully and clearly. Also, be sure to list out specific items inside a box. For instance, instead of labeling a box “kitchen items,” label it “pots, pans and utensils.”  

7. Safeguard items from outside conditions
There are some good ways to prevent damage to your belongings while they are in storage. Your belongings can start gathering dust, moisture or even mold overtime if you don’t take proper precautions. First, I suggest making sure all your items are dry to begin with. Apply protective spray on furniture and leather goods. Seal your boxes nice and tight to keep the moisture out. For electronics and cords, I recommend you store them in plastic baggies to prevent moisture damage as well. Sweaters and clothing should be packed in wardrobe boxes or zipped inside a hanging garment bag. Mattresses should be placed in a special mattress storage bag. Furniture should also be covered in a cotton sheet to prevent damage from pests and bad weather.

8. Disassemble large items
Large items, such as beds and dining tables should be taken apart before placed into storage. Not only will you be able to save space by taking these items apart, but you’ll also be able to better protect these belongings from potential wear and tear. Tip: To prevent damage, matrasses and box springs should be placed flat inside the storage unit.

9. Prepare appliances
Wrap all kitchen supplies in bumble wrap or foam to prevent breakage. Also, make sure to thoroughly clean the appliances and secure any loose parts with rope or tape. If the appliance is a washer, fridge or dishwasher, leave the appliance doors slightly open to prevent mildew and moisture from building up.

10. Place items inside a storage unit strategically
Be strategic when placing your items in the storage unit. Store items in a vertical position to save space. Also, all large and heavy items should be placed on the bottom. If laying your mattress flat, avoid putting it at the very bottom of the storage unit, as belongings on top are sure to put pressure on the padding and springs. Consider which items will be needed often, so that you can place these items in an easy-to-reach spot and close to the door.

Other things to consider when packing for storage:
• The quality of your packing supplies.
• The size of your storage unit.
• The overall safety and security of your storage unit. For instance, does it have in-person surveillance or video monitoring? How many locks are on the door? How well lit is the facility?
• Whether or not your storage unit is climate controlled. If you can do so, I highly recommend renting a unit that provides this feature. These climate controlled units prevent mildew and mold from damaging your items. If you do decide to rent a storage unit that isn’t climate controlled, be aware that mold is capable of growing on cardboard and paper products. So pack accordingly.