The How to Guide for Self-Storage Done Right
November 19 2019
If you’re on the market for more space for the items you cherish, then self-storage offers an economical solution to your problems. The extra space can be a blessing, but if you do not utilize it properly, you could be spending more money and time on it than you would like to.
This is why we at Storage Protectors have put together a helpful ‘How to’ guide on how to do self-storage right. Here, we cover all the basics to have you set up and maximizing the use of your self-storage unit.
Choosing your unit
There are a few things you need to consider when you choosing your storage unit. The first, of course, is the number of items being stored, helping to determine the amount of space you require. The best way to do this is to create an inventory of all of your items so that you can ‘see’ them all at once in one place. With an eye to this, you should be able to give a reasonable estimate of the space required, but also utilize “size calculators” on self-storage facilities’ websites, and speak to an agent at the facility for further advice.
Next, you need to determine the type of unit best suited to your needs. If you are storing items that are sensitive to temperature fluctuations and/or humidity (such as artwork, antiques, fine fabrics, electronics, etc.), then you will require a climate-controlled unit to keep your items in proper condition.
If, on the other hand, your items are not sensitive to such factors, then you are deciding between drive-up, outdoor units or mobile storage containers. Both offer convenience, and the one right for you depends on your circumstances.
A mobile container is excellent if you have space on your property for it. This will give you the most immediate access to your storage belongings possible. It also allows you to avoid having to load your belongings twice, once onto a truck, and the other into a storage unit – with a mobile container, it’s simply a one-and-done load into the container.
If space on your property is not available, and you will require regular access to your unit, then a drive-up unit is likely most suited. Look for a facility that is a short distance from your home, so as to not have to spend too much time when requiring access.
Preparing your items for storage
For small items, it is best to pack these in boxes. Plastic containers are typically not square, and therefore take up additional space in your unit. They can also trap moisture, risking mould growth. Plastic bags are even worse, as they do not stack in your unit easily, and are very easy to rip, exposing the contents to dirt and dust. Choose boxes all from one supplier so that they retain the same base shape and stack tightly in your unit.
When packing boxes, always try to pack them with items from one space. This will make things much easier at the other end of the process. It also makes it easier to label: if all the contents of your dresser go together in one box, then labelling the box “Contents of Master Bedroom Dresser” clearly states what is in the box. If items are from all over the house, not only will you be running around with the box putting things away, but the label will quickly turn into a short novel.
For furniture, always use moving blankets to protect them from bumps and bruises, and from becoming dusty. Try to avoid covering them with plastic, unless it is for a very short duration.
Loading your storage unit
Never just start bringing items into your unit to load it: plan things out first. If you need regular access to multiple items in the unit, they you may want to consider creating aisles through the space for access (this will also require you to rent a larger unit). If access is not a regular thing, then you can load items more tightly.
Either way though, planning is paramount to a good load. Begin with large and heavy items to serve as base for lighter items to stack on top. Bring items in waves, such that a few heavy, “base” items arrive, followed by medium-heavy and then light items, and then repeat. This will keep the load coming in the right form.
Try to load in tiers. Start at the back wall, working your way across it to create one complete row that can reach to the ceiling of your locker. Start building subsequent tiers as you are filling the previous tier on the top, providing you with base to stand on to reach the height of the load.
Always fill in every nook and cranny: the tighter things are put together, the less likely they will shift or move. Approach the process like a giant game of Tetris, and chose your pieces wisely.
Regardless of the type of items, number of items, and space, you will require contents insurance. Some homeowners’ insurance policies will cover a portion of storage items off-site (typically 10% of your coverage), so the first place to look for insurance is with the plan you already have.
Otherwise, Storage Protectors is a leader in contents insurance across North America, and offer coverage in every type of self-storage. Speak with your Storage Protectors agent today for more information on how to get the most out of your storage unit and on protecting your contents for their life in storage.