Are you planning to move or have you recently done so? Sometimes, moving into a smaller home is the best option in terms of cost, location, and upkeep. Despite the benefits, one of the downsides that comes with moving into a cozier space comes down to the matter of space—there simply isn’t enough of it. Where are you supposed to store that second couch you’re saving for your kid when they finally leave the nest, or that old pool table that you know will be buckets of fun to dig out some rainy day? Luckily for you, renting a self-storage unit means you get to keep everything you love at an affordable cost. Once you’ve decided to use a unit, you’ll want to make the best use of it while ensuring all of your things are packed away safely. Check out our list of nine storage rules:
1. Make the sky your limit—or at least the ceiling. Why waste prime rental space? Your best bet is to keep sturdy items, such as furniture pieces, on the floor and stack lighter items on top. If you’re worried about more fragile furniture, such as wicker chairs, you can either pack these areas lightly or even put them up on top. If you want a uniform packing method, you can even invest in a cheap shelving unit. Have an old bookcase or shelves you need to store away anyway? Looks like a win-win situation. To make the best of this storage rule, look for a storage unit that offers tall ceilings for you to work with.
2. Stack seasonally-smart. Speaking of stacking, have you ever had to dig a box of Christmas decorations out from under a pile of forgotten hand-me-downs you promised your mother would one day be worn? Maybe you haven’t experienced this exact scenario, but you get the picture: pack with item usage in mind. Seasonal items in particular—think bulky winter wear, patio furniture, and holiday decorations—will likely need to be dragged out on an annual basis, so keep these accessible to prevent the deconstruction of towers and hours of hard stacking work.
3. Pack for the worst. Even the best Lego-style stacking method won’t have immunity against human error. You won’t always be able to plan for items dropped while you’re moving things around looking for that elusive lampshade, or even damages incurred while moving items into storage to begin with. Say goodbye to worry (or at least some of it) by investing in bubble wrap for your fragile items. When the dog—or even a hapless partner—is rummaging around recklessly in your stuff later, you’ll thank us.
4. Make dryer sheets your friends. We can go on for days about the importance of renting a theft-proof storage unit, but what about other sneaky critters out to get your stuff? Moths and spiders aren’t looking to abscond with your brand name sweaters, but they may just decide to stay awhile and call them home sweet home. Luckily, creepy crawlers and dryer sheets get along like cats and dogs; in other words, line your unit’s corners and the inside of boxes with this magic material, and you can say goodbye to unwanted tiny visitors. (An added bonus is that your clothes will come out of storage smelling like they came fresh out of the dryer.) The only catch with dryer sheets is that they tend to lose their potency fast and need to be replaced on a monthly basis for optimal effectiveness. But if you decide to rent a high-quality indoor storage unit, you may not even need dryer sheets to keep the pests at bay!
5. Label everything. Simple enough. As soon as you’ve packed up a box or bag, there should be a marker in your hand ready to label away. Your best bet is to be as specific as possible so five boxes of mysteriously labelled “kitchen stuff” don’t later end up being cut open in a desperate search for a popcorn maker. You can even make up an inventory sheet and number boxes to match content categories. If you want to be really fancy, go all out with a label-maker. Better yet, have the person who hates packing most (there’s always one, and it’s okay if it’s you!) be the “Official Labeller”. Trust us, this job is more fun than it sounds, and many a packer has gotten sucked down a hole of colour and name coding in the name of organization.
6. Prep at-risk items. If you have a dry, climate-controlled storage unit, a significant portion of the risks associated with self-storage are already solved for you. Unfortunately, even the best conditions can’t counteract damage or negligence done to an item prior to its storage. Some appliances, like refrigerators, regularly hold water in some form. If you just unplug your refrigerator and plunk it into storage, expect water leakage to seep into your other valuables. Your best bet is to defrost a refrigerator, drain out the melted water, and wipe it dry before you shut the door on your storage unit. Another at-risk item? Leather. This material doesn’t always fare the best in long-term storage, so your favourite jacket or sofa may need some extra TLC in the form of leather conditioner before it’s stored away.
7. Pack like it’s Tetris and every nook and cranny has to be filled. Just like stacking high, this rule is all about optimizing the space you have. If you have a dresser going into storage, sort miscellaneous knick-knacks by categories into the drawers. The same will work with items like shelving units and garbage bins. There’s always that one awkwardly-shaped item that throws a wrench in your best laid plans. When possible, try to disassemble big problem items like tables and bed frames. Just be sure to keep all the pieces wrapped and taped up together so you’re not on a hunt for a missing chair leg three years down the road.
8. But leave a little space. While you’re packing up your space, keep in mind the depth of your unit. The most strategically filled unit will do you little good if there’s no way to reach items deep in the back. The solution is to leave yourself a walkable aisle, making sure that everything has been stacked stably so nothing comes falling down on you. To make finding things even easier, store boxes and bags with the labels facing out, towards the aisle.
9. Cheat a little with vacuum-sealed bags. If you’re strapped for space despite your best efforts, you can literally shrink down clothing using vacuum-sealed bags. Watch bulky bags disappear down to a fraction of their original size. Before you go all out with these, consider what’s least likely to be needed on a seasonal basis and try to sacrifice those to the shrinking method first; unfortunately, vacuum-sealed items tend to come out wrinkled.
To learn more about the best methods for self-storage, you can take a look at our packing tips. If you’re interested in finding out more about units and services available to you, call Jiffy Self-Storage at 416-74-JIFFY (54339), or contact us here.