More and more Canadians are choosing self-storage services in Toronto to assist with relocating, getting organized, reducing clutter in the house, or storing belongings for the future.
If this is the first time using a self-storage unit, you may have a range of concerns, from finding the best size or solution for your needs to properly packing and moving your items to organizing your belongings for maximum efficiency. Most storage services can assist you with the first two problems. They can help you find the right solution in terms of space, climate control, drive-up access, and security, among others, as well as provide materials and equipment to facilitate the packing and moving process.
When it comes to organizing your unit, there are a few tips that can help you make the best use of your space:
Start with Proper Packing
Before moving your possessions to your storage unit in Toronto, you must ensure that they’re properly packed to meet the storage requirements, such as stacking, portability, and accessibility. You should:
Use one box size for packing most items
Create a list of contents
Label each box
Using the same size of boxes for all your items, or for most of them, will make it much easier to stack and access them. Most household belongings can fit in medium and small-sized boxes that are fairly easy to stack and move around. While large boxes can be used to store bulky but light items, they cannot withstand the weight of large stacks if placed at the bottom. Moreover, it may be difficult to access something in them if there are many other boxes stacked above them.
Note down all the items included in each box to create a master list that will help you later on when looking for a specific item. Even if you pack the items yourself, you are unlikely to remember which box contains specific items a year later. Make sure to indicate the box number.
Each box should have a clear label on the top and at least one on the sides, indicating the nature of items packed within it. The label could include a unique box number, the contents of the box, as well as the room the items came from. Consider using a special mark or label on boxes that you are likely to access later on during storage. These items should be put in storage last or near the entrance for easy access.
Organizing Items in the Storage Unit
Once you start arranging the boxes and other items in your storage unit, there are several things you should keep in mind:
Identify the items that you will be accessing frequently
Although most of the items you’ll be transferring to a storage unit are those that are rarely used, you should carefully consider any seasonal items that you may need to remove later on. Some of these may include:
- Holiday items, such as decorations and costumes.
- Summer or winter gear and clothing.
- Trip supplies, including cookout utensils, tents, sleeping bags, skis, and snorkeling gear.
- Tools and hobby supplies.
- Kid’s toys.
- Office documents.
Plan the space layout with an aisle
Depending on how frequently you intend to visit your storage unit or access the items in storage, you should design an organized layout for strategic placement of each item. Ideally, furniture pieces are placed against the walls to create a path in the middle of the unit for ease of movement. Only place the most portable items in the middle—if you need to use that space—so they can be easily moved to access other areas of the unit.
Use vertical storage through shelves or stacking
For long-term storage, you should consider adding sturdy shelves against one of the walls to maximize on the space. But for short-term storage, if you’re not willing to invest in the shelves, you should consider packing your items in sturdy boxes that can be stacked.
Here are some tips for using vertical storage:
- Start stacking from the back to the front in order of retrieval. Boxes that will be accessed or retrieved frequently should be packed last so they’re near the entrance. Alternatively, they can be placed on the shelves for quick access with the labels facing out.
- Larger and heavier boxes should be put in the bottom row, and the lighter ones stacked on top. However, the boxes should not be stacked very high (above your head), as this increases the risk of the boxes collapsing or falling and possibly damaging the contents.
- Apply the brick-wall pattern when stacking boxes of the same size. This arrangement means that the box on top will sit mid-way between the two boxes below. While this pattern may leave spaces on the ends of alternating rows of boxes, it allows convenient retrieval of individual boxes without moving those above it.
Place a map of item placement where it’s clearly visible
After arranging your boxes, you should consider preparing a map of the unit’s layout, indicating where different items or boxes are placed. Ideally, each box should have a unique number and detailed label indicating its contents. So the map should be uncluttered and easy to read with just the box numbers and their location in the unit. Any items that are easily visible don’t need to be mapped. But hidden items will be easy to find with the map without searching the unit blindly.
Consider unpacking the boxes
Some boxes are hard to label, especially those that are filled with anything that fits conveniently, so they’re easy to move. But once you take them to your storage unit, it might be difficult to retrieve specific items later on. So take some time to repack similar items into their own boxes, label them, and arrange them in your storage unit.
If you find that you’re utilizing every square inch of your storage space, and it’s a hassle to retrieve some items, especially if you need to do it often, then it might be time to upgrade to a larger storage unit. The next size of unit can give you enough room to install shelving units for vertical storage, and even leave a path through the middle for easy access.
More importantly, you should be able to store your items safely, with adequate air circulation and off the ground—preferably using plastic or wooden pallets—to prevent dampness that can cause your items to deteriorate while in storage.