Self-storage units provide various advantages to those who use them. From decluttering your home to securing your prized possessions while they’re not in use, your storage facility can hold a little bit of everything. When your unit begins to hold a whole lot of everything, it can start getting tough to find the boxes or bins you’re looking for.
Organizing your storage units is one way to minimize chaos and keep your belongings within reach. And nothing says organization like a list! Creating an inventory of everything in your storage space will help you remember what’s in there and where it’s located.
At Jiffy Self-Storage, we’ve seen plenty of storage units in Toronto and understand what it takes to keep them clean and orderly.
Here are some of our top tips for creating a storage unit inventory of your own:
The best possible tip we can offer as a professional storage company is to begin inventory right away. The earlier you start labelling boxes and making lists, the less work you’ll have in the future sorting through bins to find what you need.
If you weren’t lucky enough to get organized early, don’t sweat it. You can create an inventory at any point in your self-storage journey. If you’ve already got quite a collection started in your unit, you may want to enlist the help of friends or family to begin sifting and labelling. Putting off your inventory will only create more work later.
Work Box-by-Box and Room-by-Room
Taking inventory of an entire storage room is daunting at best. To make the most of it, start with one box. Then, take the box and empty the contents one item at a time. Write down each thing coming out of the box and check it off as you put it back inside. On the outside of the box, tape a copy of this list. Keep another copy of the list in a safe place for future reference.
If your storage unit consists of boxes from different rooms in your home, it helps to group those rooms together—the right-back corner for the living room, the left-back corner for the dining room, etc. Numbering your boxes also helps with inventory.
Just as restaurants number tables so they know where orders are going, numbering your boxes will give you an idea about what’s inside and which inventory sheet they belong to.
Create a Master List
Even with all those individual inventory sheets for your collection of boxes, having a master list is the best way to keep track of what you have in storage. A master list must still include a breakdown of box numbers, locations, and items.
A great idea for a master list is to keep it digital. This makes it easier to add and remove items as you place or take them from the storage unit in Toronto. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself handling liquid paper more often than you’d like.
Update your List Every Time Something Moves
No matter how big or how small an item is, if you take it out of your storage unit, or add it to a box in your storage unit, be sure to record the change. Why? Because that will be the item you’re looking for later and won’t be able to remember where it went. With no record of having stored or taken it from storage, it could get lost in the mix.
Be sure to update not only each box but also the paper copies you keep on hand and your master list. It sounds like a lot of work, but the more accurate these lists are, the more likely it is that your belongings will remain secure and easy to find when you need them most.
Create a Map and Key
Humans have always been extremely visual creatures, which is why we recommend all your list comes with a visual aid. A map and key or diagram of where certain boxes are, and what types of items fill them, will make it even easier to navigate your storage unit.
These diagrams are especially important if you’re sending somebody in your stead to retrieve something from your unit. Imagine being on vacation and your gardener emails you, saying they can’t find the lawnmower!
Of course, you stored all the seasonal appliances in your self-storage unit. A map or diagram will point them in the direction of all your seasonal items, and they’ll be far more likely to find the mower and save the day.
Use Shelves and Label Them
Using shelves helps separate boxes and sections of items into easy to navigate sections. It also places a lot of your belongings at eye level rather than floor level. Labelling each shelf draws the eye further and makes a quick find of whatever style of box you require. For example, your labels might include topics such as:
- Home décor
- Office documents
- Seasonal items
- Cleaning equipment
- Family heirlooms
You find the sign, walk to the section, check the box for the list taped to the side, and pull out whatever it is you need. Don’t forget to leave a mark by any items on the list you remove until they’re returned, or cross the item out completely if it’s something you’re removing from storage altogether. You’ll thank yourself later when you’re not searching shelf by shelf for it.
Using shelves also serves the purpose of elevating boxes, which prevents damage due to water leakage, rodents, and pests.