The Ultimate How to Store Your Business Stuff Tips and Guide
A lot of businesses across numerous industries need storage space for equipment, raw materials, stock, and a wide variety of other items. Businesses are usually also required to keep their documents for at least five years.
Keeping all of these items at your primary location, office building, or home office may not be possible (or ideal), which is why so many businesses turn to a storage solution that both fits their needs and budgets and is safe and secure. But how do you choose the right storage solution and how can you prepare your business or commercial items for storage so they remain in pristine condition?
Our ULTIMATE HOW TO STORE YOUR BUSINESS STUFF TIPS AND GUIDE will help you with precisely just that.
Here is a rundown of information you can expect to find and learn about in this ultimate Storage Tips and Guide document:
- What is business storage
- Why a business needs to store their business items
- What kinds of possessions you may and possibly may not be able to store
- Packing and storage best practices
- An overview of business storage solutions
- How to work out how much storage space you need
- Tips for choosing an accredited and reliable storage provider
- Instructions on how to safely prepare and pack your items for storage.
Guide and Tips for the Packing and Storing of Your Business Stuff
What is Business Storage and Why is it Important?
Business storage is the storing of any and all business and commercial-related items with a storage provider. The business-related items encompass a wide range of items, from business vehicles, like cars, trucks, and buses, and documents, archives and furniture to commercial inventory and supplies. The actual business storage solution may vary and would be based on what you need to store, how much you need to store, and other requirements.
There are plenty of reasons a business would need additional storage space and would like to reap the benefits extra storage space offers. Let’s look at this in more detail.
Top 8 Reasons to Store Your Business Stuff
The top 8 reasons to store your business and commercial items are:
- The accordion effect and flexibility – Your business may suffer from the accordion effect: at times you may need lots of extra space, then need a little bit of extra space, and then back again to needing lots of space, and so on. A business storage solution can and should be as flexible as you need. A big advantage is not needing to worry about taking a 3, 5 or even 10-year lease agreement as you would for commercial property space.
- Changing locations – According to statistics, one out of two companies will change the location of its headquarters more than twice during its existence. So, if your business office is changing locations, you might need a place to store some of your items and move essentials over to the new location first.
- Expanding or renovating – When a business is expanding or renovating, they need to limit disruptions and would need a place to store their equipment, furniture, and paperwork, so moving your business items to a storage space would be best.
- Extra security for important documentation and archiving – While your business office may be a safe place, you might need to store at least five to seven years’ worth of documents and may need extra security to keep these archives safe. Business storage solutions come with a variety of extra safety and security features, from being CCTV monitored, a 24-hour alarm system, unique PIN code access, and more, to keep your files and documentation as safe as it could be.
- Improved office environment and increased productivity – Employees are more productive if they work in an office that has space and doesn’t suffocate them while they are working (which could be the case if your office is overrun with products, stock, and documents). Furthermore, not only your employees but also guests and business affiliates will judge your office (and business) based on its appearance – if your office is cluttered and messy, they will think your business is too. Clearing your office from all the clutter will prove to be advantageous for both an improved business environment and increased employee productivity.
- Lowering business costs – If you are using some office space to store your items, you are, in essence, overpaying for storage space in your office building. While you have quick access to your items, you may not need this type of access for most of the items you are storing. By using an external business storage solution, you only pay for the space you use or per volume of stored items and not any additional overhead costs, like utilities, security, and staffing as you would for commercial and industrial space.
- Over-cluttered home office – If you run an online retail business and work from home and your dining room table and part of your living room is full of your documents and products it is time for a change. It is important to separate your work area from your “living area” – aka your home – and a business storage solution will allow you to safely store all the items you don’t actually have space for at home.
- Stock and piles of documents everywhere – If you have stock and documents in every area of your office, it is time to look into a business storage solution so you can free up the much-needed space in your corridors and break room and make your office look professional, neat, and tidy again. Plus, you can store any out-of-season stock and promotional items out of sight.
What Industries Can Make Use of Business Storage?
Essentially, any industry and business can make use of business storage solutions. To give you an idea, here are the 14 most popular industries that make use of business storage and a list of what they typically store:
Acreages and farms:
- Tools, large equipment and tractors, “toys” (bikes, quads, and sleds), and feed
Advertising and marketing agencies:
- Campaign material, documents and archives, promotional gifts, and point of sale materials
Construction, architecture, engineering, and developing:
- Portable storage solutions to store building supplies, tools, and machinery at the construction site
- Other business storage solutions to store extra supplies, tools, and machinery for when not on-site
Education, schools, and religious organization:
- Extra desks, chairs, and supplies, files and file cabinets, gym and sport team equipment, seasonal items, and yard maintenance items
- Furniture and decorations, audio and video equipment, giveaway and promotional items, sports gear, supplies, and any other valuables for safe keeping
Import and logistics:
Law and accounting:
Pharmaceuticals and the medical industry:
- Documents and archives, furniture, equipment, stock
Publishing and book dealers:
- Inventory management and storage of extra boxes (with brochures, books, flyers, magazines, and pamphlets) and supplies
- Documents, promotional items, banners, furniture for showings, and “For Sale” signs
Retailers and E-commerce stores:
- Inventory management and storing of seasonal displays and extra stock
Restaurants, bars, catering, and hospitality:
- Extra furniture, kitchen supplies, equipment, seasonal items, and excess stock
Theaters, film companies, and galleries:
- Costumes, decorations, furniture, scenic objects, and past exhibits
Small businesses and satellite and at-home offices:
- Documents, equipment, stock, supplies, and tools.
What Business Stuff May and May You Not Store
Essentially, you can store most things with a storage provider, however, these companies may have a list of items they’d prefer not being stored with them. This would be mainly due to safety reasons. It is good practice to check with a storage provider if they have any such prohibitions in place in order for you to follow the rules.
Here are lists of business items you can store, may be able store, and may likely not store.
Business Stuff You Can Store
Business items you likely can store in any storage solution and with any storage provider include:
Appliances – Air conditioners and fans, coffee makers, microwaves, refrigerators, paper shredders, and vacuums
Pro Tip: To prevent harmful mold and mildew, make sure your appliances are completely drained of water and dry of any moisture before placing them into storage.
- Commercial inventory and supplies
- Computers and peripherals – PCs, laptops, network components, printers, copiers, scanners
- Documents, files, and archives
- Electronics – Digital devices, phone systems, radios, surge protectors, and TVs
- Office furniture – Chairs, desks, filing cabinets, lamps, shelf units, trash cans, and whiteboards
Power tools, machinery, and construction/agricultural equipment
Pro Tip: Most storage providers will require that you completely drain all motorized tools of gas prior to storage.
- Pinted material – Books, brochures, catalogs, and other collateral
- Stationery, file folders, organizers, and other office supplies
- Tradesmen supplies and tools.
Business Stuff You May be Able to Store
How to Choose the Right Boxes for Business Storage
Choosing the correct box type as well as size is important for two reasons:
- It helps you to organize all your items when packing
- It helps keep your items safe and secure.
Types of Boxes
- Cardboard boxes – Probably the most common and popular type of box as they are light, inexpensive, and easy to pack, label, and stack. They can also be easily broken down, stored, and recycled. The most common cardboard box for business storage is the document or archive box
- Plastic bins/containers – They are an ideal packing solution for storage as they are sturdy and can protect your items from moisture. They are also easily stackable and transparent, so you can see what is stored inside
- Specialty boxes – These boxes are specifically designed to hold fragile, oversized, or valuable items – they make packing difficult items easier
Box Sizes (These are supplier dependent)
- Archive (15 x 12 x 10 inches or 1 cubic foot) – specifically for packing and storing documents
- Small (16 x 12.5 x 12.5 inches or 1.5 cubic feet) – ideal for packing small and heavy items, like books, catalogs catalogues, and collateral
- Medium (18 x 18 x 16 inches or 3 cubic feet) – great for bigger items, like small appliances, office equipment, and supplies
- Large (24 x 18 x 24 inches or 6.1 cubic feet) – pack items like larger items like computers, printers, and peripherals.
Business items you may be able to store would depend on the storage provider as previously mentioned as well as whether you feel the security of the storage solution and provider is good enough. In some climates, there may be extreme temperature fluctuations and high levels of humidity, so climate-controlled storage may be safer for some items.
Please check with your storage provider for the storage of the following items:
- Food – bottles, cans, and jars
- Media – Blu-Rays, cassettes, CDs, DVDs, floppy disks, magazines, newspapers, and videotapes
- Sensitive and private information – address books, airline tickets, car keys, car titles, cash, certificates of deposit(s), checkbooks, collections (coins, stamps, etc.), financial documents, insurance policies, IRAs/deeds/tax records, keys, passports and travel documents, professional files, research projects, and stocks or bonds
Pro Tip: Many self storage providers recommend that you do not store sensitive, private, valuable, and irreplaceable items at their facilities.
Business Stuff You’re Likely Not Able to Store
It is unlikely you’d be able to store the following items in a storage facility; however, it may be possible to make special arrangements for the storing of some of these items.
Pro Tip: Confirm with your storage provider whether you are allowed to store these items at their facility or consider a portable (mobile) storage option where you can store these items on your property.
Here is a list of items you may possibly not store at commercial storage facilities:
- Animals, plants, and people – Nothing that needs food, light, and water should be kept in a storage facility. Plants also raises the humidity levels, making it a breeding ground for mold, and attracts pests
- Hazardous, combustible, and toxic material – See a detailed list of items to the right
- Illegal items and substances
- Perishables – There are some business storage solutions in which you can store perishables, like food, for the short term
- Scented and wet items – The storing of scented items easily attract insects, pests, rodents, and vermin, which will cause damage to the rest of your stored items. Wet items attract mold and mildew and spread bacteria
- Unregistered, uninsured, or broken – undrivable – vehicles.
How to Prepare Your Business Stuff for Storage and Packing Tips
List of Hazardous, Combustible, and Toxic Materials
- Biological waste
- Car and household batteries
- Charcoal, charcoal lighters, and lighter fluid
- Chemistry sets
- Darkroom chemicals
- Fire extinguishers
- Lamp and motor oil
- Medical supplies
- Nail polish and nail polish remover
- Paint and paint thinners
- Petrol, gasoline, and diesel
- Pool chemicals
- Propane tanks
- Scuba tanks
- Weed killer
Preparing your business items for storage and packing everything correctly so the items remain safe and in pristine condition can be both time-consuming and daunting. Follow the tips below to ensure you start the packing process as prepared as you can be to avoid any unnecessary stress and steps:
- Give yourself enough time to pack – always calculate extra time as packing most often takes longer than expected
- Only use high-quality packing materials
- Work logically
- Avoid packing items in drawers or bookcases as this makes the furniture extra heavy
- Disassemble any furniture, fixtures, and machinery that can be taken apart
- Before un-cabling computer and network equipment and electronics, take a photo or create a diagram of how the devices are set up and wired. Label each cord and label the corresponding input and output points on the device.
What Supplies Do You Need for Packing and Storage?
Good-quality packing supplies should be non-negotiable because poor-quality or second-hand boxes and moving blankets will not protect your business items properly.
Packing supplies you need to prepare and pack your items for storage include:
- Boxes in different sizes and durability
- Get custom-made boxes for specialty items
- Heavy-duty packing tape
- Packing tape dispenser and refills
- Box cutter or utility knife
- Permanent markers
- Zip-lock bags
- Furniture covers
- Plastic wrap
- Moving blankets
- Packing material: bubble wrap, foam wrap, polystyrene packing peanuts, white packing paper(butcher’s paper), and white tissue paper
- Rubber bands, twist ties, and zip-ties
- “FRAGILE” stickers
- Directional “This Way Up” arrows
- Pliable cardboard sheets
- Locks (if needed to secure your storage space).
Pro Tips: Suggestions for packing supplies for storage:
- Buy more packing supplies than you think you might need. If you have any leftover, there are storage companies and professional movers that will refund you for the return of any unused packing material
- Don’t use newspapers to wrap anything as the ink can run, leaving behind stains. Use white packing paper instead
- It is easy to lose the nuts and bolts of furniture and machinery; place these items in zip-lock bags, label the bag, and tape it to the corresponding furniture or machinery piece for safekeeping.
How to Prepare and Pack Storage Boxes
6 Steps for Folding a Storage Box
- To fold your flattened storage box, place the box upright and fold the four flaps down so that they touch the outside sides of the box
- Open the flattened box and position it into its 3D rectangular shape
- Turn the box over so the four flaps you folded down in step one are on the bottom. The top of the box will also have four flaps
- Close the box by folding the top four flaps in. First, fold the smaller flaps in and then the larger ones
- Get your heavy-duty packing tape and tape over the middle to secure the flaps. Add another layer of tape on both sides of the middle layer for increased security
- Turn the box around so the taped flaps are on the bottom and start packing. Once the box is full, repeat steps 4 and 5, and label your box.
General tips to keep in mind to ensure your business and commercial items remain safe and secure when packing your items for storage are:
- Choose the right box to hold the right kind of contents. Lighter items should be packed in larger boxes, while heavier items should be packed in smaller boxes
- Reinforce storage boxes with heavy-duty packing tape at the bottom and top and along all the sides, especially when packing heavy items
- Evenly distribute the weight of the items in the box; pack heavier items at the bottom and lighter items at the top
- Fill up the box so the sides or top doesn’t crush in
- Movement inside the boxes should be limited. Pack your items all the way to the top as this ‘stacking’ will help to reinforce the box
- Use bubble wrap and packing paper to fill all the empty spaces in a box; this will help prevent your items from shifting and breaking during transit
- Never overload the boxes as it increases the chances of your items inside of breaking. Each box shouldn’t weigh more than 45lbs and you should be able to carry the box
- Easily tape down the box flaps at the top; if you cannot do this easily, the box is too full and you should remove some items until the flaps can be easily taped shut
- Don’t close the boxes one by one; if you do this, you might later discover more items could have been placed inside a specific box.
- Rather, only close your boxes after you are finished packing
- Don’t pack breakable items together with heavy items.
How to Create an Inventory and Labeling System for Storage
Benefits of Hiring Professional Help
- Save a lot of time
- Less stress
- Don’t have to worry about packing supplies and having too much or too few of these
- Don’t have to lift a finger!
Inventory and labeling systems that are clear and consistent are very important when it comes to packing for storage. You don’t want to go through the trouble and time-consuming task of having to open and unpack every box to find what you are looking for.
Follow these tips and rules to create an inventory and labeling system to help organize your business items and make the packing, transit, and storage as hassle-free as possible:
- Use a color-coded system to show the location of where your items were kept in your office or business. For example, you can label boxes according to offices, departments, floors, or buildings
- Create a priority system so you know which items you might need occasional access to while the items are in storage. This will assist you in packing your storage space
- Label every box and be specific with each label as this will make locating the boxes in your storage space easy and quick
- Compile a detailed inventory list; it should include box numbers, the contents of each box, and priority. This can be done either on paper and/or digitally. Ensure you keep this list safe and where you can easily access it
- Create a layout of the storage space and put this near the entrance of your space. Keep a copy with you as well for reference
- If you have any boxes needing to be kept right side up, label your box with a “THIS END/SIDE UP” or a similar label; arrows also work well
- Use “FRAGILE” stickers for any boxes containing breakables or fragile items.
Pro Tips: Suggestions for labeling and inventory:
- Use code names for expensive or rare items. This is an added precaution should someone break into your storage space
- With your inventory list, keep an estimate of your items’ current replacement value. Take photos of high-value items. These may be required for your storage insurance coverage and come in handy in the case of damage or loss.
Ideas for Hiring Help to Help You Pack, Transport, and Unload Your Business Stuff for Storage
Where to Find Boxes and Packing Materials
- Your storage provider will most likely sell all the supplies you need for packing your items. They can also offer advice if you aren’t sure of what you may need to safely pack certain items
- A convenience store
- A grocery store
- A department store and other retailers
- A consignment and/or thrift store
- You can also “rent” storage boxes for free (you pay a small deposit which is returned) at some storage providers
Having help to assist you in packing, loading, and unloading your business/commercial items could make the whole process a lot easier as well as faster.
Here are three ideas for hiring help to help you pack, transport, and unload your items for storage:
Hire an on-demand full-service storage service
Full-service storage companies, like those offered by Storage Gurus, will come to your business, professionally pack and transport all your items, and deliver it to the storage space. You can also request the return of all or any of your items as and when you need them.
Hire professional experienced packers
Avoid any packing disasters by hiring professional and experienced packers. These pros will pack your items, disassemble any office furniture, as well as load and unload your items. Save time and stress, and help protect your items against damage while in storage.
Hire a moving specialist
Whereas you and your staff may be capable of moving your office furniture, business equipment, or commercial items into storage, but it may not be safe and/or the best use of your and your staff’s time. If not, hire a moving specialist that specializes in moving offices and businesses, and all your items, large or small.
Top 11 Business or Commercial Storage Tips
Our 11 most important storage tips to keep in mind are:
- Decide what you want to store – storage costs are directly linked to how much you want and need to store
- Get a storage space that is big enough to store all of your items
- When choosing a storage space, opt for a little more space than your items will take to ensure easy access. Use our handy Storage Gurus’ best storage solution finder to help you work out how much space you need
- Line the floor of your storage space with wooden pallets or skids to further protect your items from rain, moisture, and spills
- Group similar items together
- Place antique, fragile, and collectible items far away from non-breakables. Clearly mark these so everyone will know to handle them with care and caution
- When wanting to stack your boxes, use same-sized ones
- Try to stack your boxes to the ceiling to make the most of your vertical storage space.
- Create shelves between stacks of boxes by using plywood sheets; this will help keep the boxes stable
- Place boxes with heavy items at the bottom of your storage space; boxes with fragile items should be placed on top of other boxes
- If your space needs to be padlocked, invest in a good-quality lock, like a heavy-duty, short-arm or cylinder lock, that you can’t cut or pick open.
How Much Storage Space Do You Need?
One of the most common problems with choosing a storage space is the sizing of it. If you choose a space too small, you may not have enough time to move your items to a larger storage space and may have to get rid of your items in a rush or try to get another storage space. You also don’t want too big a storage space as that means you are overpaying for your storage.
You may also not know how big, for example, a 200 cubic feet vs a 1,000 cubic feet storage space is, and if you do, it may be difficult to visualize how many business or commercial items you can fit.
Finding and booking the right size of storage space for your items can not only save you a lot of money and time but can also make the process hassle free. To help you with figuring out how much storage space you need, we have put together this guide for you and you can also check out Storage Gurus’ best storage solution finder for more assistance.
Calculating How Much Storage Space You Need
To calculate how much storage space you need for your business or commercial items, follow these steps:
- Make a list of all the items you need to store to calculate how much storage space you need
- Next, measure the items. The measuring does not have to be precise, but large boxes and items, like furniture, servers and machinery, should be measured too
- Note the ceiling height of the storage space, so you know how much vertical space you have. However, keep in mind your actual usable height is, on average, 30 percent less. Calculate the volume of your items and add 30-40 percent to allow space for easy access and depending on how efficiently you pack and stack your items.
An Overview of Business Storage Solutions
Some storage providers categorize their storage solutions in terms of:
- what can be stored – business storage, commercial storage, document and archive storage, and seasonal storage
- extra storage amenities – 24-hour access storage, access to electricity storage, cheap storage, climate-controlled storage, drive-up storage, refrigerated storage, highly secure storage, and short-term vs long term storage.
The primary business storage solution providers include:
- Full-service storage
- Portable (mobile) storage
- Self storage
What is Full-Service Storage?
Full-service storage is an on-demand, inclusive, and door-to-door storage service. When you choose this storage solution, the storage provider creates an inventory, professionally packs and loads your items into a container, transports and stores the container in their safe and secure indoor warehouse, and returns the items as and when requested.
Some of their added-value services include:
- The loan of heavy-duty packing blankets to protect your hard office furniture and equipment
- Plastic wraps to cover and protect your soft items, like couches and chairs
- Optional professional packing with the inclusion of high-quality storage boxes and packing materials
- Inventory and condition reports to keep track of what is in storage and the condition of the items going forward.
What is Portable (Mobile) Storage?
Portable storage is also called mobile storage and is a turnkey, versatile storage service for the temporary storage of your business or commercial items. When opting for this storage solution, the provider delivers one or more storage containers to your desired location where you have the option of either you or the provider packing and loading your items into the container. It can be stored at your current location, another location, or at the storage provider’s secure facility.
A portable storage solution is great if you want to take your time packing the containers yourself and/or need extra temporary storage at your office or other business location.
What is Self Storage?
Self storage is also called self-service storage or mini storage. It is a do-it-yourself, month-to-month short-term storage solution whereby you rent a storage space – called a storage unit – within a large warehouse or amongst others on an outdoor property.
Comparative Advantages of Full-Service Storage and Portable Storage vs Self Storage
The comparative advantages of full-service storage and portable storage vs self storage are as follows:
|Up to 40+ percent cheaper
||Up to 20-30 percent cheaper
||More expensive than full-service or portable/mobile storage
|Professionally creates an inventory and condition reports so you can easily keep track of what’s in storage
||You create your own inventory to keep track of what’s in storage
|Available to professionally pack your items, including all boxes and packing materials, so you don’t have to worry about breakage and damage
||You have to source and buy all boxes and packing materials, and then pack everything yourself
|Professionally loads and transports your items safely so all the heavy lifting is taken care of
||Optional loading and transport available, or possibly not necessary depending on where you store the container
||You personally load, transport, unload, and stack your items in your storage space
|Full drop-off service when you want all or some of your items returned
||Have to go yourself to put or take items out of storage
|Pay for only the space you need, not for the entire storage unit you don’t need. Easily increase or decrease your storage space without lifting a finger
||As you pay for the size of the unit regardless of how many items you store, you often pay more than you need, and it’s difficult to add or reduce your storage as you have to move everything into a new unit (if one is available)
|Transit and storage insurance available to protect your items from pick-up to re-delivery
||Insurance available only while your items are stationary in the facility, not while in transit where the greatest risk is
|Your items are better protected as they are stored in individual sealed containers
||Your items are stored in units open at the top with only large-diameter wire mesh between your items and the open air, dust, vermin, and theft
Important Factors to Consider When Choosing a Storage Provider and Storage Solution
The seven important factors to keep in mind, besides the size of storage space you need, for choosing the best storage solution and storage provider for storing of your business or commercial items are:
Access – Depending on what you want to store in your storage space and whether or not you need regular access to your items, access may be an important consideration. While full-service and portable storage providers can return all or some of your items with 24-hours’ notice, self-storage providers may allow access during the day, after business hours, and on weekends.
Amenities – You may prefer different amenities depending on what you are storing in your storage space. Some of the main amenities a storage provider may offer include (but are not limited to):
Climate-controlled storage spaces
You may opt for a climate-controlled storage space if you live in an area that experiences extreme temperatures or very high humidity. This amenity is also dependent on what you want to store; certain items or extremely valuable ones, such as antiques, electronics, food, and leather, may be subject to variations in temperature or humidity. Thus, it is usually recommended to store these kinds of items in a climate-controlled storage space.
If you are only storing your items for the short term and or where there aren’t temperature and humidity fluctuations, then you may not need climate-controlled storage space.
Drive up access
If you opt for a full-service or portable storage solution, then your provider will handle your pickup and delivery or bring the storage container to your business premises; however, if you choose a DIY storage option, like self storage, the ability to drive directly up to your storage unit to unload and load your items can be quite convenient.
Short-term vs long-term rental periods
You may only want to store your items short-term while you are renovating your office or long-term for excess inventory. Some storage providers offer discounted rates the longer your store with them, so make sure to ask.
Cleanliness – To avoid damage, your items should be stored in a clean storage space. All storage spaces should be rodent and pest free as well as regularly swept to ensure there is no buildup of dirt and/or any critter infestations
Costs – The cost of your preferred storage space or solution may be an important factor to keep in consideration; you’d most likely prefer the costs to stay within your budget parameters. Things that will affect the cost of your storage space are how much space (or volume) your items take, the actual storage solution and storage service, any special amenities you add on, and whether you choose a short-term vs long-term storage solution.
It is essential to get a couple of quotes from a few storage providers in order to compare apples vs apples as well as look for any deals a provider might offer.
Location – With self storage, the location of your storage space is important because you need to consider how far you’d have to travel to the storage space to gain access to your items.
If you choose a full-service storage, then this isn’t a factor you need to worry about as the storage provider will collect your items, store it safely for you, and then deliver all or some of your items back when you want. Likewise, portable storage works the same, but with the added option of being able to store your items in a container at your office or other business location, so distance/location may not be a factor.
Reliable and Reputable – Any storage provider you ultimately choose should be accredited, reliable, well-known for its services, and reputable. Carefully check the storage provider’s independent customer reviews too!
Security – There is a range of security factors to look for when choosing a storage provider. All storage solutions should include but are not limited to:
- 24-hour video surveillance
- Limited access for the public
- After-hours security and fire alarm system and monitoring
- Fully fenced perimeters with well-maintained grounds
- Fire, flood, and wind protection
- High-quality construction of storage spaces.
These are especially applicable for self storage facilities:
- Individually lockable units where only you have the key
- Alarms in storage units
- Well-lit areas
- Dedicated facility managers or a resident caretaker who knows the layout of the premises and is trained in security best practices
- Monitored access and recorded entrance and exit gates that allow access only to authorized renters.
To ensure the safe and secure storage of your items, make sure to choose a provider that meets all your storage needs.
What is a Storage Contract?
A storage contract is a legally enforceable contract and every storage provider will have their own version of one. In general, a storage contract provides all the rights and obligations the storage provider and the customer have and what would occur if any party fails to meet their obligations. These terms and conditions are essential in order to avoid any conflict or miscommunication.
A storage contract, depending on the storage provider and storage solution, may also be called a:
- Full-Service Storage Agreement
- Full-Service Storage Contract
- Mobile Storage Rental Agreement
- Self-Storage Rental Agreement
- Self-Storage Lease Agreement
- Storage Container Lease Agreement
- Storage Container Rental Agreement
- Storage Agreement
- Storage Lease Agreement
- Storage Rental Agreement
- Storage Space Lease Agreement
- Storage Space Lease Contract
- Storage Space Rental Agreement
- Storage Unit Lease Agreement
- Storage Unit Contract.
The information typically contained in a storage contract comprises:
- Contact information of the customer and the storage provider
- The start date and end date of the agreement
- Description of service and/or storage space and what it includes
- Payment information, like the cost of the rent, when it is due, information about the security and/or other deposits, and late fees
- Prohibited items
- Liability disclaimer
- What will happen if you fail to make rent payments or abandon your storage space
- Notice for the move-out process
- If applicable, what the landlord or storage manager can do; for example, when they may enter your storage space if need be.
Common Terms in a Storage Contract
Here is a list of the most common terms you may find in any storage contract and what they mean:
- Access Hours – When you have access to your stored business items. Access hours may be restricted
- Breach – When something is violating the terms of the contract
- Exclusion of Warranties – “what you see is what you get” with regard to storage space. If you are unsure of any storage amenity or the actual storage space, ask the storage provider
- Giving Notice – The storage company may specify you need to notify them of any change of address or other contact information as well as how much notice you need to give for “moving out” of the storage space
- Liability Protections – Depending on the storage provider, storing your business items with them may come without any liability protections, meaning you are storing your items there at your own risk, and the storage provider and/or facility does not personally guarantee the safety and security of your items; this is related to storage insurance (more information about this in the following section)
- Lien on Personal Property – A lien is when the storage owner holds and sells (or auctions) your items if you do not pay your bill to recoup the outstanding rent
- Payment Guidelines and Terms – This includes payment arrangements and payment schedules, as well as deposits, grace periods, late fees, due dates, and what happens if you do not pay
- Prohibited Items – Legally defined items that may not be stored in the facility. Furthermore, the storage provider may also place a limit on the value of items that may be stored as a security precaution
- Rate Changes – The storage provider may let you know with a written notice of any increase in the rent of your storage space
- Release of Liability – Related to “liability protections”, a release of liability means that you agree the storage provider, landlord, or storage manager is not responsible if your items are damaged while being stored at the storage facility.
Storage Contract Tips
Here are our top 10 storage contract tips you should keep in mind before signing a storage lease/rental agreement:
- Never agree to anything orally or with no written contract in place
- Read and fully understand the contract or agreement before signing
- Make sure the contract states an employee, landlord, or storage manager only has access to your storage space or items in an emergency
- Note any additional costs that may apply; for example, the storage company asking you to buy a padlock or packing supplies from them instead of bringing your own or charges that may apply for gaining access to your storage space after hours
- Note the deposit as well as any refundable ones and the terms that come with a refundable deposit. These terms need to be realistic
- See what the procedures are for ending your agreement
- Find out how much you may need to pay for early termination of the contract.
Especially applicable for self storage:
- Be sure to inspect the unit before signing the contract
- Note any damage to the storage space before moving in and/or signing the contract so you don’t pay for these damages later on
- Make sure the storage unit number matches the number on the storage space in which you are storing your items.
If you haven’t had anything to do with the storage industry before, you may assume when you store your business or commercial items in a storage space, the storage facility will automatically include your belongings under their own insurance coverage. Unfortunately, in most cases, whatever insurance cover they have only covers their facility and/or property and they do not cover your stored items for any reason whatsoever.
Storage insurance is not a requirement. However, most self storage providers require your belongings to be insured as a condition of storing them at their facility. It is also essential to not be lulled into a false sense of security, thinking your possessions will be secure just because the facility has exceptional and state-of-the-art security measures.
What is Storage Insurance?
Storage insurance is specifically designed to pay for any financial losses associated with items placed in storage; it makes the recovery process easier should anything happen to your stored items. Essentially, it covers your items against risks associated with storing them away from your business premises.
For example, let’s say there was a huge disaster – a fire – at the storage facility where you are storing your business items. Some of the items in the storage space are of high monetary value and nearly all of your items have been destroyed in the fire. Would you be able to replace them if you don’t have any storage insurance?
Just as your office or commercial property could be burglarized or damaged by water leaks, a storm, or other (natural) disasters, a storage facility can experience the same. If something like this were to happen, your items may be lost, but, as noted, having storage insurance makes replacing your items much easier.
What May Storage Insurance Cover
Generally speaking, most storage insurers will cover the damage caused by a building collapse, earthquake, explosion, fire, hail, hurricane, leaking, lightning, smoke, tornado, strong winds, and vandalism. And some policies may also cover your items while they are being packed and transported to and from the storage facility, and even damage caused by pests, rodents, mildew, mold, or rust.
Depending on your storage insurance cover, most office and business items could be covered by storage insurance, however, certain items may not be covered. These may include antiques, artwork, car titles, cars, currency, deeds and financial/personal documents, large vehicles, legal contracts, and securities. As such, it is of utmost importance to fully examine any storage insurance policy and ensure it covers what you need it to.
Why You Might Need Storage Insurance for Your Business Stuff
Now that you know what storage insurance is and that it is something the storage company doesn’t always include in the rental of the storage space, let’s look at the reasons why you need storage insurance:
- No matter what the reason for storing your business or commercial items in a storage space, your items are of value
- When you store your items in a storage space, the safety of the items is essentially out of your hands. While the storage company may be doing what it can to avoid theft, for example, there isn’t much they can do against accidents or damage that is caused by nature or other kinds of disasters
- Having some kind of storage insurance in place will give you peace of mind as well as help replace items that are damaged or stolen while they are in storage.
Top 10 Storage Insurance Tips
Our top 10 important storage insurance tips to keep in mind are:
- Have an accurate inventory of what you are keeping in your storage space and keep this inventory up to date
- Take photographs of important or valuable items
- If the storage company offers “complimentary” storage insurance coverage, find out what that means exactly
- For any storage insurance coverage you are considering, find out exactly what will be covered, what the premiums are, and what will be paid to you in case of damage, loss, or theft
- Shop around for storage insurance. Rates, as well as coverage, vary
- Choose the most appropriate storage insurance cover for your stored business items for the risks involved
- Find out if you have to pay a deductible on your storage insurance cover. The deductible is a once-off amount you pay before your storage insurance kicks in
- Find out if the storage insurance policy will pay the actual cash value or the replacement cost for any damaged and/or lost items
- Ensure the amount of storage insurance coverage you purchase matches the value of your items
- To maintain ownership and protection of your stored items, make sure you continue to pay your storage fees and insurance premiums.
How to Store Your Business Stuff
Use these how to prepare, pack, and store tips and guidelines for all your business stuff to ensure you start the packing for storage process as prepared as possible to avoid any unnecessary stress and steps.
How to Store BOOKS
Packing books might seem easy, but you don’t want to have any ripped pages, broken spines, dog-eared corners, and tattered covers if these items are not packed correctly.
Follow our tips for how to pack books correctly for storage:
- Sort through the books. Any books that won’t be read again, are no longer needed, or hold no sentimental value can be sold, donated, or thrown away
Sort the books into piles of similar sizes as it is easier and quicker to pack similarly-sized books together. You may use these categories:
- Large paperbacks
- Small paperbacks
- Large hardcovers
- Small hardcovers
- Get your sturdy, reinforced, corrugated cardboard storage boxes ready. Books are heavy, so use small boxes. When packed, these boxes should be easy to lift and a single person should be able to carry them
- Use bubble wrap or packing paper to line each box so the books can rest on a soft bed. This step is especially important when packing leather-bound books or hardcover books with dust jackets
Follow these steps for packing different kinds of books:
For valuable first or limited editions or books with a lot of sentimental or monetary value:
- Wrap each book individually in packing paper and fasten with packing tape as if you are wrapping a present
- Wrap each book in a layer of bubble wrap and secure with tape.
For hardcover books:
- Place each book in an upright position (its spine should rest on the side of the box, similar to how you’d place a book on a shelf)
- Pack the books tightly within the storage box so movement is reduced during transit
- Don’t pack the books too tightly so they will be damaged when you remove them from the box.
For softcover books:
- Place larger, heavier books at the bottom of the box
- Place each book lying flat in the box
- Alternate the direction of book spines.
- Use bubble wrap or packing paper to fill any empty spaces in the box
- Add small silica gel packets or cedar balls inside the box to keep moisture away
- Place a final layer of bubble wrap or packing paper on top of the books
- Close the box and secure the flaps with heavy-duty packing tape
- Clearly label the box.
When in storage, don’t leave boxes with books on the floor of the storage space or near the walls as humidity and moisture can damage the books. Rather, place these boxes on shelves if possible or on top of sturdy furniture.
How to Store COMMERCIAL INVENTORY
Storing your commercial inventory at your home office or business office could easily lead to an inefficient and a messy one; follow our steps below for how to prepare and pack your commercial inventory items for storage:
- Sort your commercial inventory according to raw materials, work-in-progress, finished products, transit inventory, buffer inventory, and seasonal inventory. This will also help you decide what needs to go into boxes vs on shelves and evaluate which items you need frequent access to
- Create a list of the items you want to store – keep the items you need day-to-day at the office and store the rest
Pack your items:
- Use new, study boxes, plastic containers, bubble wrap, packing paper, and packing tape to properly and safely pack your items
- Add silica gel sachets or cedar balls to help prevent moisture where necessary
- Close the box flaps and secure with heavy-duty packing tape
- Label each box clearly. You can also stick digital photos on the exterior of the box so you know exactly what is inside
- Add “FRAGILE” stickers and “This Way Up” arrows were needed.
In the storage space:
- Stack furniture, machinery, and any other bulky items toward the back of the storage space. Cover these with moving blankets to prevent dust from building up
- Add and use shelving to better stack boxes for easy access
- Stack lighter boxes on top of heavier ones, with the same sized boxes on top of each other for stability
- Place groups of the same item together
- Place items you need regular access to at the front
- For long-term storage, avoid placing any items – free-standing or in boxes – directly on the storage space floor. Place them on wooden pallets or skids
- Create a map to help you locate where you placed everything in the storage space. Keep this map updated as you move items to make future retrieval as easy and quick as possible.
If the items are personal or household in nature, have a look at our The Ultimate How to Store Your Personal Stuff Tips and Guide for more step-by-step instructions on how to pack your commercial inventory items, from antiques, artwork, clothing, curtains, and linen to mirrors, sport equipment, kitchen appliances, and more.
How to Store DOCUMENTS, FILES, PAPERWORK, AND ARCHIVES
When it comes to the packing and storage of your documents, files, paperwork, and archives, special care is needed. Take into consideration things, like fire safety, how moisture and humidity can be avoided, and the security measures of the storage space, to preserve these items as best as possible.
Here are tips for how to pack documents, files, paperwork, and archives for storage:
Sort through all your documents, files, and paperwork. Decide which of these you want and need to keep and which you can put through a paper shredder
Pro Tip: In the USA, you should keep your credit card and bank statements, tax records, and so forth for three to seven years.
- Organize your documents and paperwork. Place documents into different piles if not already sorted according to bank statements, tax returns, inventory and stock, and so on. Once you have your piles, transfer these documents into separate folders and label them
- Back up everything that is important by taking photos or make photocopies. You can also scan these so you have digital copies and send these via encrypted email to yourself
- Place sensitive documents in sealed packages – these envelopes or containers should be opaque and, if possible, be permanently sealable with tamper-proof tape or be lockable
- Use file boxes to pack all your documents as this kind of box is the right size and sturdy enough to hold your paperwork. Alternatively, look for filing cabinets
- Lay documents flat or place thick dividers between files or paper to prevent the documents from bending
- Place file folders upright in the box so you can read their labels. All labels should face the same direction
Place as many documents as you can in a box. This serves two purposes:
- It minimizes how much the papers move around during transit
- It keeps the boxes from being crushed if you place heavy boxes on top.
- Don’t over-fill the box so it bulges
- Once the box is full, close the flaps and secure it with heavy-duty packing tape
- Label the box, but don’t label it too specifically if it contains private and sensitive information. Keep a record of what documents you have placed in storage for inventory purposes.
Tips for how to store documents, files, and paperwork include:
- Don’t store boxes with documents, files, and archives in extreme temperatures or high humidity levels
- Place boxes with these items on shelves, stands, or pallets and not directly on the storage space floor
- Allow spaces between boxes and the storage space walls to improve ventilation
- Cover your boxes with cloth to deter any dust accumulation.
How to Store ELECTRONICS AND DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE
Electronics and digital infrastructure can be expensive, fragile, and sensitive to extreme fluctuations in temperature. Our tips below on packing and storing electronics outline how you can keep all of these items safe, in one piece, and in working order once taken out of storage.
Here are our tips for how to pack your business electronics and digital infrastructure for storage:
- Create an inventory list of all your electronics and digital infrastructure devices. Mark if it is heavy or extra big as these items may need special packing supplies. An inventory also allows you to keep track of what you need to pack during the packing process so nothing is left out
- Consult your user manuals for any manufacturer’s advice on how to pack your devices for transit and storage. If you don’t have the manual anymore, you may be able to download a copy by doing an online search for the make and model of the device
- If possible, round up the original packaging in which the electronic device was sold as this is designed to protect your appliance and absorb any impact and shocks during transit. You can also contact the manufacturer and purchase specifically-designed packaging. Alternatively, invest in brand new sturdy storage boxes and electronics boxes
- If possible, use the services of a qualified electrician to uninstall and safely remove any audio-visual equipment that was wall mounted, like speakers and televisions
- Take a photo of the device as it is currently set up. This is especially important if there are multiple ports and cables at the back as well as difficult wiring configurations and setups. You’d want to make reassembly as easy as possible when you remove the items from storage
- Batteries from all battery-operated electronics, like remotes
- Blu-Ray discs, CDs, DVDs, and USBs from computers, consoles, and other media devices. Tape the drives shut
- Cash from cash registers
- Ink or toner cartridges from printers.
- Clean your electronic device by using a compressed air duster or microfiber cloth. Never use soap, water, or cleaning sprays
If you are packing computers and laptops:
- Back up all the files to a hard disk or cloud drive
- Ensure the passwords are difficult to decipher
- Vacuum the back of the computer equipment (to remove dust)
- The CPU, computer tower, or desktop unit should be packed upright or on its side (check your user manual if you are unsure). Double wrap it in bubble wrap so it can absorb any shock before placing it in a storage box
- Place motherboards, drives, and cards in anti-static bags or wrap in bubble wrap. For extra protection, add a layer of foam or bubble wrap over the bag
- Don’t place anything metal on top of a motherboard as the resulting charge may short circuit the motherboard
- Place monitors into anti-static bags and, for added protection, layer with bubble wrap
- Place your laptop or notebook computer into a protective cover or sleeve that is snug fitting. Cover it with bubble wrap and secure with scotch tape. Place the laptop on its stronger edge (not lying flat) like it fits in a travel laptop bag in a box
- Cover the AC adaptor with bubble wrap and secure with tape
- Add silica gel packets or cedar balls to the boxes containing these items to help keep them dry.
If you are packing computer peripherals:
- Where possible, use the original boxes for the peripheral devices, such as the keyboard, mouse, speaker(s), Wi-Fi router, and so forth
If you don’t have the original boxes:
- Double wrap bubble wrap or packing paper separately around the keyboard and mouse
- Wrap flash drives, memory sticks, fans, screws, ties, and so on individually in packing paper or bubble wrap and place them in clean transparent plastic containers.
If you are packing photocopiers and large printers:
- Print the configuration page of the device. Place this sheet(s) on the copier glass so you have all the information related to the accessories, device settings, and IP address ready on hand when you take the device out of storage
Power down the device and unplug it:
- Disconnect the fax lines, network cables, and power cable
- Wind the cables and secure with a twist tie or zip-tie
- Wait 30 minutes for the fuses to cool down
Remove the toner cartridges and waste toner cartridge:
- Shrink wrap each of these individually
- Secure the toners in a box dedicated solely to these items
- If the photocopier is an older model, you may have to empty all the liquid toners and fuser oils if it uses a kerosene-based toner fluid
- If it is a Xerox solid ink printer and copier, don’t remove the toners.
- Remove all accessories, like the additional paper trays, finishers, large capacity paper decks, and sorters
- Carefully pack all the screws and bolts in a zip-lock bag and secure to the accessory
- Secure the automated document feeder by taping it shut
Level the feet or wheels:
- Unlock the wheels or caster or unscrew the leveling-feet.
- Bubble wrap the device and secure with packing tape
Place floor protectors on the wheels before wheeling the machine
- Avoid wheeling the photocopier over rough surfaces as the wheels can easily break
- Alternatively, use a furniture dolly or similar tool to move the copier.
If you are packing server racks, data centers, and other digital infrastructure:
- Have an IT relocation plan so you can minimize downtime and have a backup plan for business continuity
- Survey all your IT equipment, like the cables, routers, servers, and switches, to see what can be retired and what must be purchased new if you want to reinstall in future – this is an ideal time to update your office technology if you are relocating or expanding
- Back up all your data in advance (if you have a large business, this process can take up to a month)
- It is recommended that an IT team or trained IT professionals dismantle and package your different kinds of IT tools and servers as you can’t simply unplug servers, transport them, and reconnect them
- Cushion your equipment with cut-to-fit polyethylene foam to absorb shock during carry and transit; avoid Styrofoam or expanded polystyrene as this easily flakes and little pieces can do serious harm to your servers, for example, when it passes through the openings
- Pack the servers in double wall storage boxes or wooden crates; simply strapping your servers and other digital infrastructure onto pallets is not recommended
- Also recommended is having an IT team or IT professionals reinstall and set up your servers in your new business location.
If you are packing TVs and a large stereo:
- Dust the back of your TV and large stereo
- Protect the screen and stereo from getting scratched by wrapping them in a moving blanket. Secure the blanket cover with a bungee cord or rope
- Place the item in a plastic protective sleeve or screen protector around it. Secure with packing tape.
- Label the power cords as you unplug them. You can do so by color-coding: place a colored sticker and label around each cord and place a correspondingly colored sticker or label on the port
- Once unplugged, neatly roll up the power cords and fasten with zip-ties, twist ties, or rubber bands. Don’t place anything heavy on top of power cords as these items can squash the cords and cause kinks and damage
- Remove any detachable parts, like remote controls, speakers, and bases TVs. Wrap each of these parts individually in bubble wrap or packing paper and secure with packing tape
- If possible, place the cords, device, detachable pieces, and user manual in the original box
If you don’t have the original box:
- Place the device on top of a sheet of bubble wrap or packing paper. Wrap the device completely (as you would a present) and secure with packing tape
- Choose a box of similar size to the device, preferably an electronics box, TV kits, and so forth
- Use bubble wrap or packing paper to line out the bottom of the box
- Pack the box with heavier items at the bottom and lighter ones at the top. Pack larger items, like a TV and printer, in separate boxes
- Place the user manual inside the box
- Use bubble wrap or packing paper to fill any empty spaces.
- Close the box and secure the flaps with heavy-duty packing tape
- Clearly label the box and stick on a “FRAGILE” sticker and directional “This Side Up” arrows.
To keep your electronics and digital infrastructure safe in storage, follow these how to store your electronics and digital infrastructure tips:
- Don’t store these items where there are extreme fluctuations in temperature and humidity
- Keep boxes with electronics off the storage floor and away from walls. Use pallets to stack these boxes on; alternatively, store these items on other secure heavy boxes or sturdy furniture
- Avoid stacking boxes too high to eliminate any tipping and damage
- Store your electronics and digital infrastructure in upright positions
- Avoid packing and storing these items with others that are highly flammable and dangerous, like alcohol, household chemicals, batteries, oil and gas, fertilizer, and propane tanks.
How to Store FOOD
Most storage suppliers may prohibit the storing of any kind of perishable food; however, business or commercial storage solutions may provide the correct storage space to store food, especially if you are in the catering, restaurant, and hospitality industry.
As food very easily goes bad or rotten, knowing how to properly store your food is essential, so follow our tips on how to store food for the best results:
For dry food:
- The storage space should be dry and cool to prevent any spoilage and swelling of canned food
- The storage space should be clean and free from pests
- It is best to place your bottled, canned, and jarred goods together by product or type in reinforced boxes and on shelves or pallets. These items should not be placed directly on the floor
- Organize your storage space to have aisles so there is space for carts and dollies to easily move your food products.
For refrigerated products:
- Fresh food should be stored in a refrigerated storage space at 39°F or colder to delay decomposition and deterioration
- The temperature of the storage must be monitored daily
- The storage space should be cleaned regularly and shelving must be well vented and shallow.
For dairy products:
- These products should be stored in refrigerated storage at 36°F to 39°F
- Store dairy products on their own with a protective covering as they can easily absorb strong odors
- Keep the refrigerated storage clean
- Rotate dairy products when fresh ones arrive
- Similar to dairy products, produce also needs to be stored in refrigerated storage at 36°F to 39°F for freshness and deterioration prevention
- If there are any rotten fruit or vegetables, for example, get rid of them as quickly as possible as one “bad” piece can quickly affect others.
For fresh meat, poultry, and seafood:
- Fresh meat, poultry, and seafood should be stored in a refrigerated storage space at 39°F or colder
- Any carcasses should be unwrapped and hung for the air to circulate around the
- Individual meat cuts should be kept in stainless steel trays and covered
- Fresh poultry and seafood should be packed in ice in refrigerated storage.
For frozen food:
- Frozen food should be kept at 0°F or lower for it to maintain its quality
- Be careful of freezer burn – all frozen food should be properly wrapped
- Remember to rotate frozen food on a first in, first out basis
Pro Tips: How to store food:
- Beware of cross contamination – don’t handle different types of produce in succession
- Wear gloves and carry out correct hand washing techniques before and after handling food
- Refrigerated storage spaces should be kept sterile and disinfected regularly
- Check the temperature of the storage space regularly to ensure there is no bacterial growth on the produce.
How to Store FURNITURE
Packing, transporting, and storing furniture can be challenging and stressful as they can easily be scratched and parts can easily break off. Follow our guidelines below to ensure this process is as easy and stress-free as possible.
Here are our tips for how to wrap and pack your business furniture for storage:
Clean all your furniture:
- Glass: Dust and use a glass cleaner to remove any marks and fingerprints
- Leather: Vacuum and use a leather cleaner. For added protection, apply leather conditioner or cream
- Steel: Dust and use a multipurpose cleaner. For extra protection, add an oily lubricant
- Upholstery: Vacuum to remove dirt and debris and use an upholstery cleaner to lift any odors. For added protection, apply a fabric protector
- Wood: Dust. Apply a mild solution of soapy water. For extra protection, apply furniture polish or oil.
- To ensure your furniture is thoroughly dry, run a hairdryer over it
- Check any steel furniture for evidence of rust as this will spread in storage. If there is any rust, attend to it now before placing these items in storage
Disassemble furniture but take care to not disassemble any antique furniture as these pieces are too old and fragile and shouldn’t go through the rigors of being unscrewed and screwed together
Pro Tip: Disassembling furniture will make it easier to carry, transport, and store each piece and will minimize damage.
- Remove cushions, drawers, headboards, and table legs
- Place all hinges and screws in sealable plastic bags that are clearly marked. If possible, attach the plastic bag to the corresponding furniture piece so you don’t lose any of the small parts. Label each bag as an extra precaution
Wrap each piece of furniture separately to protect them from dirt, dust, impact, humidity, grime, moisture, pests, and temperature fluctuations:
- Glass: Glass sections should be encased in Styrofoam and then placed in a similar sized double-corrugated cardboard box
- Metal: Wrap these items in plastic wrap and encase each item in a soft material, like a moving blanket
- Upholstery: Wrap these items in breathable plastic wrap
- Wooden and leather furniture: Wrap these items in high-quality moving blankets, then apply packing wrap.
To transfer your furniture to a moving truck or van, follow these correct manual handling techniques:
- Have a few people on hand to assist you
- Grip and hold tall furniture items from both low and high positions to prevent them from toppling over
- Lift with your knees; not your back
- Use equipment like lifting straps, moving dollies, and shoulder dollies to help you move and load furniture
- No one should stand behind furniture while it is being loaded onto the moving truck or van.
Here are tips for how to store your furniture:
- Don’t place furniture too close together; there should be enough space so each item can “breathe” to prevent them from becoming musty and moldy
- Nest items inside each other where possible – place smaller items underneath larger items (like desk pedestals under an office desk)
- Store chairs seat to seat
- Don’t place any furniture directly on the storage space floor or near the walls – rather, place them on wooden pallets or skids for protection.
How to Store MACHINERY AND CONSTRUCTION/AGRICULTURAL EQUIPMENT
It is important to properly store machinery and construction/agricultural equipment so they remain in good condition while in storage. Follow our tips on how to store machinery and construction/agricultural equipment for the best results:
- Record any damaged parts. If needed, repair and replace them
- Clean the machinery and equipment with a high-pressure washer and let them air dry. They should be thoroughly dry before being placed in storage
Service and oil the machine:
- Use machine oil to grease any moving parts. Consult the owner’s manual if you are unsure of this process
- Drain water and fluids from all hoses and tanks
- Remove the fan and alternator belts
- Service the air cleaner if there is one
- Release the tension on the accessory belt
- Run an anti-freeze solution per the manufacturer’s instructions through any equipment that uses water
- Check the engine oil and replace it with new oil
- Coat lubricating oil or a corrosion inhibitor on any exposed metal parts to prevent rust.
If you are keeping fuel in the tank, top this up and add stabilizer. Start the engine and run it for a few minutes so the stabilizer can run through and mix with the fuel. If it is a diesel machine, add stabilizer and biocides for short-term storage; drain the diesel from the tank for long-term storage
Pro Tip: Some storage facilities will require you to completely empty your motorized tools from gas or diesel prior to storage.
- Place levers, switches, and throttles in the idle or off position
- Plug and seal all the openings on the machinery
- Remove all batteries from battery-operated machinery and equipment and recharge the batteries
- Check the tire pressure prior to storage. If you are storing your machinery and equipment for the short term, slightly over-inflate the tires to prevent flat spots. For long-term storage, you have two options: (1) Remove the tires and store separately or (2) jack up the machinery with the tires attached
- Place cedar balls, silica gel sachets, or a rust collector close to these items and around the storage space; alternatively, use a dehumidifier if necessary
- Store all equipment and construction/agricultural materials off the storage space floor. Place these items on wooden pallets, slats, or skids
- Take into consideration the arrangement of the machinery in the storage space. Allow enough space to walk easily between parked machinery and avoid any collisions while driving machinery into the storage space.
- Cover all machinery and construction/agricultural equipment with tarp or moving blankets
- Don’t store machinery and equipment in areas with extreme temperature fluctuations or high humidity levels as this will allow moisture to develop, rust to collect on exposed metal materials, and wooden ones to rot
- Start the engines of the machinery once a month and, if possible, drive them for a short distance so a new oil film can form to lubricate the internal parts.
Media includes a wide variety of items, from CDs, DVDs, memory sticks, and floppy disks to magazines and newspapers. Where possible, make backups of important data and store these separately. Follow our guidelines to ensure media items aren’t damaged during the packing or storing process.
Here are our tips for how to prepare and pack your media for storage:
For CDs and DVDs:
- Use a CD cleaner and apply this to the disc using a non-abrasive photographic lens tissue or a soft bristle brush
- Clean your CD in a radial motion, from the center outward
- Place each disc in its original case, pocket, or sleeve
- Place each CD upright in custom-made CD or DVD boxes.
For floppy disks:
- Your hands should be clean while handling these disks. Don’t touch the surface of the disk as fingerprints are bad news
- Don’t clean the disks with any cleaning solution as this will remove the oxide from the disk’s surface
- Store the floppy disks in its protective envelope
- Label the protective envelope so you know what data is stored on it
- Store the disks upright in a dustproof container
- Don’t bend or fold the disk or place any heavy items on top as this may render the floppy disk unreadable and un-writable.
For magazines and newspapers:
- Organize your magazines according to title, topic, type, date, or publisher
- Choose how you want to store them: an archival storage box, a drawer box, or a long or short box
- You can also place magazines and newspapers individually in plastic sheet protectors and then place these in sealable plastic containers.
- Label all boxes and containers clearly. Add “FRAGILE” stickers where necessary.
Here are tips for how to store your media:
- Keep your media off the ground in the storage space. Place these boxes or containers on wooden pallets, metal shelves, or sturdy, heavy boxes
- Don’t store these boxes in a storage space where there are extreme fluctuations in temperature or high levels of humidity.
How to Store MOTORBIKES
You’ll want to ensure your business’ motorbikes are as great post-storage as they were pre-storage. Here are tips for how to prepare your motorbike for storage:
- Before you place a motorcycle into storage, inspect it for any damage. Check the quality of the tires and the condition of the cables, gears, and wires
- Ensure the registration, license, and insurance are up-to-date
Fill the gas tank and add fuel stabilizer to prevent corrosion and keep the gas lines clean. After you add the stabilizer, take the motorbike for a ride to ensure it is distributed through the fuel system.
Pro Tip: Some storage facilities will require you to completely empty your gas tank prior to storage.
- Change all the fluids prior to storing – change the oil and replace the anti-freeze transmission oil
- For the painted finish, apply a fresh coat of wax
- If the bike hangs for the duration of the storage period, deflate the tires; alternatively, invest in a bike storage system that attaches to the storage space ceiling or wall. However, for short-term storage, if your bike stands on the floor of your storage space, keep the tires slightly over-inflated. Use nitrogen as this will maintain the tire pressure for longer periods
- Cover the bike with a clean, breathable cloth to prevent dust and any unexpected changes in light
- In storage, ensure there are no extreme temperature changes or high levels of humidity for the motorbike.
Once you take the motorbike out of storage, check all the safety components before use; ride the motorbike at a slow speed to ensure the gears aren’t worn out.
How to Store PHARMACEUTICALS
Pharmaceuticals need special storage requirements in addition to being stored according to the manufacturer’s directions and within the product authorization terms.
Here are our tips for how to store pharmaceuticals:
- Keep the medicines in their original manufacturer’s packaging in a sterile environment
- Special attention should be paid to protect medicines from atmospheric moisture, contamination, extreme temperature and humidity, sunlight, and UV rays
- Check the label if there are any special instructions for storage
- Keep medicine that needs to be refrigerated in refrigerated storage or a refrigerator (you would need access to power in your storage space for the latter)
- Organize your pharmaceuticals and ideally store them on shelves
- Keep track of expiration dates
How to Store TIMBER
Timber is expensive so getting your storage right is essential. Plus, there are numerous pitfalls that can damage your wood before you can use it. Follow our tips on how to properly store your wood to prevent any kind of damage:
- Avoid storing wood in a dry storage space as it can dry out too much, which can cause shrinkage and cracks and the appearance of splits. You can invest in a humidifier to rectify the dryness in the air
- Avoid storing wood for any considerable amount of time
- If you have to store wood for the long-term, invest in a humidity gauge and if there is a considerable amount of humidity in the air, get a dehumidifier to rectify the problem
- Avoid stacking too much wood on one shelf as timber needs room to breathe and any excess weight can cause it to bend in undesirable ways
- For shelving, use stainless steel as wood can attack metal and produce acetic acid
- Ensure any long planks are supported not just at the ends but all along its entire length and width to prevent bowing, which causes the planks to sag, rendering it unsuitable to be used
- If you need to store your wood vertically, ensure it is completely dry, well supported, and elevated to prevent any bowing.
To store your tradesmen supplies and tools so they remain in pristine condition and working order, follow our tips on how to store your tradesmen supplies and tools:
- If your tools, nuts, and bolts are in disarray, now is the time to organize them
- Clean your tools to remove any dirt and mud with dishwashing liquid and a scourer. Remove any rust with steel wool or a wire brush. Rinse your tools and let them air dry
- Oil some of your tools, like shears, to help them remain operational
- Tape the lids of your nuts and bolts containers
- Place tools, like hammers, pliers, and screwdrivers, in toolboxes. Securely close these boxes
- Use bubble wrap to wrap around anything with sharp edges, like chisels, hand planers, and hand saws to protect the blades. Secure with tape
- Pack clamps together in shrink wrap. Place them together according to size. Smaller clamps can be placed directly in boxes and protect larger ones by wrapping and taping cardboard, foam, or moving blankets around them
- Remove the batteries of any battery-operated tradesmen supplies and tools
- Disassemble heavy power tools, like miter saws, planers, and table saws to make them easier to pack and transport. Take a photo of the setup if you’d need help with the assembly in the future. Remove any blades and cover them with moving blankets so they don’t accidentally cut anyone
- Coil the power cords neatly around the tool
- Wrap bubble wrap or packing paper around the items
- If you still have the original packaging and boxes, place larger tools, like angle grinders, biscuit/plate joiners, drills, impact drivers and wrenches, jigsaws, lathes, oscillating tools, routers, sanders, and saws (chainsaws, chop saws, circular saws, miter saw, table saw) in their original packaging and boxes. If you don’t have the original packaging, wrap bubble wrap or packing paper around these tools and place them in individual boxes that have been lined with packing paper and reinforced
- Close the cardboard boxes and secure with heavy-duty packing tape. Close all toolboxes and ensure they can’t open easily
- Cover bigger, un-boxable items with tarp or moving blankets
- Label everything clearly. Add “FRAGILE” stickers on appropriate boxes
For workbenches, consider tossing yours if there are lots of dings, dents, and scratches. For a customized workbench, disassemble it for easier transportation. Wrap your bench in moving blankets to protect it in the moving truck or van and in storage.
- Most storage facilities will not allow you to store flammable or hazardous materials
- Check with your storage provider if you are allowed to store paint, paint thinner, and so forth; they may be on the prohibited list for safety reasons
- Some storage facilities will require you to completely empty your motorized tools from gas or diesel prior to storage.
How to Store VEHICLES (BUSSES, CARS, AND TRUCKS)
Vehicles need to be properly stored to ensure they remain in working order once taken out of storage.
Here are our tips for how to prepare your business vehicles (busses, cars, and trucks) for storage:
Empty and clean the vehicle, both the interior and exterior:
- Remove all rubbish. Vacuum and wipe down the interior
- Wash the outside to remove any dirt, dust, and grime. Wax the exterior
Do maintenance on the vehicle or take it to a qualified mechanic:
- Check for leaks or drips by placing plastic under the engine
- Drain the oil and fuel, replace the oil, and top up all the other fluids
Fill the vehicle with premium oil and add fuel stabilizer to prevent the gas from gluing. If it is a diesel vehicle, add stabilizer and biocides, or drain the diesel from the tank for long-term storage
Pro Tip: Most storage providers will require you to completely empty your gas tank.
- Use rags and tape to cover any holes and gaps to prevent these from becoming the new home of a rodent, reptile, or other pests
- Grease the steering and suspension components to prevent these from drying out and cracking.
- Check the vehicle’s insurance. The premium might decrease because the vehicle isn’t being driven while safe in storage. It may also be more economical to take out storage insurance to cover your vehicles while in storage
Once you arrive at the storage space:
- Prepare the battery so it doesn’t go flat. Disconnect the negative charge or place the battery on a trickle charger (your storage space would need a power outlet for the trickle charger)
- Remove the wheels of the vehicle and jack it up, or leave the wheels in place and lift it with a jack. Alternatively, place a wooden block under the axles and slack the lift. Rest the vehicle on the wooden blocks as the lift may not hold pressure for long-term storage. If the wheels are taken off, ensure they are stored flat and not upright
- Take the handbrake off and chock the wheels to prevent movement. For an automatic vehicle, place it in park mode, and for a shift stick vehicle, place the gear in neutral
- Close all windows and lock the doors
- Place a cover or sheet over the vehicle
- Ensure any and all personal effects are removed.
Once in storage, visit and inspect vehicle every so often. Make sure the vehicle’s license is still valid when taken out of storage or renew it before the vehicle is fetched.
Packing all your business or commercial stuff and getting it ready for short- or long-term storage doesn’t have to be stressful, at least not when following our easy step-by-step guidelines or opting for full-service storage.
To recap, here are the most important takeaways for how to store your business or commercial items:
- Invest in high-quality packing materials
- Follow our steps and tips outlined in this guide to help you prepare, wrap, pack, transport, and arrange your business items in storage
- Most steps begin with properly cleaning your items and them being thoroughly dry before packing or placing them in storage
- Assess if any parts can break off easily; take extra care to wrap these pieces
- Disassemble any furniture and machinery to make packing, carrying, and transit as easy as possible
- Take care of the temperatures in which food and pharmaceuticals need to be sorted
- Remove any batteries from electronics, tools, and machinery
- Drain liquids from appliances, tools, and machinery
- Add desiccant, silica gel sachets, or cedar balls where necessary to keep your items dry
- Use clear plastic containers to pack small items
- Wrap bigger items in moving blankets or tarp
- Add “FRAGILE” stickers and directional “This Way Up” arrows where needed
- Label all boxes and containers clearly
- Keep most items off the storage space floors by using wooden pallets or skids
- Ensure you’ve considered storage insurance for the business possessions you want to store, especially for anything valuable
- Inspect your stored items every so often to ensure there is no damage, mold, mildew, or rodent infestations.
By following all the steps, you are sure to have a stress-free packing and storage experience. If you don’t have the time or energy to pack all your business items yourself, hire a full-service storage solution to do all the planning, packing, and heavy lifting for you!
If you need a guide for the packing and storing of personal, household items, check out our The Ultimate How to Store Your Personal Stuff Tips and Guide.
We have been furnished with the above information, however, Storage Gurus LLC gives no guarantees or undertakings concerning the accuracy, completeness, or up-to-date nature of the information provided. It is essential that users verify all information contained here before taking any action or relying upon it. Storage Gurus cannot be held liable for any actions taken based on the information contained within this Guide.