The Ultimate How to Store Your Personal Stuff Tips and Guide
Entrusting any storage provider to store your precious personal stuff is never an easy decision. After all, you need to have complete confidence in both the storage company and storage solution that your belongings will remain safe and in pristine condition. It is so easy to incorrectly pack fragile and delicate items and even risk your valuable items sustaining damage while in transit and storage that you would want to follow all our best packing and storage practices outlined below.
So, we have put together THE ULTIMATE HOW TO STORE YOUR PERSONAL STUFF TIPS AND GUIDE to help you with all your packing and storage needs.
Here is a rundown of information you can expect to find and learn about in this ultimate Storage Tips and Guide document:
- What is personal storage
- Why you may need to store your personal stuff
- What kinds of personal belongings you may and possibly may not store
- Packing and storage best practices, including instructions on correctly folding a box, list of packing supplies you need, and packing and storage mistakes not to make
- An overview of personal storage solutions
- How to work out how much storage space you need
- Tips for choosing an accredited and reliable storage provider
- Step-by-step instructions on how to safely pack your belongings
- Common frequently asked questions about packing and storage.
Guide and Tips for the Packing and Storing of Your Personal Stuff
What is Personal Storage and Why is it Important?
Personal storage, also commonly referred to as household storage, is the storing of your personal household items with a storage provider. The actual storage solution may vary and this is based on what you need to store, how much you need to store, and other preferences.
You may wonder why is it important or necessary to store your belongings with a storage provider. Well, if you do not have a lot of space in your home, apartment, and/or yard, storing your possessions elsewhere where they will be safe and protected is a great solution. Even if you have more than enough space to store your items in your home, life sometimes has other ideas and you may need a storage solution in the event of an emergency, change of address, or being deployed. You’ll learn more about the reasons why you might want and need to store your personal items a little later on.
Why Do People Keep Their Belongings?
People keep their personal stuff for four main reasons:
- We are sentimental – our belongings mean something to us – because maybe we saved so long and hard to get that shiny new refrigerator, worked for 25 years at the same company to earn a gold watch in recognition of long-term service, or inherited our grandmother’s fine-bone china that has been in the family for decades – and we feel guilty of even the thought of throwing or giving it away
- Certain objects are valuable, not (only) for sentimental reasons, but in terms of market value. If you kept something in mint condition, it could be more valuable should you want to sell it later in life
- Personal items are useful. Your sewing kit or chainsaw may not be utilized each and every day, but you keep these kinds of items because they may be useful later on and they may just be too expensive or valuable to replace
- Lastly, we keep some items for later – we might be saving them for a special occasion or for someone. For example, you might want your kids to have your wedding dress, war medals, or even a musical instrument you used to play when you were in school.
Top Reasons to Store Your Personal Stuff
There are at least 15 reasons you’d want to make use of a storage provider for the safekeeping of your belongings; they are:
- Baby planning or baby on the way – If you are planning to have a baby or have one on the way already, you’d likely need to clear out your spare bedroom and change it into a nursery. You may not want to throw everything away or sell it. You’d very possibly keep, and therefore store, that old bed and study desk because it will come in handy once your kid is older.
- Building a new home – Building your dream home can be a great experience. You can easily store any items you have accumulated prior to the building being completed with a storage provider.
- Change in relationship status – If you are moving in together, storing items like an extra bed and refrigerator, family heirlooms, and seasonal items with a storage provider may be the only answer if you can’t take these belongings with you to your new home and you don’t want to get rid of them. On the other hand, if you are getting a divorce, storing your personal items with a storage provider may keep them safe and make downsizing easier.
- Change of address – This may include moving locally, internationally, to college, or to a retirement home. Your new home or college dorm room may be smaller and you don’t want to get rid of your belongings, or perhaps you don’t want to take everything with you for your temporary move overseas, so storing your possessions would be the easiest.
- Change of season – Once the seasons start changing, there may be quite a lot of items that you need to put away until the next season; for example, we usually reorganize our closets so our winter clothes are front and center, we put away holiday decorations until next year, and seasonal furniture needs to be stored somewhere as they can easily get damaged in cold or snowy weather. While you can store these items in your home, your garage, basement/attic, or tool shed, a storage solution away from home might be best and you could then have extra space at home to utilize for other things.
- Difficult times or emergencies – Unfortunately, we sometimes go through difficult times, which may result in needing to store personal effects temporarily, and storing these items with a storage provider is especially great when there is a month-to-month short-term storage option. On the other hand, if you live in a region known for natural disasters, such as hurricanes or flooding, you may want to store your valuable items with a storage provider in the event of an early warning.
- Downsizing, running out of space, and getting rid of clutter – Most people are reluctant to get rid of their belongings, whether they need to downsize, ran out of space, or need to throw out their clutter. They want to either hang onto possessions for "just in case" because they might need something at some point in the future or want to pass it along to their children. Storing your personal items with a storage provider is the perfect solution if you don’t have the space to keep them at home.
- Empty nesting – When your child(ren) leaves for college, you may want to change the layout of your home or repurpose your child’s bedroom for your own use. For example, you can turn this bedroom into a study, an exercise room, a hobby room, or art studio. Perhaps you want to use the extra space and turn your house into a B&B. No matter what you want to use the extra space for, you can store the additional furniture if you are reluctant to get rid of it.
- Home remodeling/renovating – Home remodeling and/or renovating can take a while before the work is complete, and usually your home will be in a mess with all the building and dust; as such, it is a good idea to remove and store your furniture and anything valuable to spare them from being dirtied and/or damaged.
- Military deployment – Moving is part of the military lifestyle and most military families can, on average, expect to relocate every two to three years. If you face deployment overseas or an extended deployment, you may not have the time or capacity to move all of your belongings with you. As such, storing your belongings with a storage provider may ease your transition.
- Need a secure place for equipment or vehicles – Storing seasonal equipment, like lawnmowers and garden furniture with a storage provider will help keep these items safe and out of your way, especially as you may not be using them for a few months. On the other hand, storing vehicles, like a classic or antique car or motorbike, with a storage provider is also a good option to keep these possessions safe.
- Passing of a loved one – Losing a family member is never easy; however, there are sometimes things that you need to take care of after a loved one is gone and one such thing is their belongings. While you may feel reluctant to throw away, sell, or donate all of your late family member’s belongings, storing these items in your home may not be doable. So, store them with a storage provider until you know what items you want to keep, donate, sell, or toss.
- Taking an extended vacation – Going on an extended vacation is great, but you may worry about whether your possessions will be safe at home. And you honestly don’t want to spend your vacation worrying about stuff like that; you want to enjoy your break away from home, and storing your items with a storage provider could be your answer.
- Taking a year off – Your 18-year old deciding they want to take a year off, either before going to college or after their tertiary education and before they start working, could be another reason for the storing of belongings with a storage provider.
- Temporary accommodation – If you don’t yet have permanent accommodation to call home, you may want to store your personal items with a storage provider until you find somewhere to call home permanently.
What Personal Stuff May and May You Not Store
You can, essentially, store most things with a storage provider; however, some companies may have a list of items you may not be allowed to store, mainly due to safety reasons. It is good to always check with your storage provider if they have any such prohibitions in place so you can follow the rules.
Here are lists of items you generally can store, may be able to store, and may likely not be able to store.
Personal Stuff You Can Store
Here is a list of personal items you likely can store in any storage solution and with any storage provider.
- Appliances – Air conditioners and fans, coffee makers and machines, coffee pot, dishwasher, microwave oven, paper shredders, refrigerator and freezer, smoothie maker and juicer, stove top/range and oven, toasters, vacuums, washing machine, and dryer
Pro Tip: To prevent harmful mold and mildew, make sure your appliances are completely drained of water and dry of any moisture before placing into storage.
- Barbecue and grilling equipment – BBQ accessories, firepits, grills (ceramic grill, charcoal grill, gas grill, portable grill, and specialty grill), pizza ovens, and smokers (pellet smoker and offset smoker)
Pro Tip: Most storage providers do not allow the storage of flammable liquids and gas cylinders.
- Bathroom necessities – Bath mats, loofas, hair brushes, hair dryers, shampoo and conditioners, soaps and shower gels, toiletries, and towels
- Beauty products – Facial care products, make up, and hair accessories
- Bedding and linen – Bed skirts, bedspread, blankets, comforters, mattress sheet/cover, quilts, pillows and decorative pillows, pillow covers, sheets, and throws or throw blankets
- Bikes – Bicycles, motorbikes, and scooters
- Books – Hardbacks, paperbacks, and rare books
- Camping gear and equipment – Headlamps or lanterns, camping chairs and tables, cooking supplies (liquid-fuel stoves, canister stoves, and utensils), first aid supplies, knives and scissors, sleeping bags, sleeping pad or mattress, and tents
Pro Tip: Most storage providers do not allow the storage of flammable liquids and gas cylinders.
- Clothing – Activewear (workout or gym clothes), delicates, everyday wear, kid and baby clothes, jackets and sweaters, shoes, sleepwear, special occasion wear, suits, ties, and a wedding dress
- Curtains and drapes
- Documents, files, and archives
- Electronics – Blu-Ray player; cables; cameras and film equipment; computers, monitors, and computer parts; digital devices (smartphones and tablets); DVD player; fitness devices; gaming systems (like PlayStation and Xbox); radio and CD player; routers; printer; stereo systems and speakers; and a TV
- Garden/Outdoor/Patio furniture – Adirondack chairs, chaise lounge chairs, hammocks and hammock stands, outdoor décor, outdoor rugs, outdoor side tables, outdoor sofas and loveseats, patio table and chairs, and storage benches
- Garden and house tools – Forks, garden gloves, garden hose, hand pruners and loppers, ladders, lawnmower, leaf blower, picks, powerhouse loppers, pruning saw, rakes, shears, shovels, snow blower, spades, trowels, watering gear (hose and spray nozzle), and wheelbarrow
Pro Tip: Most storage providers will require that you completely drain all motorized tools of gas prior to storage.
- Glassware and dishes – Glassware, crystal, dishes, fine china, and glass bottles
- Holiday decorations – Decorations for Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, and Thanksgiving
- House tools – Allen wrench, c-clamp, drill bits, electrical extension cord, fasteners, flashlight, glues and adhesives, hammer, hand drills and power drills, knives, measuring tools, outdoor broom, outlet tester, paint brushes, plier set, plunger, safety glasses/goggles, saws (hand and power), screwdriver set, tape, toolbox, utility knife, volt/ohmmeter, wrench set, and zip-ties
Pro Tip: Most storage providers will require that you remove all batteries and completely drain all motorized tools of oil and gas prior to storage.
- Lamps and lighting
- Memorabilia, specialty items, and collectibles
- Military items – Military uniforms and memorabilia (although weapons may not be allowed)
- Pet equipment – Aquariums, bedding, bird cages, cat trees, chicken coops, dog beds and crates, pet carriers, pet toys, and rabbit cages
- Pool equipment, inflatables, and toys
- Pots and pans
- Rugs and carpets
- Seasonal items – Items you only need at certain times of the year; they may overlap with some other categories, like seasonal clothing and gear, camping gear and equipment, sport and exercise equipment, and patio/outdoor furniture
- Sport and exercise equipment – Baseball equipment, bowling balls and pins, canoes, climbing gear, dumbbells, fishing rods and gear, football equipment, golf clubs, hockey equipment, jet skis, kayaks, rugby equipment, sleds and snowmobiles, snow skis, stationary bike, surfboards and windsurfer, tennis rackets and balls, treadmill, water skis, weightlifting equipment, and volleyballs and nets
- Vases and glass ornaments
- Wine and alcohol
Pro Tip: In certain climates, it may be necessary to store wine in a climate-controlled environment.
Personal Stuff You May be Able to Store
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
Here is a list of personal items that you may or may not be able to store. The storage of these items depends mostly on what storage solution you choose, which storage provider, and whether you feel the security for that storage solution is sufficient. Furthermore, in some climates, there may be extreme seasonal fluctuations in temperature and/or humidity, so climate-controlled storage may be more beneficial.
Please check with your storage provider for the following items:
- Antique and fragile items
- Art and paintings
- Family heirlooms
- Leather items
- Media – Blu-Rays, cassettes, CDs, DVDs, floppy disks, magazines, newspapers, photographs and photo albums, videotapes, video games, and vinyl records
- Musical instruments – Brass instruments, keyboard instruments, percussion instruments, string instruments, and woodwind instruments
- RVs and Campervan
- 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, jewelry, keys, medical and dental records, medicine, passports and travel documents, professional files, research projects, school records, and stocks or bonds
Pro Tip: Many self storage providers suggest that you do not store sensitive, private, valuable, and irreplaceable items at their facilities.
- Valuable, rare, and collectors’ items – Coin collections, crystal, figurines, furs, oriental rugs, and precious stones or gems
- Vehicles – ATVs, cars, classic and/or antique cars, motorcycles, scooters, trailers, and trucks
- Weapons – Antique firearms, bayonets, cleaving weapons, guns, knives and daggers, and swords and blades.
Pro Tip: It is advised you check your local and state’s rules and regulations regarding the possession and storage of weapons.
Personal Stuff You’re Likely Not Able to Store
Generally, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to store the following items in a self storage facility; however, some storage providers allow them if you make special arrangements.
Pro Tip: Make sure you check with your storage provider to ensure you’re allowed to store these items at their facility or consider a portable storage option where you can store these items on your property.
Here is a list of personal items you likely cannot store in commercial storage facilities; however, your storage provider will be able to confirm this and answer any questions you may have:
Tips for knowing when to toss, sell, recycle, and donate your stuff
When to toss it:
When to sell it:
- Items are broken, unrecyclable, and unsellable
- You need to get rid of the stuff (read: let go) and tossing it is the fastest and easiest.
When to recycle it:
- It still looks appealing and/or in good condition
- It is in working order
- You don’t mind doing all the work of organizing the sale
- It is worth selling and recouping some of your investment.
When to donate it:
- If you can’t sell or donate it and it is recyclable
- If items are outdated and/or no longer in working order, like fluorescent light bulbs and electronics.
- It still looks appealing and/or in a good condition
- It is in working order
- It is sell-worthy, but it can help people in need.
- Hazardous, combustible, and toxic materials – anything that can catch fire, explode, or is radioactive. See a more detailed list of items to the right
- Illegal items and substances
- Perishables – Food items such as cereals, dairy, meats, produce, and rice. Also, frozen food and fresh food may be a no-no. Included in this category are pet food and any other food items that include animal products. These encourage mold and bacteria as well as attract rodents and bugs
- Pets and animals – Nothing that needs food, light, and water should be kept in a storage facility. As such, no kenneling of any live or dead animals are allowed, unless a taxidermist has properly preserved the animal
- Plants – As there is no natural light or water in a storage facility, plants will die. Furthermore, keeping plants in a storage space will increase the humidity level, attract pests, and make it a breeding ground for mold
- Scented and wet items – The storing of scented items, like lotions and soaps, can attract pests, rodents, vermin, and insects, which, in turn, will damage your other items. Wet items, on the other hand, will attract mold, mildew, and spread bacteria
- Unregistered, uninsured, or broken (and undrivable) vehicles
- You or your family – It isn’t legal to use any storage facility as a live-in residence. However, have a look at our section on other uses for storage facilities to see how storage spaces can be utilized in other ways.
Ideas for Getting Rid of Personal Stuff You Don’t Want/Need to Store
Perhaps you missed spring cleaning, want to get rid of some items before a big move, would like to adopt a more minimalist lifestyle, or your storage space just doesn’t have enough space for all your belongings.
When planning to store your personal items, it is a good idea to look at the condition of your belongings. Sort them according to what you want to keep, aka store, and what you don’t need or want any longer.
Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind your storage costs are directly linked to how much you want to store, so to stay within budget and cut costs if needed, here are several options for getting rid of possessions (non-essentials) you don’t want or need to store:
1. Toss It
Clearly, if your items are broken, unrecyclable, unsellable, and has no value for you or anyone else, then toss it. Don’t give it another thought, just get rid of it.
However, there are some items you cannot just toss and need to dispose of in a certain way; they include: /p>
- Expired medication
- Household cleaners
- Motor oil
- Swimming pool acid
These kinds of items should never be dumped into the trash, flushed down the toilet, or dumped into the sink. While each item has its own method for disposal, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Follow the instructions for disposal on the item’s container
- Keep the item in its container
- Do not mix different hazardous materials together when you are disposing of them
- Call or go online to check with your nearest hazardous waste facility drop-off as to what materials they will accept.
Or, for items that are still usable and in a good condition, you can hold a "house unwarming party", whereby instead of your guests bringing gifts, they take items from your home they want and you no longer do.
2. Sell It
If you want to sell your belongings, here are a few ideas:
A yard sale or flea market: This is a perfect opportunity for getting rid of belongings that doesn’t really have a lot of intrinsic value; however, vintage and antique items are great to sell. You can price your items between 50 and 75 percent less than what a store charges; after all, people who go to yard sales and/or flea markets are looking for "the ultimate bargain".
Pro Tips: – Suggestions for selling your belongings at a yard sale:
- Check if your local city needs you to apply for a permit to hold a sale
- Schedule a yard sale to take place over the weekend
- Advertise your yard sale in your local paper
- Post your yard sale on social media and on websites like craigslist.org; and provide previews of items where possible
- Put up some posters in your neighborhood.
Pro Tips: Suggestions for selling your belongings at a flea market:
- Visit a few flea markets and look at what the vendors are selling and also at what prices
- Organize your booth by grouping like items, keep clutter to a minimum, and label and price everything
- Try to get a space or booth near the entrance of the market.
Online Auction: On an online auction site like eBay, lots of potential buyers will be able to see what you want to sell and you can choose to sell to the highest bidder.
Pro Tips: Suggestions for selling your belongings on an online auction:
- Auction items that have brand names and are easy and inexpensive to ship
- Research current listings to see what prices your items may go for
- Include detailed descriptions of your items with photos (close-ups are great), measurements, the history of an item if applicable, and flaws – buyers are more likely to bid if they know what they are purchasing.
Online Classified Ads: For items that are bulky and/or ordinary, like an air conditioner or stationary bike, posting a classified add on a website like ebayclassifieds.com or craigslist.org is ideal. As these buyers generally want a good deal on any item they purchase, try to discount the item about 25 to 30 percent off their usual retail price.
Pro Tips: Suggestions for selling your belongings on online classified ads:
- Similarly, as with online auctions, include a detailed description for your items
- Keep safety in mind – have someone with you when the buyer comes to conduct the sale and pick up their purchase
- You can also reach potential buyers by posting a paid ad in your local paper.
Consignment and Thrift Store: These kinds of stores will generally take furniture that is in good quality, household items, and clothing. Kindly note that the consignment store may take a cut, which is often in the form of a 50-50 split on the sale’s proceeds. Thrift stores accept donated goods.
Pro Tips: Suggestion for selling your belongings in a consignment or thrift store:
- Items that you are selling at a consignment store should be clean and in good condition
- Know what sells. Belongings like clean baby gear, toys, and good condition clothing are perfect; trophies and stuff that has sentimental meaning aren’t likely to sell
- Don’t always take the instant money option; if you know an item is worth more than what is being offered, take the profit-sharing route if applicable.
Recycle It: If you care about the environment and the items you want to get rid of are recyclable, then you can go eco.
Pro Tips: Suggestions for recycling your belongings:
- For media and tech items, like CDs, cell phones, digital cameras, and TVs, you can recycle these items at Best Buy stores and earth911.com
- For computer parts, you can often return these items to their manufactures. Companies, like Apple, give you a gift card that goes towards the purchase of newer models
- For batteries, rechargeable ones can be recycled for free at Home Depot; alternatively, you can look for drop-off locations on call2recycle.org
- For CFL lightbulbs, which contain mercury, can be dropped off at Home Depot or Ikea, you can contact earth911.com, or find an Ikea recycling drop-off points.
Donate It: While you may want to try to make some money by selling your items, if there are no buyers, you don’t have the time, or just want to do a good thing, donate your personal items to a worthy organization. (Please see a list of a few charities we support.)
Pro Tips: Suggestions for donating your personal items:
- Some donations to charity are tax deductible on your annual tax return. In the US, for example, only donations to charities on a qualified list can be regarded as tax-deductible expenses. Examples of these charities include the Salvation Army, CARE, Goodwill, the American Red Cross, and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America
- Items that can be donated include but are not limited to bedding, books, electronics, clothing, furniture, kitchen items, sport equipment, and toys
- Bedding and linen are usually a big help at animal shelters. Call one near you to find out what kind of bedding and linen they’d be willing to accept.
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
How to Prepare Your Personal Stuff for Storage and Packing Tips
Preparing your belongings for storage and packing everything can be quite daunting and time-consuming. Follow the tips below to ensure you start the packing process as prepared as possible, so that unnecessary stress and steps are avoided:
- Give yourself enough time to pack. You will be more organized and not overwhelmed when you pace yourself
- Where possible, avoid fragile and old boxes
- Start with the belongings that aren’t used frequently, like those stored in garages, garden sheds, attics and roof spaces, basements, and so forth
- Work logically. Work from room to room systematically. By doing this, each room’s contents will be packed simultaneously and boxes with similar contents can be kept together
- It is recommended not to mix items from different rooms in one box
- It is better to not pack items into drawers or closets. Having belongings in drawers and closets can make the furniture extra heavy and the items inside can sustain damage
- If your furniture pieces can be taken apart, then disassemble them. This will help you to pack, move, and store your furniture safely and there are fewer chances of pieces breaking off. By removing attachments or table legs, for example, you can make the items fit better in a storage space
- Before un-cabling electronics and packing them, take a photo or draw a diagram of how these devices are set up and wired. You can also label each cord and place a corresponding label or sticker on the input and output points of the device.
What Supplies Do You Need for Packing and Storage?
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.
Good-quality packing supplies are non-negotiable. Why? Because second-hand or poor-quality boxes, blankets, and towels will not protect your personal items properly, especially if the items are fragile, valuable, rare, or antique. As such, make sure you invest in quality packing materials for packing and then storing your possessions.
Supplies you need for packing include:
- Different size boxes and box durability depending on what you are packing. Don’t try to fit too much into a box so that it is overloaded and then breaks when being carried, and don’t try to put bigger items into small boxes
- You can get custom-made moving or storage boxes that come in different shapes and sizes (from small to extra-large) and different types of specialty boxes (ones that are suitable for packing clothing and electronics and also ‘Dish Pack Kits’ and ‘Glass Pack Kits’)
- Heavy-duty packing tape
- Packing tape dispenser and refills
- Box cutter (or utility knife)
- Permanent markers
- Zip-lock bags
- Furniture covers and mattress storage bags
- Plastic wrap
- Moving blankets
- Plenty of packing material: bubble wrap, foam egg crates, foam wrap, paper pads, polystyrene packing peanuts, and white packing paper (also referred to as butcher’s paper), and white tissue paper
- Rubber bands and zip-ties
- "FRAGILE", contents and room allocation stickers
- Pliable cardboard sheets
- Poster tubes
- Gloves if you don’t wish to smudge ornaments and furniture. You can also use cotton grip ones to avoid dropping any fragile and rare items
- Dolly – either buy, borrow, or rent one to help you move heavy items and boxes
- Locks to secure your storage space (if needed).
Pro Tips: Suggestions for packing supplies
- It is a good idea to buy more packing supplies than you think you will need. If you have extra on hand, then you won’t run out and need to find additional packing material while you are in the midst of the packing process. There are storage providers and professional movers that will refund you for the return of any unused packing material
- Don’t use newspapers to wrap your belongings in as the ink can run, leaving behind stains. Rather use white packing paper
- It is easy to lose the nuts and bolts from furniture; place these small objects in zip-lock bags and label them so you know which furniture they belong with. Alternatively, you can tape them to the furniture piece.
How to Prepare and Pack Storage Boxes
How to Choose the Right Boxes for Storage
Choosing the correct box type as well as size is important for two reasons:
- It helps you to organize all your belongings when packing
- It helps keep your personal 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
- 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 belongings – they make packing difficult items easier
- Wardrobe boxes – These are intended for clothing and they have a bar near the top, making it ideal to store your hanging clothes (or curtains). This type of box comes in different sizes – small, medium, and large.
- Small (16 x 12.5 x 12.5 inches or 1.5 cubic feet) – ideal for packing small and heavy items, like books, dishes, or vases
- Medium (18 x 18 x 16 inches or 3 cubic feet) – great for bigger items, like clothing, pots and pans, and toys
- Large (18 x 18 x 24 inches or 4.5 cubic feet) – good for blankets, sheets, lamps, and small appliances
- Extra-large (24 x 18 x 24 inches or 6.1 cubic feet)– pack items like larger appliances, pillows, comforters, and winter jackets.
Here are general tips and rules to keep in mind to ensure your personal items remain safe and secure when packing for storage:
- You need to reinforce storage boxes with tape at the bottom and top and along all the sides
- Evenly distribute the weight of the items in the box; pack the heavier items at the bottom and the lighter items at the top. This will make each box easier to carry as well as safer. Heavy items also can’t crush light ones
- Fill the box to the top so the sides or top doesn’t crush in
- Never overload the boxes as it increases the chances of your belongings breaking. Each box shouldn’t weigh more than 45lbs, and you should be able to carry the box
- You should be able to 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
- 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 too
- Use bedding, bubble wrap, clothing, packing paper, and/or towels to fill all the empty spaces in a box; this will help prevent your belongings from shifting and breaking during transportation
- Choose the right box to hold the right kind of contents. Lighter items, like bedding and pillows, should be packed in larger boxes, while heavier items, such as books, CDs, and DVDs, should be packed in smaller boxes
- Don’t pack breakable items together with heavy items.
How to Pack Your Personal Stuff for Short-Term vs Long-Term Storage
Storing your belongings for the short term versus the long term is not quite the same. Below are two lists: one for packing best practices for short-term storage and one for long-term storage.
Packing Best Practices for Short-Term Storage
Short-term storage is generally when you store your personal items for three months or less and you usually would like easy access regularly. Here are tips for packing your items for short-term storage:
- Create an aisle in the middle of your storage space so you can easily get in and out
- Start by arranging your items against the walls, thus leaving ample space to move around as well as lift and shift boxes around
- Fragile items should be packed well so they remain protected. As storage items for the short term are generally moved around more, fragile items need to be secure from the get-go so they don’t break. See our tips for How to Store Antiques, Fragile, and Rare Items for more information on how to pack and store these kinds of items
- For the storing of furniture, make use of moving blankets for protection, and plastic wraps, cloths or sheets to keep the dust off
- Packing your items in plastic containers is a great option as they are both sturdy and transparent. In addition, they are easy to carry
- Place the belongings you expect to need access to regularly at or near the front of the storage space.
Packing Best Practices for Long-Term Storage
Packing Mistakes Not To Make
- Not planning ahead and procrastinating – Have a game plan in mind before you start packing with the items you intend to pack, the order of packing, and how your belongings need to be packed. Also, make a list of the packing supplies you need
- Not enough time to pack – Assume that packing will take longer. A general guide is that if you are packing all day (which isn’t always doable considering a job and other responsibilities), it takes three days to pack a one-bedroom home, three to four days for a two-bedroom home, and roughly a week to pack a three-bedroom home. Add on more time for extra rooms
- Not getting enough packing supplies – As with timing, buy more supplies than what you think you might need
- Not getting rid of stuff – Before you get started with packing, sort out your items and put them into different piles – keep and store, donate and sell, recycle, and toss
- Not securing things – Use your judgment on what needs to be packed with fragile items in mind
- Being a perfectionist – Luckily, there is no perfect way to pack belongings; however, there is definitely a wrong way of doing so. Using this guide will help you ensure that your personal items are packed, transported, and stored in the best way possible.
Long-term storage is generally when you store your personal items for longer than three months. Here are tips for packing your items for long-term storage:
- Pack your items in durable boxes to ensure no damage is done. When using durable boxes, you can securely stack your items in your storage space
- Instead of opting for durable boxes, you can go for plastic containers; they are easy to carry, durable, and transparent
- Plastic bags can trap moisture and cause mildew or mold to build up, so avoid using these when packing
- For the storing of electronics or appliances, carefully wrap all the cables and cords, and make sure they are covered with a blanket or large cloth
- Airflow is very important; leave space between boxes and walls. It is recommended to keep items off the floor and rather use pallets if possible
- Dust can cause problems on fabric and wood surfaces, so use dust covers, furniture covers, and tarps to keep dust off your belongings
- For belongings you might need easy access to, place them at the front or near the front of your storage space.
How to Create an Inventory and Labeling System for Storage
An inventory and labeling system that is clear and consistent is 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 items and make the packing, transportation, and storage as stress-free as possible:
- Use a color-coded system to show the location of where your belongings were kept in your home. For example, the boxes with items from your kitchen can be labeled in red, while boxes with your bedroom contents can have a blue label
- Create a priority system so you know which items you might need frequent access to and those items that you don’t need easy access to. This will assist you in arranging your storage space
- Label every box and be specific with each label. For example, don’t just label a box ‘Bedroom’; rather label it ‘Master Bedroom – Sheets and Blankets’. A specific label will make locating boxes in your storage space easy and quick
- Compile an inventory list that is detailed; it should include box numbers, the contents of each box, and priority. This can be done either on paper or digitally, and can be accompanied by photos of the contents. 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 at home and/or on your phone as well
- If you have any boxes that need to be kept right side up, label your box with a "THIS END UP" or a similar label; arrows also work well for this
- Use "FRAGILE" stickers for any boxes that contain breakables.
Pro Tips: Inventory and labeling suggestions
- Use code names for items that are valuable or rare. This is an added precaution should someone break into your storage space
- With your inventory list, keep an estimate of your belongings’ current replacement value. Take photos of high-value items. These may be required for 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 Personal Stuff for Storage
5 Strange Packing Tips that Work
- Footwear for stemware – Use some of your belongings, like socks, to protect others, like wine glasses. Slip the sock around the glass; this may help to protect and pad the stem
- Ghost making – Sheets can be placed over mattresses and furniture as a cover against dust and scratching
- Plates on plates – Packing guidelines usually advise to wrap each plate in bubble wrap or white packing paper. Instead, buy Styrofoam plates and alternate stacking your plates with the disposable ones – instant padding
- Color packing – Instead of using labels, color-code your boxes by room. You can stick on color dots or get several shades of tape for this
- Use wheels – Use wheelie bags for heavy items like books and at least you won’t have to carry these heavy items. Wheel it around!
Having help to assist you in packing, loading, and unloading your belongings and possibly even helping you arrange and stack your items in your storage space 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 belongings for storage:
- Hire an on-demand full-service storage service: Full-service storage companies, like those offered by Storage Gurus, will come to your home, professionally pack and transport all your belongings, 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 furniture, as well as load and unload your personal items. Save time and stress, and help protect your belongings against damage while in storage.
- Hire a moving specialist: While you and your family and/or friends may be able to disassemble most of your furniture, would you be able to disassemble that grand, very expensive, and valuable piano? If not, you can hire a moving specialist that specializes in moving niche, over-sized, heavy, and valuable items.
General Storage Tips
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!
Here is a list of general storage tips to keep in mind:
- 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 belongings
- When choosing a storage space, opt for a little more space than your personal items will take to ensure easy access. You can work out how much space you need based on what you need to store by using Storage Gurus' best storage solution finder
- Line the floor of your storage space with wooden pallets, for example, to further protect your possessions from rain and spills
- Group similar items together. For example, you will most likely put winter and summer clothes in separate boxes, but store them near each other
- Place antique, fragile, rare, and collectible items far away from things like clothes and bedding. Mark these clearly so everyone will know to handle them with care and caution
- When wanting to stack your boxes, use same-sized ones when possible
- Try to stack your boxes to the ceiling to make the most of your available 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
- Take into consideration the environment of your storage space. Certain items benefit from being stored in cold storage, while others may need climate control. If a climate-controlled storage space is not an option, use a dehumidifier
- If you are storing valuable and rare items in your storage space, put them behind larger items and furniture so they are not easy to see and steal
- Invest in a good-quality lock, like a heavy-duty, short-arm lock, that cannot be opened using a bolt cutter.
How Much Storage Space Do You Need?
A common problem with choosing storage space is the sizing of it. If you choose a too small storage space, you might not have enough time to move your items to a larger space and will have to get rid of belongings in a rush. And if you can’t do that, it will be difficult to organize your possessions, especially those items you might need easy access to. The opposite is also true. You don’t want a too big a storage space because it means you will be paying too much for space you don’t need.
Furthermore, you might not know how big, for example, a 200 cubic feet vs a 1,000 cubic feet storage space is, and if you do, it is difficult to visualize how many belongings you can fit in there.
Finding and booking the right size of storage space for your belongings can not only save you a lot of money and time but can also make the process stress 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 click on Storage Gurus' best storage solution finder for further help.
Calculating How Much Storage Space You Need
To calculate how much storage space you need, follow these steps:
- Make a list of all the items you need to store
- Next, measure the items and calculate their approximate volume (length x width x height). The measuring does not have to be precise, but large boxes and items, like furniture, should be measured too
- Note the ceiling height of the storage space, so you know how much vertical space you have, but keep in mind your actual usable height is often 30 percent less on average. Then calculate the volume of your items, add 30-40 percent to allow room for easy access and depending on how efficiently your personal items can be packed.
Here is a guide to the most common sized storage spaces and what you can expect to store in each:
|Storage Space Size (Feet)
||Size Similar to
||How Many Boxes Approximately
||Volume of Contents to be Stored Approximately
|5 x 5 x 8
||A small hall closet
One small van load
|54-60 medium-sized boxes
||A typical garden shed or one room
||Small furniture items (desks and bookcases), boxes, seasonal items, and office/business supplies
|5 x 10 x 8
||A large walk-in closet
Two small van loads
|115-120 medium-sized boxes
||Holds contents of one studio/one-bedroom apartment or two rooms
||Larger furniture, like a queen-size bed, office/business supplies, sport gear, like a bike or motorcycle, and seasonal items
|10 x 10 x 8
||A small bedroom or office
215-235 medium-sized boxes
|215-235 medium-sized boxes
||Holds contents of a typical garage or two-bedroom house/apartment
||Larger furniture items and boxes + a piano, a jet ski, a small trailer, or a motorcycle
|10 x 15 x 8
||A large bedroom or (slightly smaller than) single car garage
||One to two moving truckloads
350-360 medium-sized boxes
|Hold contents of a three-bedroom house/ apartment
||Large-screen TVs, multiple-piece couch set, full dining set, and king-sized beds, or a small sports car + larger sport equipment, like a kayak, scooter, and larger motorcycles
|10 x 20 x 8
||A one car garage
One to two moving truckloads
|468-475 medium-sized boxes
||Holds contents of a three- to four-bedroom house + garage
||Contents of a large house (4+ bedrooms) or regular-sized vehicles or a boat with equipment and storage boxes
|10 x 30 x 8
||A 1.5 car garage
One to two moving truckloads
|720 medium-sized boxes
||Hold contents of a four-bedroom house + garage
||Contents of a large house (5+ bedrooms), a vehicle or boat, trailers, and equipment
An Overview of Personal Storage Solutions
When looking at the different types of personal storage solutions providers offer, you may find some providers categorize their storage solutions in terms of:
- what can be stored – boat storage, college/student storage, commercial storage, document and archive storage, furniture storage, gun storage, military storage, personal storage, seasonal storage, vehicle storage, and wine 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.
However, there are only really three primary storage solutions into which you can store a variety of personal belongings, and then you can choose extra amenities depending on your preferences and needs.
Here is a list of personal storage solutions:
- Full-service storage
- Portable or 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 belongings 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 can include:
- Plastic wraps to cover your soft furnishings, like couches, chairs, and mattresses
- Loan of heavy-duty moving blankets to protect your hard furnishings, like tables and cabinets
- Optional professional packing, which includes all high-quality boxes and packing supplies
- An inventory and condition report to keep track of what’s in storage and its condition going in
As such, full-service storage is convenient, easy, and very secure.
What is Portable (Mobile) Storage?
Portable storage, or mobile storage, is a turnkey and versatile storage solution for your belongings. When you choose this storage solution, the storage provider brings one or more storage containers to your desired location where either you or the provider packs and loads your belongings into the container and it is stored at your current location, another location, or at the 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 home or other location.
What is Self Storage?
Self storage, also called self-service storage or mini storage, is a DIY storage solution where you rent a storage space, or storage unit, within a large warehouse or amongst others on an outdoor property, on a month-to-month short-term basis.
Self storage facilities allow you to bring in your items yourself and often offer close proximity and extended hours access.
Comparative Advantages of Full-Service Storage and Portable Storage vs Self Storage
|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 report so you can easily keep track of what’s in storage
||You have to create your own inventory and keep track of what’s in storage
|Available to professionally pack your belongings, 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 personal items safely so you don’t have to lift a finger
||Optional loading and transport available, or possibly not necessary depending on where you store the container
||You have to personally load, transport, unload, and stack your belongings 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 without lifting a finger
||As you pay for the size of the unit regardless of how many belongings 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 belongings from pick-up to re-delivery
||Insurance available only while your belongings are stationary in the facility, not while in transit where the greatest risk is
|Your belongings are better protected as they are stored in individual sealed containers
||Your belongings are stored in units open at the top with only large-diameter wire mesh between your belongings and the open air, dust, vermin, and theft
Important Factors to Consider When Choosing a Storage Provider and Storage Solution
Now that you have some general packing tips in your arsenal as well as know more about storage space sizes and storage solutions, let’s have a look at the important factors to consider when choosing a storage provider and storage solution.
Here are seven things to keep in mind when choosing a storage solution and a provider:
1. Access - Depending on what you want to store in your storage space and whether or not you need regular access to your personal items, access may be an important consideration. Full-service and portable storage providers can return some or all of your belongings with 24-hours’ notice, and self storage providers may allow you to access your belongings yourself as needed all day, outside business hours, and on weekends.
2. Amenities - You may want and prefer different amenities depending on what you are storing in your storage space. Some of these amenities include (but are not limited to):
Climate-controlled storage spaces you live in an area that experiences extreme temperatures or very high humidity, you may opt for a storage space that is climate controlled. This amenity is also dependent on what you want to store; if the items’ safe storage is subject to temperature or humidity variations, 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 when and where there are little temperature and humidity variations, then you may not need climate-controlled storage space.
Since climate-controlled storage spaces are usually quite a bit more expensive than other storage solutions, here are some hacks that may help in some situations if you want to eschew from this storage option:
- Invest in a humidifier, dehumidifier, or humidistat. Note your storage space would need access to electricity for these options so you can plug in these appliances/devices
- Keep the air dry and the humidity levels low within a sealed storage space by:
- Placing some charcoal bricks around the storage space; they absorb any moisture in the air. Replace them on a monthly basis
- Buy Desi Packs or desiccant and place these around the storage space; they also absorb moisture/humidity
- Vacuum seal items like comic books, magazines, and photographs to keep moisture out before placing them in short-term storage.
- Don’t use cardboard boxes for any valuable or hard-to-replace items as these boxes also absorb moisture. Rather use sealed plastic containers to resist moisture for a period of time and store clothing in garment bags.
Drive up access 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 belongings can be quite convenient.
3. Cleanliness - To avoid damage, your belongings should be stored in a storage space that is clean. All storage spaces should be rodent and pest free as well as regularly swept to ensure there is no buildup of dirt and/or critter infestations.
Costs - The cost of your preferred storage space or solution is obviously important as you would most likely want to stick within your budget. Things that will affect the cost of your storage space are how much space (or volume) your belongings 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 get access to your personal items.
If you choose full-service storage, then this isn’t a factor you need to worry about as the storage provider will conveniently collect your belongings, store it safely for you, and then return it back to you when requested. Likewise, portable storage works the same, but with the added option of being able to store your belongings in a container at your home or elsewhere, 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. For the US, the storage company should be accredited by the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA). 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 public access
- 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
And especially 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
- Access monitored and recorded entrance and exit gates to allow access only to authorized renters.
To ensure the safe and secure storage of your belongings, make sure you choose a provider that meets all your storage needs.
Other Uses for Storage Facilities
While storing personal items in a storage space is the most common use of storage facilities, there are people who use storage spaces for other activities.
A Storage Auction – What You Need to Know
From the moment your belongings are stored in a storage space, a lien is placed against your stored items, which enables a storage company to sell the contents of your storage space to recoup any outstanding rent should you default.
The storage lien process and laws may vary depending on the storage provider as well as the location (or state) of the storage facility.
Here is a likely timeline of the lien process:
Your storage contract will state the point of default, which is typically between 5 and 30 days after rent needs to be paid. When you default, you may not have access to your stored belongings and you may only gain access by making payment. Late fees may apply.
Should you not pay your late rent, the storage provider will send you a notification of the past-due amount, any fees that are applicable, as well as a scheduled auction date.
3. Public Notice
Laws about storage liens may require the public notice to be highly visible. As such, a notice about a storage auction may be published a couple of times in the local newspaper, posted at or near the storage facility, and published on a website.
4. Lien Sale – The Auction
The period of time between the default and the lien sale isn’t fixed but typically ranges between 30 and 90 days. You may be permitted to pay your outstanding rent up until the auction day to stop the sale; once the auction has occurred, you won’t be able to get your belongings back. However, you may be able to take part in the auction and bid to get your belongings back.
The proceeds from the auction go toward loss in rent at the storage facility.
Here is a list of what you may use a storage space for; however, note these activities are limited to the storage provider’s rules and restrictions, except if you rent a mobile storage container that stays on your property:
- Art studio – Art projects can get a little messy depending on your medium and most artists may prefer to work inside a space that can get messy as well as a place that provides privacy for the creative juices to flow. A storage space might be perfect for this. Just check with your storage provider and ensure you don’t do any major damage to your rented space.
- Band practice – There are some musicians who practice in a storage space as it is relatively inexpensive compared to renting other spaces. However, if you would like to rent a storage space for band practice, check with the storage provider first about noise ordinances, electricity being available in the storage space, access, what they deem as illegal activities, and security.
- Office space – There are storage providers with strict rules and policies against transforming a storage space into an office space and others have designated retail and office space available where you can operate your business at full capacity. Nonetheless, you might find you are able to set up an office space at the storage facility of your choice; just be mindful of operating any machinery or tools, meeting clients and customers, conducting sales from the storage space, installing other amenities like phone lines and other electronics, and adding extra outlets and wiring.
- Personal gym or workout space – Gym fees continue to rise and having an at-home gym might take too much precious space away from your other daily living needs. A storage space might be the perfect location to store your gym equipment as well as to get in a workout.
- Personal space – Let’s face it, we all need some personal time, and it is much better if we have a space to call our own when taking some personal time. A storage space might be perfect for this as you can do yoga, set up a home theatre, work on your bikes, or practice any other hobby that brings you peace and joy.
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 customer have and what should 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, can also be called a:
- Full-Service Storage Agreement
- Full-Service Storage Contract
- Mini-Storage Lease Agreement
- Mini-Storage Rental Agreement
- 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 (addresses, contact number(s), and unit number)
- The start date and end date of the agreement or contract
- Description of service and/or storage space and what it includes
- Payment information, like the cost of the rent or service, 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 the payment or abandon your storage space (the lien process)
- Notice for the move-out process
- If applicable, what the provider 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 – This will state when you may have access to your belongings as the storage provider may restrict access hours or may request that you ask for access
- Breach – This means that something is in violation of the terms of the contract
- Exclusion of Warranties – In general, this means ‘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 for details
- 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 belongings with them may come without any liability protections, meaning you are storing your belongings there at your own risk and the storage provider and/or facility does not personally guarantee the safety and security of your items
- Lien on Personal Property – A lien means that the storage owner may hold and possibly sell (or auction) your belongings if you do not pay your bill
- 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 and may not 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 you agree the storage provider, landlord, or storage manager is not responsible if your possessions are damaged while being stored at the storage facility.
Storage Contract Tips
Here are our top 10 most common storage contract tips you should keep in mind before signing an 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 belongings 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. Those terms need to be realistic
- See what the procedures are for ending your agreement, like how much notice is needed
- Find out how much you may need to pay for early termination of the contract
And specifically, for self storage:
- Be sure to inspect the unit or storage space 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 belongings.
If you haven’t had anything to do with the storage industry before, you may assume when you store your personal 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 belongings 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?
Having storage insurance for your stored belongings makes the recovery process easier: Storage insurance is specifically designed to pay for any financial losses associated with items placed in storage. It covers your personal items against risks associated with storing your items away from your home.
Think about this. There was a huge disaster – a fire – and nearly all of your items have been destroyed. Would you be able to replace them?
Just as your home 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 belongings may be lost, but, 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 belongings while it is being packed and transported to and from the storage facility, and even damage caused by pests, rodents, mildew, mold, or rust.
While most household goods and personal items may be covered by storage insurance, there are certain belongings that may not be covered. These may include antiques, artwork, boats, car titles, cars, currency, deeds and financial/personal documents, furs, jewelry, large vehicles, legal contracts, precious watches, securities, and/or stamps. As such, it is of utmost importance to fully examine any storage insurance policy and ensure it covers what you need it to before you sign your name on the dotted line.
Why You Might Need Storage Insurance for Your Personal Stuff
Now you know what insurance is and that it is something that the storage company doesn’t usually include in the rental of the storage space, let’s look at the reasons for why you need storage insurance:
- No matter the reason for storing your belongings in a storage space, your belongings are of value to you; otherwise, you wouldn’t be willing to pay a monthly rental fee to keep your stuff secure and safe
- When you store your belongings in a storage space, the items are essentially out of your hands. While the storage company may be doing what it can to avoid theft, there isn’t much they can do against accidents or damage caused by nature or other kinds of disasters
- Having some kind of storage insurance in place will give you peace of mind and assist you in replacing your belongings in the event they are damaged or stolen while in storage.
Top 10 Storage Insurance Tips
Here is a list of our top 10 storage insurance tips to keep in mind:
- Have an accurate inventory of what you are keeping in your storage space and keep this inventory up to date
- Take photographs of any items that are of high sentimental or monetary value
- If the storage company offers "complimentary" storage insurance coverage, find out exactly what that means
- For any storage insurance coverage you are considering, find out what personal items will be covered, what the premiums are, and what will be paid to you in the case of damage, loss, or theft of your belongings
- Shop around for storage insurance. Rates, as well as coverage, vary
- Choose the most appropriate storage insurance coverage for your stored personal items in terms of 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 have to pay before your storage insurance kicks in and can amount to $1 000 or more
- 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 belongings
- To maintain ownership and protection of your stored belongings, make sure you continue to pay your storage fees and insurance premiums.
How to Store Your Personal Stuff
Use these how to pack and store tips for all your belongings to ensure you start the packing process as prepared as possible and avoid any unnecessary stress.
How to Store ANTIQUE, FRAGILE, AND RARE ITEMS
Packing antique, delicate, fragile, and rare items require both planning and time to ensure your belongings remain intact and safe during the packing, transit, and storage processes. The main threats to these kinds of items are too much natural light and heat, which can cause rich colors and fibers to fade. Before you start the packing process, take photographs of all these valuable items for storage insurance purposes.
Here are tips for how to pack your antique, fragile, and rare items for storage:
- Prepare your antique and fragile items properly before packing them. For example, apply a thin coat of wax, which is ideal for protection against abrasion, dust, and moisture, to antique furniture and polish and store silverware in its original wooden case to protect it against tarnishing
- Remove any loose appendages, like drawers, doors, and shelves. Keep the accessories and screws together – put them in sealable plastic bags and label it clearly for reassembling
- Place the items in the middle of a clean, flat working surface
- Assess the size and shape of the item. See if there are any oddly shaped protrusions, like handles on vases, that might easily break off. Extra bubble wrap these pieces to ensure they are well protected
- Depending on the shape of the item, fill all "empty" spaces, like that in vases and china bowls, with scrunched up packing paper
- Individually wrap the item in packing paper and use scotch tape to secure the paper
- For chairs, mattresses, sofas, and other furniture pieces use protective wrapping, like bubble wrap. For porous items, like antique books and fabrics, use non-acidic archival tissue as the protection layer. For glass and wood, use foam wrap or stretch wrap and ensure the corners and edges are well protected too.
- Don’t try to save on bubble wrap and other wrapping materials by wrapping more than one items together to create one "parcel". Items wrapped together can move in transit and knock against each other, thus increasing the chances of them breaking or sustaining scratches
- Use more bubble wrap to wrap the handle of a vase, for example.
- Add another layer of shock and vibration protection in the form of blankets, foam, sheets, or tarp
- Use boxes that are specifically designed to safely store antique lamps, dishes and silverware, and historical or vintage clothing. Wooden crates are perfect too
- Place your item inside the "right way"; for example, vases should be placed base-down (as if in use), while other items may be better packed laid flat
- Fill up any empty space in boxes and crates with packing peanuts or foam to ensure the items cannot move around or shift while being carried and transported
- You can also add an additional layer of protection by double-boxing your items:
- This means you follow all the step outlined above, close the first box and then place it into a second, slightly larger box
- Create a soft base by using packing paper, bubble wrap, or packing peanuts in the second box
- Place the first box inside the second box and fill up any excess space with packing paper, bubble wrap, or packing peanuts to prevent movement
- Close the second box and secure the flaps with heavy-duty packing tape.
- Label the contents and mark all of these boxes with "FRAGILE" stickers to ensure careful handling.
Pro Tip: When packing your antiques, fragile, and rare items into a car, moving van, or truck, use the "last on, first off" rule. This means these items should be the last to be loaded and first to be unloaded to limit any chances of these belongings being banged by other items while loading and unloading.
Here are tips for how to store your antique, fragile, and rare items:
- Do not stack antique furniture on top of other items or other items on top of these items
- The humidity level in your storage space should be at approximately 50 percent. If the humidity level is too low, paintings, paper, and wood can become brittle, crack, and shrink, while high humidity levels encourage rust to develop on metal items and mold to grow
- If you don’t have a climate-controlled storage space, raise your antique items off the floor by using pallets or cinder blocks.
How to Store ART AND PAINTINGS
Art and paintings are valuable, and thus their packing, transportation, and storage are incredibly important. While the first most important tip is to always handle your art and painting with the utmost of care, here are more tips for how to pack your art and paintings for storage:
- To conserve art and paintings, it is important to minimize any direct contact you have with the items. Dust the paintings with an artist brush
- Pack the paintings/art in plastic in order to keep it clean and protect it
- Use Styrofoam or Glassine to seal the works of art as well as the frames. This will also secure the item
- Double wrap your items in bubble wrap and secure with scotch tape
- Put the painting, packed in the Styrofoam, in a cardboard box (a high quality, double-corrugated storage box is preferable) in which it fits well. This is especially important to protect the corners of painting as they are vulnerable to nicks and scratches. For fine works of art, a wooden crate would be better suited
- Fill any empty spaces with bubble wrap or wrap the item in a moving blanket; this will ensure there is no bouncing or jolting
- Finally, seal the entire box with heavy-duty packing tape
- Label the box.
Pro Tips: Don’t use packing peanuts to fill the empty spaces in the box as these can cause damage to the art and paintings. Peanuts will settle at the bottom of the box as it moves while being transported; as a result, the bottom of the box can expand and flex, which in turn will allow more peanuts to settle there. As such, the space around the top third to quarter of the box will not be protected.
Here are tips for how to store your art and paintings:
- A storage space that has a consistent temperature and moderate humidity is better suited for these items. Sudden temperature changes in the storage space can damage your items, so keep your valuable art and paintings away from temperatures that fluctuate
- Place the paintings and art on a rack and not directly on the floor of the storage space as canvases and frames can absorb moisture from concrete, which may cause damage. If racks are not possible, use acid-free boards or paper and lay your art on top of this
- Try not to place your art and paintings against any walling in the storage space, especially if you are storing them for the long term. If you need to place the art against a wall temporarily, ensure the top edge of the painting evenly touches the wall to ensure they do not warp
- Do not stack your art and paintings on top of each other
- Store art and paintings indoors and away from direct sunlight, which can cause the colors to fade. It is a good idea to either leave the paintings in their packaging or cover them with an acid-free cloth.
How to Store BABY ITEMS
You might want to store any baby items you have for future use, especially if you don’t currently have any space for these items in your home.
Here are tips for packing baby items for storage:
- Prepare all your baby items for packing by washing any baby clothes and stuffed animals in unscented laundry detergent (scented detergent can attract bugs and rodents) and cleaning your baby crib, toy box, toys, and dresser. Polish any wooden furniture. Make sure all items are thoroughly dry before packing to eliminate any risks of mildew
- If any toys are not washer-friendly, you can place them in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer for 24 hours to "disinfect" them.
- Sort all the toys and baby clothes by age, gender, and season. Place all miscellaneous items, like bibs, swaddling cloths, and blankets together
- Remove all batteries from toys and other baby devices
- Place the items in plastic totes or vacuum-sealed bags to keep them dry and free from dust
- Place the plastic totes filled with items in clear plastic containers or boxes and label each clearly
- Disassemble the baby furniture and ensure to put any bolts and screws in zip-lock bags and label these clearly. Tape these bags to the corresponding furniture piece.
- It might not be worthwhile to store your baby car seat as these come with expiration dates. Check this date before storing your baby car seat or opt to donate the item if the expiration date is near
- Take a photo of the baby crib before you disassemble it. Putting a crib together can be complicated, and having a photo of the setup can save you time (and a headache) when you need to put it back together.
Here are the tips for how to store baby items:
- Cover any baby furniture with moving blankets, sheets, or tarp to protect it from dust and moisture
- Don’t store the furniture on the floor; use flattened cardboard or better yet pallets to add another layer of protection
- Keep all the boxes and plastic containers with baby items together in your storage space for easy access.
How to Store BARBECUE AND GRILLING EQUIPMENT
You may choose to store your barbecue (BBQ) and grilling equipment during winter when it is too cold to barbecue and grill.
Here are the steps you need for how to pack your barbecue and grilling equipment for storage:
Clean your barbecue or grill:
- Light the burners and turn up the flame/heat as high as possible to burn away any food particles
- Brush off your barbecue or grill with a BBQ or wire brush
- Remove the grates
- Wash the grates in warm, soapy water, or use degreasing detergents to clean any fat or grease
- Clean the frill racks and wipe down the exterior
- If your appliance is made from stainless steel, apply a layer of polish to prevent corrosion
- Allow your barbecue or grill to dry thoroughly.
- Remove the fuel source, such as propane cylinders or the gas regulator. Your storage provider may not allow these to be stored. If you have a charcoal barbecue, don’t leave ash and charcoal in your barbecue
- Place a protective, waterproof cover over the barbecue or grill, but be sure to leave some space for airflow
- Place the item in your storage space.
When you take your barbecue and grilling equipment out of storage, make sure to check for deterioration and gas leaks prior to use.
How to Store BEAUTY PRODUCTS, MAKEUP, AND TOILETRIES
Packing your beauty products, makeup, and toiletries for storage is complicated, especially giving the high risk of breakages, leaks, and spills.
Here are tips for how to pack and store your beauty products, makeup, and toiletries for storage:
- Clean out your makeup drawers and cases
- Determine if your makeup and toiletries have an expiration date. If so, it may not be worthwhile to pack and store these items
Separate your makeup and toiletries into wet, dry, and hard categories:
- Wet products are any that can spill or leak, like liquid foundations, moisturizers, and perfume
- Dry products, like powders, eyeshadow, and blus
- Hard items, like hair and makeup brushes.
Prepare your wet items:
- Unscrew the lid and place a layer or two of saran wrap to cover the opening
- Fasten the layer(s) of saran wrap with a rubber band
- Screw the lid on
- Bubble wrap glass perfume bottles and secure with scotch tape
- Depending on size, place two or three of these items together in a zip-lock bag. Try to place similar sized and shaped items in the same bag. For example, place all your concealer and foundation in the same bag
- Ensure the bag is securely closed.
Prepare your dry items:
- Open the lid of each product
- Place cotton balls or pads inside to help absorb any impact while in transit
- Close the lid and place a rubber band around the item to keep it securely shut
- Place two to three items into a zip-lock bag. Try to place similar sized and shaped items in the same bag. For example, use one bag for all your bronzers and blush and another for your eyeshadows
- Ensure the bag is securely closed.
Prepare your hard items:
- See how fragile the items that need to be packed are and wrap each in packing paper or bubble wrap
- Secure the layer of packing paper or bubble wrap with scotch tape
- Place two to three items into a zip-lock bag. Try to place similar sized and shaped items in the same bag. For example, place all your makeup brushes in one bag
- Ensure the bag is securely closed.
- Wrap each bag in bubble wrap and secure it with scotch tape
- Label each bubble wrapped parcel so you know what is inside
- Get a storage box ready
- Line the box with plastic so if anything breaks, you prevent it from oozing through the cardboard box and onto anything nearby
- Line the box with scrunched up packing paper or bubble wrap to ensure there is a soft bed for your items to rest on
- Place each bubble wrapped parcel into the box, with the heavier items at the bottom
- Fill any excess space with bubble wrap or packing paper
- Close the box and secure the flaps with heavy-duty packing tape
- Label the box.
In storage, don’t place heavy boxes on top of your makeup and toiletries boxes.
How to Store BEDDING AND LINEN
Bedding and linen are not susceptible to breakage as other items; however, they can still be difficult to pack given their size.
Here are tips for how to pack your bedding and linen for storage:
- Wash all bedding, blankets, linen, sheets, and towels in unscented laundry detergent (scented detergent may attract pests and rodents). Ensure all items are thoroughly dry as to not cause mold and mildew
- Choose an appropriately sized storage box and layer packing paper across the bottom of the box – this will protect your bedding and linen from any debris, dirt, and dust inside the box
Place your bedding and linen inside the box. There are several ways to do this:
- Bundle: Lay the largest item (for example, a blanket) down on a clean surface. Place another smaller item (for example, a towel) on top, and so on. When you have a small bundle, fold all the items together and use a string to fasten it
- Fold: This is the most obvious way when packing bedding and linen. It is also easy, quick, and safe
- Roll: This method can save space and prevent wrinkles
- Vacuum seal: Vacuum all bedding and linen to maximize the space inside your storage boxes.
Pro Tip: Vacuum sealing bedding and linen for a long period of time can damage the natural fibers as well as change the shape and feel of these items, so avoid this method of packing if you are planning on storing your bedding or linen for longer than six months.
- Place clothing-safe insect repellant, like cedar balls or mothballs, inside the storage boxes to prevent pest and insect infestations
- Add packing paper or packing peanuts to eliminate any empty spaces in the boxes. Don’t overfill the boxes
- Close the box and fasten the flaps securely with heavy-duty packing tape
- Clearly label your box.
Here are a few tips for how to store your packed bedding and linen:
- Once in storage, place bedding and linen boxes on top of heavy boxes. Don’t place heavy boxes on top of these ones
- Keep these boxes away from storage space walls and the floor. Raise these boxes off the ground by using wooden pallets
- If possible, check on your bedding and linen periodically to ensure these items stay in tip-top condition.
How to Store BIKES (BICYCLES AND MOTORBIKES)
You’ll want to ensure your bike is as great post-storage as it was pre-storage. Here are tips for how to prepare your bike for storage:
- Before you place your bike into storage, inspect your bike for any damage. Additionally, check the quality of the tires, condition of the cables, gears, and wires
- Ensure your registration, license, and insurance are up-to-date
- Clean your bike and ensure it is thoroughly dry before moving it into storage
For your motorbike, fill your gas tank and add fuel stabilizer to prevent corrosion and keep the gas lines clean. After you add the stabilizer, take your bike 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 and break and transmission oil
- For bicycles, lubricate your bike cables, chain, and shift cables to keep rust at bay. For motorbikes, disconnect the battery and hook it up to a trickle charger (if there is power available in your storage space). You can also remove the battery and store and/or charge this elsewhere
- For the paint finish, apply a fresh coat of wax to protect it
- If your bike hangs for the duration of the storage period, deflate the tires; alternatively, place your bike upside down – on the handlebars and seat to keep pressure off the rims. You can also 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 inflated. Use nitrogen as this will maintain the pressure for longer periods
- Cover your 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 your bike.
Once you take your bike out of storage, check all safety components before use; ride your bike at a slow speed to ensure the chain or gears aren’t worn out.
How to Store BOATS
If you have a boat to store, it pays to carry out a few easy steps to make sure your boat remains clean, free of corrosion, and in perfect condition.
Here are tips for how to prepare your boat for storage:
- Check your boat for anything that might require repairing. If there are cracks, for example, it is best to get this fixed now before the damage becomes worse
- Clean your boat thoroughly inside and outside
- Apply a rust inhibitor on your control cables, metal hardware, and steering
- Remove all electronics
Prevent mildew by:
- Storing curtains, cushions, fire extinguishers, and personal flotation devices
- Propping open drawers and lockers to air out
- Cleaning out the refrigerator
- Getting a dehumidifier and placing this inside to increase the air temperature, circulate the air inside the boat, and prevent moisture
- Placing boxes of baking soda throughout your boat.
- Drain the fluid from the coolers, engine blocks, manifolds, and water pumps
- Drain and fill the gearcase with lubricant
- Drain the fresh water tank, hot water heater, and port-a-potty
- Add non-toxic anti-freeze to your cooling system, hot water heater, port-a-potty, supply lines for the water faucets and shower, and water tan
- To prevent condensation, gas spoilage, and oxidation, fill the fuel tank and add stabilizer or an ethanol-combative treatment to prevent damage
Run the engine for about 15 minutes to ensure the stabilizer is distributed throughout the fuel system
Pro Tip: Some storage facilities will require you to completely empty your gas tank prior to storage.
- Change the oil filter and the oil in the engine
- Use "flogging oil" on each cylinder, remove the spark plugs, and change the transmission fluid
- Sand the bottom of the boat. Repaint it
- Disconnect the battery cables. Remove the batter
- Wash the battery in water and baking soda and use distilled water to rinse it. Also, clean the terminal ends
- Apply a coat of grease to the terminal ends of the battery and cables. Use a trickle charger to keep the battery charged for short-term storage (you would need access to electricity in your storage space for this to be possible
- Inspect the stern drive and remove any barnacles or plants. Check the fluid levels and grease all the fittings
- Clean the bilges with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush. Coat them with moisture-displacing lubricant. Add anti-freez
- Cover your boat with a breathable material/cover, like canvas or tarps, so it has good ventilation. Make sure the cover has no tears.
In storage, use keel stands or wood blocks to keep your boat, propeller, and rudders off the storage space ground. Use jack stands to balance the boat.
How to Store BOOKS
Packing books might seem easy, but you don’t want to contend with ripped pages, broken spines, dog-eared corners, and tattered covers if not packed correctly.
Follow our tips for how to pack books correctly for storage:
- Sort through your books. Any books you won’t read again, no longer need, 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 hardcover
- Children’s books
- Get your sturdy, reinforced, corrugated cardboard storage boxes ready. As books are heavy, use small boxes so when packed, they are not too heavy and can be easily lifted and carried by a single person
- Use bubble wrap or packing paper to line each box so your 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 value:
- Wrap each book individually in packing paper and fasten with scotch tape as if you are wrapping a present
- Wrap each book in a layer of bubble wrap and fasten 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 your 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 inside the box to keep moisture away, and consider including non-paper-damaging insecticide to protect against silverfish or similar insects
- 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 your 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 your books. Rather, place these boxes on shelves if possible or on sturdy furniture.
How to Store CAMERAS AND FILM EQUIPMENT
Cameras, whether analog or digital, are very sensitive to dust, moisture, and sunlight. As such, it is imperative to follow the steps outlined below to prepare and pack your cameras and film equipment.
Here are tips for how to prepare and pack your cameras and film equipment for storage:
- Remove the batteries and memory cards, especially if you are storing your photography equipment for longer than one month. This is to prevent the battery from leaking and memory card from fusing into its slot. This also goes for the storing of any other battery-operated accessories, such as flashes, light-meters, and remotes
- Remove the lenses and lens filters. Clean these items thoroughly in order to remove dirt, dust, fungal spores, and other substances that are foreign. Dry the lens and place the caps on each end – this will protect it from scratches – and on the lens mount
- Place the lenses in lens pouches
- Store lenses and lens filters upright
- Clean your camera with a blower, compressed air, or a soft, dry cloth
- Store your camera in a camera bag, airtight container, or protective case. Add foam or packing peanuts for extra padding and protection
- For analog film, store these in their original canisters
- Individually wrap your other accessories in tissue paper or bubble wrap
- Add a few silica gel sachets to the container or box with all your camera and film equipment to prevent moisture and fungi from growing
- Seal the container or close the box with heavy-duty packing tape.
Tips for how to store your camera and film equipment:
- Don’t store your camera and film equipment where there are extreme fluctuations in temperature or high humidity levels
- Don’t store your camera and film equipment near devices that generate magnetic fields, such as radios and TV
- Store these items in a well-ventilated area with relative humidity
- For analog film, store this below room temperature: use a climate-controlled storage space or a refrigerator for short-term storing (less than six months) or a freezer for long-term storage (more than six months)
How to Store CAMPING AND HIKING GEAR AND EQUIPMENT
Camping and hiking gear and equipment take up a lot of space in your home. For short-term or long-term storage of these items, follow our expert tips on how to prepare, pack, and store your camping and hiking gear.
Here are tips on how to prepare and pack your camping and hiking gear and equipment for storage
Clean and dry all your camping and hiking gear:
- Wash your sleeping bags by throwing them in the washing machine. Dry it in a dryer on low heat. Add in some tennis balls to keep your sleeping bag from clumping. (Read the washing instructions of your sleeping bag to check if it is machine washable.)
- Air out your tent so you are sure it is completely dry to prevent mildew and mold. Brush off any dirt and sand from the tent itself, poles, and stakes
- Wash all your dishes, pots, and utensils with dishwashing detergent and let them dry thoroughly
- Remove the fuel from your camping stove, and note that most storage facilities will not allow you to store flammable materials. Wipe off any crumbs, soot, and other food particles from the exterior. Check the portable stove’s instruction manual for advice on how to further clean it properly
- Let your hiking boots air out and dry. Use a stiff brush to remove any dirt, and for tough stains, use warm, non-soapy water, and brush the boots again. Sprinkle baking soda inside the boots or wash the insoles with a mild detergent. Apply a waterproofing treatment to your boots so they are ready for future use
- Wash your backpack in the washing machine (if safe to do so) or scrub it with warm, soapy water. Scrub the zippers with a toothbrush and apply some silicone grease. Hang your backpack out to dry thoroughly (never place it in a dryer).
- Categorize your gear by use and purpose. For example, group tents and sleeping bags into "shelter", utensils, pots, and stoves into "cooking", and stakes and sleeping pads into "ground" groups
- Remove all batteries from camping electronics, like flashlights, headlamps, and GPS devices
- Place your grouped gear and equipment into crates, bins, plastic containers, or cardboard boxes. Pack heavier items at the bottom, similar to how you’d pack your backpack
- Label each container, bin, crate, or box clearly so you’d have no trouble finding any of your camping gear and equipment.
In your storage space, keep all your camping gear and equipment together.
How to Store CLOTHES
Need a step-by-step process for how to pack clothes for storage to increase the lifespan of your closet? Look no further.
Here are tips for how to pack your clothes for storage:
- Declutter your closet and decide which clothes you are packing and keeping, throwing away, selling, or donating. Use the ‘one-year rule’: if you haven’t worn a piece of clothing in a year, say goodbye to it. It is also worthwhile to remember you pay per volume stored, so don’t spend money on storing clothes you will never wear again
- Set aside clothing you need and wear and don’t need to store so you don’t accidentally pack and store any of these items
- Wash and iron your clothes according to the label prior to packing. By cleaning clothes before packing for storage, you effectively prolong their shelf-life by allowing them to stay fresher for longer. If you pack dirty clothes, any stains and odors will settle in over time and these clothes may also attract pests and rodents
- Clothes should be thoroughly dry before packing to prevent mold, mildew, and odors
If you plan to store your clothes for the short term, you may opt to vacuum seal them to save space and maximize your storage space. However, don’t vacuum seal anything for long-term storage as the effect of this can be detrimental to the fibers and ruin both the shape and fit of the clothes
Pro Tip: No matter how long or short you want to store your wedding dress or delicate clothing items, never vacuum seal these
- Sort your clothes into different piles by season, purpose, size, type of clothing – jackets, shirts, pants, delicates, and so forth – and per person
- Fold or roll your clothing items in such a way as to avoid hard fold lines and creases. You can also fold your clothes by using the Marie Kondo method
- Place similar folded items in clip-on plastic containers to protect your clothes from dust, mildew, mold, and moisture
For extra protection, line the plastic containers with clean, cotton sheets or place special items in acid-free boxes lined with tissue paper. Place these boxes inside the plastic containers
- Clothing should never be stored in plastic bags or cardboard storage boxes. Plastic bags easily trap moisture, causing your clothes to become moldy. Rodents and pests can easily infiltrate cardboard boxes, causing damage to your clothes
- Use garment boxes or wardrobe boxes for any hanging clothes
- For short-term storage, utilize your (extra and unused) suitcases and/or duffel bags to store any folded or rolled clothes. You also don’t have to worry too much about a weight limit, so you can pack as many clothes as you can
- Pack delicate items like gowns and suits in garment bags and hang these inside wardrobe boxes
- While individual clothes don’t weigh much, a lot of clothing items can quickly become heavy. Use smaller plastic containers to pack clothes so you can easily carry, move, and stack these.
- Add cedar balls or mothballs to the plastic containers to keep mildew, moths, and musty odors away
- Close the plastic containers and wardrobe boxes
- Label each box and container clearly.
Tips on how to store your clothing are:
- Store all your clothing boxes and containers together in the storage space
- Keep your clothing boxes and containers away from any items that can potentially leak or spill and from heavy or abrasive items that can topple and cause damage
- Keep clothing boxes and containers away from storage space walls and floors
- Don’t stack any heavy boxes on top of boxes and containers filled with clothes
- Periodically check on your clothing to ensure it is in good condition and to detect problems quickly.
How to Store CURTAINS AND DRAPES
You would think packing and storing curtains and drapes should be pretty straightforward, right? It should be similar to how to pack bedding and linen. Well, yes and no.
Here are our tips for how to pack your curtains and drapes for storage:
- Vacuum, clean, and dry your curtains and drapes before packing. It is a good idea to invest in a professional steam clean
- Leave your curtains to air outside in the sun for a day to help remove any odors. This will also kill small insects that may be present
There are two main options for packing curtains and drapes:
- Use a wardrobe box to pack your curtains
- Wrap a few pieces of packing paper over the rail or wardrobe bar and wrap the curtain or drape around once (like you would a scarf around your neck) to keep them from slipping off
- Wrap the curtain tie-back around it, just underneath the rail or bar. Use a twist-tie or piece of string to secure the tie-back firmly around the curtain or drape
- Fold them over the rail lengthwise to protect against wrinkling. Alternatively, fold them loosely to avoid wrinkles.
Regular cardboard boxes or plastic containers:
- Loosely fold your curtains and drapes. Make as few folds as possible and ensure any folds fall so as to minimize creases
- Place the folded curtains and drapes into cardboard boxes or plastic containers but give them some room to breathe so the folds don’t become permanent.
- Close the boxes and secure the flaps with heavy-duty packing tape
- Label your boxes or plastic containers clearly.
Tips for how to store your curtains and drapes:
- Keep curtain and drape boxes away from storage space walls and floors. Use pallets to raise these boxes off the floor
- Don’t stack heavy items on top of curtain and drape boxes and containers
- Check your curtains and drapes every few months for infestations or mold and mildew.
How to Store DOCUMENTS, FILES, AND PAPERWORK
Special care is needed when it comes to the packing and storage of your documents, files, paperwork. Things you need to take into consideration to preserve these items are fire safety, how moisture and humidity will be avoided, and the security measures of the storage space.
Here are tips for how to pack documents, files, and paperwork for storage:
Sort through all your documents, files, and paperwork. Decide which of these you want and need to keep
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 items related to bank statements in one pile, paper related to your tax returns in another, historical documents, like family birth certificates, in another, 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
- 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 in as this kind of box is the right size and sturdy. 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 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 tape
- Label the box, but don’t label it too specifically (or use a code) if it contains private and sensitive information.
Tips for how to store documents, files, and paperwork include:
- Don’t store boxes with documents, files, and paperwork in extreme temperatures or high humidity levels
- Don’t store these boxes where there is moisture – paper and moisture are enemies
- Place boxes with these items on shelves, stands, or pallets
- Allow spaces between boxes and the storage space walls to improve ventilation
- Cover your boxes with cloth or moving blankets to deter any dust accumulation.
How to Store ELECTRONICS AND KITCHEN APPLIANCES
Electronics and kitchen appliances, most of which are not cheap, are fragile and sensitive to fluctuations in temperature. Our tips below outline how you can safely pack and store all of your electronic equipment and kitchen appliances so they stay in working order.
Here are tips for how to pack your electronics and kitchen appliance for storage:
- Create an inventory list of all your electronics and kitchen appliances. Include in which room the equipment belongs and 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 forgotten
- Consult your user manuals for any manufacturer advice on how to pack your devices and appliances for transit and storage. If you don’t have the manual anymore, you may be able to download a copy by searching for the make and model of the appliance online
- If possible, round up the original packaging in which the electronic device or kitchen appliance 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 (especially for large-screen televisions)
- Also, 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 appliance or 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 take these items out of 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
- Ink or toner cartridges from printers.
- Clean your electronic device or appliance 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 your files
- Ensure your passwords are difficult to decipher
- Vacuum the back of the computer equipment (to remove dust)
- Place motherboards, drives, and cards in anti-static bags or wrap in bubble wrap. Add a layer of foam or bubble wrap over the bag for extra protection
- Don’t place anything made of metal on top of a motherboard as a static charge may cause a short circuit
- Place monitors in anti-static bags and layer with bubble wrap for extra protection
- Double wrap bubble wrap or packing paper separately around the keyboard and mouse
- Place flash drives, memory sticks, fans, screws, ties, and so on in clean transparent plastic containers
- Add silica gel packets to boxes with these items to help keep them dry.
If you are packing TVs and large stereo:
- Dust the back of your TV and large stereo
- Protect the screen and stereo from getting scratched by wrapping them in a heavy-duty moving blanket or comforter. Ensure the blanket or comforter doesn’t have any zippers, buttons, or seams that can scratch your appliance. Secure the cover with a bungee cord or rope
- Place the item in a plastic protective sleeve or a screen protector around it. Secure with scotch tape.
If you are packing appliances that contain water or liquids (like coffee pots, coffee machines, and irons):
- Drain all liquid from the appliance
- The appliance should be thoroughly dry before packing.
If you are packing a refrigerator and freezer:
- Give yourself at least a week from when you need to pack these items to allow enough time for defrosting, cleaning, and drying
- For a fridge or freezer with a built-in ice-maker or water dispenser, shut off the water supply and allow for the ice maker to use up all the remaining water (this can typically take up to 24 hours)
- Dispose of the ice cubes, empty the water reservoir, and remove the filter cartridge
- Unplug the appliance and remove all food. Place paper towels or towels in the freezer or fridge and on the floor to collect any moisture
- Remove and wash any removable shelves. Wash the interior and exterior of the fridge or freezer with soapy, warm water
- Wipe the freezer or fridge thoroughly and let it dry by keeping the doors open
- Dust and vacuum the coils on the outside
- Fill it with crumpled up packing paper to absorb any excess moisture
- Seal the doors shut with heavy-duty packing tape for transit
- Cover the appliance with a sheet, tarpaulin, or a moving blanket to protect it from scratches
- Transport the fridge or freezer in an upright position
- Keep the doors of the appliance open in storage to maximize airflow and prevent mildew, mold, and bacteria.
If you are packing a dishwasher:
- Clean and let it dry
- Disconnect the hoses and drain them
- Leave the door of the dishwater open for a few days prior to packing
- Wrap the hoses in packing paper and towels. Place these inside the dishwasher.
If you are packing a washing machine:
- Clean and let it dry
- Disconnect the hoses and drain them
- Wrap the metal connector ends of the hoses in packing paper or a towel. Place these inside the dishwasher
- Secure the tub according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Most manufacturers will strongly recommend you reinstall the original "transit bolts" to protect the tub during transport and storage. If you don’t have the instructions or original bolts, purchase a washer kit to secure the tub or hire a professional.
If you are packing a clothes dryer:
- Unplug the power cord and switch the dryer off. If it is a gas dryer, a qualified technician needs to cap off the gas line
- Clean the lint screen and wipe the inside and outside of the dryer. Let it dry thoroughly.
If you are packing a stove top, range, or oven:
- Clean the stove top, range, or oven. Ensure there is no grease as this can catch dirt and dust
- Detach any removable parts; pack these securely in a box. Label these with a "FRAGILE" sticker
- For a gas appliance, the gas line must be secured by a qualified technician.
If you are packing a microwave oven:
- Remove any loose parts, like the glass tray
- Clean the inside and outside of your microwave
- Bubble wrap the glass tray and pack it securely in a separate box.
- 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 stick 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 from coffee pots and TVs). Wrap each of these parts individually in bubble wrap or packing paper and secure with scotch 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 scotch tape
- Choose a box of similar size to the device, preferably an electronics box, TV kits, and so forth if appropriate
- 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. For some items, like a TV and printer, pack these 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 appliances safe in storage, follow these how to store your electronics and kitchen appliances tips:
- Don’t store your electronics and appliances where there are extreme fluctuations in temperature and humidity
- Keep boxes with electronics of the storage floor and away from walls. Use pallets to stack these boxes on; alternatively, store these items on secure boxes or sturdy furniture
- Avoid stacking boxes too high to eliminate any tipping and damage
- Store your electronics and appliances in upright positions.
How to Store FURNITURE
Packing, transporting, and storing furniture can be challenging and stressful, so 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 furniture for storage:
Clean and thoroughly dry all your furniture:
- Glass: Dust and use a glass cleaner to remove any marks and fingerprints
- Leather: Vacuum and then use a leather cleaner. Apply leather conditioner or cream for added protection
- Steel: Dust and then use a multipurpose cleaner. Add an oily lubricant for extra protectio
- Upholstery: Vacuum to remove dirt and debris, and then use an upholstery cleaner to lift any odors. Apply a fabric protector for added protection
- Wood: Dust and apply a mild solution of soapy water. Apply furniture polish or oil for extra protection.
- Check any steel furniture for evidence of rust as this will spread in storage. If you find any rust, attend to it prior to 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 togethe
- 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 piec
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 bo
- Metal: Wrap these items in plastic wrap and then encase each item in a soft material, like tracksuit pants or heavy-duty moving blankets
- Upholstery: Wrap these items in breathable plastic wra
- Wooden and leather furniture: Wrap these items in old blankets, sheets, or high-quality moving blankets, then apply packing tape.
To transfer your furniture to a moving truck or van, follow these correct manual handling techniques:
- Have two to three people on hand to assist you
- Grip and hold tall items from both low and high positions so they don’t topple over
- Lift with your knees – not your back
- Use equipment like lifting straps, moving dollies and shoulder dollies to move 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 as there should be enough space so each item can breathe to prevent them from becoming musty and moldy
- Nest items inside each other; for example, place your bedside tables underneath your dining room table
- 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 GARDEN, OUTDOOR, AND PATIO FURNITURE
While garden, outdoor, and patio furniture is generally made with durability in mind, you still need to take some care when preparing these items for storage.
Here are our tips for how to prepare and pack your garden, outdoor, or patio furniture for storage:
- Clean and thoroughly dry your furniture:
- For wood and wicker furniture:
- Wash these items with an oily soap made for wood
- Apply furniture polish or oil for extra protection.
- For plastic and aluminum furniture:
- Wash the furniture with warm, soapy water
- Apply a coat of protective wax to protect the furniture from moisture.
- For metal furniture:
- Wipe it down
- Inspect it for rust; if you find any rusted spots, remove these with a wired brush. Treat these areas with a rust-preventing paint or covering
- Oil the moving joints.
- Remove any fabric cushions
- Clean the cushions by vacuuming them to remove dirt and debris. Apply an upholstery cleaner to lift any odors. Next, apply a fabric protector for added protection
- Store cushions in a plastic container or closed bag
- Disassemble your furniture if possible. Place all the nuts, bolts, and screws together in a sealable plastic bag, label it clearly, and tape it to a corresponding furniture item for safekeeping
- Collapse your garden, outdoor, and patio furniture
- Place furniture covers, blankets, sheets, or pre-fitted covers over your furniture to repel debris, dust, and moisture
- Secure the covers with bungee cords or rope but not too tightly as to cause any damage
- Stack your furniture on top of each other with the heavier, bulky items at the bottom. Ensure the items are stable, and where possible, secure your arrangement with cable ties, plastic wrap, or zip-ties.
In your storage space, don’t store your garden, outdoor, and patio furniture on the storage space floor. Rather, cover the floor with plastic sheets or foam, or store the furniture on wooden pallets or skids.
Packing up your garden and house tools and equipment, all of which are most likely stored in your garage or tool shed, may seem like a daunting task.
Here are our tips for how to prepare and pack your garden and house tools and equipment for storage:
- Declutter and organize
- This is the perfect time to get rid of old paint cans, pesticides, fertilizer, gas, and oil.
Pro Tip: Most storage facilities will not allow you to store flammable or hazardous materials.
- Toss old scrap lumber and building and garden materials you no longer need or expect to use
- Organize all your nuts and bolts into containers.
- Clean any garden tools to remove dirt and mud with dishwashing liquid and a scourer. Remove any rust with steel wool or a wire brush. Rinse and let your tools dry
- Oil some of your tools, like shears, to help them remain operational
- Tape the lids of any paint, paint thinner, varnish, and wood stains you want to store as well as the lids of your nuts and bolts containers.
Pro Tip: 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.
- Place tools, like hammers, pliers, and screwdrivers into toolboxes that can be securely closed. Alternatively, place these items into cardboard boxes
- Place bubble wrap and tape around the front of any sharp tools, like chisels, hand planers, and hand saws to protect the blades
- If possible, place large cutting tools, like drills, circular saws, and routers in their original packaging and boxes. If you don’t have the original packaging, wrap newspaper or packing paper around these tools and box them
- Pack clamps together in shrink wrap. Places them together according to size. Smaller clamps can be placed directly in boxes and protect larger ones by wrapping and taping cardboard, foam, or towels around them
- Bundle large-handled tools, like brooms and mops, together. Wrap a blanket around these similarly-sized bundles and secure the package
- For heavy tools, like miter saws, planers, and tables saws, get some help. Disassemble these tools to make them easier to carry and transport (take a photo to help with assembly in the future). Remove any blades and cover them so they don’t accidentally cut anyone
- Remove the batteries of any battery-operated garden and house tools and equipment
- For workbenches, consider discarding yours if there are lots of dings, dents, and scratches. For customized workbenches, disassemble them for easier transportation. Wrap your bench in heavy-duty moving blankets to protect it in the moving truck or van and in storage
- For lawnmowers, weed-eaters, and gas-powered tools, drain the fuel, oil, and any other lubricant. Change the oil. Place tape over the cutting edge of the lawnmower blades for protection, or if possible, remove these blades. Place a piece of cardboard or lots of packing paper around each spark plug.
Pro Tip: Some storage facilities will require you to completely empty your motorized tools from gas or diesel prior to storage.
- For hoses, loosely coil the hose in a figure eight, and store it flat on the ground
- For all power cords, coil the cord around the tool
- Wrap bubble wrap around the items
- Close the cardboard boxes and secure with heavy-duty packing tape. Close all toolboxes and ensure they can’t open easily
- For bigger items, like a lawnmower, cover them with a tarp or moving blanket
- Label everything clearly. Add "FRAGILE" stickers on appropriate boxes.
How to Store GLASSWARE AND DISHES
Follow our foolproof steps to ensure your glassware and dishes remain intact.
Here are our tips for how to pack glassware and dishes for storage:
- Gather everything you need to pack and get your high-quality packing materials, like new, double-corrugated storage boxes, ready
- Reinforce the bottom, sides, and seams of each storage box with heavy-duty tape
- Line each box with a thick layer of bubble wrap
- Wash and thoroughly dry all glassware and dishes you intend to pack
- To wrap and pack these items:
- For glassware (glasses, cups, and bowls):
- Lay a sheet of bubble wrap on a clean, flat surface
- Stuff the hollow sections of a glass, cup, or bowl with packing paper
- Wrap the glass or cup in bubble wrap
- Apply more bubble wrap to handles and stems
- Use scotch tape to secure the bubble wrap
- Repeat until you have wrapped all your glasses and cups
- Use cardboard inserts when placing wine glasses and flutes inside storage boxes
- Stack sturdier items, like cups, mugs, and bowls, by placing smaller ones inside larger ones. Use a separate box for your cups and mugs and another for your bowls
- Once the box is filled, use bubble wrap or packing paper to fill any empty spaces.
- For dishes (plates):
- Place sheets of packing paper or bubble wrap on a clean, flat surface. Ensure the sheets are large enough to completely cover the whole plate or side dish as you need to wrap each of these items individually
- Place your first plate or dish in the middle of your sheet
- Take one corner of the top sheet and fold it diagonally across the plate as far as possible. Wrap it around the bottom of the plate
- Repeat with the remaining three corners. Your plate must be tightly wrapped
- Secure the edges with scotch tape
- Repeat until all your dishes and plates are wrapped
- Place each plate sideways in the storage box (the plate will be on its edge, facing outwards). This will enable your storage box to withstand more pressure than laying the plates flat
- Do the same with your other plates until the box is full.
- Add padding in the form of bubble wrap or scrunched up packing paper on top of your glassware or dishes.
- Be careful not to overfill the box
- Close the box and secure the flaps with heavy-duty packing tape
- Label your box clearly. Add a "FRAGILE" sticker or two and directional "This Side Up" arrows.
Here are our tips for how to store glassware and dishes:
- Keep these items away from storage space walls and the ground. Place these boxes on top of wooden pallets
- Don’t stack anything heavy on top of glassware and dish boxe
- Place these boxes away from anything that could topple over and cause damage.
How to Store GUNS
Disclaimer: Before storing your guns with any storage provider, check your local and state’s rules and regulations detailing the proper and safe storage of firearms.
Guns need to be carefully and properly stored so they remain safe and in good working condition.
Here are our tips for how to prepare and pack your guns for storage:
- Inspect and clean your gun to keep it functioning properly and firing safely:
- Unload your gun and double-check to make sure it is unloaded before you start cleaning. (Remember to check the magazine, barrel, and chamber for any live rounds/ammunition left here.)
- Field strip and clean your gun - check the owner’s manual for reference on how to clean
- Once the gun is cleaned, reassemble
- Apply the trigger lock or barrel lock.
- Place your gun in a suitable gun storage box, bag, or gun safe
- Place silica gel sachets or a desiccant inside the box, bag, or safe prior to closing.
- Store long-barrel guns upside down so the oil doesn’t seep into the stock or other gun parts
- Avoid sheep-skin cases as these attract moisture
- Avoid the gun’s original box or a cardboard box as these become weak over time and attract moisture
- For long-term storage, apply a coat of lubricant to the exterior
- Avoid storing your guns in storage spaces where there are extreme temperature fluctuations and high levels of humidity.
How to Store HOLIDAY DECORATIONS AND DÉCOR
Holiday decorations and décor are fragile items and should be carefully packed to remain intact.
Here are our tips for how to pack your holiday decorations and décor for storage:
- Inspect and clean your decorations by simply wiping each item with a damp soft cloth. Let them dry thoroughly
- Carefully choose the containers you need. It is best to avoid cardboard boxes as these deteriorate over time, easily absorb moisture, and attract insects. Choose containers with lids that are sturdy. You can also opt for a container or two with slots
- Group like ornaments together in terms of purpose, fragility, and size
- Follow these instructions for different items:
- Wrap fragile items individually in tissue paper and then add a layer of bubble wrap
- Place cardboard tubes inside each loop of a bow to keep them intact and crease-free. Wrap each tube in tissue paper to fit snugly inside the loop
- For Christmas lights, wind the string of lights around a rectangle of thick cardboard and place in a zip-lock bag
- Place artificial Christmas trees in their original box or a tree storage bag
- Use a wreath storage container or durable box to pack wreaths.
- If you place numerous items in the same container, place heavier items at the bottom and the most delicate ones on top
- Add padding in the form of bubble wrap or packing paper as needed
- Fill any empty spaces with packing peanuts, scrunched up packing paper, or bubble wrap
- Don’t overfill the container so it is difficult to close the lid. You wouldn’t want to squash and break/damage any of the decorations
- Label your container and add a "FRAGILE" sticker if needed.
Once in storage, ensure these containers are placed where they won’t be accidentally kicked or knocked over.
How to Store JEWELRY
For your jewelry to stay in good condition while in storage, it is important to prepare it properly prior to packing and storage.
Here are tips you can follow on how to pack your jewelry:
- Take stock of all your jewelry by taking photos. Get an appraisal for your expensive pieces. Create a spreadsheet with details such as a description of the item, value, and how long you’ve had it. This is great information to have, and it may be required, if you are taking out storage insurance
- Clean your jewelry properly:
- Your jewelry will have been exposed to skin oil, hairspray, and household chemicals that tarnishes and corrodes these items, whether they are made from silver, gold, platinum, or any other kind of metal
- To clean your jewelry, make a simple cleaning mixture: mix one tablespoon of salt, baking soda, and dishwashing liquid in one cup of warm water
- Give your items a good scrub by using the mixture and a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Rinse your jewelry and use a soft cloth or towel to dry them thoroughly. Let your items air dry for a couple of days
- Keep precious stones set in jewelry dry as moisture can loosen the glue.
- Sort your jewelry. Packing these items in groups (all necklaces together, all earrings together, and so forth) makes the process a lot easier
- There are three main methods for packing jewelry:
- In a lockable jewelry box, roll, or armoire:
- This comes with well-sealed compartments that are cushioned and specially designed to keep your jewelry from tangling or becoming loose and to protect it from humidity and moisture
- Arrange all your jewelry items in the box, roll, or armoire
- Use packing paper to protect your smallest pieces
- Use bubble wrap or pieces of packing paper to fill up any empty spaces. No jewelry piece should be able to move.
- In an egg carton:
- This is an effective alternative to a jewelry box
- Ensure the carton is clean before you start
- Line the egg carton with a paper towel or cotton wool
- Add your jewelry. Take care to place individual chains in individual bags or pieces of bubble wrap and earrings on earing pads
- Fill any empty space with more paper towels or cotton wool – this doubles up as extra protection against any impact and moisture
- Close the carton
- Secure it with scotch tape
- Bubble wrap the carton and secure it with tape.
- In a sturdy fisherman’s tackle box:
- These come with enough small compartments for all your jewelry pieces so you don’t have to worry about untangling when you take these items out of storage
- For extra protection, you can individually wrap each item in bubble wrap and place them in the compartments.
- Place the jewelry box, roll, egg carton, or tackle box into another box that is preferably filled with soft items, like bedding, linen, or towels
- Close the flaps of the box and secure with heavy-duty packing tape
- Add a "FRAGILE" sticker, and for security reasons, consider labeling the box with a code name that doesn’t indicate it contains your valuable jewelry.
How to Store LAMPS AND LIGHTING
Packing lamps and lighting is not easy as lamps are fragile and may be oddly shaped. The best way to pack lamps is to approach the process in two stages: (1) pack your lamp base and (2) pack your lampshade.
Here are tips for how to pack your lamp base:
- Remove the lampshade by unscrewing the fixture. Set the lampshade aside as you will learn how to pack it separately with the steps outlined below
- Remove the light bulb
- If it is a floor or table lamp, dismantle as much of it as you can. You may, for example, be able to unscrew the base from the stand and the stand from the lampshade fixture or the shade riser
- Bundle the power cord neatly. Use a zip-tie, rubber band, or twist tie to keep it bundled up
- Wrap each piece of the lamp base separately in bubble wrap or packing paper, especially the prongs, and secure the bubble wrap or packing paper with scotch tape
- For an extra layer of protection and for more fragile and delicate bases, add another layer of bubble wrap
- Get two storage boxes ready – one for the lamp base and the other for the lampshade
- Line out the box with bubble wrap or packing paper so your lamp base has a soft bed to rest on
- Place the lamp base and cord in the box. If there are separate pieces for the lamp base, place the heavier of these items at the bottom
- Fill empty spaces with bubble wrap or packing paper
- Close the box and secure the flaps with heavy-duty packing tape
- Clearly label the box
- Move on to packing your lampshade as follows.
Here are tips for how to pack your lampshade:
- Ensure you handle your lampshade with clean hands as these are often light in color and are easy to dirty or stain
- Choose the correct sized box for your lampshade. The box should be large enough that there are 2 inches of space on either side of the lampshade
- Assemble the box and line it with bubble wrap or packing paper so your lampshade has a soft bed to rest on
- Use the ‘nesting’ technique to pack more than one lampshade in a box:
- Start with the smallest lampshade. Hold it by its rim, and place it inside the box
- Place a thin layer of packing paper across the entire lampshade
- Place the next lampshade on top of the smaller one
- Repeat the process until all your lampshades are nicely nested and packed.
Pro Tip: Do not use this nesting technique if your lampshades are made of silk or other delicate materials. In this case, pack each lampshade individually in a storage box.
- Fill empty spaces with bubble wrap or packing paper
- Don’t include any other belongings in the lampshade box as these items are fragile; they can easily crush or sustain damage while in transit
- Add an extra layer of bubble wrap or scrunched up packing paper to line the top of the box
- Close your box and secure the flaps with heavy-duty packing tape
- Label your box. Add a "FRAGILE" sticker and arrows to show which side is up.
Here are tips for how to pack chandeliers and strings of light
- For chandeliers:
- Remove the chandelier from the ceiling
- Dismantle it (the prism, chains, candle cups, and arms)
- Remove the finial from the bottom
- Slide the body of the chandelier off the rod
- Wrap the power cord and wires and secure them with zip-ties, rubber bands, or twist ties
- Wrap the pieces separately in bubble wrap
- Your box should be large enough to hold the chandelier and have 2 inches of space all around
- Line the bottom of your box with bubble wrap, packing paper, or foam
- Pack the rod, lightbulbs, and hanging chain separately from the ‘chandelier’ light(s)
- Hold the chandelier upright and have someone load packing peanuts. Lower the chandelier to remain upright
- Place foam or a layer of bubble wrap or scrunched up packing paper on top of the chandelier
- Close the box and secure with heavy-duty packing tape
- Label your box with a "FRAGILE" sticker and upward arrows.
- For decorative string lights:
- They can easily tangle and get squashed; pack them in boxes by themselves or in a plastic container inside a larger box
- Start with cutting a piece of thick cardboard into a rectangle (12 inches by 6 inches). Don’t use cardboard that is too light so it buckles when you wrap the lights around
- Cut a notch on one side of the cardboard. It doesn’t matter on which side this is
- Wrap the string lights around the rectangle neatly, working from one side to the other. This makes unwrapping them for future use easy
- Once you are nearly done, cut a notch on the other end where your string will end and tuck the end piece of the string light into this end
- Wrap packing or tissue paper around the lights in one to two layers for protection
- Place the wrapped lights in a clear plastic container and label it. You can then place the container in a larger box with other items.
Here are tips for how to store your lamps and lighting:
- Keep these boxes away from the storage space walls and floor. If possible, place these boxes on pallets. Moisture is bad for anything electric and fabric
- Take care to not place heavy boxes on top of these
- Don’t place lamps and other lighting boxes on top of other boxes where they might easily shift, fall, and break
- Use "FRAGILE" stickers for these boxes and directional arrows so you know which side is up.
How to Store a MATTRESS
A good-quality mattress should last you anywhere from 10 to 15 years and they are quite expensive. Follow these guidelines on how to prepare your mattress for storage to ensure it remains clean, comfortable, and in tip-top shape.
Here are the tips for how to prepare your mattress for storage:
- Clean your mattress with an upholstery cleaner and clothing steamer to remove any residual dirt, dust mites, mildew, stains, and other insects
- If you are worried about any odors, mix a few drops of essential oil, like lavender oil, with a box of baking soda. Sprinkle this mixture over the mattress. After 30 minutes, vacuum the mattress. Repeat on the other side
- Allow your mattress to air dry thoroughly
- Seal your mattress in plastic to protect it from dirt, dust, insects, moisture, and rodents. Ideally, get a high-quality mattress bag, which has tiny holes to allow for airflow. Alternatively, use breathable plastic. Ensure the bag is big enough to cover the whole mattress and secure with heavy-duty packing tape.
Here are tips for how to store your mattress:
- Always store a mattress flat; you can transport it vertically to save space
- Don’t place anything heavy on the mattress as this may damage and strain the springs. Memory foam mattresses, in particular, are prone to warping and may conform to the shape of anything placed on top of it
- To save space, place your mattress on top of other boxes and objects, like flat-topped furniture. Ensure everything is stable and nothing will topple over
- Don’t store your mattress where there are extreme fluctuations in temperature and high levels of humidity
- If you are storing the mattress long-term, if possible, open up the plastic cover every few months so the mattress can breathe. Reseal it afterward.
There are different kinds of media you may wish to store, ranging from CDs, DVDs, and LPs (vinyl records), comic books, magazines, and newspapers to photographs. Follow our guidelines below so these 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 cassettes and videotapes (VHS):
- Clean your cassettes and videotapes with purpose-manufactured tape-cleaning fabric
- Fast forward and rewind each tape a couple of times so it is wound evenly on the reels
- Place each cassette and videotape individually in an acid-free protective case
- Place them vertically in plastic containers or cardboard boxes.
- For CDs and DVDs:
- Use a store-bought CD cleaner and apply this using non-abrasive photographic lens tissues 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 comic books and magazines:
- Organize your comic books and magazines according to the author, topic, type, date, or publisher
- Choose how you want to store them: an archival storage box, a drawer box, a long or short box, or a specialty comic box
- You can also place comics or magazines in plastic sheet protectors and then place these in sealable plastic containers.
- For photographs:
- Store each photo individually in PVC-free sleeves or zip-lock sandwich bags
- Place these sleeves or bags in acid-free storage boxes or containers.
- For Shellac gramophone records:
- Clean your records with a soft, damp cloth and move in the direction of the grooves
- Air dry your records or dry them with a soft cloth
- Deposit each individually in a plastic sleeve
- Place them vertically against each other in a sealable container. Don’t use cardboard boxes.
- For Vinyl LPs:
- Use an anti-static cleaning solution and apply this to the LP with lint-free cotton or a muslin cloth. Wipe the disc in a circular motion, from inside out
- Store LPs in high-density polyethylene sleeves
- Place them vertically (upright) and against each other in a sealable container, which should be acid-free.
- Label all boxes and containers clearly. Add "FRAGILE" stickers where necessary.
Here are tips for how to store your media:
- Keep your CDs, DVDs, records, comic books, and so forth off the ground. Place these boxes 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 MIRRORS
Mirrors can easily crack and shatter. Large mirrors are also heavy, difficult to carry, and cumbersome. Follow our guidelines to prepare and pack your mirror to ensure the frame is protected, the reflective surface is preserved, and the mirror remains in one piece while in storage.
Here are our tips for how to prepare and pack your mirror for storage:
- Tape an "X" across the glass to strengthen the surface with masking tape before you remove the mirror from the wall. This will prevent the surface of the mirror from shattering if dropped
- Remove the mirror from the wall
- Measure the glass inside the frame
- Cut a piece of bubble wrap or Styrofoam and cardboard to the size you measured. Add the pieces to the glass, starting with the cardboard and ending with the bubble wrap or Styrofoam
- Add plastic/corner protectors to the corners and edges of the mirror frame
- Wrap the entire mirror in a professional moving blanket, bubble wrap, or foam (as you would a present)
- Place the mirror in a custom-made box. Close the box and secure it with heavy-duty packing tape
- Label the box and place a "FRAGILE" sticker on it.
For transit, ensure the mirror is placed upright and fit it snuggly between the side of the moving van (and in storage) and a soft item, like a couch or mattress.
How to Store MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
Musical instruments can be valuable and need to be stored correctly.
Here are our tips for how to prepare and pack a musical instrument for storage:
- For brass instruments:
- Clean and polish these with a white cotton clot
- Disassemble the instrument. Remove the reeds and mouthpieces
- Use a special brush to clean the interior tubing of brass horn
- Clean the keys – get in between and underneath them
- Store in their original cases.
- For electric guitars:
- Clean the outside of the instrument with a clean, damp clot
- Rub the guitar shell with a dry cloth to give it a glossy shine
- Relax the guitar string
- Place the instrument in its case.
- For electronic keyboards:
- Clean and dust the instrument
- Remove the suspension cord. Store it away from the keyboard to prevent scratchin
- Cover the keys with a white cloth
- Store the instrument in its case.
- For percussion instruments:
- Clean the instrument. Wipe any metal parts. Oil and lubricate any movable parts
- Loosen the drum skins to prevent them from stretching. Oil them to prevent cracking, drying out, and shrinking
- Inspect the instrument and replace any damaged parts, like the tubing of marimbas and xylophones or suspension cords on chime
- Place the percussion instrument in its case. Cover drums with tarp, a sheet, or moving blanket for protection from dust
- For pianos:
- Clean and polish your piano
- You don’t need to loosen the strings on a pian
- Wrap piano legs, pedals, and the bench in lots of padding for protection
- Remove any wheels or caster
- Secure any music stands
- Cover the piano with heavy-duty blankets and protective plastic wrap for protection from dus
- Move baby grand pianos on their side.
- For woodwind and string instruments:
- Clean your instrument with a vacuum and soft cloth to remove dust. Polish the instrument
- Disassemble instruments if possible to prevent pressure on the joints. Remove mouthpieces, mutes, reeds, and strap
- Place tissue paper between the pads of these instruments to prevent them from becoming sticky
- Release the tension on strings prior to storing to prevent them from snapping or the neck from warpin
- Place the instrument in its case. Place the case in a zippered polyethylene bag for extra protection against humidity.
Here are tips for how to store your musical instruments:
- Keep your instruments off the floor and out of drafts and doorways
- Extreme fluctuations in temperature and humidity can cause damage to your instruments
- For extra protection, wrap plastic bags or tarps around the musical instruments in their cases
- Check your instruments periodically while they are stored.
How to Store PILLOWS
Different types of pillows need different packing and storage methods, and throw pillow packing and storage requires extra care because they are decorative and not purely functional.
Here are tips for how to pack pillows for storage:
- Decide which pillows you want to pack and store as it may not be worthwhile to go through all the trouble and expense of wrapping, packing, and storing pillows you will not use again
- Categorize your pillows according to bedroom pillows, outdoor pillows, and throw or other decorative pillows
- Get all your packing material ready. You will need clear plastic containers, breathable plastic wrap, heavy-duty packing tape, clean pillowcases, and a permanent marker
- Devote the attention needed to each kind of pillow to ensure ultimate protection:
- For packing bedroom pillows:
- Place each pillow in a clean pillowcase
- Use breathable plastic to wrap each pillow and fasten with scotch tape. Ensure you don’t wrap the pillow too tightly so as to alter its shape
- Depending on how big the plastic container, place one to two pillows inside
- Close and label the plastic container clearly.
- For packing outdoor pillows:
- Protect each outdoor pillow against moisture by using treatments and products listed in the manufacturer’s instructions
- Wrap each pillow individually in heavy duty plastic and fasten with scotch tape
- Place each pillow inside a plastic container; if they are too large, double wrap them in plastic, ensuring that no dirt or dust can get in
- Close and clearly label the container or plastic covering.
- For packing throw or decorative pillows:
- Place each throw pillow in a clean pillowcase. Use two pillowcases if your decorative pillows have delicate stitching or are particularly ornate
- Wrap each pillow in breathable plastic wrap and fasten with tape. Don’t wrap the pillow too tightly so as to alter its shape
- Place each pillow in a clear plastic container
- Clearly label the container.
Tips for how to store pillows are:
- Don’t place anything heavy on top of plastic containers or boxes containing pillows
- Keep packed pillows away from storage space walls and the floor by stacking them on pallets or other heavy items
- Periodically check on your pillows for mold and mildew.
How to Store POTS AND PANS
The storage of pots and pans can be tricky, so follow our guidelines to ensure you wrap, pack, and store these items correctly.
Here are our tips for how to wrap, pack, and protect your pots and pans for storage:
- Unpack all your pots and pans from your cupboards and drawers; toss the ones that are damaged and broken and those you won’t use again
- Clean, disinfect, and thoroughly dry all your pots and pans before taking the next step
- Lay out a piece of packing paper on a clean, flat surface
- Place the lid in the center of the paper and fold the paper around it. Secure the paper in place with scotch tape
- Wrap bubble wrap around glass lids before wrapping them again in packing paper for extra protection
- Place the pot or pan in the middle of the paper and fold the paper around it. Secure the paper in place with scotch tape
- Nest smaller pots and pans in larger ones and place a layer of bubble wrap or packing paper in between each pot or pan
- Get your storage box ready and reinforce the bottom with heavy-duty packing tape
- Line the bottom of your box with bubble wrap
- Place the nested pots and pans inside; place the lids on top if there is space. Alternatively, use another box for the lids.
- Use bubble wrap or scrunched up packing paper to fill any empty space
- Close the flaps of the box and secure with heavy-duty packing tape
- Label each box clearly.
Here are tips for how to store your pots and pans:
- Keep these boxes off the floor and away from storage space walls. Place these boxes on wooden pallets
- These boxes can also be stacked on top of heavy boxes or nested under sturdy furniture.
How to Store RUGS AND CARPETS
Packing and storing rugs and carpets may seem easy; after all, they aren’t exactly fragile items. However, these items can easily crack, crease, fade, and lose their shape if they are not packed and stored correctly.
Here are tips for how to pack your rugs and carpets for storage:
- Clean your rugs and carpets prior to packing and storing to remove any insects, food particles, mold, mildew, residue, and stains as these all cause deterioration of your rugs and carpets while in storage
- Allow your carpets and rugs to dry thoroughly before starting the packing process
- Roll your carpets and rugs in the direction of the pile (the front or fluffy side) to avoid damage or placing stress on the knots. Folding them leads to creasing and may cause the back (or foundation) to break
- Use a piece of fabric or muslin that is equal to the width of the rug/carpet. Wrap this around the carpet or rug at least one-and-a-half times
- Secure the fabric or muslin with cotton or polyester twill tape or twine
- For extra protection against moisture and pests, wrap the rolled rug/carpet in a layer of breathable polyethylene film or Tyvek.
Here are tips for how to store your rugs and carpets:
- Store carpets and rugs off the ground of your storage space to protect them from dirt, pests, and water damage. Ideally, store them on a bubble wrapped shelf – this will ensure the carpets and rugs are off the ground and the edges of the shelving aren’t denting the carpets and rugs
- Store carpets and rugs in a horizontal position – a vertical (upright) position may cause the carpet/rug to lose its shape
- Don’t place anything on top of carpets and rugs in storage as this may cause their foundations to crack, destroying the shape of the carpet and rug
- If possible, unroll your carpet and rug every month or so to allow it to air out and prevent permanent curling. Also, inspect them for damage and pest infestations.
How to Store RVs
Your RV, camper, or trailer is most likely your home away from home, so follow these guidelines to keep your vehicle looking great and working properly.
Here are our tips for how to prepare your RV, camper, or trailer for storage:
- Clean your RV, camper, or trailer inside and out, taking special care to clean the bathroom and kitchen
- Remove all food and toiletries from the cupboards and fridge. Leave all the doors open to prevent moisture from collecting
- Add a box of baking soda to the fridge to get rid of odors
- Close all external openings, like the exhaust, plumbing vents, and pipes, or cover them to prevent bugs, rodents, and reptiles from finding their way inside
- Empty out all the plumbing systems and tanks. Flush and disinfect these. Add anti-freeze
- Lubricate any moving parts, like the trailer hitch, suspension parts, hinges, and movable handles with grease or lubricating oil
- Ensure the battery is fully charged or keep it on a trickle charger (your storage space would need access to electricity for the trickle charger option)
- Inflate the tires; they should be inflated to the recommended pressure, plus 25 percent
- Cover your RV, camper, or trailer in a breathable material while in storage.
Tips for your RV, camper, or trailer while in storage:
- Move the vehicle every three months or so check its condition and to charge and run the battery
- If possible, place your RV, camper, or trailer on bricks or breezeblocks to prevent any unnecessary wear on the suspension
- Leave the emergency brake off as it places undue strain on the brake. You can chock the wheels or raise it per the tip above.
How to store SHOES
Follow these packing and storage tips to ensure your shoes return from storage in the same condition they went in.
Here are our tips for how to pack your shoes for storage:
- Empty your closet and decide which shoes are worth keeping and storing, which ones you need and want to wear again, and which shoes you need to toss, sell, or donate. Use the one-year rule: if you haven’t worn the pair of shoes in the last year, say goodbye
- Clean and thoroughly dry all the shoes you intend to pack and store. If possible, air out your shoes in direct sunlight for a couple of days before you start packing to ensure your shoes are free from moisture to prevent mold and mildew from growing
- Coat the inside of your shoes with foot powder to draw out any moisture
- Sort shoes according to heavy vs light and per person. (Each person’s shoes should be placed in a separate box and clearly labeled so everyone knows which shoes are theirs.)
- Stuff the insides of your shoes with socks, bubble wrap, or packing paper to ensure they hold their shape. Don’t use newspaper as the ink can rub off and stain your shoes. For boots, stuff them all the way to the top
- Wrap each shoe individually in packing paper to protect it from scuffing
- If you have your original shoe box:
- Line the box with packing paper
- Place the pair of shoes inside
- Fill any empty spaces with bubble wrap or packing paper
- Shut the shoe box and secure it with packing tape
- Get your storage box ready and line it with packing paper
- Place the heavier, sealed shoe boxes (with hiking boots, for example) at the bottom and lighter, sealed shoe boxes (with sandals or high heels, for example) at the top.
- If you don’t have your original shoe box:
- Place the stuffed and wrapped shoes into storage boxes with the heavier shoes (for example, hiking boots) at the bottom and lighter shoes (like high heels or sandals) at the top. Alternatively, you can place a pair or two in plastic containers and place these inside storage boxes
- Alternate the direction of the shoes to save space
- Lay boots horizontally.
- Add mothballs or cedar balls inside your storage box to prevent pest and insect infestations
- Fill empty spaces with bubble wrap or packing paper
- Close the box and fasten the flaps securely with heavy-duty packing tape
- Clearly label the box.
Here are our tips for how to store your shoes:
- Store shoes away from the storage space walls and floors to prevent moisture from seeping in. If possible, place these boxes onto pallets
- Choose a section of the storage space and devote it to clothes and shoes so you can easily access these personal items
- Don’t stack heavy boxes on top of shoe boxes to avoid any damage.
How to Store SPORT AND EXERCISE EQUIPMENT
Most sport and exercise equipment is pricy and packing these items for storage isn’t as simple as packing them in a box and storing them. Some items can be challenging to prepare and pack, while others need extra care.
Here are our tips for how to prepare and pack your sport and exercise equipment for storage:
- Prepare, clean, and check – clean your equipment by wiping everything down with a damp, soft cloth and all-natural solution or all-purpose cleaner. Sanitize everything
- Ensure that everything is thoroughly dry
- Start with the small items first:
- For barbells, dumbbells, and weights:
- Wrap them in bubble wrap or packing paper for protection
- Choose a box or plastic container that is sturdy enough to handle the weight of these items. To keep boxes and containers manageable to move, choose smaller boxes, don’t overload them, or make them too heavy.
- For golf clubs:
- Clean the club heads with warm, soapy water and a toothbrush. Dry the clubs
- Clean your grips
- Clean your golf bag and remove any trash rubbish from the pockets
- Place your golf clubs inside
- Wrap the golf bag in bedding or a moving blanket. Secure with rope or a bungee cord.
- For your yoga mat:
- Roll it from one side to the other. Secure it with a carry strap or a bag
- Place it inside a box with other items, or wrap a blanket or sheet around it for extra protection.
- Move on to larger items:
- For a canoe or kayak:
- Clean your canoe or kayak with freshwater to remove dirt, salt, sand, and grime. Be sure to clean the foot braces, rudder, and rubber cables too
- Air dry the boat
- Remove any accessories, like the bilge pump, paddles, spray skirt, and float bags. Store these separately by wrapping them individually in bedding or moving blankets
- Support the weight of the canoe or kayak at certain points along its length. Use padded cradles or nylon straps that match the hull’s curve
- Avoid pressure points as these can cause deformation
- Apply a sun-protective spray
- Composite kayaks should be stored on their sides or upside down. Store plastic kayaks on their side. Canoes should be stored upside down.
- For your elliptical machine:
- Unplug the machine
- Unscrew all the parts – handlebars, base, console, and pedals
- Wrap all the parts individually in moving blankets, label them, and place them in their original packaging or a storage box.
- For a jet ski or snowmobile:
- Clean the jet ski or snowmobile
- Drain the water from the engine
- Fill the fuel tank and add fuel stabilizer
Pro Tip - Most storage providers may request you to fully empty the fuel tank for storage.
- For a snowmobile, fog the engine by applying a coating of lubricant to the engine
- Change the oil
- Remove the battery or place it on a trickle charger
- Add anti-freeze to the exhaust system
- Block off the vents on a snowmobile
- Elevate the jet ski or snowmobile on cinder blocks to allow it to breathe.
- For your stationary bike:
- Wrap your bike in a moving blanket. If it is an electric bike, unplug it and store the cords in a secure place
- Place cardboard, furniture sliders, or towels underneath the bike if you’d like to protect the floor from scratches.
- For a surfboard:
- Wash it with fresh water and towel it dry
- Strip off old wax. Apply a new coat of wax
- Remove the leash and place it together with the board into a board bag. Alternatively, wrap it in moving blankets and secure with rope or a bungee cord.
- For your treadmill:
- Set the incline to zero. Remove the safety key
- Turn off the machine and unplug it
- Fold the walking deck against the console by raising it and clicking it in place
- Secure the walking deck by inserting the locking pin or tightening the knob
- Wrap and secure moving blankets around the machine.
- For weightlifting machines:
- Remove all the weights. Disassemble the equipment piece-by-piece according to the manufacturer instructions
- Secure all moving parts
- Wrap the equipment and disassembled pieces individually in moving blankets, bedding, or towels.
- For windsurfing gear:
- Remove all salt and sand, and air dry the equipment
- Hose the windsurfer with fresh water
- Remove all the lines. Wind them in a figure eight and secure with a zip tie or twist tie
- Lay the sail flat and roll it. Start with the head and work your way downwards
- Pack the equipment into the bag and zip it up. Alternatively, wrap it in a moving blanket and secure with bungee cord or rope.
- Clearly label all the power cords and keep them secure in a plastic container or storage box
- Place all nuts, bolts, and small parts together per item in sealable plastic bags. Label these clearly and tape the bag to the corresponding item.
How to Store UTENSILS
Do you need to know how to pack your cutlery and silverware for storage? Follow our guidelines to ensure your utensils remain in one piece and the sharp edges do not cause any damage.
Here are our tips for how to pack your utensils for storage:
- Clean and dry your cutlery and silverware
- If you have a special set of silverware that came in a wooden box or chest, place the items in the box. Before closing the box or chest, add a layer of tissue paper or packing paper. Wrap a moving blanket or sheets around it and secure with bungee cords or rope to protect it while in storage. If possible, place the box or crate in a box and add a "FRAGILE" sticker
- For other "normal" utensils, place them in bundles according to type – knife, spoon, fork, or spatula
- For chef’s knives, follow these safety precautions:
- Wrap packing paper around the sharp edges
- Alternate the direction of the blades as you pack the knives in your storage box
- Clearly label the box with "Knives" and "Sharp" so you know to take care when unpacking these items.
- Wrap each bundle in packing paper and secure with scotch tape
- Place the bundles into a silverware tray (like you’d have in your kitchen drawer)
- Wrap the tray in bubble wrap and secure it with scotch tape
- If you don’t have a silverware tray, place the bundles of utensils in a cardboard box or plastic container
- Use bubble wrap or packing paper to fill any empty spaces in the box
- Add a layer of scrunched up packing paper on top of all the utensils for extra protection
- Close the box and secure the flaps with heavy-duty packing tape
- Clearly label the box.
How to Store VEHICLES
Any vehicle needs to be stored correctly to ensure it still works properly when you take it out of storage.
Here are our tips for how to prepare your vehicle for storage:
- Empty and clean your car, inside and out:
- Remove all rubbish. Vacuum and wipe down the interior
- Wash the outside of your car to remove all dirt and grime. Wax the exterior.
- Do at-home car maintenance and preparations:
- Check if there are any leaks or drips by placing plastic under your engine
- Drain the oil and fuel; replace the oil and top up all the other fluids
- Fill your car with premium oil. Add fuel stabilizer to prevent the gas from gluing.
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 your car insurance. Your premium might decrease because you aren’t driving your car while it is safe in storage or it may be more economical to cover it with storage insurance
- Once you arrive at the storage space:
- Prepare your battery so it doesn’t go flat. Disconnect the negative charge or place the battery on a trickle charger
- Remove the wheels of the car 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 you take the wheels off, ensure they are stored flat and not upright
- Take the handbrake off and chock the wheels to prevent movement. For an automatic car, place it in park, and for a shift stick car, place the gear in neutral
- Close all windows and lock the doors
- Place a cover or sheet over your car
- Ensure you have removed any and all personal effects.
Once in storage, visit and inspect your car every so often. Also make sure that your car license is still valid when you take it out of storage or renew it before you fetch your car.
How to Store WINE AND ALCOHOL
Packing and storing your wine collection and other alcohol requires a lot of consideration. There is more involved in the process than simply packing your bottles in boxes and moving them to your storage space.
Here are our tips for how to pack your wine and alcohol for storage:
- If you have an extensive and/or valuable wine and alcohol collection, get it appraised and insured
- Find boxes that are the same size as your bottles. Alternatively, use plastic containers or tubs to pack your wine and alcohol in; these are better as they keep moisture out and their bottom isn’t likely to give out under the weight of the bottles
- Wrap each bottle in bubble wrap and place it in a box or container. Take care to not pack any opened bottles
- Place one layer of bottles in a box or container
- If there is extra space, place a few sheets of bubble wrap or a moving blanket to cushion the bottles. Add a few more bottles if there is enough space, but don’t stack them for more than two layers
- Fill any empty space with packing paper
- Place the smaller box into a larger box lined with bubble wrap or packing paper to provide a soft bed for the smaller box
- Bottles with unusual shapes should be wrapped in bubble wrap or packing wrap and then snuggly arranged into a box that is lined with bubble wrap or packing paper
- Close your box and secure with heavy-duty packing tape. Or, close the container/tub
- Label the box or container clearly. Add a "FRAGILE" sticker and "This Side Up" arrows.
Here are tips for how to store your wine and alcohol:
- Wine should be stored on its side since this prevents the cork from drying; alcohol should be stored upright to prevent leaking
- Stack boxes or containers on top of each other; ensure this arrangement is stable and not too high to risk these boxes from toppling over and your bottles breaking
- Keep the light off in your storage space as light may cause chemical changes in the alcohol
- Wine and alcohol are best stored in a cool to neutral and dry environment; alternatively, opt for climate-controlled storage
- Never store your wine near anything that has a strong smell; wine "breathes" and strong odors can permeate the cork and taint your wine
- If possible, store your wine at the back of your storage space if you don’t need access to it. Moving wine often stirs up sediments, which makes wine gritty and unpleasant.
Packing all your personal stuff and getting it ready for short-term or long-term storage doesn’t have to be stressful, at least not when you follow our simple step-by-step guidelines or opt for full-service storage.
To recap, here are some of the most important takeaways for how to store your belongings:
- Invest in quality professional grade boxes and packing supplies
- Follow all our steps outlined in this guide to help you prepare, wrap, pack, transport, and arrange your belongings for storage
- Most steps start with properly cleaning your items and letting them thoroughly dry
- Then, assess for any pieces that can break off easily and take care to wrap these carefully
- Remove any batteries and drain liquids or fuel from appliances and tools
- Disassemble any items and furniture you can to make packing, carrying, and transit as easy and safe as possible
- Pack small items in storage boxes or clear, plastic containers
- Add desiccant or silica gel sachets and cedar balls where necessary
- Take care to add "FRAGILE" stickers and directional "This Way Up" arrows where necessary
- Label your boxes and containers clearly; take care to not label any valuable items in detail
- Wrap bigger items in moving blankets, old blankets, towels, or sheets
- Keep most items away from storage space floors and walls by using wooden pallets or skids
- Ensure you’ve considered storage insurance for the protection of your belongings and peace of mind while they’re in storage.
Following all of these steps and those outlined in this guide will ensure you have a stress-free storage experience. And if you don’t have the time or energy to pack, or you would like the added protection from professional packers and movers, hire a full-service storage solution and don’t lift a finger!
Frequently Asked Questions
Who uses storage space?
Anyone, whether they are businessowners, government organizations, home owners, renters, or students, can use extra storage space at different times in their life, including a change in relationship status, relocating, passing of a loved one, deployment, and many more.
What are the different types of storage solutions?
There are three main types of storage solutions: full-service storage, portable (mobile) storage, and self storage.
What size storage space should I go for?
For general information, our "How Much Storage Space Do You Need" guide gives you the most common sized storage spaces and what you can store in each. Alternatively, you can make use of Storage Gurus’ best storage finder.
Can I adjust my storage space?
Increasing or decreasing your storage space will depend greatly on what type of storage solution you opt for. For self storage and portable storage, this will depend on your storage contract and availability of alternate units; however, with full-service storage, this isn’t an issue as you’re only charged for the volume your store, whether you increase or decrease it.
What may I store in a storage space?
Generally, you can store most personal, household, business, and commercial items in a storage space, and at some facilities, even vehicles and boats. However, be sure to check for certain restrictions before you decide where to store.
What may I not store in a storage space?
This is dependent on the storage provider, so it is recommended to check with them first. In general, however, you may not store explosives, flammable materials, illegal goods, live plants and animals, as well as firearms. It is also advisable to not store any goods that are irreplaceable or sensitive in nature; for example, identity documents, insurance policies, currency, and so forth.
Where can I find boxes and packing supplies?
Most storage providers sell storage boxes and packing supplies; however, if you engage a full-service storage company to carefully pack your belongings, they will include all the necessary professional quality boxes and packing materials.
How should I prepare my belongings for storage?
If you opt for professional packing from a full-service storage provider, you won’t need to worry about this as they will carefully pack all of your belongings for you. Alternatively, you can use our comprehensive "The Ultimate How to Store Your Personal Stuff Tips and Guide" for information on how to pack, transport, and store your belongings.
How secure are storage spaces?
Some storage providers’ premises are very secure with state-of-the-art security. Before you reserve and rent a storage space, go and visit the storage facility (if possible) and see what security features are present. These may include access control, intruder alarms, ample exterior and interior lighting, on-site resident managers, CCTV, security fencing, and so on. If you can’t visit, then phone them and ask about their security features and what they do to prevent theft and break-ins.
Do I need storage insurance?
Most storage providers will require you to have some sort of insurance coverage for your belongings while they are in storage. This can range from extending your existing homeowner’s insurance (if your policy provider will allow it) to taking out an affordable storage-specific policy through the storage provider or another third party.
Is smoking allowed on the premises?
Most likely, smoking may not be allowed on the storage premises; designated smoking areas may be provided. Check with your storage provider.
What do I need to rent a storage space?
This depends on the storage provider; however, in most cases, you need a form of identification, like a driver’s license, government ID card, or passport, a mailing address, phone number, and Social Security Number. Most storage providers may also require proof of storage insurance.
Can I reserve a storage space over the phone, in-person, or online?
There are storage providers that may require you to reserve your storage space in person and also complete the storage rental/lease agreement at their facility. However, with other storage providers, you may be able to make your reservation online or over the phone.
How much notice is required to reserve a storage space or book a full-service storage solution?
To avoid disappointment, it is recommended to make a reservation at least 30 days in advance prior to your intended occupation of a storage space or pick-up date in the case of full-service storage; depending on your storage needs, as few as seven days may be sufficient.
How can I cancel my reservation?
You may contact the storage provider to cancel your reservation. A cancellation or termination fee may be applicable.
Is a storage contract or storage lease agreement required?
While oral agreements may be binding, if there is a dispute, it is always difficult proving who said what. As such, a written storage contract is always recommended and is often required with professional storage providers. The contract also clearly outlines all the essential Terms and Conditions of your agreement.
How much notice is required before I can visit or leave (aka move out of) the storage space?
The details of this would be outlined in your storage contract or storage lease agreement. With some storage companies, you can visit your storage space whenever you want to, while with others, this may be restricted to office hours or you may need to make an appointment.
For moving out or terminating your storage contract, anywhere from a two-weeks or one-month notice period may be required.
What is the minimum rental commitment?
This depends on your storage provider; however, in general, the minimum rental commitment would be one month.
Do I have to pay a security deposit?
Some storage providers may charge a security deposit, and this may be equivalent to approximately two weeks’ worth of rent. Other companies do not charge a security deposit, but may still charge an admin fee and/or the remainder of your initial month’s rent in advance.
What forms of payment are generally accepted?
Storage providers may accept cash, checks, all major debit and credit cards (American Express, MasterCard, and Visa), and payments made online or electronic funds transfers (ETFs). Automatic billing may also be available.
What happens if I make a late payment?
A late payment fee may be applicable and if you default (don’t make rent payments for a period of time), the storage provider may put a lien on the property in the storage space to recoup any outstanding rent and fees.
How do I terminate my storage lease agreement?
A storage lease agreement may be terminated via sending the storage company a written notice (this may take the form of an email) and providing enough notice, which may be 30 days. Your storage contract should provide the details you need.
Are activities other than the storing of personal and business belongings allowed in a storage space or on the storage company premises?
Some storage companies have strict rules about what may or may not be allowed to be stored in their storage space and on their premises, while others are more lenient. In the latter case, you may be allowed to use your storage space for band practice, an office space, and a number of other uses.
Other storage companies may provide extra amenities in the form of flexible office space (already equipped with a phone and electrical point) that can be rented out, on-site conference centers, free coffee and Wi-Fi, a concierge service, moving truck rental, and fax/copy services.
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.