A little extra space for your stuff is sometimes needed. An easy and affordable way to do this is by renting a storage unit, but there are things that you do need to consider when putting items into storage that are not intuitive. Selection of the type of storage unit, size needed, preparing items for storage, getting them into the unit, paying for the unit, and getting them out without anything suffering damage all need to be factored in.

This article from the Washington Post is a good place to start when you are considering using a storage unit.

1. What is going into storage?

First, consider what you are storing. There are many types of storage units, and this article goes into more detail about the pros and cons of each.

Delicate items will need to be protected, so they are not damaged. Humidity and temperature changes can damage anything made of wood, cardboard, paper, leather, or cloth. Furniture will warp and rot. Clothing, cardboard, and paper will mold and rot as well. Clothing, specifically, needs some extra steps to prepare it to be stored. Electronics and computers also need to be stored moisture free, or they will corrode.

2. There are also things that should not be put in the storage unit

  • Anything flammable, such as aerosol cans, solvents, fuel, or propane tanks.
  • Hazardous materials like batteries, pesticides, fertilizer, paint, and pool chemicals.
  • Perishable items like food, seeds, and plant bulbs.
  • Explosives such as fireworks, black powder, gunpowder, and ammunition.
  • Items that are prone to theft like firearms, jewelry, antiques, and cameras.

3. Keep things organized

You will want to find a storage unit large enough to fit everything, of course, but also consider getting a larger unit, so you have room to add more items or take out items without unloading the entire unit. Use clear plastic totes instead of cardboard boxes to locate items easier. Using plastic totes of any type is preferable to cardboard boxes since they will keep moisture out. Label every container and make an inventory of the entire unit. Starting organized is always easier than getting organized after the fact.

Another great thing to have on hand when loading or unloading a unit is a hand truck. It lets you move more boxes in one trip and easily move heavy items. Either bringing one with you every time you visit your unit or placing one in the storage unit will speed up any trip.

Getting some help from family and friends when loading and unloading the entire unit is also a good idea, so you don’t spend an entire day there and end up exhausted at the end.

4. Getting things out of storage

Eventually, you are going to take the items out of storage for one reason or another. If you have prepared them for storage correctly and chosen the right kind of storage unit, all of your possessions will be in perfect condition, even years later.

Labeling every container will let you pull items one at a time if you need them while the rest of your items remain.

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