Sure, loading up your boxes and simply stacking them on the floor of your storage unit may result in most things surviving the experience -- but if you're bothering to pack and save the items in your storage unit, don't you want them all to emerge in perfect condition? The following tips will ensure all of your items remain in tip-top shape, saving you the time and money it would take to replace them.
Tip #1: Stack everything on pallets.
Even in the most pristine, climate-controlled storage unit, there is a small chance of flooding. If water seeps across the floor, it will come into contact with any boxes on the floor and likely cause the items they contain to mold. The water may even be slowly drawn up to items stored in boxes on top of the floor-level boxes -- so the damage could be substantial, even from a small amount of water.
You can get around this risk by stacking your boxes on pallets. Check local hardware stores, home and garden stores, and other small shops to see if they have any spare pallets they're willing to give to you or sell to you at a low price. Produce cooperatives and farmers may also have pallets to spare, as may local recycling centers.
If you want to go the extra mile, spray your pallets with a waterproof spray paint before using them in your storage unit. This will ensure if they are exposed to water, they won't absorb moisture and start to mold. Mold from the pallets could eventually work its way into your possessions or at least give them a stinky odor.
Tip #2: Don't stack boxes too high.
Even if your lower boxes look like they're supporting those stacked on top of them just fine, they may collapse after being in storage for weeks or months, causing damage to the items they contain and any higher-up items that come tumbling down. To keep items in your lower boxes from being squished, try not to stack boxes more than 3 or 4 high. Put the heaviest boxes on the bottom.
If you have a lot to store, you'll have to be careful with your box arrangements to ensure you fit everything in without making tall stacks. A space-efficient organization scheme to consider is placing a single row of boxes along each of the four walls, and then creating an island-like square or rectangle of stacked boxes in the center of the unit. This way, you maximize your use of space while also ensuring most boxes are easily accessible.
Tip #3: Wrap everything in plastic.
Once you have your boxes neatly stacked in your storage unit, it's time to do some wrapping. Industrial plastic wrap, which is essentially like huge rolls of the plastic wrap you use in your kitchen, can be purchased from many moving companies and even some office supply stores. Start at the bottom of your stack of boxes, and pass the wrap around the boxes over and over again, slowly working your way up towards the top. This is easiest if you have a friend to help you.
The plastic wrapping adds an extra barrier between any rodents, bugs, drops of moisture, or particles dust and your items. There are only a couple of things you do not want to wrap in plastic:
By packing your items on pallets that spray painted to prevent molding, stacking your boxes lower, and wrapping most things in plastic, you add an extra layer of protection to the items in your storage unit. Visit sites like http://www.northstarministorage.com to find units near you.
Including my husband and I, we have a family of six, but we live in a smaller house to help stash away more money in our children's college funds. Our family does a big house spring cleaning every year, and up until a few years ago, it used to be a lot more stressful. It got a lot easier when we decided to start renting a storage unit. Now, we keep our winter clothes in the unit during the summer and vice versa, and we store items we only use occasionally. Not having so much "stuff" around the house just makes it a lot easier to keep our house clean and free of clutter. I have learned a lot about storage units since we started renting ours, so I thought I would start a blog to share my tips on to help anyone who needs them!