How to Pack a Storage Unit

A man holding a moving box in front of a storage unit.

Maybe you’re using a storage unit because you’re moving, or maybe you’re in need of some extra space in your home. Whatever the reason, packing your storage unit can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not organized.

It’s always tempting to put everything into your unit without any rhyme or reason and hope for the best. But we’re here to help you find the best way to pack a storage unit so you can maximize your space and so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

How to pack a storage unit

Step 1. Create an inventory list. List out all the items you’ll be storing, and as you pack and store them away, note where they ended up. Group together your lists based on the items you pack together, and note the placement of things that you leave out of boxes.

Step 2. Clean and vacuum your belongings. Before you put them into storage, make sure your items are clean and ready to be stored. You don’t want to open your storage unit a few months later to find dirty or damaged items. Cleaning them now can help prevent that.

Step 3. Secure your items. Storing appliances? Make sure they’re not only clean, but also organized – keep all parts together and be sure to wrap your cords so they don’t get stuck later. Also, if you’re storing things with doors, it’s always a good idea to wrap or tape them shut to keep you safe while moving them.

Step 4. Organize. Knowing the size unit you’ll be using, plan out which items need to go into storage and begin organizing them outside of the unit first. Put like items together and determine which can stay in boxes or containers.

A word of advice: if you plan on leaving items in storage and periodically taking them out, rather than unpacking everything at once, make sure you organize the items you think you’ll need and store them last. This will ensure they’re easily accessible later.

Step 5. Label your boxes. Have you ever searched a storage unit, garage, or attic for a specific item? Then you know how important it is to label your boxes well. Depending on how you organize your items, make your labels as clear as possible – even include a few of the items in each box in your label to help jog your memory later. Just make sure you store your boxes with the labels facing toward the front of the storage unit.

Step 6. Wrap fragile items. There’s nothing worse than shattering an antique mirror or breaking your favorite lamp while moving and storing. To protect your items, wrap up anything and everything that’s fragile. Place blankets over mirrors, wrap glasses and vases in bubble wrap or padding, and use stretch wrap for some extra protection.

Step 7. Disassemble larger items. In order to maximize your space, try to disassemble any furniture or larger items that you don’t need to keep intact while stored. Just be sure to keep all of the parts together to make it easier on you later.

Step 8. Create sturdy bases with heavier items on the bottom. Store large items such as tables, furniture, and heavy boxes on the floor of your unit and store lighter items and boxes on top of these. You don’t want to crush any of your items, and you certainly don’t want large items to fall over because they’re not balanced well.

Step 9. Make your items accessible. It’s easy to fill up every inch of space of your unit, but what happens when you need something from the very back? Make sure you can easily get to most of your items, whether that’s with a small aisle in the middle or some space to reach higher items.

Step 10. Fill in the gaps. Remember all that Tetris you played in the past? Now is the time to put those skills to the test! Find creative ways to stack things and place smaller items inside larger items to truly maximize your space.

Follow these steps and you should be on your way to successful storage. But first, answers to a question we get often…

What should you not put in a storage unit?

As you’re storing, be sure to leave out these items:

  • Food

  • Plants

  • Hazardous materials

  • Wet items (be sure to dry them if you happen to move in the rain!)

  • Flammable or combustible items

  • Anything with gas

Have any other moving or storage questions? We’re here to answer them! Please reach out to us here.

More From Space Shop Self Storage

Find a Unit Right for You Today!

Rent or Reserve Now