Self Storage and Packing Tips


Plan ahead. Keep the items you use frequently at the front of your unit where you can get at them easily.
Map your layout. As you move into your storage space, make a simple drawing that shows where items are placed.

Cover things up. Protect your furniture, including mattresses and box springs, with mattress covers designed for the item.

Go vertical but be safe. Make best use of your storage area by stacking to the ceiling, working from heaviest items on the bottom to lightest items on top.

Keep a short ladder or tall stool in your unit to facilitate stacking and reaching items up high.

Maximize your space. Break down any furniture that has removable legs, leaves, or other parts. Stack chairs seat-to-seat with towels or blankets between them.

One inside the other. Store things like linens – even books or CDs, in refrigerators, washers, dryers etc. Wedge the door of any appliances open so air can circulate inside them. Be sure to drain washer completely to avoid motor freeze up.

Space out a little. Leave a little space between the walls of your unit and your stored items to allow for ventilation.

Handle it. Shovels, hoes, rakes and hoses can be stored together in empty trash cans. Put the handles in first, so you can easily identify the tool without having to pull several out.

Low emission storage. Drain the tanks of all your gas-powered tools and toys before you store them. It’s a good safety move, plus your unit will smell much nicer, and so will Grandma’s handmade quilt.

Something to think about. An extra emergency preparedness kit in your storage unit is a good idea. If your home becomes inaccessible, you’ll have a second supply resource.


Be prepared. Gather all the materials and supplies you need before you start: boxes, tape, packing materials, markers, furniture covers and so on. We recommend pallets between your items and our floors. Just in case.

Mark a lot! Mark every box with its contents. Be specific as to what’s in the box. Don’t just write ‘dishes.’ Write Auntie Junes four piece tea set. Keep a written inventory as you pack.

Use the right box. Use large containers for light items (linens, pillows, lamps) and smaller boxes for heavier items (books, CDs).

Plastic is fantastic. Plastic storage containers are generally stronger than cardboard, and are moisture resistant. For your more valuable, fragile items, plastic containers are a good choice.

Take care. Pack small things carefully into boxes with appropriate packing materials. Crumpled newspaper is virtually free, effective, and readily available. Resist the temptation to toss things into a garbage bag; they risk damage from knocks or bumps and mildew from lack of ventilation.

This side up. If you combine different weights of items in one box, always put the heavier things on the bottom and mark the box “this side up.”

Don’t overload. Packed boxes should only weigh as much as you can lift without straining – for most people, less than 40 pounds.

Tape it up. Make sure all your packed boxes are securely sealed with packing tape, with the tops flat (to make it easier to stack them).

Hang it up. Use a wardrobe box to hang clothing, draperies and other fabrics that need to breathe and be kept crease-free.

Break it down. Disassemble bed frames and lash them together with tape or twine. Use small plastic bags to store screws and bolts and tape them to the frame that they belong to.

Respect breakables. Wrap dishes and glassware individually, and pad the box with packing paper or bubble wrap.