Guide to loading a storage unit

Whether you are moving from a different city or just decluttering, you need to know how to do it properly. Organizing and loading a storage unit is great for storing furniture, out of season clothes, and making more living space. Investing in storage is the next best thing after hiring Oxford movers and packers to move everything for you. Here, we will show you how to protect your things from damage, and use the space to its limit. Also, we will go over the topic of labeling, so you don’t lose your favorite sweater in a sea of boxes.

a row of red colored storage units
Loading a storage unit requires preparation and planing to go smooth

Prepare everything before loading a storage unit

Before we get to the actual packing part, first we need to go over the basics of preparing for loading. From cleaning to taking inventory, this is what you need to know to be prepared.

Make sure your unit has enough space

Let us say you are planning on moving to Hattiesburg, and you booked a storage unit already. Will it be enough to hold all your items? The last thing you want is to start packing and realize you don’t have enough space. Start by making a list of how much furniture you will move, and add a rough estimate of the number of boxes you think you’ll have. Calculate how much space all this will take, and compare it to how much space you have before loading a storage unit. Keep in mind most of your items will fit, so long as you plan well ahead.

Clean the unit and your belongings before loading anything in

The most important thing before loading your storage unit is making sure everything is clean and ready to go. Start by checking the unit’s walls and roof for cracks or leaks. Sweep the floor after this to get rid of any debris. For added safety, you can always scrub the walls and floor with soap. In case your storage unit is not climate controlled, consider adding a tarp or wooden pallets on the floor to keep your items safe from moisture or pests. If you store dirty items in a clean warehouse or clean items in a dirty warehouse, you will find them even dirtier when you unpack them several months later. Before packing, be sure to wash, dust, and scrub anything that is going to be stored away. These are some of the tasks you should not skip:

  • Wash your clothes and remove any stains, as they can set in deeper over time.
  • Wipe down your furniture and wax any wooden furniture you may have.
  • Use mild soap on leather furniture.
  • Wipe appliances inside and out and make sure there is no moisture on the inside of fridges or washing machine
person with a purple glove holding a yellow spray bottle
Cleaning the storage and the items in it will save you a lot of trouble in the future

Make a detailed inventory of the items you are storing

To prevent your items from getting lost in the endless sea of boxes and tubs, make a list of everything you are going to pack. With a full inventory list, you will not have to dig through the entire unit to find that one specific thing you are looking for. For better navigation, label the boxes themselves. Before closing the unit, for the time being, write down what is being stored, and include the following details:

  • Short description of all items, including notes of any previous damage, if any.
  • Names of brands and photos of serial numbers, where ever possible.
  • The rough monetary value of any valuable items, in case there is damage or theft.
  • Where you packed the item (cardboard box, plastic tub, etc.

Packing your items before storing

Your belongings may suffer damage if not properly packed. Whatever you decide to place in your storage unit, the following tips will greatly help you protect your valuables.

Packing furniture for storage

Packing furniture needs special attention before loading a storage unit. It is usually best to avoid plastic packing materials since they can cause mildew to form. What you should do instead, is loosely drape furniture with quilts or old sheets. In case you have fragile items that require tape, make sure not to tape directly onto the furniture. This can lead to paint or fabric removal, ultimately ruining the furniture you are trying so hard to protect.

Appliances need special care as well

When it comes to storing appliances, it is important to first drain any liquid that may reside inside them. Any fragile pieces, like glass shelves, need to be taken out of the appliance and packed separately. Once the appliance is in the unit, do not plug it into any socket. Once the devices are in, leave their doors slightly open, along with placing a bit of baking soda inside to remove odors. Given the fact that electronic parts in your devices are prone to rust and fissures, a climate-controlled unit can help prevent this.

Clothes are another common item in storage units

The best solution for packing clothes is using a plastic container with zip lock lids. This will help protect clothes from dust and mildew. To prevent odors, and most importantly moths, pack cedar balls with your clothes. Avoid mothballs as they are toxic and can damage the clothing. Neatly fold and wash your clothes before packing, so you don’t have to go through the added trouble of washing everything again once it’s out of storage.

The best methods of loading a storage unit

Now that you know how to pack everything before loading it into the unit, now it’s time to look over organizing everything. There are plenty of ways to go about this, so pick the one that suits you the most. Here we will list the most common ones.

stacked up cardboard boxes, representing loading a storage unit
Not organizing your boxes well can cause problems when loading a storage unit

Organizing with descriptive labels

If you want to improve your storing skills and increase the chances of finding what you’re looking for, you’ll need labels. For example, the label “kitchen” just isn’t enough clarification when it comes to packing your kitchen items. You will end up with 5 “kitchen” boxes and you still won’t be able to find that mixing bowl you are looking for. Instead of this, label your boxes with what the actually contain, such as “measuring cup”, “utensils”, “glassware”.

Loading a storage unit by priority

Get that inventory list we talked about earlier and take a look at it again. Highlight any item you think you’ll need more frequently or urgently. Will those winter coats come in handy in a few weeks? Whatever item needs to be accessed regularly, should be packed last, and at the front of the unit. On the other hand, items that won’t see frequent use during the season should go in first when loading a storage unit, and be stashed in the far back.

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