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Packing For Self-Storage - Part 1

Although some self-storage companies will offer packing as an additional service, you will pay for the privilege and, in most cases, you'll be packing up yourself. Packing for self-storage is an art and you'll need to put some thought into it before you begin. After all, one of the primary advantages of using a self-storage facility is the fact that you can continue to access your items even in storage.

The first thing to remember therefore is to pack in such a way that you can find things at a later date quickly and without unloading absolutely everything you've put away. Make an inventory of what you've packed and where it is as you go along. Other packing and storage preparation tips include:

  • Make an estimate of the replacement value of each item you store to help with accurate insurance policies and in case of unforeseen damage in the self-storage facility.
  • Invest in good quality sturdy boxes and packing materials - box strength degrades with use. If you buy boxes of similar sizes it'll be easier to stack them securely in the self-storage facility and will save you space.
  • Box everything that you can - everything that is left unboxed in a self-storage facility will get dusty and potentially dirty.
  • Fill boxes to capacity wherever possible to avoid breakages but avoid making them too heavy - remember you'll have to be able to lift them. You can use materials such as paper or towels or can buy special packing to fill spaces if necessary. Depending on the space you opt to rent from your self-storage facility, you might be stacking boxes on top of each other and the lower levels need to be sturdy enough to take the strain. Boxes that are only partly filled may tip over or collapse.
  • Label all boxes clearly so you can identify the contents and keep an inventory. Label them on more than one side so you can see what's what quickly. Mark 'Fragile' on any boxes containing breakable items.
  • Don't be tempted to fill large boxes with heavy items such as books as they'll quickly become impossible to carry and may break. You can buy small book boxes from your self-storage facility that will do the job just as well. If you do pack heavy items in a large box put in just a few and then fill the box up with lighter items.
  • Don't pack items into sealed plastic bags, as humidity can cause mildew.
  • Pack books flat to avoid damaging their spines.
  • Don't store wet items in a self-storage facility as they can cause water damage, mold and mildew.
  • Large appliances need care before placing in a self-storage facility - make sure you defrost fridges and freezers thoroughly before storing them otherwise you'll be leaving yourself open to water damage. Tie doors up for the move, although you should leave them slightly ajar once in storage to stop condensation forming and help ward off bad odors. Drain washing machines before storing them and tie down hoses etc. Appliances should be clean and dry and it'll be worthwhile wiping the insides over with bicarbonate of soda before you store them.
  • Wrap all fragile items and breakables such as dishes, glasses, ornaments etc separately. Paper will do but bubble wrap is a good investment. Pack them tightly into strong boxes, filling any gaps with paper or filler. Try to avoid putting heavy items on top of fragile ones in a self-storage facility.
  • If you're going to be storing clothes think about buying wardrobe or clothes boxes - you'll then be able to simply hang the clothes in them and they'll keep their shape. It's not wise to simply put your clothes in bin liners in a self-storage facility as moisture can get trapped inside when they're sealed and your clothes could be ruined.
  • For the best protection for mirrors and pictures in a self-storage facility, wrap them in a protective covering such as bubble wrap and stack them on their ends. Mirrors and pictures should never be stored flat. Mark them as 'Fragile'.