Packing storage containers can take practice. It can be tempting to throw everything into the nearest box and be done with it. But you will save on storage containers, stress, and backaches with just a little planning and organization. Here are our tips to help you pack the perfect storage container:
1. Organize Items and Pack Similar Together
The first rule of organization is to always place similar items together in storage. Throwing a bunch of random items together in a box will only leave you very confused when you unpack your items later.
Group similar items in piles before you pack, so they all get put in the same box together. Figure out the best way for your items to be categorized depending on what type and how much stuff you have to store.
Some organization ideas:
- Categorize by room: All kitchen items together for example
- Categorize by function: All coats together for example
- Categorize by owner: All of your daughter’s stuff together for example
2. Place Items Strategically
After you separate items into categories, your organization work is not done. From there you need to decide how you will organize items inside the box. Throwing items randomly into a box and sealing it shut will just not cut it. A good rule of thumb no matter what you are packing: Place heavier items in the bottom and lighter items towards the top.
Some questions to ask as you pack:
- Will a box or plastic bin be a better fit for this items?
- Can I fit any items inside other items to maximize storage space?
- How can I strategically store the most items in this container?
- How can I pack these items for ease of unpacking?
Always give fragile items special consideration. To save money and time, you can gather old newspapers as packing material instead of going out to buy bubble wrap or packing peanuts. Or, if you happen to be moving towels or blankets along with other items, you can try using these as padding.
You’ll want to place a layer of packing material in the bottom of the container as a cushion as well as wrap each item individually. Also, make sure to carefully fill all extra space with packing material to avoid your items shifting in transit.
4. Watch the Weight Of the Container
Although your items might seem to weigh little individually, together the weight can add up! Be aware of this as you pack and occasionally lift your container to check that the weight isn’t too much. You don’t want to pull out your back from lift and moving a heavy container.
Be especially aware of this when packing boxes (vs. plastic bins) because these can easily tear or become damaged from too much weight.
Books are an example of items that quickly advance the weight of a container. If you are packing books or other items that can become very heavy, be sure to choose smaller containers to pack them in.
5. Label the Container
Always remember to label the outside of the container with a marker or sticky note. This will make things incredibly easier later when you are looking for a specific item. This is another reason to categorize items before you pack. If you separate your belongings into similar groups, choosing a label for each containers will be easy. As suggested earlier, you can label by room (kitchen stuff), by function (coats), or by owner (daughter’s stuff).
At DAK Self Storage, we provide easy-access to your unit, but it’s up to you to organize it. Whether you’ve had your storage unit for years or it’s brand new, an organization plan is alway beneficial. Consideration of how you organize items can ensure you efficiently manage and navigate your unit. Otherwise, you might just end up with a big, stressful pile of random stuff. We want it to be simple for you unpack and store belongings and a storage plan will help you maximize space and easily access items whenever you need them. Here are some tips on organizing your storage unit so you you can reach your items hassle-free.
Maximize Storage Space
- Gather boxes and plastic containers
- Take advantage of drawers and shelves
- Stack boxes and containers
- Create a center aisle
Use boxes and plastic storage containers in your unit, but also take advantage of unexpected storage space. For example, are you storing shelves, dressers, or desks? These can double as storage space. Drawers can be using for clothing and smaller items.
Don’t have any furniture to store for extra space? No problem: Stacking boxes and containers will also help maximize space. Always remember to place heavier boxes at the bottom.
Also, you can create a center aisle in your unit when placing boxes to easily maneuver inside it. Remember to keep any boxes you will access regularly towards the front of the unit.
- Group similar items together in boxes
- Keep a general description of what’s in each box
- Update list when adding or removing items
- List approximate value of expensive items
Keep a list of items in your storage unit. It may be tedious to list every single item, so categorize items and list a general description of what’s in each box. You can store items together in a range of categories: item function, owner, location, time of year, ect. Some examples include: college, holiday, outdoor, cooking, or baby. Storing similar items together will make it much easy to accurately label and find things. In addition, make it a habit to mark anything added to or taken out of the unit each time you leave.
An added benefit of developing a list of items you store is insurance purposes. You will have a detailed list of items just in case anything were to happen to your unit. If storing valuable items, such as electronics or sports equipments, always list the price you paid and the year purchased.
Use a Labeling System
Using the inventory list of items in your storage unit, you can create a labeling system. Number every box on your list. Write corresponding numbers on the boxes, or use sticky notes to number plastic containers. You can also create a numbered floor plan to hang on the wall if your unit is especially large.
Quality sleep is imperative to your health and happiness. You are certainly more likely to sleep well if you invest in a good bed frame, bed springs, and mattress. These don’t come cheap, so it’s important to take care when moving and storing them because they can last you years and years if properly maintained. Here are some tips on how to keep your bed in good condition while moving and storing:
Before and After Storage Care
Always be sure to thoroughly clean your mattress before storing. You can first use a vacuum to pick up any crumbs and then upholstery cleaner on the stains. It’s a good idea to do a quick cleaning of the entire mattress, even if there are no visible stains. Any leftover body oils can spread and cause odor while in storage.
Next, clean the bed frame with a soap and water solution if needed. If you need to use a cleanser, make sure you find one made specifically for the type of material your bed frame is made out of. Wooden bed frames especially are prone to damage by using the wrong (or too strong of a) cleanser.
Wash with a cleaning brush or rag and let it soak for a few minutes, then wipe it down again with just water. Allow it to dry completely in an open area because any leftover moisture can cause residue and mold.
If you need to disassemble the bed frame, make sure to keep all screws, nuts, and bolts together in a plastic bag for safe keeping.
After storage, you can freshen up the mattress by sprinkling baking soda to absorb odor and then remove it with a vacuum.
How to Avoid Damage
- Don’t store anything on top
- Avoid basement or damp locations
- Keep away from sharp objects and pets
Avoid the basement or any storage location with a damp environment or high humidity. Too much moisture can easily seep into the mattress and damage it. Also, don’t store it near any sharp objects or in the reach of pets. Keep other items (especially heavy items) off of the mattress while in storage.
Long Term Storage
- Store mattress in a flat position
- Use a mattress cover
Mattresses can be moved and stored on their sides temporarily, but leaving it like that too long can cause the coils to shift inside. Keep it lying flat if it will be in storage for more than a week or so.
Cover everything with a blanket to protect from dust. Or, if you are storing your mattress long term, you may want to invest in a mattress cover. These are made of light, breathable plastic and will offer better protection from the elements and potential pests. You can get a quality one for around $20 at home goods stores. You may still have the original plastic cover if you recently purchased your mattress. This will be sufficient, as long as put tape over any holes or tears that developed.
If you’ve set a New Year’s resolution to get organized, DAK Self Storage is here to help. Here are our best tips for clearing clutter and getting organized in 2015:
Set Organizational Goals
One way to approach the decluttering process is to make a list of project goals and take it one room at a time. Prioritize the areas that cause you the most frustration.
An Example Goal List
- Kitchen: Declutter and organize the junk drawer
- Bedroom: Reorganize closet
- Living Room: Keep it looking neat everyday
Seeing the most important tasks on paper will help you get them done. Cross off each one as you finish for a sense of accomplishment.
Clear the Clutter
Taking care of clutter is an important step to getting organized. It’s helpful to remove outdated, unused, and excess items from your home to make way for an new year.
Sort through your items and decide if you should place them in storage or find a good location to keep them in the house. You may also want to designate items to donate, sell, or recycle.
A good rule of thumb is to get rid of anything that has not been used during the past year. Keep everything that is used frequently or that you may need immediate access to. Place in self storage anything used only a couple times a year, anything that is not currently used but will be in the future, and sentimental items that you don’t have space for.
Remove excess items from your home quickly so you can see your progress. If you don’t have a self storage unit, the new year is a great time to rent one. It can help you start you 2015 off decluttered and organized.
Give Everything a Space
As you declutter, take a mental inventory of what you have so you can figure out if you’ll need any organizational tools. Shelves, containers, drawers, hooks, bins, boxes, and baskets can all come in handy to hold things around the house. These do not need to be expensive; You can repurpose containers and boxes or even shop at a local dollar store for items. While it’d be a great help to get an ultimate organization shelving unit for the bedroom closet, these may not fit in the budget, or even be necessary.
Create an accessible spot for shoes, keys, and other things so they don’t end up scattered all over the house. This will keep the place looking neater, less clutter, and prevent things from being lost. Once you get in the habit of placing everything in a certain spot, you’ll stay organized and find things more easily.
Prevent Paper Piles
Paper is the common household clutter. We can easily add dozens of papers to our home daily with mail, newspapers, magazines, and school or work projects. You can quickly make any space look more visually appealing by simply removing paper from the counters.
Make a goal for 2015 to keep paper around as little as possible. When you check the mail, immediately recycle the pieces you don’t need, and file the rest. Keep a few folders for important documents you will need in the future. Try and keep paper from lingering around the counter space because it can create clutter and easily become misplaced.
Involve the Family
Keep up after your clutter and you will be off to a neat and organized year. Ask your family to pitch in and make sure they know where everything now belongs. If everyone takes a few minutes to straighten up each night it will lessen the load on one person. Have everyone pick up any random items that were left in the wrong place and return them to where they belong. Do this each night to effortlessly keep the place decluttered. If you put it off for even a few days, the clutter can pile up and may take hours to clear again.