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5 min read

Do's & Don'ts of Self Storage

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When it comes to a storage unit, convenience, accessibility, safety, and reliability are important. While much of that responsibility lies with us, some of it also lies with you! Knowing what you should and shouldn't do when packing your storage unit is important for the long-term satisfaction and safety of your items. There's an art to packing storage units for optimal access and preservation of items, so here are some key things to do (and not do).


Do's and Don'ts of Packing Your Storage Unit

Not sure how to pack your furniture in your unit? Here are a few tips to help you that'll ensure your furniture lasts as long as it can:

  1. Don't Wrap Your Furniture in Plastic:  You've probably seen moving companies do this to furniture before they load it up. This is to ensure that it doesn't get scratched or stained by outside forces. However, if you wrap your furniture in plastic and place it in your storage unit for a period of time, you run the risk of your furniture growing mold. So, although it does protect your furniture short term, it doesn't protect your furniture long term. If you want to protect against dust, we recommend using cloth (like old sheets or blankets) to do so, as it won't trap moisture.

  2. Do Clean Your Furniture Before Storing: Dirty items can cause unwanted consequences, like bad odors, mold, and moth infestations. By cleaning all of your furniture thoroughly before storing it, you are ensuring that it's in the best possible condition it can be when it goes in.

  3. Do Disassemble Items Where Possible: Most items, when disassembled, take up less space and are less bulky. This helps save you storage space and makes everything easier to pack in. It also reduces the likelihood of anything breaking or bending in storage.

  4. Do Wrap Glass: It's easy for glass to break in transit and storage. Protect all glass mirrors, tabletops, and lamps by wrapping them in packing paper and bubble wrap. Then store them where they are least likely to come into contact with something that could cause them to break.

  5. Do choose climate-controlled: If you're worried about items being ruined by temperature swings, mold, or sustained hot or cold weather, climate-controlled storage is a must.

Do Store Items Properly in Your Storage Unit

When it comes to storing items in a storage unit, your biggest concern should be accessibility and convenience. Who wants to drive out to their storage unit to spend hours sifting through all of their belongings for one item that they need? No one!

The organization of your storage unit is key in this situation to ensure that you can quickly find and access your belongings when you need them.

Here are some additional helpful resources on this topic:

Don't Put These 3 Things in a Storage Unit

There are items that definitely shouldn't be stored in your storage unit, for safety reasons and/or longevity reasons, including:

1. Flammable Items

Flammable items should NEVER be stored in your self-storage unit. Even with a climate-controlled unit, in the event of a disaster, temperatures can spike and flammable objects can ignite, causing a fire within your unit (or the entire storage complex). Although they may seem fine in current, safe conditions, it's the unknowns and unpredictable conditions that should cause you to be cautious.

2. Perishables (Food, Plant, or Other)

A storage unit is not meant to function as a greenhouse, pantry, or refrigerator. Any organic matter in a unit will eventually spoil, leaving awful smells and hazardous mold, attracting rodents and pests. All of the above can ruin your other items in storage.

Exceptions can be made for canned goods and dry goods, but you'll want to check first before you store these. If you get the OK, you'll need to make sure they are properly sealed and in a location where they won't have the opportunity to fall off a ledge or come into contact with sharp objects that could cause them to break open.

3. Very Valuable Items

Items like your birth certificate, social security card, bonds, expensive jewelry, and other such valuables shouldn't be stored in a storage unit. These are best stored in a safe at home or a safety deposit box at a bank.

Do Practice Storage Safety

There are a few guidelines you'll need to follow to ensure your safety and the safety of your belongings that are in storage: 

1. Properly Stack Items at a Safe Height

What may be a safe stacking height for others may not be a safe stacking height for you. Don't stack items in a way that they could fall on your head and injure you, or in a way that could lead to you injuring your back by lifting heavy objects that are high off the ground. Stack the heavier items on the bottom and the lighter ones on the top for optimal safety.

2. Never Climb Over Items

Climbing over items in a storage unit is usually a recipe for disaster, for yourself and your belongings. If you must reach a high item, use a step stool or ladder. This will help keep you as stable as possible.

3. Purchase Insurance

Although we can ensure the safety of your items under normal, predictable circumstances, things like natural disasters and theft can still happen, even with the best security and precautions in place.

4. Get a Unit That Comfortably Fits Your Belongings

Getting the right size storage unit for your belongings is important when it comes to safety. If everything is packed in too tightly and there are items thrown over other items, causing you to need to make dangerous attempts to get the items you need, then your safety is at risk. Check out our tips for finding the right size storage unit.

5. Don't Give Anyone Else Access

This is a big one. Sometimes, thieves are the people we trust! You should be the only one accessing your storage unit. Never give anyone else your code or key.

6. Keep a Record of Your Items

In the case of a natural disaster or a break-in, it's important to make a list of what is being put in your storage unit and to record each item's value. This is also helpful if you just need to remember where certain items are! At Elevate Self Storage, the safety and security of your belongings are our priority. We also make accessibility easier than ever with our 24/7 mobile access to your storage unit. Talk to us about availability!