Whether you’re moving across the country or just looking to free up some space in the attic, storing your belongings can be a difficult, drawn-out endeavor. There are certain steps you can take, however, to simplify the process and keep everything organized. Before you throw everything into random boxes, take a look at the four “S”s.
Your first step should be deciding what exactly is worth storing. Old clothes can be thrown away or donated to charity, but you’ll probably want to keep school records for nostalgia and holiday decorations for the upcoming year. You should also consider storing items that you only use periodically, like skis in the winter and inflatable pools in the summer.
Once you’ve weeded through the junk and figured out what’s going into your unit, it’s time to start cataloging. Make lists of which items were put into what boxes; label everything clearly by room, theme or fragility. Pictures can be useful here as well. They’ll help you remember where certain things were packed and how exactly those wires connected to the TV before you unplugged everything.
When fitting all your belongings into the storage unit, understand that you’ll eventually come back and need room to navigate. Larger items should go in the back of the unit, against the wall, with medium-sized items and boxes stacked together in the remaining space. Leave yourself a path for future visits. It should be exactly large enough to accommodate your biggest item, just in case you need to dig it out before anything else.
Invest in a professional, high-quality lock to protect your belongings from theft. You may or may not be satisfied with the one the storage facility provides; if it doesn’t look safe, it’s perfectly legal to buy your own and attach it to the unit. You should also get in touch with your insurance company to see if your homeowners policy will cover any damages incurred by off-premises self-storage. Sometimes it won’t, and if that’s the case, you’ll need to look into tenant or property insurance.
These are the four basic principles of prepping and organizing a storage unit. At the end of the day, the efficacy of your process comes down to the effort you’re willing to put into it, so don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and break out the sticky labels to ensure that your belongings are well stored until you need them again.