Packing Other Items

If you plan to store clothes, think about investing in a wardrobe box with a built-in hanging rod. These are available for purchase at most storage and moving facilities.

Large appliances must be prepared correctly for proper storage:

  • Defrost refrigerators and freezers thoroughly to avoid water damage and mildew growth. Tie down the appliance doors during transport but leave them slightly ajar once in storage.
  • Drain washing machines and tie down hoses and cords before storing them.
  • Wipe down the inside of appliances with baking soda before you store them to keep them dry.
  • Enclose the exposed back area of the appliances to prevent vermin.

Wrap mirrors and pictures in protective covering such as pre made boxes and mark them as “Fragile.”

If you store loose photographs, place them between pieces of clean cardboard and consider taping them together to avoid curling.

Separate lamp bases and lampshades and wrap them for protection or purchase a lamp box.

If you are storing upholstered products such as mattresses and sofas, consider investing in covers, bags or sheeting for additional protection. Storage and moving facilities often sell large heavy-duty bags for this purpose. Vacuum-sealed bags work well for draperies, bedding, and clothing.

Electrical equipment such as TVs, stereos, and computers should be packed in their original boxes whenever possible. If using other boxes, choose ones that are as close in size to the original as possible, and fill all gaps with paper.

Disassemble furniture such as beds and tables before you store them. Wrap and cover the separate sections, clearly mark them and keep them together. Keep assembly components such as screws and bolts together in a plastic bag, mark them clearly, and tape the bag to the appropriate piece of furniture. (Use tape that is safe for use on furniture or tape the bag to an inconspicuous place on the piece). Cover chair/sofa legs in cloth. Plastic wrap does not breathe; therefore, if condensation occurs, it may cause damage to the legs or any wood.

Spray your wood furniture with a good quality furniture polish before storing it to give it some added protection.

Treat leather items with a leather conditioner before you store them.

Wipe down metal objects and tools with a little oil before storing them to avoid rust formation that can occur when the tools are not used regularly.

When storing a vacuum cleaner, clean out the bag or canister first; bacteria, mold and vermin can accumulate otherwise.

As you go, keep an inventory of every item you have packed. Ideally, include an estimate of the replacement value of each item you store. Consider taking pictures of valuable items. These steps will help you make accurate insurance claims in case of unforeseen damage or loss.

Other Helpful Suggestions

Keep a fold-up step stool in your space for accessing hard-to-reach areas.

Frequently used items should be placed near the entrance for easy access. This holds true for file boxes and other business items, too.

When arranging items, leave an aisle space for easy access to your items. You can either leave aisles between your stack of boxes and furniture or line up all your furniture and boxes against the outside walls of the unit in a “U” shape, leaving the inside of the U as open space for furniture and other large items.

Break down furniture into smaller pieces, if possible. Take the legs off tables, disassemble bed frames and lean them against the wall, etc.

Cover furniture with sheets or tarps to protect them against scratches, dust and other damage.

Try not to stand sofas or love seats up on their sides, whenever possible, to prevent structural damage.

Chairs can be stacked seat to seat.

You can tie tools and long-handled items such as rakes, snow shovels and brooms in bundles. Or put them inside garbage cans to keep them neat.

Mirrors and framed artwork should never be stored flat as they can collapse under their own weight.

When stacking boxes and containers be sure that you can clearly see the labels you put on them.

When stacking boxes, always make sure to put the heaviest boxes on the bottom to avoid damage.
Stack boxes and similarly sized items together to save space.

You can use virtually all the space in and around your stored furniture as places to store more items. Fill anything that is hollow with items in order to maximize your available space.

Stack the shelves of bookcases with small boxes and other odds and ends.

You may be thinking that all this planning, preparing and setting up your self-storage unit seems like a big project. You will find the time and effort are worth it, though, when you discover the peace of mind that comes with knowing your belongings are protected, conveniently accessible and well-preserved.