Imagine seeing a weather report calling for rain and cold weather for the next week and realizing all of your needed cold-weather clothing is in your storage unit. So you decide to make a trip to your storage unit and have to start digging through each box to find what you need.
Before you know it, there are open boxes everywhere and your belongings all over the place and you still haven't found what you're looking for. After you've found what you need, your storage unit is a mess and a week later you have to do it all over again to find your holiday decorations.
The last thing you want to do is pull everything out of your storage unit and dig through boxes, especially if the timing is inconvienient. Here are some tips to help you organize you storage unit so you can find what you're looking easily and without the headache.
Keep to one size box for most, if not all of your belongings
Using the same size boxes will help with stacking and accessibility. Standard small or medium sized boxes should be perfect for most all of your belongings. Large boxes are good for large things that aren't too heavy and most of the time should be stacked at the top - they may not hold up well at the bottom of large stacks of boxes.
Think of the items you may need to access while they are in storage
Things that you don't use often may be needed later on for various reasons. Carefully think about the items you may need while in storage, especially seasonal items.
Here are a few things you may need to get out of your storage unit:
- Vacation supplies (tents, sleeping bags, cookout utensils)
- Holiday items (bakeware, costumes, decorations)
- Winter or summer clothing
- Tools and hobby supplies
- Important documents
Make sure to label each box you pack
Label each box on the top and at least one side with a box number (keep a correlating list), the room that it came from and description of the box contents. Try to be as detailed as possible with the listing of contents to make searching for a specific box easier.
Make a master contents list for all boxes
Along with writing the contents on the actual box, keep a list with the box number along with all the contents on paper. This may seem tedious but you will thank yourself in the long run. The list comes in handy when you're looking for something specific that may be at the back of your storage unit.
You can keep things digital if you prefer and there are even tools you can use to dictate text. If you're really in the organizational mood, you can even print labels of contents of each box individually.
Have an organized layout for your storage unit
If you know that you're going to need to access your unit frequently, you need to think about how you pack your storage unit that will make sense for your needs. A good way of organization is to put all the furniture against one wall and have all the boxes stacked on the opposite side. This way you will leave a path in the middle of the storage unit and will make accessing things easier. If you don't have enough space to create a pathway, make sure to put easily moveable things in the center of the unit so you can remove them as needed.
Think about upgrading to a larger unit
You can pack everything perfectly and utilize every square inch but that makes finding and retrieving items a lot more difficult. The extra space of a larger unit can give you room for organizational shelves and a path through the middle for easy access and more organization.
Sometimes it's good to consider placing something on the ground beneath your furniture (like a plastic/wooden pallet) items especially if it's an outdoor unit that could possibly leak.
To use shelving or just stack boxes?
If you know you're going to be using the storage unit for a long time, it is a good idea to place sturdy shelving units along one wall. If you plan to stack your boxes, here are some things to keep in mind:
Stack the boxes from front to back in order of need. The boxes and items that you will need more frequently should stay at the front of the unit with their labels facing out.
Stack from heaviest to lightest. Larger, heavier boxes should go on the bottom and smaller lighter boxes should be towards the top. Also, try not to stack the boxes above your head. This will make the whole stack more susceptible to falling and creating a hazard for breakable items.
Consider using a brick-wall pattern when stacking same-size boxes. It’ll seem somewhat inefficient, since you’ll have spaces on the ends of your stack, but the brick wall pattern allows you to remove and replace boxes without moving the boxes above it.
Make a map of the storage unit and keep it inside for you to reference
You should list anything that isn't easily visible - you don't necessarily have to list the items you can readily see. You don't need to get too techincal about this but just create a hand drawn map for your own reference.
Divide the storage unit up into sections and list the items and box number in each section on your map. If you end up needing something at the back of the unit, you can reference your handy map and find it with ease.
It's okay to repack some boxes
If you have already packed a bunch of unlabeled boxes with whatever you could fit inside, it might be a good idea to repack the boxes so you know the exact contents. Try to keep the contents of the boxes similar so they make sense. Keep all seasonal clothes or holiday decorations together in their own boxes to make finding what you need easier.
Packing similar items together will overall keep your storage unit more organized and easy to navigate.
This may seem a bit over the top for just a storage unit but you will be happy you took these steps when you realize you've packed away something necessary. Taking the time now will only save you valuable time and headaches in the future when you go to look for something in your storage unit.
If you have any questions about this or anything related to storage units, feel free to reach out to us! Happy organizing!