Storage can pose one of the most difficult problems in your home. Maybe you have bags of baby clothes that you know you'll use again, but that none of your children currently wear. Maybe you have so many craft supplies that they litter your office floor. Or maybe you have to find your way around seasonal items to access your tools or food storage.
Whatever the reason you need more storage space, you'll likely find renting a storage unit to be one of the simplest solutions. But once you've decided on a unit size, you realise you aren't sure how to keep your unit from becoming as much of a disaster as your shed or basement.
Use these 5 tricks to keep your unit organised and your belongings easily accessible.
1. Pack Primarily in Containers of One Size and Shape
You may feel tempted to scrounge for boxes and bagsto keep from spending anything on packing supplies. Even if you can find enough containers at home, consider opting for new packing containers.
Stacks made out of boxes of varying size or strength may topple or squash the bottom layer. You may know exactly where your antique platter is when you first pack the unit. But if the unit's contents shift, good luck finding it come your next fancy dinner.
2. Use Clear Packing Materials and Containers
While you decide which containers work the best for your belongings, consider clear materials and containers. Wrap large or fragile objects in bubble wrap instead of paper. This way you can clearly see the object and the condition it's in, without having to unwrap it. Vacuum sealed bags are wonderful not only for storing many items but also when travelling with limited space.
Purchase clear plastic bins to make it easier to find specific objects. These bins especially come in handy when you have several containers full of similar items. If you know you'll have two or three boxes of summer clothes, place them in a clear box or bag so you can find your brightly patterned kaftan without unpacking everything.
3. Keep Similar Objects Together in the Unit
As you pack, fill each container with similar items. For example, keep your special occasion dinnerware together and put your complementary glassware in another box. This way, if you need an extra place setting, you know precisely which boxes to open.
Try to avoid any miscellaneous boxes. If you foresee having many small objectsthat don't go together left out, place them in a clear plastic storage bag or smaller container. Then label the container as specifically as possible.
4. Create a Clear, Specific Labelling System
The best way to ensure your belongings stay easy to find isto label each container clearly. In some cases this may mean generic labels like "books" or "clothes," but try to stick with specifics. For example, "university textbooks" and "baby clothes - newborn to 6 months" work better than generic labels.
Write labels in large, bold lettering. If you use plastic containers, some markers won't stay on the side through humidity or heat. Consider opting for sticker labelsin this situation.
5. Decide How Best to Place Your Items in the Unit
Perform a run-through before you take your belongings to a unit. Mark out the unit's dimensions on your floor and practise stacking up your boxes and placing your furniture. Consider how often you need access to the contents of each box. Place items you use frequently on top of stacks near the unit's entrance.
If you haven't decided on a unit's dimensions yet, talk to a staff member at your chosen storage facility or use a space estimator. Your chosen storage unit may also have transport and packaging options to make the process easier. Stay in communication with the company's staff and use these tips to keep your unit organised.