iStock_000009221422XSmallPeople use self-storage units for all manner of reasons, these can range from being between houses to not having time to sort through and weed out the stuff they don’t have room for. Are you storing for the right reasons? Is your storage well organized? To take control of your storage life, follow these guidelines.

Decide carefully

The first way to get organized in your storage life is to decide what you really, honestly need and want to store. Store pieces that you do use periodically (like your Christmas ornaments and your skis) and sensitive things like art and wine (a climate controlled environment helps keep them safe).  Storage isn’t a great solution for precious family heirlooms and important documents, or for things you just don’t know what else to do with.

Get organized

Next, get organized. Take a photo of each thing or set of things in the unit, and keep a list that includes these photos. This will help you avoid paying to store things you don’t remember you own. Put everything you can in covered plastic containers to repel mold and mildew. Otherwise, use professional moving boxes. Finally, label everything.

Store your stuff

Load your unit carefully. Measuring your bigger items will help you plan the best positioning. Put the larger items in first, against the back wall, covering furniture surfaces with blankets to avoid scratches. Next put in medium-sized stuff, and finally stack boxes in the front. Boxes can stack on top of furniture as well.

If you’re using the storage unit as a way to organize things you need regular access to, bring in some large utility shelves to line against the walls. These can hold wine bottles, art pieces, boxes of decorations, file boxes of documents, or other relatively small items.

Ensure security

Make sure to choose a secure self-storage facility that requires codes for the doors and elevators and allows you to install a lock on the unit door. It’s also smart to get insured. See if your homeowners’ insurance policy covers off-premises self-storage. If not, look into tenant insurance.

Do you maintain a self-storage unit? What do you store, and how do you organize it?

 Jessica Johnson