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5 Tips for Using a Storage Unit

If you have more stuff than space, renting a storage unit is a great way to temporarily stash your belongings. Whether you’re in-between homes, need to clear the clutter before putting your house on the market or simply want more free space in your residence, a storage facility keeps your possessions safe until you’re ready to retrieve them. Follow these tips to get the most out of your unit.

1. Label and List

Label every container. As time passes, it’s easy to lose track of what’s in your unit if you don’t make meticulous labels. As you pack, scrawl on the side of the box or slap on a sticker. Consider going the extra mile and make a list of items and where to find them. Keep one copy of the inventory near the door of the unit and one at home. If you’re ever wondering if something is in storage, it’s nice if you don’t have to trek to the unit to check the list. While it takes extra time to label containers, it’ll help you avoid the unpack-and-peak method of finding things later.

2. Raise and Wrap

Some storage facilities have climate control. If yours doesn’t, or you want to make sure your belongings stay dry, stack everything on pallets. With pallets, if moisture collects on the floor, your possessions stay dry. Consider wrapping furniture in heavy plastic or tarps. Not everything fits neatly in containers, but a protective cover can keep dust and insects out.

Read more: General tips for packing a storage unit

3. Keep It Accessible

If you’re certain you won’t need to access things in the back of the unit, you can pack tightly to take advantage of the space. However, if you need to periodically retrieve items, arrange your belongings in aisles. Leave enough space to safely stand and move boxes. Think about how high you want to make the stacks. Packing to the ceiling makes the most of vertical space, but you don’t want an unstable tower of boxes. If you go high, consider adding sheets of plywood or shelving for stability.

4. Read Your Agreement

Before taking a space, read the rental agreement. Check for access charges, termination rules and payment schedules. Some people treat a storage unit like a garage, using their space to work on cars, refinish furniture or even set up an office. If you want to work in your unit, make sure you’re aware of any limitations set by the facility. On the other hand, if you’d rather not store your possessions next to someone’s project room, look for a place that doesn’t allow such activities.

5. Lock It Up

Make sure your storage unit is secure. Your all-weather padlock should have a short arm that resists bolt cutters. Before you rent, check out the property’s security system. Nearly every facility will provide safeguards, but the key to peace of mind is having your own sturdy lock.

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