When you decide to move and go on a new adventure, you have a few choices for how to handle your belongings. One of the options is to store your belongings in a storage unit. 

Preparing your items for storage is essential to making sure they stay safe and secure. 

Here are eight ways to prepare your items for storage when moving.


Research Storage Units and Restrictions

Instead of paying for the first storage unit you encounter, look around and write down all the requirements you have; this will depend on your belongings. Maybe you’ll need climate-controlled storage or rooms specially designed for different types and sizes of your items.

Before signing anything, make sure you read the fine print. Fees like insurance or air conditioning can add up from the advertised cost of a unit. 

Keep in mind that certain things cannot be kept in storage units — perishable foods, dangerous items like guns, gasoline, fireworks or narcotics, plants, and medicines must be stored elsewhere. Always ask the storage unit company for their specific rules and guidelines. The last thing you want is to have to head back home with your items because you weren’t aware that the storage unit doesn’t accept them. 

Also, be aware that most storage units take no or minimal responsibility for any damaged goods or even stolen items — so make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into before signing up and paying for it.


Figure Out What’s Moving With You and What’s Staying

After you’ve researched storage unit restrictions, it’s time to figure out what can be stored and what should come with you when you move.

The math is simple — the bigger the storage unit, the more you’ll pay. If you’re in a moving process or taking a couple of months to travel the world, the last thing you want is to waste money that could’ve stayed in your wallet.

That’s why it is a good practice to write down each item and think through which of those you need to put in storage. Take as many belongings as possible and store only those that you can’t bring. Putting limited items in storage will save you money and ensure a less stressful move. 

You should take fragile items and important documents with you; they should be in your possession at all times.

If the storage unit you chose isn’t climate-controlled, you’ll also want to consider what is safe to be stored and what is not. Many items can get damaged during severe weather — both freezing winters and hot summer months. If your furniture and belongings need to stay in storage in extreme temperatures, consider what materials and items will be able to withstand such conditions.

preparing items for storage

Clean Belongings

Even if you plan to have a storage unit for only a couple of weeks, cleaning your items or washing clothes before moving is a great way to ensure your stuff will be in the best condition. Plus, it will cut out a bit of cleaning time once you take your belongings out of storage.

Dusting off and cleaning is a crucial step if you’re storing electrical devices. You don’t want to come home to realize your PC no longer works because there’s so much dust buildup.

Vacuum the carpets, sheets, and upholstery to ensure there’s no stench when you gather your furniture later. Imagine rolling out that smelly and dusty carpet into your new, freshly decorated home — it’s probably something you’d want to avoid.

If you’re in a hurry, consider asking a friend or a relative to help you with the cleaning process. It will save you so much time and needless stress once you get everything back and in order.


Pack Items Properly

Pack your belongings carefully — just as you would if you were to move straight away. Use sheets and packing wrap to keep large items like mattresses and couches clean. Even though most storage unit companies disinfect regularly, you don’t want to risk your mattress becoming infested with bedbugs.

Gather many packaging supplies like wraps and peanuts (great for fragile items), and always choose sturdy boxes over bags. If you’re concerned about the excess waste the move will produce, there are many ways to pack with recycled or reused supplies. It’s good for both your wallet and the environment.

Cardboard storage boxes tend to gather humidity very fast, which can be damaging to your belongings — especially wooden furniture. When packing, ensure that nothing damp goes in the box. 

You know those small silica bags you find in almost every suitcase or bag you buy? They’re called desiccant packs, and they’re another great way to keep moisture out of the boxes. You can buy them in bulk on Amazon. They’re cheap and will keep your items safe and dry in the storage unit.


Label Boxes Clearly

Just as you would with moving, clearly labeling your boxes will make the moving and storage process more manageable. When you come back later to get your items, you’ll know exactly where to put them in your new home without having to stress about the clutter.

Labeling boxes clearly will also make it easy on you if you need to get items from your storage units every once in a while. You can easily find a backpack for your trip or grab a document you accidentally forgot to take with you.  

Putting everything in clear boxes instead of cardboard ones is a good practice, as you can see exactly what you have in storage. This option isn’t cheap if you don’t own the boxes already, and buying a lot of plastic may not be up your alley. It is still an option if visibility is your high priority.


Take Apart Large Items

Large items like beds and tables take up a lot of room. Without taking them apart, you probably won’t even be able to get them out through your front door. Even if you could, large pieces of furniture will make it a lot harder to transfer and store.

Taking them apart will make the moving process much easier, and it will ensure smart storage space usage, so you don’t have to waste money on larger units. 

When taking your items apart, make sure you don’t place them in a weird position (like a box spring haphazardly thrown in the unit) or stack heavy objects on lighter things. It can cause indents or damage over time in storage.


Pack Your Storage Unit Strategically

Just as you’d pack up a moving truck or a car strategically, it’s even more essential to pack your storage unit strategically, too. After all, it will sit in the same place for a much longer time than in a moving truck, so it is better to ensure that it is packed safely and organized well. 

Place the larger and heavier items like bed frames, mattresses, dressers, and tables in storage first.

Heavier and bigger boxes should be placed on top of the bulky furniture so you can put lighter packages on top of them.

Try to stack items vertically instead of horizontally to make the best use of space.


Decide on What Help Is Needed

There are plenty of options when it comes to moving. You can do it yourself with the help of friends and family, or you can hire a professional moving company to do it for you. The latter costs money, but professional movers will ensure your move goes smoothly even in extreme conditions (like severe weather, a narrow building entrance, etc.).

There are pros and cons to both options. It’s up to you to take stock and decide what’s best for you.

Many moving companies nowadays provide storage as well, so consider that when you’re moving. They will help you in all aspects of your move.