How to Best Utilize Your Storage Unit - NYCM Insurance Blog

Find an Agent

Home Top Ad

Responsive Ads Here

Jul 18, 2022

How to Best Utilize Your Storage Unit

Use Our Guide to Learn How to Create Hassle-Free Access to Your Belongings!


Whether you’re short on space at home or in between moves, storage units can be the perfect solution for your belongings. It’s likely that at some point you will need to access your storage unit. The last thing you’re going to want to do is empty the space just to find the one item you’re looking for. Thankfully, with just a little bit of planning and organization, you can not only maximize the space but also make it incredibly easy to find your belongings. Continue reading to learn more!


The Prep Work

First, you're going to want to find out the dimensions of your storage unit. This will allow you to better plan for the type of furniture and what size boxes are able to fit in the space. You will also want to see if your storage unit is inside a facility or outdoors. If it’s outdoors, you might consider checking to see if the unit is climate-controlled - as this will affect how much weather protection you will need. Once you have this information, you can use the following tips to begin prepping.


1. Choose A Uniform Box Size: When you choose boxes or totes that are a uniform size, it makes stacking and accessibility a breeze. Boxes that are different sizes are more likely to tumble over and can be more difficult to access when stacked. Pro- tip: Be sure to purchase boxes that are either reinforced or are already very sturdy so that items inside do not become crushed when stacked.


2. Group Similar Items Together: It’s important to group similar items together. Make sure to have separate containers for things like winter or summer clothing, camping supplies, holiday items, toys, tools, documents, etc.


3. Label Your Boxes: Every box that enters the storage unit should be clearly labeled on all sides with both a number and general description. For example, your first box may be filled with sewing equipment, needles, thread, etc., and therefore can be labeled as, “Box 1: Sewing.”  Be sure to write down the specific contents of each box, you will need this list for the next step.


4. Create your Master Contents List: Whether you're going to be accessing your storage unit frequently or not, you’ll want to know where exactly your items are in the unit so that you can locate them quickly. You can compile your individual box lists into one master list. You may also consider including an itemized list of contents inside each specific box in case you were to lose your master.


5. Plan an Organized Layout: Just as you grouped like-items together inside the boxes, you will want to do the same with the boxes themselves. Be sure to include space for shelving and walking paths in your layout. Pro-tip: If you are not planning to use shelving units, you might consider placing wooden or plastic pallets underneath any boxes or furniture to prevent weather damage. It can also prevent pests such as mice, silverfish, ants, and moths from making their home underneath those boxes.


Packing the Unit

Now that you’ve completed all the prep work, you are ready to tackle your unit itself!


1. Cleaning Out Your Unit: Be sure to do a quick sweep of your unit to remove any dust, dirt, or pests. You can help to avoid a pest infestation by adding moisture absorbers and mothballs in key areas.


2. Organization: Before moving in any boxes or furniture, you’ll want to lay down your pallets and install your shelving units. Be sure to follow the plan you previously created and to leave yourself walking paths.


3. Store Smart: Make sure to disassemble any bulky furniture such as bed frames or tables to save space. Remember that mirrors and picture frames should always be standing on end and leaning against a wall, never flat. Pro-tip: Put an “X” with painter’s tape across any mirrors or picture frames in your unit. Should they accidentally break, it will help to avoid total shatter and provide a cleaner break.  All electrical appliances should be completely dry with doors left slightly ajar. Also, avoid storing items that have not been properly dried out or that may invite mildew (think refrigerators or coolers).


4. Create Even More Space: You’ve paid for the space, so it’s important to organize it in a way that maximizes your dollar without making it so crowded that it undoes your prep work. Depending on the rules and regulations of your space, you may be able to install peg boards, floating shelves, or even hang items such as bikes from the ceiling. Be sure to check with your storage unit provider before making any changes to the space.


5. Post Your Layout: Posting a copy of your layout on the interior wall of your storage unit can save you valuable time. Your master list can tell you which boxes your items are in but posting your layout will allow you to see where the boxes are in the unit itself. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving a list of where your items are, you can also take a photo of it with your smartphone so you have it on the go.


Now that your belongings are safely stored away, it’s time to think about insurance. It’s important to know that coverage for your storage unit may be included in your current homeowner or renter’s insurance policy, but it’s best to discuss with your agent to be sure. Check out the link below to learn more about home and renters insurance policies by contacting one of our local agents!