A Guide to Preparing Items for Self-Storage

A Guide to Preparing Items for Self-Storage

Many people today rent storage units. They may use the unit to hold items prior to a move, during a home renovation, or when they find themselves overwhelmed by the stuff in the home. Regardless of why a person chooses to make use of this option, they need to know how to store their possessions properly to prevent damage.

Certain guidelines apply to all items being placed in self storage. However, a person should also know how to store specific items, such as electronics. The following guide provides both general and specific guidelines to make this process easier in every way.

Raised Storage

When placing furniture, electronics, or appliances in the storage unit, elevate items off the ground using pallets or wooden boards to prevent moisture absorption or water damage from a flood or leakage. Stack furniture in a way that maximizes space and minimizes the risk of items toppling over. Place heavier and sturdier items on the bottom and lighter ones on top.

Regular Visits

Visit the storage unit periodically to check on the condition of the furniture, electronics, and appliances. Inspect for any signs of damage, pests, or moisture. Address any issues promptly to prevent further harm.

Clean Items

Thoroughly clean all items before storing them. Remove any dust, dirt, or spills, as these can cause long-term damage. With furniture, polish wooden surfaces and treat leather upholstery with appropriate conditioners to maintain their quality. Ensure that all dishes and glassware are thoroughly cleaned and dried before packing them for storage. Any residue or moisture can lead to mold, stains, or even breakage.

Clean each appliance meticulously before storage. Remove any food residues, dust, or debris that may attract pests or cause odors. Use appropriate cleaning products for each appliance, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Packing Materials

Wrap each item, appliance, or piece of furniture with appropriate materials to provide protection against scratches, dust, and moisture. Use moving blankets, old sheets, or bubble wrap to safeguard delicate furnishings. For additional protection, use plastic covers to shield furniture from dust and pests. Electronic devices should be wrapped individually in anti-static bubble wrap or foam. This will help protect the devices from impact and static electricity.

Disassemble Items

If the furniture, lamps, or decor items can be disassembled, it’s advisable to do so. Take apart tables, bed frames, and other large items to save space and reduce the risk of damage during transportation and storage. Keep track of all screws, bolts, and other small parts by storing them in labeled bags.

Climate Control

Optimal environmental conditions are crucial for preserving the integrity of the stored items. Choose a climate-controlled self-storage unit to minimize fluctuations in temperature and humidity, as these fluctuations can cause damage, especially to sensitive materials like wood or fabric. Delicate items also need a stable environment.

A climate-controlled storage unit provides stable temperature and humidity levels. Extreme heat, cold, or moisture can harm electronic components in electronic devices and appliances, leading to malfunctions or permanent damage. Investing in a climate-controlled unit will save money in the long run.


Insurance Coverage

Consider obtaining insurance coverage specifically for the stored items. This provides an added layer of protection in case of unexpected incidents such as theft, fire, or water damage. While a conventional policy may cover some damage, a person can never be too careful when it comes to their assets.


Allow for some space between furniture items to promote air circulation and reduce the risk of moisture buildup. This helps prevent mold and mildew growth. Cover upholstered pieces with specialized bags to reduce the risk of damage when they are moved or stored. To protect those pieces with glass fronts, shrink-wrap cardboard to the glass.

Lamps and Home Decor

Lamp shades should be removed to add stability. Stack the shades and put them in a box or bag. Remove finials and other detachable parts to reduce the risk of breakage and create more space-efficient storage.

Invest in appropriate packing materials such as bubble wrap, packing paper, and sturdy boxes. Wrap delicate items individually to provide cushioning and protect against scratches and impact. Place wrapped items inside well-padded boxes, ensuring they fit snugly to prevent shifting during transportation and storage.

Label each box clearly with its contents for easy identification. When arranging the storage unit, stack boxes and items systematically, placing heavier items at the bottom. Avoid placing fragile items beneath heavy ones to prevent crushing accidents.

Take care when transporting artwork or mirrors with hangers on the back. Place them in specialized boxes to ensure the hangers don’t scratch other items. Avoid leaning the artwork or mirrors against other pieces without the boxes to prevent this from happening.

If possible, consider installing shelves or racks in the storage unit. This will provide a designated space for the lamps and decor items, keeping them off the floor and minimizing the risk of damage from moisture or accidental bumps. Keep a clear path to the lamps and decor items to avoid accidentally knocking them over or causing damage when retrieving other belongings from the unit.

Ensure the storage unit is well-secured with a sturdy lock and, if available, additional security features such as surveillance cameras. Regularly check the unit to ensure its integrity and report any issues to the facility management promptly.

Dishes and Glassware

Wrap each item separately using packing paper or bubble wrap. This will provide cushioning and prevent them from scratching or chipping against each other. Place dividers, such as cardboard or foam, between stacked plates to add an extra layer of protection and prevent them from rubbing together.

For stemware or glasses, wrap each piece individually in packing paper or bubble wrap. Insert crumpled paper into the hollow part of each glass to provide additional support. Consider using specialized dividers or cell kits designed for glassware to keep them separated and prevent them from clinking together.

Take special care with pitchers. The handles remain vulnerable to breakage. Use bubble wrap or foam wrap around the handle. Place the pitcher in a box and fill the box with packing peanuts for an added layer of protection.

Place heavier items at the bottom of the storage box and lighter ones on top. Avoid overpacking boxes to prevent excessive pressure that can lead to breakage. Clearly mark boxes containing fragile items with “Fragile” or “Handle with Care” labels. This will alert movers and others to exercise caution when handling those boxes.

Opt for sturdy boxes designed for moving or storage. Reinforce the bottom with tape to prevent them from collapsing under the weight of dishes or glassware. As with lamps and home decor, when placing boxes in the storage unit, stack them with the heaviest boxes at the bottom and lighter ones on top. Leave a small aisle for easy access to the items, and avoid placing heavy objects on top of delicate boxes.

Electronic Devices

Wrap television and computer monitors in bubble wrap before packaging them in specialized boxes to ensure they don’t break when moved. Organize cables and accessories separately to avoid tangling or damage. Remove batteries from devices to prevent leakage and potential corrosion. Store batteries separately in a cool, dry place.

Place moisture-absorbing desiccant packs or silica gel packets in storage containers to absorb any moisture and prevent condensation. Seal the containers tightly to keep out humidity. Use a lock or security seal on storage units to deter theft. Consider storing valuable electronics towards the back of the unit, hidden from plain sight.

Before storing devices with valuable data, make backups to external hard drives, cloud storage, or other reliable mediums. This ensures that even if the devices get damaged or lost, the data remains safe.

Major and Small Appliances

Unplug all appliances and disconnect them from water and gas sources. Properly drain any remaining water from hoses, filters, or tanks to prevent leaks or water damage during storage. If possible, remove delicate parts such as glass shelves or detachable knobs and store them separately. This minimizes the risk of breakage or damage during transportation or while in storage.

Protect appliances with blankets, sheets, or furniture covers to shield them from dust, scratches, and light exposure. Avoid using plastic directly on appliances, as it can trap moisture and lead to mold or mildew. Ensure appliances are positioned securely to prevent them from shifting or falling during storage. Use straps or bungee cords to secure them to walls or other sturdy objects.

Soft Housewares

People have many options when it comes to packaging and transporting soft housewares such as linens and clothing. Some people choose to use linens to wrap delicate items. When unpacking, they wash the linens and put them away in the selected location. Another option is to store the linens in a dry washer or dryer being placed in storage. Empty suitcases and trunks are ideal for storing seasonal clothing in a storage unit.

Area rugs should be cleaned thoroughly before being moved to storage. Once they are cleaned, roll them up. Shrink wrap them in two or three places to prevent them from unrolling while in storage.

Ensure all boxes are easy to transport. A self-storage unit benefits countless individuals, but only when they can get the most use from it. Using the guide above, pack all items carefully, keeping the weight of each box in mind when doing so. Individuals who follow this guide and keep the general rule about the weight of the boxes in mind find the storage unit adds value to their life in countless ways.