In storage units large and small, organization is essential. Well-organized units maximize space efficiency, reduce the risk of accident, and make locating items a breeze for their tenants. If you are renting a storage unit and looking for guidance on how to effectively organize and manage your storage space, this is the guide for you. In this post, our experts at Stor-It cover several essential storage unit space-management tips and tricks to help you stay organized and effectively manage your unit. We’ll show you how to save space, time and energy — helping you get the most of out of your storage investment.
Pick a Box Size and Stick to It
When it comes to storage space efficiency and overall organization, box size matters. Before beginning the packing and storing process, settle on 1-2 box sizes for most, if not all of your items. Keeping your boxes all the same size will maximize both stack-ability and space efficiency. Same-size boxes stack perfectly, meaning that no space is wasted with protruding corners and awkward ledges. Plus, your flush box stacks will be balanced even if they grow rather high, helping reduce the risk of accidents in your unit. If you’re going to invest in two or more box sizes, follow the weight to box size ratio whenever possible: fill smaller boxes with heavier items and larger boxes with lighter items. This will allow you to lift any box, making stacking much easier.
List and Locate the Items You’ll Be Frequently Accessing
In any storage unit, there are certain items that are accessed frequently — and there are others that are packed away and left untouched for time immemorial. For the sake of organization, it is important to identify which items you’ll frequently be accessing and plan to place those towards the front or easily-reachable locations in your storage unit. Those artifacts, leftovers, and other rarely-used relics? They go towards the back. By listing and locating the items you’ll be accessing often in your storage unit, you can maintain organization and avoid tearing through your entire unit in search of a single item.
Pack Your Boxes Categorically
Sure, box sizing and placement in a storage unit are important — but before all else, it’s important to pack boxes intelligently to ensure optimal organization. We recommend filling each box according to categories. The strategy is simple: pick a category and fill your box with things in that category. You might choose a category based on usage (what the items are used for), a category based on season (when the items are used), a category based on location (where the items would be stored in your home or business), or a category based on a person (the owner of the items). Whichever categories you choose, keeping your boxes consistently ordered will make it easier to find items down the road. Packing your boxes categorically will also help with another key component of storage unit organization: labeling.
Label Your Boxes
Even when boxes are properly packed and placed, storage disorder can still be an issue when boxes aren’t properly labeled. Without legible, detailed labels on your boxes, the process of picking up your items from storage becomes less like a quick errand and more like a protracted treasure hunt. Before sealing up each box and putting it into storage, take the time to write its contents on the outside in legible, clearly-visible ink. Be as detailed as possible. Don’t settle for labels like “Summer Stuff” or “Tools,” especially if you’re filling up multiple boxes with similar items. By labeling your boxes with a detailed list of their contents, you’ll be able to find exactly what you’re looking for without opening each box with every visit to your unit.
Create a Contents List for Your Entire Storage Unit
Speaking of storage unit visits, it’s common for most renters to only visit their self-storage spaces a handful of times per year. This means that there are months at a time when the storage units sit untouched and likely not thought about by their renters. When it’s time to go grab an item after a season (or more!) away from the storage unit, it can be difficult to remember if that item is really there at all. As a self-storage renter in search of a long-lost belonging, you may find yourself asking “Did I donate that?” or “Is it in storage or just lying around the house?” These questions can quickly become frustrating and may even lead to several fruitless visits to your self-storage unit. To maintain optimal organization from afar and save yourself time and energy, make a master list of all the contents stored in your storage unit. That way, when you go to search for an item after a long stretch of time, you can refer to your list to confirm (or deny) that you really did store it after all.
Practice Smart Stacking
As you being loading boxes into your storage unit, there are a few general rules you should follow to maximize organization and reduce the risk of accident in your space. We’ve touched on the importance of placing boxes with frequently-used items in easily-accessible spots in your storage unit. We’ve also covered the helpfulness of using same-sized boxes when stacking in your unit. Another important stacking tip to remember is the weight rule. Build your box stacks with the heaviest boxes near the bottom and the lighter boxes towards the top. Not only will this save your shoulders and reduce the risk of injury overall, but it will also keep your stack from leaning or topping on their own. If you’re going to be accessing your unit rather frequently, consider stacking your same-sized boxes in a brick-wall pattern. Though this isn’t the most space-efficient arrangement (as there will be small spaces between your boxes and the walls of your unit), a brick-wall configuration will allow you to remove boxes and put them back without disturbing other boxes in the stack.
Create at Least One Aisle
To effectively manage and organize your storage unit, you need to be able to move around. In storage units large and small, mobility and item-accessibility are maximized when aisles are involved. Yes, adding an aisle or two will subtract from the total space that can be used for storing items, but the sacrifice is well worth the reward. Aisles allow you to access a larger number of boxes with greater ease. They also allow you rearrange in record time when necessary. Add one or two aisles in your storage unit to save yourself from facing a wall of boxes or a disorganized pile every time you go to remove or deposit your belongings.
Make a Map
Storage units usually aren’t very big. Even when they are properly organized, it can be difficult to locate items amidst their stacks of boxes. To optimize organization and streamline your visits, we recommend making a map of your storage unit and sticking it somewhere near the front. That way, when you go to open your storage unit, you can quickly refer to your map to see where you stored your old scrapbooks several seasons ago instead of racking your memory and reading every box label in the unit. Your map doesn’t have to be incredibly detailed — just divide your unit into four (or more) sections with words or phrases delineating general items in each section. This will take only minutes to make and may save you hours of searching later on.
Even in the nicest storage facilities, dust, dirt, and debris can build up in storage units over time, damaging items and contributing to disorganization. To keep your unit organized and keep your items in great condition, schedule bi-annual visit just to tidy up. You’ll be amazed at how much better it feels to use a storage unit that’s spick and span.
Upgrade Your Storage Unit
Sometimes, space is the biggest culprit behind disorganization. If you’ve accumulated more belongings than can reasonably fit in your storage unit, no amount of organization strategy is going manage your space problem. In this case, it’s time to upgrade. Today’s top storage facilities typically offer a selection of storage unit sizes to meet their clients’ diverse needs. If you’re in need of more space, tour a highly-reviewed self-storage facility in your area to find the right-sized unit for your stuff.
Learn More and Explore High-Quality Self-Storage at Stor-It
The importance of storage unit organization can’t be stressed enough. Keeping your unit clean and organized will not only make storing your items as simple as possible, it will also allow you to get the best bang for your buck by using your space efficiently. If you are interested in learning more about how to effectively manage your storage unit space, our experts at Stor-It are here to help. Whether you are a first-time self-storage user or a long-time renter, our team can help you get the most out of your storage units with our in-depth guides and in-person assistance.
Ready to invest in quality self-storage for your belongings? If you live in Idaho, there is no better choice than our state-of-the-art facilities here at Stor-It. Learn more about each of our 15 facilities in the Treasure Valley and beyond, and reserve your unit with us today!