Your storage unit is your solution to more space—so you should be using it efficiently. The more you can fit into your storage unit, the more space you’ll have in your home or business. So, how do you maximize your storage unit space and optimize your storage room organization? You can’t just cram everything inside and close the door. You need to be able to move around, and you need to have the right items in the right places. Here to help you learn how to organize a storage unit, our experts at Stor-It have put together this short guide. Find your storage space solutions and reserve your storage unit with our team today!
Step #1: Choose the Right Storage Unit Size
As you begin to think about space optimization and self storage, the first step is gathering enough information to choose the right storage unit size. Choose too small, and you’ll be left with extra belongings at your property and the impending need to upgrade. Choose too large, and you’ll be left with extra space in your unit and an unnecessarily large bill. To get it right the first time, the best thing to do is take stock of everything you want to store. Common items include seasonal goods like decorations, sporting equipment, and outdoor furniture — as well as other bulky items, like sofas, extra chairs, electronic appliances, and more. Finally, pieces like artwork, collector’s items, and old keepsakes can often round out the contents of a storage unit.
Make a list of these items, and then use our Space Estimator to see what storage unit size will hold them. If you’d rather estimate in person, try filling your garage with everything you plan to store in a relatively dense (but still navigable) pile and measure the pile’s square footage. Storage units can range in size from 5’ x 5’ all the way up to 10’ x 30’, with several options in between the two extremes. It’s always a good idea to leave some room growth. If your pile measures 5’ x 5’, it may be a good idea to choose a 5’ x 10’ unit if you anticipate storing more in the future.
Finally, if you have items sensitive to temperature and humidity, store them in climate-controlled storage. This doesn’t mean that all of your items will need to be stored in a climate-controlled unit. In all likelihood, most of them won’t. Compare prices and see if it makes sense to reserve two smaller units — one climate-controlled and one not — to store your items.
Step #2: Pack Efficiently
So, you’ve chosen your storage unit size—or at least narrowed it down to two likely candidates. To do this, you’ve probably assembled a pile of stuff in your home or your head. Now, it’s time to start packing that pile. With a few tips and tricks, you’ll find that proper packing can greatly reduce the size of your pile, ultimately freeing up space in your storage unit.
· Invest in proper packing supplies. Boxes, bubble wrap, markers, and tape are all essentials for packing. Boxes can group similar items, making them easy to find. Even better: boxes are uniform in size and easily stackable. They can help you efficiently utilize every square inch of your storage space. Bubble wrap keeps items in great condition, markers help you label your boxes, and tape keeps things closed and tight.
· Fill hollow items. If you’re planning on storing hollow items like desks, dressers, and even chairs, take a moment to see what fits within these items. For bulky items, it’s best to fill them once they’re in your unit to minimize weight when carrying them. Always keep a few odd-shaped items or filled boxes on hand to slide under tables and chairs in your unit.
· Get creative with your soft items. Clothes, bedding, cushions, and other soft items can become quite versatile. Each one of these belongings can serve an extra role as cushioning for other items in storage. Clothes and bedding can also be vacuum-sealed in vacuum-sealable bags to help reduce space.
Step #3: Map Out Your Storage Space
Once you’ve assembled your items and packed them for storage, it’s time to make a map of your new unit. This will help you keep things organized and ensure that you use space optimally before you do any heavy lifting. Don’t worry—you don’t need to be a cartographer. A single sheet of paper with simple quadrants will do the trick. (You can even make a mental map if you trust your memory). Here are a few storage unit organization tips to keep in mind when making your map.
· Put less-used items towards the back of your unit. You won’t be taking these items out as much, so plan to put them towards the back and make the more frequently used items more accessible.
· Make an aisle (or two). While not the most-space efficient move per se, making an aisle (or several) will allow you to access your items with ease. This can save you time and energy, which are often worthwhile trade-offs for losing a bit of space. Make sure your aisle reaches to the back of your unit for maximum accessibility.
· Put your map at the front of your unit. After a few months or even years, you may start to forget where items are in your unit. Putting your map at the front of your unit for reference can help you find things quickly.
Step #4: Make the Right Moves When Loading Up Your Unit
You have a plan. Now it’s time to execute it. Loading up your unit isn’t rocket science, but it does require an attentive eye. Here’s how to pack a storage unit and get the most out of your space.
· Stack boxes whenever possible (but not too high). Same sized boxes are meant to be stacked. Box stacks are the most efficient use of space—but they can quickly get too high. Try to keep your stacks only a foot or two above head level.
· Heaviest items go on the bottom; lightest items go on the top. This is the golden rule for stacking boxes. Stack the heaviest ones at the bottom and the lightest ones up top to keep them from crushing one another or toppling over.
· Fill up air space (where possible). Even the best-made map will differ from the real thing. As you load in your boxes and items that don’t fit into boxes, you’ll find unused nooks and crannies within your storage unit. Much like you loaded any dressers, desks, or chairs with smaller items, load these spaces with small leftovers to maximize space.
Step #5: Choose the Right Self-Storage Provider
While not the last step you should take chronologically, choosing the right self-storage provider is so important, we saved it for last on our list. You might ask: why does choosing a self-storage provider matter when maximizing storage space? There are several answers to this question, as your self-storage provider influences several aspects of self-storage, including space management.
First, your self-storage provider influences the number of storage options you’ll have. Certain providers have a large selection of storage unit sizes, while others offer only a select few. Some have climate-controlled options, others don’t. The next thing your storage provider dictates is the terms of your rental. Some providers offer flexible month-to-month leasing, while others may require you to sign on for six months or a year at a time. If you anticipate your storage space needs changing, it’s best to use a provider with month-to-month leasing and no long-term contracts.
So, which storage provider should you choose? If you live in Southern Idaho, the answer is clear: Stor-It. As Idaho’s oldest and largest self-storage company, we proudly own and operate 16 self-storage facilities with a wide range of storage unit options. We also offer flexible month-to-month leasing, packing and moving supplies available on-site, and a host of other amenities like drive-up units, 24/7 accessibility, and FREE locks provided with booking. Want more storage unit ideas on how to organize a storage room or unit? Ready to book with us? Contact our team today!