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Posted on October December 6, 2019
At Devon Self Storage, reserving and renting a storage unit is an easy process. But what about actually putting your stuff into one? It might sound simple – box up your things and put them in the unit – but without taking time to plan, you could find yourself losing track of important documents, your favorite CD, or much-treasured pictures of your grandmother. Before you spend all that time packing, loading, and moving, use this guide to take stock of your stuff. A little preparation can go a long way toward staying organized and stress-free.
In addition to everything that you plan on moving into the storage unit, getting organized means being prepared with enough supplies. It starts with purchasing an assortment of moving boxes in multiple sizes. A typical bedroom, for example, will usually take:
You’ll also want to grab labels and markers for the boxes. Get enough labels to place one on each side of the box so that you know what’s on all sides.
Use a notebook to keep track of the things you plan on storing. If you want to be even more organized, create a spreadsheet, especially when multiple rooms are involved. Having a spreadsheet handy on your phone can make a big difference when you’re taking inventory of what you’ve moved into the storage unit.
Finally, give yourself some time to do things right. Instead of trying to finish everything at once, take it slowly. Spread out your planning, packing, and moving over the course of a few days. If you rush through this process, it may create problems later – whether you’re moving into or out of your storage unit.
This is the first step in planning your move. Make a list of everything you plan to put in storage. You may even want to think about when you’ll need to take it out of storage in the future, especially if it’s something seasonal like holiday decorations or clothing.
Creating an inventory isn’t just a handy tool for knowing what you have in storage; it also prevents you from following the urge to dump things in random boxes and pack them away. As an added bonus, you may decide that something isn’t worth storing and that it needs to be donated or sold, freeing up more space.
Before you move a single item, be sure to tour your storage unit and get a good idea of the size and layout. You don’t want to cram too many things in, nor do you want to waste space by using a unit that’s too large. Knowing exactly what kind of space you’re working with can make a big difference in how you choose to arrange your stored items.
Once you have an idea of the storage unit dimensions and layout, you can draw a map of where items should go. Don’t worry about getting fancy. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to give you a good reference point for the future. Try to group rooms or categories of items together.
You can always draw the map in pencil in case something needs to be changed once you start moving things in. The purpose of the map is to help you do two things: locate what you need when you need to remove it from storage, and give any friends helping you move an idea of where things belong.
Pack smart. Make sure you have enough supplies, and then use them effectively. For example, throwing all your books into a large box to conserve space might seem like a good idea, but books are really heavy. A large 90-pound box doesn’t take up as much room as six or seven small boxes, but if you can’t move or lift it, all that time spent packing just ends up wasted.
Clearly label your boxes as you pack them. Choose an organizing scheme that works and stick to it. Instead of labeling your boxes with the items that are inside, it may make sense to use numbers, rooms, or a combination of the two. You can always make a note on your inventory of which boxes hold which belongings. However you choose to label them, make sure to do it on all sides.
Once you have your map and your plan, it’s time to load up!. If you’re using a moving truck, load your bulkiest items (think furniture and appliances) first. Next comes the stuff you know you’ll need to get to quickly or regularly. Use blankets and tie-downs to secure and protect furniture. Continue to fill in the truck in quarters or thirds. As you put things in, check them off in your inventory.
When you unload the truck, you’re basically doing everything in reverse. You still want to be smart about how you move items into your storage unit. Use your map and place boxes approximately where they will go, giving yourself room to move around them inside the storage space. Count off boxes as you remove them from the truck, but only once they’re inside the unit.
Once you have your belongings organized and situated where they need to go, post your map in the unit, preferably just inside the door. This way, you’ll be able to quickly reference it if you ever need to remove items from storage. All that’s left is locking things up!
If you’ve followed all the steps, you should feel – and be – pretty organized. But how do you stay organized?
As you move things in and out of the storage unit in the future, keep your lists and map updated. This may be easier to do if you’ve opted for a spreadsheet versus a notebook, but it can still be done. In addition, keep copies of your list and map at home. That way you can reference them without going to the storage unit.
Finally, don’t be afraid to consider upgrading your space if necessary. If you find yourself running out of room in the storage unit – but don’t have anything you want to part with permanently – there’s a good chance you can always rent a larger unit available in the same facility.