There are many reasons to rent a storage unit — you may be moving, downsizing, or renovating your home, for example. Whatever your reasons, it’s important to follow some simple rules for packing your stuff so that your possessions stay safe but also so that they’re easier and more convenient to move in and out of your storage unit.
Fill boxes with caution: Over-filling a cardboard box can cause it to burst open in storage. Even if it doesn’t burst, putting too much into it can make it too heavy to move. Put lighter objects in larger boxes and heavier objects into smaller ones so that you’re not tempted to overfill them.
Take special care with books: The weight of several books can add up quickly. Use a heavy-duty box for books, and test periodically while packing to make sure that you can still lift the box. Stack books flat rather than vertically so that the spines aren’t damaged.
Stack carefully: Stack heavier boxes on the bottom and lighter boxes at the top, with breakable or fragile items stacked on top of everything else. When possible, using boxes that are roughly the same size can make stacking easier. If you’re packing oddly shaped items, surround them with packing material so that the box doesn’t collapse when stacked.
Don’t over-fill your space: Leave room between stacks of boxes so that you can access them more easily in the future. Don’t pack everything directly against the walls — leaving even an inch of space can improve ventilation. Consider starting each stack with a packing pallet on the bottom. This takes up more room, but if there’s ever extreme weather that results in flooding, having a few inches of pallet between your stuff and the floor can make all the difference.
Label each box: Unless you have a photographic memory, all of those identical cardboard boxes start to look the same after a while. Grab a magic marker and save your future self some trouble. Don’t feel like you have to catalog every item; a simple “books” or “kitchen stuff” should suffice.
Obviously, this is only the tip of the iceberg. You may want to store something that doesn’t require packing with boxes. After all, it’s not convenient or practical to try to fit items like appliances, furniture, or electronics into a cardboard box, and things like sports equipment or outdoor furniture may not need any special packing procedures before they are stored. But for smaller items, following these tips now can save you a lot of hassle in the future.