A storage facility is a fantastic way to keep your belongings without having to part with them at a garage sale, or by selling them online prior to a move. They’re capable of helping us alleviate hoarding issues, make some room in a new apartment, townhouse, or apartment, or save on space in the garage. They can also come in handy if you’re downsizing to travel for an extended period, or if you happen to sublet your place while you explore the globe.
Storage facilities come in a variety of sizes, dimensions, and price points, so finding one that suits your specific requirements is key to getting the most out of your storage investment. In this post, we’ll outline some of the best ways to help you maximize your storage unit to get more out of smaller spaces.
Look Up, Waaay Up
When you’re investigating storage facilities to rent, always consider the height of the space, as well as its horizontal footprint. Looking up is a great way to help maximize the potential for getting more stuff into a smaller space. Consider how you can safely and efficiently stack your belongings, and whether or not there’s room to accommodate shelving units to help you make the most of the vertical space in the unit.
Maximizing your vertical space is also important for ensuring you can easily reach the back of the unit. If you pack everything in on the ground level and neglect to leave yourself a walkway or a path, you’ll inevitably find yourself unpacking the entire unit one day to retrieve a specific box or tote from the rear of the space. Using the vertical space allows you to maintain easy access, while maximizing how much of your stuff you can store in one unit.
Furniture like tables, chairs, sofa sets, bedside tables, and bed frames take up a lot of room, and some of these pieces are also fragile and prone to scratching or damage. Take the time to disassemble your furniture as best you can to help increase the amount of space you can save while storing all of your gear, while minimizing potential damage to the surfaces of your prized possessions.
Remove table legs, drawer handles, fold up chairs, dismantle bed frames, and piece your sofas and loveseats together as best you can to minimize the space they take up.
Use All Your Space
If you have a few chests of drawers, trunks, ovens, refrigerators, etc - use the interior space of these bulky items to store other items. Fill a chest of drawers with books, movies, appliances, pots/pans, kitchen utensils, plates, cleaning supplies, and other bulky items to help maximize your box/tote bin supply for other items that may require more protection from the elements.
This doesn’t mean you should leave your clothes in your dresser drawers; unprotected clothing and fabric materials may be subject to dampness and mould - so filling your drawers with items that can stand the physical exposure to cold, damp air allows you to use your better judgment to fill and protect your excess clothing elsewhere.
Organization is Key
Label. Everything… Every box or bin in your storage unit should be labelled with its contents so you can eliminate the possibility of having to go through each and every single box to find what you need to take out of storage. Organization of your things will also help you to organize how and where to stack boxes and bins. Make a plan so you can visualize how and why the heaviest things should always be stacked on the bottom of your rows to ensure that the top-heavy items don’t come crashing down on top of you, or even potentially damaging other things inside the unit.
Tall and heavy object should always be packed in closest to the walls of the storage unit. Begin with the tallest of your belongings, like lamps, bed frame rails, headboards, etc - this will help you maintain a view of what’s been packed in when it comes time to retrieve something down the line. Stack the shorter object in front of your tall possessions to lock them in place so they don’t fall over.
To protect your things, always get them up off the ground of the storage unit, regardless of how well insulated, or protected it may be from the elements. Consider collecting a few wooden pallets to place on the floor to lift your boxes or totes off the ground, allowing air to circulate through and under the storage unit, as well as protect from and water, dampness, or ice that may accumulate over the seasons. This will help to reduce the chance of developing mould, mildew of ruining a box of clothing altogether.
Boxes or Rubbermaid?
Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. Boxes are widely available from many department stores, movers, and outlet malls where you can pick them up for next to nothing - or for free - making them a great choice if you’ve maxed your budget securing the storage unit in the first place. Boxes can be stacked, but be careful to take extra care when stacking high - cardboard may be durable, but it’s hardly strong, and has a tendency to sag and collapse over time.
Tote bins or Rubbermaid containers are a step above cardboard boxes in many ways. They’re durable, secure, protect against the elements and water, and they’re specifically designed to be stackable. The major downside? They’re expensive in comparison to cardboard boxes. Many people opt to combine a few of each when packing their storage unit, utilizing the strength and protection of plastic tote bins on the bottom, stacking cardboard boxes on top.