4 Essential Self-Storage Tips
If you have never used a self-storage unit before, there are a few tricks you should learn beforehand that will make your move easier and keep your belongings in the condition that you left them. Here are four tips that can help you avoid some simple mistakes that some people make when using self-storage.
Use Plywood to Stabilize Stacked Boxes
No matter how big your storage unit is, there will almost always come a point where the only way left to go is up. Stacking boxes all too often feels like a precarious balancing act, but there is an easy method you can use to minimize the chance of your cardboard towers collapsing. Place a sheet of plywood on each box before you stack the next one on top.
For this method to work, you should make sure that each row of boxes is roughly the same size. This will allow the plywood to lie flat instead of at an angle, creating a more stable foundation for the boxes above. Additionally, each plywood board should be long and wide enough so that a few inches are sticking out around the bottom edges of each box.
Prepare for Slick Ice in Winter
Because of heavy foot and vehicle traffic in front of self-storage unit doors, it is not uncommon for small depressions in the ground to develop. Unfortunately, these depressions can easily collect snow and ice and create a dangerous slick spot. If you are moving in the winter months, it is a good idea to have a plan for creating your own traction.
Sand, cat litter, and plywood boards all make much safer surfaces to walk on when they are laid over slick spots in front of a storage unit. Wearing thick-soled boots can also give you that extra bit of traction that you need to avoid a potentially serious injury when carrying large boxes, furniture, and other heavy items.
Fill All Empty Space in Boxes
The more movement your belongings are subjected to, the more likely they are to become damaged. Filling all of your boxes to the brim with items is a good way to keep your items from breaking if they rattle around too much while you are moving them or fall inside the storage unit.
You will undoubtedly end up with some boxes that are too full of empty space no matter how much you try to cram into them. Packing material is essential for these cases. While bubble wrap and packing peanuts provide the best protection for your belongings, newspaper or towels make suitable substitutes in many cases.
Take Steps to Prevent Mold and Mildew
Moisture is one of the worst enemies of your belongings while they are in storage. Moisture and humidity combined with the dark environment of a closed storage unit creates the perfect environment for mold and mildew growth. If you are not renting a climate-controlled storage unit, you will need to take extra steps to protect mold-susceptible items such as clothing and furniture.
Large appliances are often the largest source of moisture in a storage unit. Be sure to completely defrost refrigerators and freezers and drain washing machines before storing them. Wipe down the inside of your fridge and/or freezer with a mixture of baking soda and water to completely remove all food particles, and then allow them to dry completely. Storing appliances with the door ajar will allow air to circulate and help prevent mold growth.
Adding a desiccant to your storage unit can protect your items from mold and mildew by pulling moisture out of the air. While commercial desiccants are always an option, there are also effective alternatives. Storing an open bag of cat litter or charcoal in your unit will provide excellent humidity control.
Using a self-storage unit is easy and convenient if you know how to avoid common pitfalls that first-time movers sometimes face.