Self-Storage Top Tips

New to Self-Storage? Check Out Our Top Tips

Whether you’re looking for short-term or long-term storage solutions, it’s important to know how self-storage works and what you can do to prepare for it. In the following article, we help you get started by showing you what to look for in a self-storage facility, how to pack correctly and what you can do to keep your belongings safe, organised and easy to access.

Getting Started

Compile a list. What are you planning to store? Are the items large or small? Can they be stacked? Measure the size and volume of your belongings to work out how big your storage unit needs to be. If unsure, use Storage Plus’s space calculator to make the process easier.

Get quotes. Request quotes from reputable companies and check testimonials online. This will let you know if the company is right for your needs. Find out if the quote includes a packing service or packing materials. This could save you time and money in the long run.

What are the inclusions? This should be checked during the quoting process, but there are some features you should look out for:

  • High-level security with fenced perimeters, 24/7 CCTV and alarm systems
  • PIN code access that allows you to access the facility 24 hours a day
  • No flood risk
  • Durable, waterproof storage units
  • Pest- and vermin-proof storage units
  • Drive-up access to your unit, if required
  • Climate control.

Take out insurance. Your home and contents insurance may not cover self-storage, so it’s worth taking out self-storage insurance for your stored belongings. Most facilities will offer affordable deals, depending on the value of your items. However, they don’t usually cover transport or transit insurance, so make arrangements for this if you want further protection.

Book a removalist or hire a truck. If you have a lot to store, it’s best to hire a professional removalist. This will ensure the job is done quickly and professionally. Alternatively, hire a truck or transport them yourself. Make sure your belongings are properly secured so they arrive in one piece!

How to Pack and Store Your Valuables

Raise them off the ground. If you can, find some palettes for the floor of your unit so you can place your furniture or boxes on top of them. This will protect your belongings in the event of a flood or spillage in the next unit.

Maximise space. To make the most of space, stack items against the walls. How high you go depends on the weight of your boxes and whether you keep a step ladder in the unit. Make sure the heaviest items go at the bottom for stability. You can even use a plywood plank to provide a level platform between boxes. Keep light and fragile items on top. If you’ve got a mattress, make sure it’s stored on its side to minimise space and prevent spring damage. 

Get a padlock. Most storage facilities are secure, but you still need a high-quality padlock to keep your belongings safe. Consider a weatherproof padlock with a short shackle so it can’t be broken with bolt cutters. And avoid cheap locks. They corrode quickly – particularly if your unit is outside – and you won’t be able to access your belongings unless you break the lock!

Prevent damage or spillage. Avoid storing anything that could drip or cause moisture. If you do, lay a plastic sheet on the floor so you don’t damage nearby units or incur charges for stains.

Label boxes. Locating items will be fast and easy if you label your boxes. You can do this with markers or printed labels. Put these on all sides so you can find the right box without having to turn it around.

Keep an inventory. Keep a list of everything you’ve got in storage, including the contents of the boxes. It’ll save you unnecessary rummaging. Don’t forget to store a copy in the unit!

Avoid storing dangerous items or food. Anything flammable, explosive, hazardous or illegal should not be stored in your unit. Not only will it invalidate your insurance, but it can also be dangerous to you and the facility. As for food, it can smell, rot and attract vermin, even if it’s packaged. This can damage your belongings and create a pest problem for the facility!

Avoid storing confidential documents. Storage facilities are not suitable for confidential documents. Put these in a safe or give them to your solicitor.

Make sure your furniture is empty. Don’t leave any contents in your furniture, even if you think it saves space. Clothes may get musty due to lack of airflow, and heavier objects may place strain on legs or bases, making them prone to breakage. If you can, unscrew the legs from wardrobes and cabinets so they don’t fall and damage other items in your unit.

Avoid moisture. If you’restoring fridges, washing machines or dishwashers, make sure they’re completely dry before you put them in the unit. This will prevent smells as well as mould or mildew. Keep the doors slightly ajar to allow airflow.

Protect mirrors and artworks. Delicate objects like mirrors and paintings should be packed with appropriate materials to prevent breakage or deterioration. Store these in an upright position so nothing is accidentally placed on top.

Use small boxes for books. It might be tempting to use big boxes for books, but this can damage their spines. Try to use small boxes to ensure their longevity.

Wrap delicate items. Photo albums, vinyl records and vintage books can deteriorate when exposed to extreme heat or cold. Double-wrap these items to protect them from temperature fluctuations while in storage.

Use covers. Just because your belongings are in a unit, doesn’t mean they can’t get dusty or attract insects. Use lounge and chair covers, or place a plastic sheet over your boxes.  

Remove batteries. It’s easy to forget that batteries can corrode or leak. To prevent this from happening, remove them from appliances, gadgets or toys before you place them in storage.

Storing your belongings can be easy and fuss-free when you follow these simple steps – and you’ll be surprised at how quickly it can declutter and simplify your life! If you’re looking for a secure and affordable self-storage solution, contact our friendly team at Storage Plus or fill out our online form to get a free quote.

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