You’re among one of the thousands of Americans who find themselves faced with packing for temporary storage. You’re not alone… Maybe you’re staging your home for a quicker sale, making room for a home office or a temporary classroom amid the Pandemic, or desire the peace of mind that comes from a space that is free of clutter.
With so many changes in the worldwide landscape, self-storage has become an asset to homeowners and apartment dwellers. Temporary storage offers flexibility while creating room in your home and free space in your mind.
All of those distractions not only lead to lower productivity but also lead to feelings of overwhelm that disempower us from reaching our goals. Feeling encumbered by stuff is a growing trend since so many of us are faced with how many things we actually have during a shelter in place! The good news is that by utilizing temporary storage, you don’t have to wait for a bigger home to create that spacious feeling.
Whether you’re packing for temporary storage due to a transition in your personal life, or just want to free up some space in your home in you home, it can feel overwhelming to do the research necessary to begin the process.
Step 1: Assess the space you have
Create a flow in your home. Your things should fit neatly into the space you have. Although it may be tough to decide what you need, storing things offsite means that your stuff is not gone forever!
Get Rid of the clutter! Clutter can be overwhelming to deal with when starting to pack your belongings for storage. Once it’s out of the way, it makes the packing process so much easier. Even a few hours of decluttering can make things run a lot smoother. Try getting the family involved, and make it a game!
Step 2: Categorize & Inventory
Making lists as you categorize your items for temporary storage will make it easier for you to find them as you need them. As you gather items from each category, make a list, or take a photo of what you pack in each box. Label your boxes with a number, and mark your photograph or list with the same number for a visual index. Having a list and documentation is also an asset in the event that an unfortunate or unexpected event should occur and you need to file an insurance claim.
Things you use seasonally-
Your surfboard, your kid’s inflatable pool, or your Bermuda shorts won’t be of much use when it’s snowing outside! Group all seasonal items by season, including decorations, clothing, and footwear together. When these items are packed together, and labeled, it’s so simple to swap out a few boxes at the change of season.
Sentimental Items You Don’t Need Right Away-
High School Yearbooks, Stacks of your kid’s artwork, and other items that have value but are rarely used in daily life can be prepared for temporary storage, so you can access them when you need them!
Things You Need, Just Not Right Now
Heirloom furniture, boxes of books, or clothes -you’re saving for the next baby can all be stored off-site!
Step 3: Gather Materials and Pack
Following your inventory, pack items of each category together following these instructions for the safekeeping of your items.
When packing, it is important to consider that life changes quickly, and although you are packing for temporary storage, you may enjoy the spaciousness this brings and decide to keep your items packed away longer than 3-4 months! Packing items to be stored indefinitely not only safeguards your items but can offer you peace of mind in the event that plans change. Since things often take longer than expected, you can rest assured knowing that your valuable items are safe.
Be sure to use sturdy boxes, and always, always make sure the bottom is taped securely shut! Don’t overpack boxes, and make sure boxes can be comfortably lifted and moved. Pack lighter items on the top so they do not crush the contents beneath them. Fill any empty space in the box so it does not collapse.
Clean each piece of furniture, removing any dust, debris, or food remnants. Condition any wood or leather items, and be sure to vacuum all upholstery.
Disassemble any furniture. Often the assembly instructions are long gone, so it is helpful to take photos of each step along the way, documenting hardware as you go. When it comes time to reassemble, you can review your photos in reverse, making reassembly a breeze!
Use a drop cloth, or moving blankets, wrap your items carefully for transport and storage. While bubble wrap is useful for protecting mirrors and glass, avoid using plastic coverings directly on your furniture. Plastic can trap moisture, which can cause wood to warp and upholstery to mold or mildew. Use only white drop cloths to cover wood or upholstery, as the dyes can bleed in humid environments leading to discoloration of your furniture.
Remove any dust or debris from the item using a dry cloth. If you are storing an electronic device that stores data, be sure to back up any important information before packing it away.
Secure packing of electronics is so important! In the event of any bumps or drops, you can be at ease knowing your electronics are secure in their packaging. Remove all cords, and wind them into a circle, securing with a tie.
If possible, pack electronic items in their original packaging. If that is long gone, use a box slightly larger than your item, and create a shock-absorbing buffer firmly around the item using packing peanuts or styrofoam. Avoid using any plastics that will trap moisture, and be sure to include several silica packs to absorb any humidity.
Always keep your electronics upright. Mark an arrow on the box with the correct direction to ensure that your item is stored and transported safely.
Once your device is placed securely in the box, you can place the corresponding cords on top of the packing, and tape your box closed securely.
Clothing & Specialty Worn Items:
Books, Papers, and Photographs:
Since mold is a common issue when storing books, and papers, it’s recommended to ensure they are totally dry. If you live in a humid climate. Paper objects can be stored in smaller, opaque plastic totes to ensure they are kept free from moisture and light, and rodents.
Pack larger books lying flat, and store smaller books upright, as you would on your bookshelf. Never store a book on its spine, as it can cause damage to the structural integrity of the book and damage it.
Protect your photographs by storing them in an archival album before storing to ensure your photos will be around for generations. To store larger photographs, carefully place them between layers of cardboard, and lie flat.
Instruments, Art, and Other Delicate Objects:
To properly store delicate objects, it is important to have a facility that is climate controlled, even for temporary storage. Make sure all packing is secure, keeping packing materials out of direct contact with any painted areas, wood accents, or delicate features.
Step 4: Finding A Storage Space
It can be difficult to conceptualize how much storage space you actually need. Many self-storage websites offer guides that can help you visualize how your things will fit in the space. Some storage units are multi-level, so be sure to ask about accessibility if you need a space that is on the ground level.
If you are storing any sensitive items like instruments, electronics, or antiques, be sure to rent a climate-controlled unit.
When people think of storage, the image that comes to mind is often a traditional storage facility. While traditional storage is an excellent option for many, there are alternatives that can offer some flexibility, convenience, or some sizable savings. Maybe you have a spare vehicle that never gets used sitting in your garage. Consider storing your vehicle, renting extra space from someone in your neighborhood, or asking a family member or friend to store belongings for you.