While you can get packing services from your self-storage company for an extra charge, it's better to do your own packing so that you know where everything is. Don't just throw stuff into the storage space; rather, take time to plan considering which items you will access periodically.
These tips will help you in planning and packing so that you'll take the shortest time should you need to access your stuff in future:
- For insurance purposes, make a list of all your items and their replacement value so that your stuff is adequately protected against unanticipated eventualities in your policy.
- Get high-quality boxes of similar sizes which will be easier to stack in the storage unit, saving valuable space. Remember that strength of boxes degrades with each use.
- Try to place everything in a box – things packed open will get dirty and dusty over time.
- Fill your boxes to capacity to maximise on space. However, make them only as heavy as can be carried without damaging the box. Use old towels, newspaper or special packing materials like bubble-wrap to fill up spaces so your stuff won't hit against each other and break.
- When stacking boxes, ensure that the lowest boxes are properly packed and strong enough to withstand the stress of additional weight on them. Such boxes must be properly filled; partially empty boxes are likely to collapse.
- Keep inventory of all items in a separate sheet of paper that will be kept in your house. In addition, label all your boxes for the stuff they contain, being as detailed as you can. This will help you find stuff faster later. Appropriately label boxes with breakable items. Place items in order to likelihood of access, with the most frequently accessed closest to the door.
- If you must have larger boxes, don't fill with heavy items, because they'll soon be impossible to lift. Adding stuff like books quickly adds up with weight. Use larger boxes to store light but bulky items; you can store a few heavy items for stability. Store books in smaller boxes; separate them according to categories. Pack them flat so that you don't damage their spines.
- Don't store wet or water-attracting items to avoid causing mildew, mould and water damage to your stuff while in storage. Consider having desiccant in selected parts of the unit.
- Plan for your larger appliances before storage: thoroughly defrost refrigerators and deep freezers. Tie doors in place for the actual move, but leave partially open in storage to prevent condensation and odour build-up. Drain your dishwasher/washing machine and tie hoses in place. Ensure appliances are clean and dry; wipe the insides with bicarbonate of soda to absorb any bad smells.
- Pack fragile items together with paper covering individual items – use bubble wrap if you can afford it. Use very strong boxes and add paper to fill any gaps. Try to ensure these boxes are stored towards the top when stacking. Store mirrors and picture frames upright, never flat.