General Storage Tips

Storage space is needed for a variety of reasons, such as when you're moving to a smaller home, when your home isn't ready yet, or when there's just too much to unpack and there is not enough time. Or, just having too much stuff is increasingly becoming accepted as a genuine reason to rent storage space.

People often rely on storage space for more traditional reasons, such as being divorced, being evicted from an apartment, deciding to move in with a significant other, remodeling a home or having a home destroyed by fire or other incidents.

Basic storage options for household goods are to either store your possessions in a moving company's warehouse, or lease a self storage unit at a self storage facility. The circumstances for storing your property will be the primary factor determining which type of storage you'll use.

Most of the tips in this Storage Guide pertain to self storage facilities, where you have a greater degree of control over moving your possessions in and out of storage. Typically, in a moving company's warehouse, your possessions will be stored either inside the moving van for a very short period of time or within a moving company container. Because restrictions and security, costs and access all vary by moving company, it's best to check with your mover on the details that apply to short and long term storage.

Types of Storage Facilities

Here are three types of storage that are available:  

  • Type A Storage - features the latest amenities, which may include security cameras, electrical security gates, secure locking systems, concrete storage units, and/or brick walls.
  • Type B Storage - usually consists of a mix of metal and concrete storage units surrounded by a fence. This type may or may not have security cameras.
  • Type C Storage offers low-budget, no frills storage units for moving and storage on a shoestring. This type of storage unit typically provides little or no security. Property stored in this type of facility is generally of low value.

Consider Insurance for Your Items in Storage

Renters are responsible for insuring their stored goods. Some storage facilities offer limited insurance coverage with prices based upon the estimated value of the goods being stored.

Most Homeowner's insurance policies provide limited coverage when your property is stored off-premises. However, some Renter's policies provide full coverage for your property regardless of where it's being stored. The perils insured against, the amount of coverage for special items, and other restrictions, limitations and exclusions can vary from policy to policy. Don't assume your goods in storage will be covered by your other insurance policies. For more information about these terms and other insurance considerations, see House Moving Insurance and Valuation in our Moving Guide.

Basic Storage Tips

Here are a few basic storage tips for storing your household items in a storage facility:

  • Use pallets, tarps or plastic sheets on the floor of your storage unit if it is located on the ground floor or accessible from outside to prevent water and moisture damage. These items will help prevent water and moisture from getting in and damaging your stored items.
  • Promote ventilation to help prevent mold and mildew problems. Don't pack items directly against a wall. Leave an inch or so of space for ventilation. Instead of plastic coverings for furniture, bedding, etc. use old cotton sheets, which won't trap moisture.
  • Leave enough room at the front of your storage unit so you can get to your things without too much trouble. Keep frequently accessed items easily accessible, near the front.
  • Consider using shelving to increase the space available for storage within your unit.
  • Leverage the cubic volume (height) of your space by stacking boxes. Don't stack higher than you can reach, place heavier boxes at the bottom of the stack and don't overpack or underpack your boxes. Overpacked boxes lead to bulging and underpacked boxes can lead to crushing. Either condition will greatly affect your ability to stack your boxes safely. For more information, please go through our packing guide or you can also avail professional packing services from a trusted company, Fischer Van Lines.
  • Store valuable items toward the back of the storage unit in unmarked containers. Thieves will typically not take the time to go through your entire storage unit to find you valuables. In fact, consider not putting your valuables in storage in the first place.
  • Clean out any refrigerators or freezers and let them dry before putting them into storage. Additionally, leave the doors ajar for air flow and take advantage of the space inside to store additional items.
  • Store upholstered furniture, like sofas (but not sleep sofas), on end if possible, to maximize your space. Cover with cotton sheets for dust protection.
  • Cover mattresses and box springs, with cotton sheets, and stand securely on their edge. Remember, cardboard absorbs moisture and plastic traps condensation, both of which can promote mold and mildew.
  • Treat any garden tools and other metal items, like bicycles, with a rust inhibitor, such as machine oil, before storing them. Clean before storing them.
  • Drain gas and oil from lawn mowers, trimmers, weed blowers, and other items with engines.
  • Use the tops of dressers as a base for stacking boxes. You can place a variety of items inside the dresser drawers, such as linens, small boxes or delicate items.
  • Wrap table and chair legs to avoid scratching.

Be sure to see our Packing Guide for great packing tips you can use for getting your items ready for transfer to storage.

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