Do you have a long-distance move coming up? Or, are you looking to downsize and don’t have room for all your belongings?
If either of these situations applies to you, you might want to consider stashing some of your important belongings in a long-term storage unit.
Some people worry about storing their belongings because they’re afraid they might get broken or damaged. As long as you pack them carefully, though, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
Listed below are some great tips to help you keep everything safe until you’re ready to take it with you.
Before you pack your furniture, take some time to vacuum it and clean it with a gentle soap and water solution. Then, let it air dry fully, ideally out in the sunlight.
Apply leather conditioner if you have leather sofas or chairs that need to be protected. Be sure to apply a coat of wax to wood items to prevent mold development, and wipe down metal pieces with oil to avoid rusting.
When it comes to packing and storing furniture, it’s a good idea to disassemble large pieces so there’s more room in the unit. Make sure you wrap any protruding parts with bubble wrap and put small objects like bolts and hinges in a plastic bag so they’re easy to locate.
Finally, cover your furniture with sheets, blankets, or special furniture covers. Then, secure those items with rubber bands or cinch straps to hold them in place.
Avoid putting plastic wrap directly on wood or leather, as this can trap moisture and heat and cause mold or warping.
Be sure to thoroughly clean all appliances before putting them in a long-term storage unit.
If you’re packing up a freezer or refrigerator, don’t forget to defrost them and disinfect them with a baking soda or bleach solution. You should also make sure all the water is drained from dishwashers or washing machines, too.
Once everything is clean and dry, tie down attached hoses and cables. Store removable hoses and attachments inside the appliance so you’ll know exactly where to find them when it’s time to unpack.
It’s also a good idea to leave the doors of your appliances slightly open when you store them. This will keep them ventilated to prevent condensation and possible molding.
If you’re storing electronics, make sure they’re clean and dust-free. Then, try to pack them in their original boxes (or ones that are about the same size).
If there are empty spaces in the box, fill them in with some crumpled paper, anti-static packing peanuts, or foam sheets.
Seal the boxes carefully, too, so that no moisture can get in.
If you’re storing clothing items like a wedding dress or a tuxedo, avoid folding them and stuffing them in boxes.
Hang them on a clothing rail or store them in a wardrobe box so they don’t get wrinkled or moldy. Be sure to wrap them up in a protective cover, too, to keep dust and insects out.
You can also use insect repellent products like mothballs or naphthalene to help protect your important clothing while it’s in storage.
Just be sure to place the products in air-tight containers so that they don’t send toxic vapors into the air.
Packing Fragile Items
If you’re packing fragile items like fine china, paintings, framed photos, or figurines, start by wrapping them all individually with bubble wrap or packing paper.
Line the boxes you’re storing them in with bubble wrap, towels, or crumpled paper.
Keep these other tips in mind when you’re storing fragile items:
- Turn plates, bowls, and saucers on their sides
- Turn cups and glasses so their rims are down
- Only store small dishes in large ones if they’re wrapped properly
- Store paintings, framed photos, and mirrors in special mirror boxes
- Tape an “X” on glass surfaces with masking tape to prevent shattering
- Place flat pieces of cardboard both sides of the glass
Once you’ve packed all your fragile items, don’t forget to mark the boxes with “fragile.” This way, your movers will be sure to treat them with extra care.
Bonus Packing Tips
If you want to make sure all your possessions stay safe while they’re in long-term storage, be sure to keep these bonus packing tips in mind:
Make a List
Make a detailed inventory of everything that’s going into storage.
This will help you organize your belongings and locate them quickly when you need them. This can also serve as proof for an insurance claim should something get lost or damaged.
Store Similar Items Together
It also makes it easier to find what you need when you pack similar items close to each other in the storage unit. For example, keep all your kitchen items in one corner and all your keepsakes in another.
Use High-Quality Packing Materials
Don’t just crumple up some old newspapers and expect them to keep your valuables safe.
It’s worth it to spend a little more for quality packing supplies when you’re keeping things in storage for a long time. You’ll have peace of mind and know that everything is secure.
Use Plastic Containers
Plastic containers can be useful because they keep out moisture better than cardboard boxes. Don’t rely too heavily on plastic bags, though, as they can retain moisture and cause your items to mold.
Don’t Over- or Under-pack Boxes
Overpacking boxes can make them so heavy that they will break under their own weight. On the flip side, underpacking can cause them to collapse when they’re stacked on top of each other.
A good rule of thumb is to fill your boxes tightly, but make sure they can still be taped shut without too much effort.
Looking for a Long-Term Storage Unit?
A long-term storage unit can be a great resource for keeping your important items safe during a transition period.
If you live in Florida, Maryland, or Virginia, check out our list of store locations today to find a storage unit near you.
We offer a variety of storage options, including some that cost just $3 per month!