10 Pro Tips for Moving Your Belongings into Self-Storage | BoxMeUp

10 Pro Tips for Moving Your Belongings into Self-Storage

10 Pro Tips for Moving Your Belongings into Self-Storage

10 Pro Tips for Moving Your Belongings into Self-Storage

Whether you’re moving homes, creating space in the house, downsizing your business, or a whole host of other projects, self-storage is likely the best answer to the challenges you face.

Packing and loading your belongings for storage though comes with its own set of challenges. As leaders in the Eastern Ontario storage industry, we’ve compiled our top 10 tips to help you make your storage project as easy and successful as possible.

1 – Pack by spaces

It might seem smart to pack boxes with the items that fill the box the best, but that can have you running around the house packing from all over. Now imagine unpacking…

Yes: that’s a bad idea. Always pack boxes with items from the same space and only one space. If one drawer of the desk fits well into a box, then that’s ideal. This helps for unloading and unpacking, as your labels (yes, always label boxes!) can be concise yet specific: “Master Bedroom – beside table (Her’s).” You’ll know exactly where it’s going and what’s inside.

2 – Use the appropriate box…

Boxes work incredibly well to protect items inside, but only if the box is packed properly, and that begins by getting the right box. Heavy items require small boxes. Books, for example, are heavy items, and they should go in small boxes. Whoever needs to move those boxes, will thank you – not to mention a larger box could crumble under the weight of too many books. Lighter items should go in larger boxes to save on box count (and therefore trips in and out of the space).

Also, always pack the box the right way up (if there is any branding/writing on the box), as this is an indication of which way to carry it and load it – boxes shouldn’t be getting flipped all over.

3 – …and pack it tightly

But even if you use a small box for books or a large box for clothes, if you do not pack it completely, to the top, filling the corners especially, then the box is likely to be crushed under any weight. Use paper to fill in corners if need be (heavier boxes will require this). Do not leave space between items inside the box either – pack them tightly together – as any space whatsoever is space that will allow items to shift. Movement is what causes damage, so always avoid spaces inside boxes. Fill them with crushed paper.

4 – Loading is like Tetris

When loading your storage unit or mobile container, approach it like you are playing Tetris. This means 2-D. Load in tiers, flat across the back wall of the unit, starting with heavy “base” items, such as large, heavy furniture items. Then load boxes and medium-sized furniture items (e.g., coffee table, ottoman, TV stand) on top, saving light, “toss” items (such as rugs or bags of pillows or patio cushions, etc.) for the top of the tier. Do your best to keep the tier as flat as possible, and, like packing boxes, keep the load as tightly together as possible by filling every space to minimize possible movement.

5 – Use cardboard and moving blankets

It might sound obvious to say that using moving blankets for moving is a smart idea, but it really depends on how you use them – and what not to use. Plastics are a bad idea for storage as they do not allow for air circulation, risking condensation and therefore mold growth. Blankets solve this issue while also adding superior protection.

Wrapping furniture in blankets is typically a good idea, but blankets can also be used inside your load to fill in spaces, balance the tiers, and to add protection between items. Get creative with them, and do the same with boxes and cardboard. These can work great underneath items, especially on the floor of a truck or storage unit, or between items, including between a flat item and a wall. A flat box can also be folded around something to protect it while keeping the load’s tier square and flat.

6 – Wrapping and flipping

Wrapping furniture in moving blankets allows you to flip those items on their side or backs or wherever your load might need you to. Sofas are the type of item that should rarely be stored on their feet. On their feet, they take up a lot of room on the floor and end up acting as “base.” As base though, sofas will usually get damaged by the items on top leaving imprints in the cushions, back, and arms (any upholstered items are at risk of this). Sofas are a great example of an item that should be wrapped in blankets and then flipped on its end in storage (in this case, making a nice corner piece for a tier). Again, loading is like Tetris – don’t be afraid to flip the piece you’re playing with by wrapping it in a blanket.

7 – Small and fragile items: think about eggs

When packing fragile items, all of the above tips still stand. You still want to pack your box tightly (avoid any movement!), but now you are likely to be using a lot of paper rather than finding more odds ‘n ends (from the same space). Use clean paper, as old newsprint is likely to rub ink on the items.

Labeling this box “Fragile” is worth repeating – on each side, as well as on the top, of the box. Indeed, packing boxes the right way up becomes even more significant with fragile items.

If it is particularly fragile (say, a chandelier), then writing “Top Load Only” on the box is also a good idea to keep anyone from putting anything on top of the box. When packing these items in boxes, think of them as you do eggs: they’ll break if you squeeze them, unless you squeeze the top and bottom. So, china plates should not be packed flat, but on their side as they are strongest this way. Glassware standing upright. Bowls on their side. Etc. Think of items as eggs, and you’ll pack them in their best position.

8 – Large and fragile items: still eggs

Larger, fragile items, such as mirrors and paintings, can also go in boxes. There are boxes specifically designed for large, flat items like mirrors and paintings. There are also various types of specialized wraps for these items, which cover the item like paper before going in the box. The principles from above remain the same though. You should still add paper to the bottom, sides, and top of the mirror/painting box to keep it from shifting. Always store these items standing upright.

Marble or glass tops can also go in these boxes, but do not require a them the way framed mirrors and paintings do. Marble and glass can be simply wrapped in a moving blanket for transportation, but they should be tied tightly to the wall of the vehicle, and always standing upright and never left flat – that advice stands for carrying them too.

9 – Plan ahead

When loading your storage, always keep the end game in the back of your mind. The last thing you want to do is have the rugs as the last thing out when you need them first (before furniture goes into the room!). Any other items you may require access to during the storage period should be left to the side to do so. If you plan on visiting your storage unit frequently, then it can be a good idea to rent a larger space to provide room to move around and access the items. You can even create aisles in your unit if you require that much access. Know what your plan is though before beginning to load..

10 – Go mobile

Mobile storage is the most convenient and flexible form of storage in the industry, and it comes with advantages worth having. Being mobile means the storage container itself replaces any moving vehicle required. This does not merely save you the cost of a rental truck, but, probably more significantly, saves you the time and energy of moving the items twice – once onto the truck, the other into storage. Mobile storage allows you to get the job done in one shot. You can even arrange to have your container arrive in advance, and load it at your own pace, over a number of days (or even weeks).

Regardless of the storage project you’re completing, these 10 tips will make the process easier and keep your belongings safer during their stay in storage.

Box Me Up is Eastern Ontario’s leader in mobile storage, and we’re proud to share our knowledge with you. Check out our blog for more storage tips, or get started arranging your storage unit or mobile container here.

Published: October 22 2021

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