While we recommend getting professionals to pack your storage unit to save time and for packing expertise, not everyone wants strangers handling all their belongings, nor do they want to spend that bit extra.
So if you have decided to Do It Yourself, we still want you to get the job done like the professionals. The following suggestions come from our years of experience and should help you pack away your belongings safely and securely.
Size of Storage Unit to Rent
Before embarking on any DIY storage task, you must itemize your belongings and take measurements of the largest things. This will give you and the storage company the best idea of how much space you will need for storage.
Knowing the dimensions of your boxes will help you know exactly how many will fit stacked up inside the storage unit. If you have any pieces of furniture that are extra large, or oversized items, it is important to factor these into your plans.
Our storage modules hold 10cbm and are 2.4m long, 1.8m wide, and 2.6m high. These dimensions are good for people with only a few items, so they do not have to hire too much space, and good for people with more, as they can hire multiple modules to house their belongings.
Knowing how many items will fill a module and how many modules you will need, can also help you decide what really must be kept, and what you can dispose of. Sometimes parameters are a blessing in disguise!
Finding Boxes for the Storage Unit
Cardboard boxes are not all created equal, and not everyone has the budget to buy brand new ones. If you are looking for free boxes, you can find secondhand ones at local stores and supermarkets. Just go in and ask and they may be happy to oblige. You can also check out Gumtree or other social media marketplaces.
People sometimes keep the boxes from their last move and then have a surplus hanging around the house. The only problem with relying on used boxes for your storage needs is that cardboard suffers from wear and tear especially if it has contained heavy items and has been built and flattened and built again.
Some cardboard boxes are made cheaply and cannot withstand the weight of some items. They are not sturdy, and some cardboard surfaces are even impervious to certain types of sticky tape. If you rely on a mixed bag of secondhand boxes, it will also make it harder to stack them neatly inside your storage unit.
We sell three sizes of boxes: a medium wine/book box, a large chest box, and port-a-robes for hanging clothes. As box specialists, we have chosen boxes with good quality cardboard that can be reused without losing their integrity.
With strong boxes of uniform size, you can calculate how many you need and how many will fit into your storage units.
What Goes In The Far Back of the Storage Unit
When packing a storage unit by yourself, you may ask yourself where to begin. The expert advice, and the logical thing to do, is to start by stacking your boxes at the far back of the unit.
Start with the heavier boxes along the bottom, and stack similar-sized boxes on top of each other. By starting with these easy shapes, stacking the boxes first essentially just creates a new flat wall inside the unit. You may even fill one whole module with boxes and because they have right angles like the module itself, you won’t waste space with odd shapes.
Packing the Storage Unit
Now you have a wall of boxes, you can start packing the sides of the storage module with rectangular pieces of furniture, like cabinets, wardrobes, tables, mattresses etc. Be efficient with the space under tables to store smaller pieces, like bedside tables and the like.
In the space that is left, you can play Tetris with the odd shapes in your collection, like chairs, circular furniture items, bicycles, and other things with wheels. And if you have a box of belongings, or any other essential items, that you think you may need before you unpack the unit, keep that towards the front, too, for easy access.
Knowing Where Everything Is
As you pack each box, label it with the room that the contents belong to and a number. If you want to reuse the boxes in the future, write this code on the tape rather than the cardboard. Write down each of these codes and add a general list of the contents next to each.
If you are packing more than one unit, make sure you make a separate list for each one and add the furniture items and other standalone things along with the boxes. This way you will always know where everything is, and you can decide which storage module to unpack first based on what is inside.
How to Protect Your Belongings
Professional movers always have materials on hand to wrap and cover your items in the truck. If you are packing your storage unit by yourself, it would be wise to invest in these materials, too.
For fragile items that will go in boxes, butchers’ paper is all you really need. Scrunch up balls of paper to line the bottom of the box and then wrap each fragile item in the paper. Use one of two pieces depending on the size and weight of the item.
Bubble wrap is great for wrapping large, fragile frames, and odd-shaped, fragile items like lamps and globes. For large, loose items like toy boxes, doll houses, and baskets, shrink wrap comes in handy. To protect furniture and screens, movers use thick moving blankets, but old towels do the job just as well.
We hope that this page helps to make your DIY packing job easier. Packing a storage unit is not as easy as it looks, but it is not impossible. Follow our advice and your self-storage solution will be effective and uncomplicated.