Moving house can often highlight how much stuff you actually own. Using self-storage when moving to your new home is a great way to cut down on how much of this stuff you’ll need to transport on moving day.
Self-storage companies like Safestore
let you store items you don’t need for weeks, months or even years, in units of varying sizes. But whatever size unit you choose to pay for, it is important to make the space you have work for you.
Making the most of the space you have means maximising how much you can fit in, as well as making sure the things you need are accessible and everything is safe, dry and secure. Here are 10 ways that you can make the most of the space in your self-storage unit:
1. Do you need it?
The first thing to think about before you even start packing things into your self-storage is: what do you need to store?
Make sure the things you are putting in self-storage are things that you need to keep, but don’t need with you in your new home. This can be the perfect time to go through all your belongings and rid yourself of any items that don’t mean anything to you, or have no use to you anymore. If you want some ideas of what kind of items are ideal for storage, read our guide on what to keep in self-storage
Making sure the items in your unit are the ones that need to be there will stop you from wasting space. Throwing things away can be tough, but it will be better for you in the long run.
2. Plan ahead
As with most things in life, having a plan can help to make things a whole lot easier. Before you put anything into your storage unit, have an idea of where you want to put everything. It will be helpful for you to try and draw a map of the unit and label it. You and whoever helps you can refer back to the map when moving things into the storage unit.
This map can also come in handy further down the line, so keep hold of it. Keep it in your unit so that you always remember where you have put certain items, if you ever need to come back and retrieve them. You should also make sure all your boxes are well labelled to help with this too.
3. Vertical storage
Your instinct when moving furniture and items into storage may be to store them horizontally, for example, having a sofa laid out as it would be in a living room. However, it is important to realise that if you do this you will not be making use of all the vertical space.
Where you can, try and tilt furniture that is wider than it is tall (like a sofa) onto its side to use the vertical space, and leave more horizontal space to fit things in. Just make sure it’s wrapped up and securely placed so it doesn’t fall and damage your other items.
You can also disassemble certain objects so that they can more easily be stacked vertically, for example having the headboard, mattress and posts of a bed all resting vertically against the wall.
Buying some simple yet sturdy shelving units to put into your storage unit is another way to utilise vertical space. Though you may think that adding these shelves will take up more space, it will be better for your items in the long run.
Using shelves will allow you to stack items higher without the risk of them falling or becoming unstable. It will also mean that you won’t be stacking boxes or items on top of each other which could lead to damage. It may also make it easier to coordinate your items, perhaps having shelves organised by type of item or size.
5. Outside in
An often-recommended strategy for filling a storage unit is to start placing items around the outside (against the walls) and work inwards. By focussing lining the walls of your unit first, and remembering to stack as much vertically as possible, it will allow you to leave more space in the centre of the room.
This will help you access the room easier. Having space in the centre to move about and access all the items at the sides will make retrieving items easier than having everything based in the middle in one big lump.
It's important that you create aisles within your storage unit to walk through. These aisles don’t have to be incredibly wide, just enough for you to be able to move down them comfortably. While leaving empty space may sound counterproductive to storage, accessibility is the key. If you do need to remove an item, you need the space to get it to the exit without damaging the rest of your items or causing an avalanche.
Remember that the point of storage is to keep items that you want, but have no space for at home. If you have no interest in accessing or looking at an item later, then refer to our first point: do you really need to keep it in storage?
7. Nesting items
Part of the fun of making the most of your storage space comes from thinking outside the box, or inside it, as the case may be. Try to think of ways you can nest items, that is, store some of your items inside of others. An obvious example is a chest of drawers. If you are putting a chest of drawers into your storage unit, try and fill the drawers with some of the smaller items you want to store, leaving more room in the boxes you would have otherwise filled with them.
You can get creative with this technique, identify any places where your furniture can store other items. For example, a fridge freezer has plenty of space inside. How about keeping some things inside a microwave? They will need to be disconnected from power when you store them. And don’t forget to check inside items when you take them out of storage!
8. Everything clean and dry
However long you intend to keep your items in storage for, it is always the case that they are going to be left unattended in your unit for an extended period of time. Meaning, if their conditions change, you will not know about it. This is the reason you cannot keep degradable items such as food and chemicals inside a storage facility. But you still have a responsibility to make sure the items you can put in aren’t going to start to deteriorate too.
An important example is the storage of appliances like fridges and freezers. While they will not be connected to power while in your unit, if you have not cleaned and defrosted them thoroughly before putting them in, they could leak and cause the items around them to get wet and potentially get ruined.
You should make sure that everything you put into storage is both clean and dry.
9. Priority items at the front
When organising where you are going to put your items, its helpful to think about what you will want to get to sooner or more frequently. Try and put those as close to the front of the unit as possible, so you can grab them quickly and easily without moving or disturbing the rest of your belongings.
You should also make sure you pack the items that you wish to get to frequently in easily accessible containers. It shouldn’t be too hard for you to find plastic boxes with easily liftable lids online or in a shop. These will be a lot better than having to pull tape off and reseal a cardboard box every time you want to get something out.
When thinking about what to items to put at the front of your unit, it really is up to you what you think you’ll need easy access to. However, there is one item everyone should have handy in a storage unit, and that’s a toolbox.
You never know when you might need to take a piece of furniture apart, or put it back together, cut open a box or fix an item that’s fallen when you moved something. Having a few tools that are always kept in your unit, and kept in an easily accessible space, can help you face any of these problems that may arise. It also saves you time as you won’t have to go home and then travel back to the facility, if something needs fixing unexpectedly.
However long you use self-storage for, and however big your unit, following these tips can help you to unload more clutter, while also making sure that all your items still accessible and safe.
If you have any other tips on maximising storage space, feel free to share them!