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8 Tips for Organizing a Storage Unit

Woman In Grey Shirt Holding Brown Cardboard Box

The purpose of a storage unit is typically to help you get your home and other spaces organized. However, one thing you may not have given much thought to is how you’d like to organize your organizing - that is, how you can put things in your storage unit in a way that maximizes space and efficiency, making it easy to access the things you need.

We’ve put together a few tips for organizing a storage unit space, so you can feel good and purposeful about the items you store and the way you store them.

1.   Have a roadmap before you get started.

When you’re in the process of clearing a space or moving, your first instinct is probably going to be just grabbing items and getting them into storage as quickly as possible. However, you can make the most of your storage unit, and save yourself the most headache, if you map out your space in advance.

For example, a mini-storage unit will hold a couple of rooms worth of furniture, boxes and other items. If you have an idea of what you want to store in your unit, draw it out, so you can move your items in strategically and save time and effort getting them in place - and so you can maximize the space you’re paying for. 

2.  Push big stuff to the back.

If you have larger items, place them in the very back of the unit. This concept of “larger” can include big and bulky pieces of furniture, mattresses and more.

If you place these items closer to the front, they’ll block the path and prevent you from accessing other items you may need more frequently.

3.  Put frequently used items in front. 

You don’t need the headache of digging all the way through your unit every time the seasons change, and that’s one of the top reasons people plan a trip to their storage unit. When you’re mapping out your storage, be sure to allocate some space in the front for the following types of items:

4.  Consider nixing the cardboard. 

Cardboard boxes are easy, and, thanks to Amazon, almost ubiquitous. Cardboard can be great for short-term uses like moving from one house or apartment to another. 

However, if you anticipate your items being put away for a longer time period, consider upgrading to clear storage containers. These boxes make it easier to see and remember what’s in your containers at a glance, which means less lifting, opening and rummaging at a time when you’re probably just seeking to find your items and leave the unit.

Plus, plastic or other types of containers can hold their structural integrity when stacked a little better than cardboard typically can.

5.  Inventory your items.

This tip goes hand-in-hand with the idea of clear boxes. As you pack storage bins, make a meticulous list of what you’ve packed in each one. Then, do two things with the list.

6.  Take advantage of shelf space.

If you have shelves you’re planning to store, they may be allowed to bypass the typical “furniture in the back” rule.

Shelves can be miraculous in a storage unit because they allow you to make room for multiple boxes without stacking them to the point that they become difficult to access or pose a balancing issue.

7.  Don’t break your back with books.

When you’re a book lover, you may feel like you’re thinking ahead by packing all your books together in one place. However, trying to hoist up a book-filled storage bin sounds easier than it actually is.

Where possible, pack books in smaller quantities and in several storage containers. Dispersing your literary tomes in a variety of containers can make it easier to lift and shift them, and also helps you avoid digging all the way to the bottom of a huge bin every time you want to contemplate re-reading Game of Thrones in preparation for the next book.

8.  Keep things uniform.

If you’re able, use the same box type and size for most of your storage. It’ll make it easier to stack items and to use your space effectively.

Instead of leaving gaps where different sized and shaped boxes collide, you can create smooth towers that are easy to review and access. And, with your checklists in front of each one, you’ll be able to easily know exactly which items should be unstacked in order to get to the things you need.

We’ve all felt that feeling of dismay when looking into a crowded and jumbled space; you don’t want to feel that way every time you try to access your storage. The good news is - all you need is a little time, a roadmap and some determination, and you’ll be on your way to an organized storage space that makes it easy to access the things you care about.