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How to Pack Your Storage Unit

Moving boxes, Affordable Storage

Storage units are one of the most efficient and convenient solutions for corralling all the things you have yet to find a good place for. However, if you are new to the storage unit game, or if you have avoided getting involved at all, it can seem rather intimidating at first. A common first question that arises is how to go about choosing the right size storage unit for you. Once that is figured out and a selection has been made, then people often worry about how to best pack their storage unit. Ensuring you have rented the right size unit and your belongings are packed properly for both maximize storage and protection of the items themselves will make your storage experience as easy as 1-2-3-4-5.

1. Create an Inventory of Stored Items

For absolute storage unit packing efficiency, start by creating a detailed list of everything you intend to store. If you plan to insure your stored belongings, be sure to add details about the condition of your stored belongings and their estimated value to your list as well.


Make two copies of your storage inventory. Keep one with you, and place the other inside your storage unit so that when you visit your stuff, it’s easier to find what you’re looking for.

2. Consider Both Storing and Stacking When Packing

Maximize your storage space by planning ahead. Choose the right boxes, pack them with the right number of items, and label them. Utilizing these tricks will ensure your belongings are protected while stored and easy to find again when you need them.

  • Selecting Boxes. Use smaller boxes for heavier items and larger boxes for lighter items. Don’t be tempted to shove everything into garbage bags since plastic bags often invite mildew growth.
  • Packing Boxes. Be sure you can comfortably lift each box. Don’t put more in than you can handle by yourself. Avoid bulging boxes because they won’t stack neatly and might damage your belongings. On the other hand, don’t under-pack your boxes, either, because that could also damage your belongings. Fill extra space in a box with packing peanuts or other shipping protection.
  • Picking Your Packing Tape. Use a high-quality packing tape to close your boxes firmly on both the top and the bottom. Don’t be the victim of bottom drop-out when your cheap packing tape gives way!
  • Labeling Boxes. Label each box clearly, preferably using a permanent black marker. Label your boxes according to your packing inventory so they match up.

3. Prep Your Belongings for Storage

Protect any furniture you’ll be storing with moving blankets, corner protectors, and other protective materials. When storing appliances, be sure freezers are defrosted and any liquids are drained and completely dried out. Minimizing moisture within the storage unit is essential. Remove any shelves or breakable pieces and store them separately. The best way to store electronics is in their original boxes with the original packing materials in place.


Try storing clothing in clear plastic bins with snap-on lids. You might want to consider packing silica packets or mothballs with any clothing, sheets, or other fabric items to help alleviate any musty odors and mold as well as to keep moths away.

4. Find the Right Size Unit for Your Stuff

Once everything is inventoried, packed up, and labeled, now it’s time to figure out the right size storage unit. Review your handy dandy storage inventory and assess how many boxes, appliances, and furniture pieces you need to store—and how big (or small) they are. Then use our Space Estimator tool to determine what size unit you should rent.


When you click on any particular storage unit size, you will see an animation that will help you get a clearer idea of how much space your things might need or if the storage unit size you were considering will be a good fit for your needs.

5. Packing Your Storage Unit

Once everything is packed and you have your desired storage unit rented, you are ready to begin moving in. You will, of course, want to start by ensuring your storage unit has been properly cleaned first. Next comes the actual packing of the unit—the great real-life game of Tetris!


Start by setting aside any items you think you will need to reach more frequently so they can be packed in the front. Whether that includes jackets, books, or golf clubs, you will be grateful for your mindful storage unit packing later. Items that you do not see yourself needing any time soon and plan on storing for a longer duration are best to go toward the back.


From there, start at the bottom and build upward. Some people place the heaviest items on the bottom, while others place the least-used items at the foundation. Ideally, you can find a way to merge both to achieve optimal efficiency and convenience within your storage unit.

Be sure you are using every inch of available space by taking advantage of empty space in furniture, such as drawers or the inside of a wardrobe or armoire. You should also be cautious to place all mirrors upright and never lay them flat, as this gives you the lowest probability of the mirror breaking. Break down furniture as much as possible. Simple strategies such as taking off table legs to be able to store the tabletops vertically and taking apart bedframes and headboards free up so much space. Be sure to store the various nuts, bolts, and screws with the furniture piece—and label what that baggie of parts is for!


Leave at least one walkway to be able to navigate along in any future visits to your storage. You might also consider creating some sort of map or outline of the organization of your storage unit. This will save you so much time and energy in the future when you are on the hunt for a particular item.


Ultimately, there is no absolute right or wrong way to pack a storage unit. Each person learns through trial and error what works best for them. But whether you are a storage pro or a novice, we are always here to help.

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