Storage units offer a number of benefits for both households and businesses looking for additional space to keep their possessions, inventory, work equipment, or other items. Convenience is an important consideration if you intend to visit your unit on a regular basis. Choose a location that is close to your home or office (especially in today’s traffic) and you will save time and make the unit more valuable and useful.
If you’re using your storage unit to store items for both long- and short-term, or if you have a lot of items, you should organize the items as per your needs for easy retrieval and storage.
Here are some simple rules for organizing your storage unit for frequent access:
- Place frequently accessed items toward the front of your unit, and the less frequently needed items toward the rear of your unit
- Stack containers and similarly sized items together to save space in your unit
- Leave a walkway down the center of the unit to make it easier to access items
- Stack heavy, sturdy containers on the bottom and the fragile boxes on top
- Stack any chairs seat to seat
- Place more valuable items farthest from the entrance to ensure their security, so other items conceal them
Generally, organizing your storage unit for easy access requires you to plan the layout of items. Here are some tips to assist with this:
- Identify frequently used items
When packing your belongings, carefully consider seasonal items and any other items you’re likely to access while in storage. The items you will need to routinely retrieve from storage include summer or winter clothing, holiday items such as decorations and costumes, trip supplies such as sleeping bags, tents, and cookout utensils, office documents or inventory, tools and hobby supplies, and toys, because children often get bored and may need to enjoy a “new” set!
- Make a ‘map’ of your storage unit
If you expect to access your storage unit frequently, then you must come up with a plan to arrange the space. Generally, furniture is put against the wall, opposite the boxed items to leave a path for accessing the boxes and furniture items in the middle of the unit. In case you need to use the floor space in your unit, you should place the most movable items in the middle so you can remove them easily to access other areas of the unit.
- Pack everything in sturdy boxes or stackable storage containers
It’s important to take advantage of vertical space so you can create enough floor room to access different areas of the unit and carry boxes through the walkway. Choosing strong, sturdy boxes helps to protect the items inside so they can be safely stored for a long time. Plastic/rubberized storage containers can also help to keep moisture out, and won’t weaken from regular opening and closing.
- Choose one box size for most of your items
In most cases, you should use the same box size for all your items to make stacking easier. However, large boxes are not suitable for storing very heavy items, plus they are likely to collapse if placed at the bottom of large stacks. They can also be difficult to remove when trying to access items out of them. When stacking same-size boxes, try to centre the box on top between two boxes using a brick-wall pattern. This will make it easier to remove and replace any box at any given time without moving the boxes above it.
- Stack lighter boxes on top
When using boxes of different sizes put the larger and heavier boxes at the bottom and gradually stack the lighter ones on top, with the lightest box on top.
- Don’t stack above head height
Avoid stacking any boxes above your head as this increases the risk of the entire stack falling and injuring you or causing damage to the items within.
- Label all the boxes
Once you have put your belongings in boxes, make sure to label the front of the boxes (so you can read it without moving any boxes) properly to make it easier to find items later on. For boxes with many different items, simply put them on a list and tape it on the respective box.
- Create a master contents list
Besides labelling each box and creating a list of the items inside, you should write down a list of all items in the storage unit and the corresponding label on the box they’re contained in. This process may seem repetitive, but a master list can help you find specific items fast, especially in a crowded storage unit. To make the process easier, you can use digital tools and applications to dictate text rather than typing it down as you go.
- Create a map of your storage unit
Sketch out the layout of boxes within your unit and place it somewhere visible. You don’t need to include boxes that are clearly visible from the entrance, but you should map other items that are buried. Simply divide the unit into four or more sections and indicate the box numbers or labels in each of the areas. If there’s an item boxed separately from similar items due to space, you can find it using the map and master content list, saving you the hassle of digging through boxes.
- Stack from the back
It is recommended that you should stack boxes from the back to the front, starting with the boxes that you’re unlikely to access any time soon. This way, the most frequently accessed boxes should be the last to move into storage, so they sit near the door with labels facing out.
To summarize: Don’t forget to create a list of items in each box and to leave an aisle when organizing your storage unit. If you haven’t already created a list, box labels, and a map, don’t be afraid to unpack and rearrange the items and boxes. It will definitely be harder to find items later if you skip this step. And don’t forget to leave a passage between boxes and packages that is big enough to take the items you need later on.
For more tips about organizing your storage unit, call Abacus Self-Storage at (905) 763-8600 or contact us here.