Posted by On 14-06-2023

How to Store Things in a Self-Storage Unit: The Ultimate Guide

How to store things in a self-storage unit: The ultimate guide

When renting a storage unit, you want to optimize your space, make it easier to reach your things, and keep everything protected. 

At Abacus Self Storage, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to making the most of your storage space, from choosing a suitable unit to understanding self-storage rates in a location easily accessible from North York, as well as knowing proper packing and organization.

Choose the Right Sized Unit

It all starts with choosing the right-sized unit. If your unit is too small, you’ll really need to pack stuff in, which makes it difficult to find and retrieve anything should you need to do so.  

Here’s a guide to help you decide what size is best based on a 9-foot-high unit:

  • 5 x 5: Think of this as a small closet perfect for boxes or small furniture.

  • 5 x 10: Now you’re getting into a more comfortable space, similar to your average walk-in closet, where you can fit one or two larger pieces of furniture, such as a sofa with some boxes or things like chairs and mattresses. 

  • 10 x 10: This is a good space, about the same size as the average bedroom, suitable for furniture for 1 to 2 bedrooms or a lot of boxes and other items. 

  • 10 x 15: This is like a master bedroom, so you can probably fit in furniture from 2 to 3 bedrooms, which is perfect if you are renovating the main floor of your home, for example.

  • 10 x 20: This would be like packing your one-car garage with furniture and boxes or 2 to 4 bedrooms worth of furniture. 

  • 10 x 30: This is the largest size, and is ideal for renovating your entire home, fitting furniture from a 3-5 bedroom home, etc.

When choosing the size, you also have to consider if you are storing a set amount of items or intend to keep adding to it. If you are adding to it soon, consider going one size up.

If you’ll add to it sporadically, choose a suitable size with a bit of extra space and then upsize if needed.

Since affordable self-storage rates in North York start at $115.00 per month, you can optimise your budget by choosing the right unit size.

Choose the Right Unit Type

It’s essential to consider whether the items you’re storing require a basic or a temperature-controlled unit.

A temperature-controlled unit with fan driven timely air circulation maintains temperature and relative humidity levels all year round, thus reducing issues such as wood furniture expanding and contracting, or mould caused by excess humidity. 

Some examples of items that should benefit from a temperature-controlled unit include:

  • Artwork

  • Photos

  • Leather furniture

  • Wood furniture

  • Appliances

  • Clothing

  • Paper documents and books

  • Special collections, including wine

  • Musical instruments

  • Electronics

Wrap Fragile Items

Wrap fragile items before placing them in boxes. Bubble wrap or newspaper will help prevent items like dishware, glasses, and vases from cracking or smashing in the event that a box is dropped while moving. 

Use Proper Storage Boxes

While you can pack things in garbage bags, invest in stackable plastic storage bins with lids, or in cardboard boxes, and label any bin or box to find things more easily. Doing so will better protect your things. It will also save space in the unit. 

Label Everything 

That brings us to labels. First, label all your plastic bins and boxes so you know what’s in them. Also label your bags, garment bags, suitcases, etc., so you always know what’s what.

Pack Similar Items Together

Try to pack similar items together. For example, if you have a collection of any kind, pack it carefully in the same box, so you can it them without having to sort through every box. Categorize items such as small appliances and dishes, or pack things by room. 

Whatever your method, the trick is to keep things organized logically so you aren’t going through every box. If you have many odd items, list what is in the box so you can skim the list and know what box to open.

Break Down Furniture

To optimize space, break down furniture like chairs, bed frames, and tables when you can. Most furniture made in the past few decades is easy to take apart. Make sure you store all the screws and attachments together right in the holes of the furniture, if possible.

If not, place the screws and other hardware in small bags and then tape them to the underside of the furniture. We stress the underside, as a) tape doesn’t adhere as well unless you use heavy-duty tape that will damage the fabric, and b) tape will damage or even remove wood finishes.

Use Shelves

If you’re storing shelves, make good use of them to store smaller items such as small appliances and electronics. If you’re not storing shelves, consider investing in one or two to help keep smaller things organized and maximize your vertical space.

Stack From Heavy to Light

As you load up your unit, try to keep heavier stuff on the bottom and softer and fragile and lighter stuff on top. This will keep things stable and, of course, avoid crushing the fragile and softer items.

Consider Accessibility

Keep the items you’ll need to access frequently at the front of your unit. This way, you won’t need to pull everything out to get to it. If space allows, try to create an “aisle” to improve accessibility. 

You can walk down the center of the aisle and read the labels to easily find what you need. 

Don’t Store Dangerous Items

Storage companies have a list of items that you aren’t allowed to store. These items are dangerous but might also attract pests. The things you are prohibited from placing in your unit include: 

  • Food and garden seeds

  • Perishable items

  • Liquids

  • Seeds

  • Hazardous materials such as chemicals, paints, solvents, etc.

  • Explosives 

Food and seeds attract pests, while the rest of these items can increase the risk of fire, corrosion, and damage should the containers leak.

Contact Abacus Self Storage

These storage tips will keep your items safe, organize your unit, and optimize your space. 

If you would like information on self-storage rates in North York, speak to the experts at Abacus Self Storage today. You can call us at 289-807-1033 or contact us online.


“Just rented a storage locker from Abacus Self Storage. They are well organized , courteous, well organized and efficient. The locker is spotlessly clean and I am very pleased with the... Read More

Elyse Pomeranz

“My girlfriend and I are moving into a new place together and we had to find a secure, affordable and convenient storage facility to store our belongings, while we are transitioning to a new... Read More

Scott and Ola, Scottola

“Very knowledgeable and helpful staff. One stop shop to buy all packing and moving supplies. Very clean, bright and secure storage facility, that can be easily accessed. Would highly recommend to... Read More

Jodi M
Abacus has been helping customers meet their storage needs over many years.

The people in our testimonials are amongst the thousands of people that Abacus has had the privilege of serving since 1999. Some of these customers have taken the time to give us feedback, both personally and in written reviews, on their experience at Abacus, and for that we are most grateful.


Learn More About Abacus Self Storage in the Greater Toronto Area!

What is the price, and are there any promotions?

Our affordable prices are always set to deliver great value. Further, we regularly run promotions to give our customers the best deals on self-storage.

What should I do if my administrative/personal information has changed?
If your contact information (phone, email, address) changes, please let us know as soon as possible. If you are moving, be sure to change address for utilities, telephones, etc. Organize a checklist related to your move. The post office has special forms for address changes.
What do I need to do if I want to vacate my unit?
Give 1 week notice when the unit is being vacated.
Do I need reservations on a storage unit?
Inquire about advance reservations, to help ensure that a properly sized storage unit will be available when you need it. At Abacus, we do not charge for making advance reservations.
What should I be aware of when renting a storage unit?
Take time to review the storage agreement, as it is your protection while in storage.