Blog / How To Store

How to Organise a Storage Unit

By Julia

13 May, 20245 mins read

Organising a self storage unit may seem straightforward, but when it comes to actually loading up your unit — or trying to find and retrieve specific items later on — things can get a litte more complicated.

While moving boxes from a van to a storage container isn’t any more difficult than playing a game of Tetris, knowing how to organise a storage unit effectively can make a big difference when it comes to protecting and accessing your belongings. Whether you’re in the midst of moving home or simply need somewhere to keep your winter clothes or sports equipment, a well-organised storage unit can save you time and stress.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through essential steps to maximise the space in your unit while ensuring everything is easy to find and kept in pristine condition. From labelling every box to drawing a map, these tips are designed to help you become a pro at storage unit organisation.

Label Everything

Organising your storage unit starts with one fundamental yet crucial step: label everything. This isn’t about avoiding the frustration of rummaging through countless boxes for that one elusive item you know you packed (somewhere!). It’s about bringing order to your storage unit and making unpacking as easy and hassle-free as possible.

Every box you pack should have a clear and comprehensive label. Don’t just scribble something vague and call it a day. Instead, note the contents with as much detail as you feel necessary. You’ll thank yourself later when you can find everything at a glance.

We suggest using a thick black marker to ensure it’s easy to read quickly from a distance and in low light. Labels should include the box number, the room its contents belong to and a brief list of the key items inside.

Pro Tip: Be sure to label the top and at least one side of every box, so no matter how they’re stacked, you can easily identify them.

Create an Inventory

Once every box is labelled, next you need to create a detailed inventory. While this step often goes overlooked, it will take your storage organisation to a whole new level.

Creating an inventory isn’t about having a rough list of your unit’s contents, but rather building a master list that serves multiple purposes. For each box, record the box number and a thorough rundown of what’s inside. In doing so, you’ll transform your box labels into a comprehensive guide to everything you have stored.

Why is this important? Firstly, it saves time. Instead of opening every single box to find one item, you can refer to your inventory and know exactly where everything is. Secondly, should any unexpected events cause damage to your stored items, this inventory will be crucial when making a claim to your storage insurance provider.

Pro Tip: Keep a waterproof copy of your inventory list inside your storage unit. This ensures you can always access it if you can’t get to your digital files.

Draw a Map

To take your organisation to the next level, consider sketching a map of your storage unit. While this might seem over the top, it’s great when storing things for particularly long periods of time or if you have a lot of boxes.

Having a visual guide that complements your inventory will make it even easier to navigate your unit. If, for example, you’re not sure exactly where something is, your map will work hand-in-hand with your inventory to guide you directly to what you’re looking for. Drawing a map of your storage unit doesn’t require a degree in architecture or even precise measurements. Simply having a general sketch of your unit that divides the space into manageable sections will make a huge difference.

You might organise these sections by room (eg. kitchen, bedroom, office) or by category (eg. Christmas decorations, sports equipment, archival documents). This way, each section of your map corresponds to specific items or box groups, which will make it much easier to find specific items.

Get Stacking

Maximising your storage space means going vertical, and most storage units offer ample space to stack your belongings. However, there’s a little more to stacking than simply placing boxes on top of boxes.

Firstly, always put the heaviest and sturdiest items at the bottom. This will create a solid base and that will help prevent your tower from toppling. For furniture, consider stacking items like tables top-to-top, and make the most of the space between their legs — doing so will help save space and protect the surfaces from scratches.

If you plan to store items long-term, a sturdy set of shelves can provide a safe, stable environment for your belongings and prevent the risk of piles collapsing (more on this below).

Modify Your Unit

Adding a few basic modifications to your unit can go a long way in helping you make the most of the space, as long as your storage provider allows. Shelves, pegboards and hooks can all help keep your storage unit well-organised and your items secure and accessible, here’s how:

  • Shelving Units: Installing shelving units is one of the best ways to utilise vertical space effectively. Shelves prevent boxes from collapsing under their own weight and make it easier to access items without moving everything around. This setup keeps your storage space tidy and protects your belongings from potential damage.

    Pro Tip: You can buy boltless shelving units, which are easy to put up and won’t require any drilling. This means you probably won’t need to seek permission from your storage provider.
  • Peg Boards: These are ideal for hanging tools, sports equipment and smaller items that can be easily lost in large boxes. By attaching a peg board to one of the walls of your unit, you create a versatile, easily accessible space for items that are used more frequently.
  • Hooks: If a peg board is over the top then installing a few hooks can be a game-changer, especially for hanging items like coats, bags or even bicycles. Positioning hooks on the walls (or on the back of the unit’s door) is a great way to maximise your floor space.

    Pro Tip: If you plan on hanging non-heavy items, consider using stick-on hooks to avoid seeking permission from your storage provider.

Each of these modifications will help keep your storage unit well-organised and ensure your belongings are secure and accessible. Remember to check with your storage facility for any restrictions before making any permanent modifications.

Give Yourself Easy Access

Depending on how long you need to keep things in storage, you may need to retrieve specific items now and then. With this in mind, it’s important to load your unit in a way that’s easy to identify and access what you need when you need it.

Here are some tips on how to arrange your storage unit smartly:

  • Keep what you might need at the front: If there’s anything you’re likely to need from your unit, such as seasonal clothes, important documents or even your kettle, be sure to place them near the entrance. This will save you from having to dig through the things you don’t need to find the things you do.
  • Clear a path: To avoid turning your storage unit into one big impenetrable box, keep a clear path in the middle of your unit. This will help you reach items at the back without hassle.
  • Strategic positioning: Put larger and heavier items towards the back and along the sides of your unit. This not only helps in maintaining a sturdy base for stacking but also ensures that all items are easy to access.

Implementing these strategies will help you maximise space while ensuring that everything in your storage unit is reachable, making your visits quick, easy and efficient.

Room to Breathe

Even in a climate-controlled storage unit, it’s important to give your belongings some space to breathe airflow can help protect your stored items from mould and damp. Here are a couple of straightforward tips to help improve air circulation in your storage unit:

  • Elevate your boxes: If possible, place your boxes on pallets or shelving units. This allows air to flow underneath, reducing the risk of moisture buildup.
  • Space around the edges: When packing your unit, leave a small gap between the walls and other boxes. This space will allow air to circulate around all sides of your stored belongings, providing extra protection against humidity and moisture.

Implementing these simple steps can significantly improve the preservation of your items while in storage, ensuring that they come out of your unit in the same condition they went in.

If you found this guide useful, you might also like our other guide dedicated to Self Storage Tips. From finding the best storage space for your needs to knowing the best way to pack your belongings, this post covers everything you need to know.



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