self storage

Packing a self storage won’t feel like putting together a puzzle with these helpful tips. Photo: saflora via

Much like packing a moving truck, packing a self storage unit takes a bit of planning and skill. The goal is to use all of the space in the most efficient way, while still maintaining some access to your items in case you need them while they’re in storage. How do you do this? Simply use the tips below when you pack your storage unit.

Tip #1: Leave a walk way: When you are packing your unit, be sure to leave a small path through the middle of the unit. This way, if you need to retrieve something later you won’t have to unpack your entire unit to access it, even if it’s packed away near the back of the unit. It may feel like the space for a path is not being used effectively at first, but the second you need to find something, you’ll be very happy it’s there.

Tip #2: Use boxes and labels: Because you want to maximize the space in your storage unit, using boxes that are uniform and can be stacked high is important. This way, you are utilizing all of the available vertical space. Don’t forget to label the boxes, and be specific. After months in storage, you won’t remember which kitchen box the blender is in. Face the labels of your boxes toward the walkway for easy identification.

Tip #3: Take inventory: Before you pack up your items, make a list of exactly what you are placing in the self storage unit. This is important because it will allow you to recall what’s inside later in case you need to access something. It is also important because if a natural disaster occurs and you need to file an insurance claim, then you will have an accurate account of what was inside. It may seem like something you wouldn’t easily forget, but time may prove otherwise.

self storage

Tip #4: Use covers: Hopefully the storage facility you have chosen is safe and clean. But, they likely don’t provide cleaning services inside the unit! Cover your furniture to protect it from dust and moisture. Mattress bags, sofa covers, and upholstery bags should all be on your prep list.

Tip #5: Pack tallest to shortest: The tallest and bulkiest items like furniture and mattresses should be closest to the walls. Starting with the tallest items in the back and the shorter items in front, closest to the aisle, will give you a clear view of what’s inside your unit at first glance and help you use the space in the most efficient manner.

Do you have any tips of your own that have helped you pack your storage unit effectively? Let us know in the comment’s section below.


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24 Responses to How to Pack a Self Storage Unit

  1. I like the tips which you have discussed in your blog. Packing a self storage is taking a bit of planing and your skills for moving. It is a very well written post. Thanks for sharing this informative and useful post.

  2. Natalie Diaz says:

    I appreciate your blog because it provides great information. The last thing a everyone wants good storage facilities. And your post is really providing information about storage facilities. Thanks for share this kind information.

  3. Wendy B says:

    Thank you for the feedback. Let us know if there’s anything else we can cover in a future blog post.

  4. ttompson says:

    I didn’t think to leave a walk way. That makes a lot of sense though. You never know when you’ll need that box in the back!


  5. cooloolaselfstorage says:

    I didn’t leave a walkway the first time I had a self storage unit. I had to remove all of the boxes and look through them all just for one thing. It’s very important to label things thoroughly.

  6. staceybeck01 says:

    That’s really smart to leave a walk way. I remember the last time we used a storage unit we just filled it up but then could never get anything back out. We will have to think it through better this time so things don’t get lost in there.

  7. Nancy says:

    I snap a digital photo of an item before it goes into a box. I number the box when I seal it. When the box is sealed, I include the box # with the digital photo, as well as listing the contents on the box. I print the photos with the box numbers from a Word document, put the pages into a 3 ring binder, and this travels with me.

  8. Natalie says:

    I would say only use, storage units if you absolutely have to. Some storage units are expensive, which is fine for short term or ultra-necessary storage situations. But if you can live without those things, then it is better to sell it. As there is no point of giving storage rent which can exceed your things which you kept in storage.

  9. Tara Tompson says:

    I’m going to be packing my new storage unit this weekend. I have everything packed and labeled. I’m going to make sure to have the labels facing out this time so I can see them. I like the idea of making a list of everything in each box and where that box in the unit to.

  10. Margaret says:

    These tips are so damn useful, I feel. Perhaps leaving a walk way is a very clever tip. It’s one the few things that I fail to do. Labelling, of course, is one of the strict rules in our mini storage facility at Toronto. Also I absolutely loved your logic in tip #5. Thanks for sharing this informative post Wendy!

  11. Jim Sanders says:

    I’ve helped several people clear out their storage units, and making sure they’re an open walkway is hugely important. It’s a huge pain to try and climb over stuff or move stuff out just to find what you’re looking for. Thanks for the great tips!

    • Jennifer Borbon says:

      Very true, Jim. The last thing you want to do is climb over boxes to find what you’re looking for.

  12. Edmond Vandergraff says:

    It definitely makes sense that you should pack tallest to shortest. That will really make it easier for you to reach the things in the back. It is never very fun to have to climb over things. Taking an inventory is always a safe way to make sure that everything is safe in your storage unit.

    • Paige E says:

      Agreed, being able to access to the smaller/shorter items does make sent to pack towards the front. Great idea, having an inventory of what is in your storage will make searching for items much easier!

  13. Ashley Reed says:

    I need to get a storage unit for some of my things. If there was a fire, I wouldn’t even be able to get out of the house. It’s so cluttered and crowded in here from downsizing. We can’t decide what to get rid of, so we just haven’t gotten rid of anything yet. Getting a storage unit to put it all until we figure it out would be ideal.

  14. Cheryl Smith says:

    I like the tip about taking inventory of items that are in the unit. I’m a very detailed person and this would definitely help keep track of what I have. Also, that way I would know which unit has the most important items.

  15. Andre Beluchi says:

    Paige, tip five sounds like a pretty good advice to probably keep in mind. Both my wife and I have been thinking about looking at some outdoor storage units especially ones that are secure outdoor storage. It’s something that we’ve kept in mind for storing our large furniture.

  16. Jack Palmer says:

    Thanks for the great suggestion about leaving a walk way in the middle of the storage unit. That seems like a really smart way to pack thing in there. That way, if we need to have access to something it will be easier to find it. We’ve never used one before so I’m glad I found your article. Thanks for sharing!

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