Packing is a lot of work; we get it! However, taking the time to pack items with care will help ensure there is no damage once you are ready to use the items again. Whether you are storing for a short-term or long-term period, here are a few tips on how to pack your belongings to be stored in a climate controlled storage unit.
First things first, you will want to make sure everything is clean and dry. Having dry surfaces will be key in making sure you do not return to your storage unit later on to unpack and be met with nasty smells, mildew, and mold. In addition to cleaning the items you are going to store, it’s best to wipe down your storage unit, too. Next, prepare the space with any shelving, tarps, or pallets you’ll be using to help organize your space.
Here’s a tip: Wipe down non-porous surfaces with baking soda to soak up any extra moisture.
What you’ll need:
- Cardboard boxes and/or plastic totes with lids
- Packing tape and masking tape
- String, rubber bands, and/or zip ties
- Bubble wrap, anti-static packing, and blankets/towels/sheets
- Labels or colored duct tape
- Permanent marker
Now that you have your materials and you have cleaned all of your items, it’s time to get started!
How to pack furniture
Take apart any pieces that can be deconstructed (like the legs off of a table) to help save space in your unit. Store table tops vertically to save space. If you’re storing fabric/leather furniture, be sure to drape the pieces loosely with drop cloths or old sheets. Avoid using plastic packing as this can trap any moisture left in the cushions, etc. If you need to secure the cloth, use string/rope or simply avoid putting tape directly on the furniture’s surface to ensure no residue is left behind. Use the dead space in dressers, bookshelves, and hutches to pack smaller boxes. Pack smarter, not harder! If you’re storing a mattress, consider investing in a specialized mattress bag. The heavy-grade material will help keep the mattress clean and free from mildew. After it is properly wrapped, store the mattress flat if at all possible. They are not made to bear their own weight for long periods of time and can begin to warp.
Here’s a tip: Keep screws, nuts, and bolts from each item you’ve deconstructed in individual plastic baggies. Tie/tape the baggies to the item the pieces were from to ensure a smooth reconstruction process.
How to pack appliances & tools
You may have cleaned the outside of the appliances and tools, but you will want to make sure to drain any liquid from the item, as well. This includes defrosting freezers and refrigerators, draining your washing machine hoses, and emptying the fuel from any equipment such as lawn mowers, snow blowers, etc. You will also want to remove all batteries and tanks that could corrode/cause a hazardous event. Prop the door open for washing machines, freezers, and refrigerators to allow for airflow and prevent mildew build up.
Here’s a tip: Wrap sharp-edged tools with bubble wrap and tape the plastic so it stays in place to avoid any mishaps when digging for it in the future.
How to pack electronics
Ideally, you will want to pack your electronics back into their original packaging. If you no longer have the packaging they came in, prepare the items securely in plastic totes with lids. Remove cords and rubber band them together; protect any connection parts with plastic wrap. Avoid taping connectors such as ports and prongs as the tape may leave residue on the surface. Label items by attaching a sticker, piece of tape, or packing paper around the cords and marking them with your permanent marker. To store a TV or computer, wrap the item in a blanket or something padded to ensure the screens do not get damaged.
Here’s a tip: Backup all of your files onto an external hard drive before you place your electronics such as computers, cameras, etc. into storage. For other electronics like sound bars, gaming consoles, etc. – take photos of the back before removing the wires for easy recall when reassembling.
How to pack clothing
Using plastic containers with lids, fold your cleaned clothes into the tote, stacking them by season or by individual. Before sealing it up, drop a cedar ball or oxygen absorber into the container to prevent smells and moths. If you have certain items you do not want to store folded up, consider investing in a garment cart and fully-enclosed garment bags to be hung neatly in your storage unit.
Here’s a tip: Save space with vacuum bags! These are great, especially when packing bulky items like winter coats and sweaters.
How to pack home decor
Packing holiday decor, home accents, and artwork can be tedious, but well worth the time. Pack heavier items together and use the boxes at the base of your stack. Wrap fragile items with bubble wrap and label your box “fragile” as a reminder. For storing artwork, use picture boxes or wrap the corners with cardboard to avoid damage. Along glass areas of mirrors, paintings, etc., tape a big “X” with masking tape to keep glass from shattering if it was to be broken.
Here’s a tip: Consider using quilt batting for packing items that need a bit more cushion beyond paper, but not nearly as much protection as bubble wrap provides. Old towels and blankets work well, too.
How to pack books
Books can become warped and smelly if they are not packed correctly. Air them out in a dry room before packing them up. Wrap the books in acid-free archival paper and stack them in the boxes laying flat to avoid the spines from bending.
Here’s a tip: For a short-term solution, pack your books in a rolling suitcase! For a long-term storage solution, be sure to pack a small amount in multiple boxes rather than in one large box to be able to move them to and from the unit without injury.
With these tips and tricks in mind, you’ll be able to stress less about storing your items. Happy packing!
Storage City Self Storage is a locally-owned and operated facility offering clean, secure self-storage units
in Rapid City, Box Elder, and Belle Fourche. We offer climate-controlled and cold storage units that are
fenced in and secured by a gate with code-entry access. Call us at 605-394-9442 today to rent your unit!