1. Pick one box size for most if not all of your items
Same size boxes help with stacking and accessibility. But don’t overfill your boxes. Packing each box so it weighs a bit less than you can comfortably carry will ultimately save you time, money and back pain in the future. Better to place heavier items such as books and crockery into smaller boxes and then items such as bedspreads, linens and clothing into larger boxes. Do keep in mind that larger boxes are excellent for items that aren’t very heavy but if you put a box full of bedding on the bottom and then several boxes containing books on the top, it may not withstand being at the bottom of the stack and crush. But also be careful not to underfill your boxes as these may tip or crush if heavier items are put on top. Wrap breakable items in bubble wrap or acid free tissue paper. If you face the bubbles inwards, they will add extra protection.
2. Create a master contents list
Create a master list that includes the number of the box, the room it came from and all the contents of the box. Be as detailed as you can be and even take photographs of the contents. This step will make your life a lot easier. You may remember every detail now but will you in 6 months time or even 3 weeks?
3. Label each box as you pack
Make sure you add a label to the top of the box and at least one on the other side of the box with the number relating to your master list. If your box contains breakable items, such as glasses or crockery, picture frames or lamps, wrap in bubble wrap or acid free tissue paper and mark as ‘Fragile this side up’ with an arrow pointing up. If you’re really organised, print out your photo of the contents and stick it on the front. And don’t forget to be strategic when you pack your storage room. If you know you will need frequent access, mark the box with ‘Pack Last’ so everyone knows where it should be. Lastly, don’t scrimp on the quality of the packaging tape. Cheap tape can degrade over time and your boxes may come unstuck which can cause major issues when you come to vacate your room.
4. Plan the layout of your storage room
If you will need frequent access, put some thought into how you pack your room. Ideally, put the furniture against the wall opposite your boxes so that you have a path in the middle and can access your boxes and furniture items easily. Leave a small gap between any outside walls and your items for ventilation and if you haven’t got room for an aisle up the middle, place your most movable items there so that you can remove them with ease when you need access.
5. Identify the items you may need to access while in storage
Seasonal items such as winter/summer clothes or tents and sleeping bags are best placed near the front of your unit and clearly labelled. Additionally, Christmas decorations, hobby supplies and office documents should also be placed so that you can have access when needed.
6. Fill your furniture
If you stack too many boxes on top of each other, the bottom ones may crumple under the weight. So make the most of any shelving you have to stack boxes and take advantage of the height of your unit. Pack items in dresser drawers, coffee tables, chests of drawers, wardrobes, even in the oven, fridge or washer/dryer. But don’t forget to add this to your contents list! Don’t forget to tape nuts and bolts to bed frames. Use the non-sticky side of the tape to hold bed frames together and then place all screws and other hardware in plastic bags and tape them to the bed frame.
7. Pack vertically
If you plan to store any large furniture, such as sofas, dressers, and bed frames, ensure those items are using primarily vertical space. Standing bulky items on end, helps maximize less used vertical space and allows you to fit more inside your unit. Always place large heavy items on the ground and lighter boxes on top to prevent crushing the contents of the box.
8. Line the walls
Storing your possessions along the outer walls first will be a huge benefit to you when you find your storage room filling up. Leave aisles between different rows of items so you’ll still be able to access everything. The last thing you want, is to have to rummage through a full storage room to find a box hidden in the back somewhere
9. Protect your furniture
How you store your furniture can make or break your space. Properly wrapping your furniture is the first step: use mattress and sofa covers and cover wooden furniture to keep items clean and dust free. After your furniture is properly covered, you can then stack some low weight items on top to help use the vertical space. Don’t forget to dry out washing machines, freezers and fridges to avoid taking moisture into the unit where mould and mildew can then develop. And don’t store smells. Wash garden tools and drain the fuel tanks of lawn mowers, strimmers and leaf blowers before storing. Removing the dirt and toxic fumes will keep your furniture and other possessions from soaking up those nasty smells.
10. Store electronics with care
To ensure your electronics will stay good as new, follow these four steps: