Whether you’re downsizing during a move or you just want to create more space at home, one thing is apparent: you’re going to need some storage containers. Before starting the process, a lot of people don’t put any thought into what type of containers they’ll use. However, if you want to protect your things and keep them in the best condition possible, storage containers matter. To give you a better understanding, we’ve put together a guide on all of the different types of storage containers and when to use them.
Before Storing Your Things
Regardless of what storage container you’re going to use, there are a few steps you need to take before you start the packing process.
1. Inventory Everything
Creating an extensive inventory of all of your things going into a self storage unit will help keep you organized and stress-free. Inventories allow you to quickly and easily review what you have without having to dig through each box. Trust us; even though this step takes more time upfront, it’s worth it. You can be as specific or general as you want, but the more detail you include the more guidance you’ll have later.
2. Clean Everything
Either during or after your inventory process, go through and make sure everything is clean, dry, and ready to be boxed up. For smaller items, this basically just means wiping them down, but larger, more intricate items need a little more attention.
Remove any drawers, vacuum the inside, clean the surfaces, and decide whether or not you’ll be breaking large items down into smaller pieces. Consider applying a protective furniture spray or wax for extra protection before packing them up. If you do this step, make sure it’s completely dry before moving on to storage.
3. Label Everything
Finally, don’t be afraid to “over label.” This step will come during the packing process after you’ve decided on your containers, but it’s still important to mention before things begin. Labeling your boxes will help with your organization and makes finding things in your self storage unit a breeze. You can use a marker, some masking tape, or even a professional label maker—they’ll accomplish the same goal.
Different Types of Storage Containers
It doesn’t matter how long your things will be staying in your self storage unit, you’re going to need containers. While you can store your things in pretty much anything, there are a few types of storage containers that will make your life more organized while keeping your items protected.
Cardboard Storage Boxes
The most popular types of storage containers people migrate towards using are cardboard storage boxes. They’re a great option for everyone because of how affordable and convenient they are. You can easily head over to your local home improvement store and find boxes of all sizes that are under a few dollars each. If you’re trying to save money, run a quick search on Craigslist. More often than not you can find storage boxes being given away for free as long as you pick them up. The different sizes allow you to customize your needs and are great options for storing everything from books and movies to seasonal decorations and even non-perishable items from your kitchen. You can essentially put anything you want in a cardboard storage box. We recommend using smaller boxes for heavier items and large boxes for light things like blankets, clothes, and bedding.
Another convenient aspect of cardboard storage boxes are the unique and personalized shapes that some boxes come in. It’s possible to find cardboard storage boxes specifically made for your TV, sporting equipment, lamps, and even your mattress. Finding these take a little more work, but are a great way to keep your things protected once inside your storage unit.
The problem with cardboard storage boxes is that they’re not waterproof and if – for whatever reason – they happen to get wet, so will all of your things. While they lack strong protection for your items, they’re still a good option if you’re looking to save a few dollars and get the most out of your storage space.
Plastic Storage Bins
The next option to consider is using plastic storage bins. These are great because they come with secure lids that can be easily removed, yet will protect your items during a move and while in the storage unit. Opting for clear plastic storage bins also allows you to easily see inside, making retrieval later on a breeze. If you have plastic storage bins that are the same size, they’re easy to stack and are much more durable than cardboard. Plastic storage bins are especially great for storing holiday décor because they allow you to easily grab the things you need out of your self storage unit without taking everything out and searching through all of your decorations. When moving, these are usually much easier to transport because most come equipped with handles.
The only downside to plastic storage bins is that they’re much more expensive than cardboard boxes. They do have more longevity and will protect your things better, but you need to weigh your options. If you can’t afford to pack everything in plastic bins, consider only using them for your breakable items or things with personal significance.
Another option that’s growing in popularity is the use of storage bags. These bags often come in a number of different materials such as cotton, polyester, and even plastic. You can opt for regular bags or vacuum-sealed bags, which keep things airtight, optimize storage space, and reduce the chances of moisture ruining your items. Keep in mind that a plastic bag is not the same as plastic wrap, which should be avoided.
Use different types of vacuum-sealed storage bags when storing clothes, towels, or any bedding that you won’t need. If you’re storing expensive suits or dresses, opt for hanging storage bags for added protection.
Furniture Pads and Wraps
This isn’t exactly a “container” per-se, but it is a great way to store your furniture without searching for a twelve-foot high cardboard box. A lot of moving companies will have fabric furniture covers that you can buy or, at the very least, borrow for moving. Use these whenever you want more protection or when things will be in storage for longer periods of time.
Wardrobe boxes include a little hanger at the top so you can store clothes upright instead of folded and crammed in a box. There are tons of different options here and you can find wardrobe boxes made of cardboard, fabric, or even a more durable, suitcase type of material. The type you opt for depends on both your needs and budget, but it’s a good idea to splurge if the clothes you’re storing are expensive or irreplaceable.
Things to Avoid
There are a few things that get misused during moving and storing, one of which is plastic wrap. Plastic wrap is great because it keeps things secure, especially during transit. However, once you get to your self storage unit, it’s essential that any plastic wrap is removed from your items. Plastic wrap traps in moisture and can cause materials to warp, mold, wrinkle, stain, and bleed—especially when in storage for long periods of time. Instead, opt for a loose-fitting sheet or one of the storage containers listed above. You can use cloth bags as an alternative to plastic ones and newspaper or packing paper to help cushion your items in boxes.
You should also avoid using dark sheets as an alternative to furniture wrappings. Sometimes, depending on the amount of time in contact and the storage conditions, the colors can bleed onto the furniture. If you substitute sheets for furniture wraps, just make sure they’re white. Bonus points if they’re white cotton as it’s the best material for prolonged contact.
Everyone will have a different preference to the type of storage container they use and that’s okay. As long as you take the time to safely pack up all of your items and avoid any damaging storage methods, your things will be fine. However, to ensure things run smoothly and you have the peace of mind you need, it’s best to opt for a climate controlled storage unit like the ones at The Lock Up Self Storage. This will ensure your things are protected from all of the elements, no matter how hot or how cold it gets outside. At The Lock Up, all of the storage units on site are climate controlled, secure, and affordable. The properties are all equipped with perimeter alarms, motion-sensor lighting systems, coded access gates, and 24/7 video monitoring to protect all of your things, regardless of the time of day. If you’re in the market for a new self storage unit, look no further than The Lock Up. Give us a call today or head to our website – https://www.thelockup.com – and browse our available units. We’d love to work with you and help you find the perfect storage unit for your needs today!