If you’re an apartment dweller, or even a homeowner who just happens to be short on space, you probably have your own storage space in a rental complex. You pay by the month for a bare room with a concrete floor, a single light bulb dangling from the ceiling, and a roll up, garage type door. You’ve filled your space with stacks and stacks of cardboard boxes, but you feel like you could be getting more for your money, especially if you’ve started to notice signs of pests, mildew, or mold. Here are a few tips to help you get the most from your storage space.
Put everything you’re storing on pallets. You absolutely do not want any of your belongings on the floor of a rental unit. On top of the fact that bugs or other critters that squeeze in are more likely to get to them here, if your unit is accessed from outdoors, rain or snow could come in under the door. Even if your unit is inside a building, the renter next door could have a spill and there goes your antique furniture.
Provide your own security. Cameras and a staff presence don’t always mean that a rental unit is secure. Fasten your door shut with a lock that a bolt cutter can’t open in order to be sure your belongings are safe when you’re storing them.
Wrap it up. Wrap anything that you can in oversized plastic wrap (thinking moving time) so that bugs and dust can’t get to your belongings.
Keep in mind temperature changes. Remember that there are some things like antiques and vinyl that don’t do well in extreme temperatures. If you must store them, make plans to insulate them well or bring them home during the hottest and coldest parts of the year.
Label everything. When you walk into a storage unit piled to the ceiling with identical cardboard boxes and you are in a hurry to find your one box of Christmas tree ornaments, you’ll be happy that everything is labeled, so you can quickly see what’s what.
Cover walls and floors if you’re doing any work in your unit. Storage buildings often have big fees for anyone who leaves damage in their units, so if you paint or seal anything you are storing, be sure to take care of the unit itself and cover the walls and floors to prevent drips or damage.
Stack it up. You can fit a lot into a storage unit if you pack everything right. If you’re storing clothes, consider rolling them instead of folding. Then place everything into boxes of similar sizes and stack them straight up. You’re paying for the entire space, so make use of it. You can always get a small ladder or step stool to help you reach the boxes up toward the ceiling. Just be sure to leave spaces between them so you can access the different areas of your unit, pack the lightest things on top, and place boards in between your boxes every few layers to help keep them stable.