Storage space is needed for a variety of reasons, such as when moving
to a smaller home, when your house is not yet ready or when there are just too many things to unpack and not enough time.
And, simply having too much stuff is growingly becoming accepted as a perfectly good reason to rent storage space.
People also rely on storage space for more traditional reasons, such as getting divorced, being evicted from an apartment,
deciding to move in with a significant other, remodeling a home or having a home
damaged by fire or other casualty.
Basic storage options for household goods are to either store your possessions in a moving company's warehouse, or
lease a self storage unit at a self storage facility. The circumstances for storing your property will be the primary factor determining
which type of storage you'll use.
Most of the tips in this Storage Guide pertain to self storage facilities, where you have a greater degree of control over
moving your possessions in and out of storage. Typically, in a moving company's warehouse,
your possessions will be stored either inside the moving van for a very short period of time or within a
moving company container.
Because restrictions and security, costs and access all vary by moving company, it's best to check with your mover on the
details that apply to that type of storage.
Types of Storage Facilities
Here are three types of storage that are available:
- Type A Storage - features the latest in amenities, which may include
security cameras, electrical security gates, secure locking
systems, concrete storage units, and/or brick walls.
- Type B Storage - usually consists of a mix of metal
and concrete storage units surrounded by a fence. This
type may or may not have security cameras.
- Type C Storage offers low-budget, no frills storage
units for moving and storage on a shoestring. This type of storage unit typically provides little
or no security. Property stored in this type of facility
is generally of low value.
Consider Insurance for Your Items in Storage
are responsible for insuring their stored goods. Some
storage facilities offer limited insurance coverage
with prices based upon the estimated value of the goods being stored.
Most Homeowner's insurance policies provide limited coverage when your property is stored off-premises. However,
some Renter's policies provide full coverage for your property regardless of where
it's being stored. The perils insured against, the amount of coverage for special items, and other restrictions, limitations and exclusions can vary from policy to policy. Don't assume
your goods in storage will be covered by your other insurance policies. For more information about these terms
and other insurance considerations, see House Moving Insurance and Valuation in our Moving Guide.
Basic Storage Tips
Here are a few basic storage tips for storing your household items in a storage facility:
- Using pallets, tarps or plastic sheets on the floor of the storage unit is a good idea, especially when you storage unit is
on the ground floor or accessible from outside. These items will help prevent water and moisture from getting in and damaging
your stored items.
- Allow for ventilation and help prevent mold and mildew problems, especially in climates where high humidity levels are
common by not packing items directly against the wall. Leave an inch or so of space wherever possible to promote
- Leave enough room at the front of your storage unit so you can get to your things without too much trouble.
Keep frequently accessed items easily accessible, near the front.
- Consider using shelving to increase the space available for storage within your unit.
- Leverage the cubic volume (height) of your space by stacking boxes. Don't stack higher than you can reach, place heavier boxes at the
bottom of the stack and don't overpack or underpack your boxes. Overpacked boxes lead to bulging and underpacked boxes can lead to
crushing. Either condition will greatly affect your ability to stack your boxes safely.
- Store valuable items toward the back of the storage unit in unmarked containers. Thieves will typically not take the time to go
through your entire storage unit to find you valuables. In fact, consider not putting your valuables in storage in the first place.
- Clean out any refrigerators or freezers and let them dry before putting them into storage. Additionally,
leave the doors ajar for air flow and take
advantage of the space inside to store additional items.
- Store upholstered furniture, like sofas (but not sleep sofas), on end if possible, to maximize your space.
Cover with cotton sheets for dust protection.
- Cover mattresses and box springs, with cotton sheets, and stand securely on their edge. Remember, cardboard absorbs
moisture and plastic traps condensation, both of which can promote mold and mildew.
- Treat any garden tools and other metal items, like bicycles, with a rust inhibitor, such as machine oil, before storing them.
Clean before storing them.
- Drain gas and oil from lawn mowers, trimmers, weed blowers, and other items with engines.
- Use the tops of dressers as a base for stacking boxes. You can place a variety of items inside the dresser drawers, such as
linens, small boxes or delicate items.
- Wrap table and chair legs to avoid scratching.
Be sure to see our Packing Guide for great packing tips you can use for getting your items ready for transfer to storage.
Other Storage Tips in This Section