There is a lot more that goes into moving preparation than many people expect. We’ve written several articles on planning for and preparing for your upcoming move. For those resources, see our recent articles. In today’s article, we’re discussing a little-discussed topic: how and why to prepare your items for storage prior to a move.
Preparing Your Items for Storage: What to Do First
Before you begin preparing your items, you need to get organized. We suggest starting by going over all of the items in your home and making an inventory of the items that you wish to store. Once you have a list of your items that will be stored, go through the list and denote which items will need special accommodations, like an air-conditioned unit. Next, go through the list of items and mark which items you use most infrequently. These items can be packed into the very back of the storage unit, making accessibility a breeze.
Decluttering: Donating or Trashing Unwanted Items
We’ve talked about decluttering many times before, but it’s worth repeating. You will save yourself a lot of work if you declutter your home before packing or storing a single thing. We always recommend the three-bucket method. Go through your home room by room and sort your unwanted items into three buckets: sell, donate, and trash. There are many local and online consignment shops that make selling off your old (but in good working condition) items. Those things that you cannot sell can be donated. Everything else can be trashed.
Preparing Your Items for Storage: Cleaning
This next recommendation may seem unnecessary, but it will help to preserve your items while in storage. We suggest cleaning all items that will be put into storage ahead of time. Yes, they will gather some dust while they are sitting in the storage unit. Aside from storing small items in boxes and covering larger items with plastic or sheets, there is no avoiding this. For a good article on how to clean your wooden furniture, check out this article from Better Homes & Gardens.
Storing Your Items Safely
Just as you need to have proper materials to pack your items for the move transit, you also need to have proper materials to pack your items for storage. Smaller, fragile items should be thoroughly wrapped in bubble wrap or protective materials and then stored in a durable box or crate. Be sure to use filler paper to fill the empty spaces in the box so that the fragile item can’t move around too much. You also don’t want to pack too many items into one box or the risk of damaging those items will increase. As a general rule, you want to avoid overpacking your boxes altogether. Keeping the weight of the boxes down to a moderate weight will ensure the integrity of the box’s material and the safety of the items that it contains.
For larger items like mattresses and furniture, consider wrapping them in protective materials like furniture blankets or moving plastic. You can also place felt pads on the bottoms of chairs, tables, dressers, and the like to protect the furniture and the floor.
Storage Unit Prep
Once you have prepared your items for storage, it’s time to prep the actual unit space. We like to give storage units a thorough cleaning before moving items inside. This will help to keep your items clean and protected. Too much dirt and dust can lead to degradation of certain materials; a little due diligence can go a long way!