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Packing Tips for Storage Units

July 9, 2015

Maxwell Mini Storage shares Packing, Moving & Organization Tips to help you get the most out of your Storage Unit.

We’re located near Maxwell AFB and Downtown Montgomery, Alabama.

Renting Self Storage is the easy part!

After making the decision to rent space from a Self Storage Facility, the process of packing, moving, loading and organizing your possessions into your Storage Unit consists of 2 phases:

  1. Preparing your Household Goods, Furniture and Appliances BEFORE the move
  2. Loading & Organizing your possessions in the Storage Unit DURING the move

Following these tips will save a lot of time and help make the process more efficient and less stressful.

Phase 1 – Packing


Disassemble furniture such as beds and tables before you store them. Wrap and cover the separate pieces, clearly mark them and keep them together.

Keep assembly components such as screws and bolts together in a plastic bag, mark them clearly, and tape the bag to the appropriate piece of furniture. Use tape that is safe for use on furniture, or tape the bag to an inconspicuous place.

Cover chair legs with bubble wrap or rags for extra protection. Protect furniture legs with bubble wrap, foam sheets, furniture covers or pads to prevent scratches while in storage.

Use space inside drawers to store small items such as towels, linens and toys.

Treat leather items with a leather conditioner before you put them in a storage room.

Spray your wood furniture with a good quality furniture spray before storing it in the facility to give it some added protection.


Wrap all fragile items and breakables such as dishes, glasses and ornaments separately.

Pack these items tightly into strong or reinforced boxes, filling any gaps with paper or filler. Write “Fragile” on any boxes containing breakable items.

Wrap mirrors and pictures in protective covering such as bubble wrap and label them as “Fragile.” Cardboard corners can be purchased to protect the sharpest, weakest areas of frames.

Separate lamp bases and lampshades and wrap them for protection.


Defrost refrigerators and freezers thoroughly to avoid water damage and mildew growth. Secure the appliance doors during transport, but leave them slightly ajar once in storage.

Drain washing machines, and tie down hoses and cords before storing them.

It’s a good idea to wipe down the inside of appliances with baking soda before you store them – this will keep them dry.

Wipe down metal surfaces and tools with a little oil before storing them to avoid rust formation that can occur when the tools are not used regularly.

When storing a vacuum cleaner, clean out the bag or canister first to avoid bacteria and mold accumulation while in storage.

Documents, Books & Photos

If storing photographs or paper documents, consider a climate controlled unit where temperature fluctuations will not cause damage.

If you store loose photographs, place them between pieces of clean cardboard and consider taping them together to avoid curling.

Pack books flat to avoid damaging their spines.

Linens & Clothing

Use vacuum-sealed bags to shrink draperies, bedding, and clothing.


Pack electrical equipment in their original boxes such as TVs, stereos, and computers.

If the original boxes are unavailable, choose boxes that are as close in size and dimension to the original as possible, and fill all gaps with paper.

Phase 2 – Loading & Packing

Once you decide on the location and size of the storage unit you wish to rent, you need to determine the best way to use it.

Just throwing your boxes in the unit will only result in chaos and frustration down the road. Use these simple tips to keep your storage unit neat and easy to access when you need to get to your items.

Park Close to the Storage Unit

As obvious as this may sound, be sure to park your Moving Truck as close as possible to the entrance of your Self Storage Unit or Storage Building Facility.

Every step you save is less fatigue in the legs and reduced stress on your back.

Always check first with Self Storage Management Personnel to learn if any of the property is off-limits to vehicles, and if there are clearance issues for your specific truck size.

Utilize Vertical Space

We call it Mini Storage, but even our smaller units contain a lot of space overhead!

Oftentimes, customers forget about the amount of Self Storage Space they have above their own eyesight, forcing them to scatter boxes all over the floor haphazardly.

Rather than focusing on the horizontal space, consider going vertical.

Start your base layer with the extra large, heavy boxes that you have packed and work your way up, tapering down to smaller boxes the higher that you get.

This will take a perfect eye for balance, but once you create a stable tier, you will have much more room to move around the storage unit rather than using it as an obstacle course.

Stand sofas on end when possible. If you have room to store a sofa flat, then a loveseat can be placed upside down on top of the sofa, and a table stacked on top of that.

Chairs can be stacked seat to seat.

Store Large Items Efficiently

If you are storing large furniture items or other items that do not fit in a box, figure out a way to make them as compact as possible.

If you can take furniture apart (as mentioned in phase 1), it will make storing them much easier as you can fit the pieces into tighter spaces.

In most cases, you can stack dryers on top of washers. Wedge the doors of all kitchen appliances open while in storage to avoid bad odors and mildew.

You can also make use of these large items by using them as storage too. Fill anything that’s hollow with smaller items to maximize your available space.

Use dresser drawers to hold clothing or linens or use the interior of washers, dryers and other appliances to hold kitchen gadgets. Stack items inside wardrobes and on bookshelves, just like you would at home.

Tools and long-handled items such as rakes, shovels and brooms can be placed inside garbage cans and bungee tied in bundles.

You can use virtually all of the space in and around your stored furniture.

Label and Keep a List

We cannot emphasize (again) the need to label your boxes enough, and on all sides!

Right now you might not be thinking about needing anything in the storage unit, but if you are storing items long term, the need to access your items is inevitable.

With labeled boxes, you can easily find what you need without wasting an entire day rifling through stacked boxes.

As an added precaution, keep a separate inventory list of the items that are in the unit and where they are located. You will thank yourself when the time comes to access those boxes.

If you are tech savvy and prefer to have your lists on your Smartphone, there are numerous free apps available that will help keep track of your inventory.

Future Access

Everyone has those few items that they know they will need down the road.

If you have a few of them, avoid stuffing them in the back of the unit. Instead, set them aside and make them the last boxes or items that you pack.

When these items are by the entrance, you can have easy access to them as needed without unpacking the entire unit to find one or two things.

Leave a walkway down the center of your storage unit to make accessing items easier.

Use Good Materials


Invest in good quality, sturdy boxes and packing materials.

Boxes should be sturdy enough to hold up for years under the weight of the stack. You may be tempted to get boxes for free from supermarkets and liquor stores; however, the mismatched shapes and sizes will impede your ability to organize most effectively.

You can purchase standard-sized boxes and specialty boxes for odd shaped and fragile items such as mirrors and lamps.

Invest in a wardrobe box with a built-in hanging rod, to store clothes and hangers.


For wrapping breakables, paper will work, but bubble wrap is cleaner, it can be reused and because it is transparent, makes identifying contents easier.

DOs and DON’Ts

DO this:

  • Use boxes, not plastic bags. Boxes are sturdier and stack well, taking up less space. Also, sealed plastic bags can trap humidity which can cause damaging mildew.
  • Boxes that are tightly sealed with packing tape will prevent dust from entering.
  • Lock your unit with a high security, quality disc lock or cylinder lock.

NOT this:

  • Do not store anything perishable.
  • Do not store anything flammable, such as paint or other chemicals that are hazardous. Make sure you drain any fluids prior to storing blowers, lawnmowers, and other equipment.
  • Do not store hazardous or combustible materials.

Planning Ahead Saves Time Unpacking

Proper packing of your storage unit has many benefits now and in the future.

Even unpacking the entire unit will be easier when you have a plan in place. Take the few extra minutes it takes to strategically plan the way you pack your storage unit and save yourself many headaches down the road!

Contact Maxwell Mini Storage for all of your Self-Moving & Storage Projects.

Do you have additional packing, loading and organization tips?