How to be a Storage Wizard

personal item storageYou are moving to a smaller home with significantly less storage space. You have a baby on the way and are losing the room that serves as a huge closet. You have decided to finish your basement and make it a home theater. No matter what is happening, you have a lot of stuff and no personal item storage. You have always been skeptical of paying hundreds of dollars for a room to store your junk.

However, space is tight and you have no choice but to rent out some personal storage space. One in ten Americans rent additional personal item storage–it’s possible. Here are five tips on how to make the most of even the smallest of self-storage space.

Decluttering your home is easy by scanning in your papers. Boxes and boxes of photos. Vital records like birth certificates and hospital bills. Recipes. Receipts. If you have tons of papers eating up your valuable storage space, it’s time to invest in a scanner and convert paper to electronic records, then shred it or recycle it. If you have limited computer space, an external hard drive is an excellent place to keep your records and photos that were once on paper. Plus, if your computer crashes, your records will still be safe.

Utilize stackable storage. Yes, you can stack cardboard boxes, but they weaken over time and are not weatherproof like plastic totes. Depending on the level of climate control in your self-storage facility, your personal item storage might be vulnerable to extreme cold, heat and humidity, and even cardboard-eating pests, all of which will weaken cardboard boxes over time. They are also susceptible to crumble and buckle when stacked more than two layers high, resulting in damage to your valuables. Plastic, sealable totes are sturdy enough to be stacked to your unit’s ceiling and will keep your possessions safe from the elements.

You have a family of six and it’s time to store dozens of items of bulky winter clothing. You can bag or box it up and carve out a huge chunk of precious storage space, or you can invest in a cheap vacuum sealer and make those chunky winter coats only inches thick. Vacuum sealed bags of clothing, linen, and other fabric items keep the textiles safe from the elements as well as slender enough to be slid into the tiniest of cracks between furniture and boxes.

Self-storage units are not cheap, especially if the market for them is very competitive in your area. However, cramming as much of your things in there with as little regard to the organization as possible will save you money but not much in the ways of time and stress relief. You can store things in the drawers and crannies of wardrobes and even vehicles that you have in your unit, but keep similar items together and take note of what is stored where so you can remember in the future.

Keep the items you retrieve from the unit most frequently towards the front. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you will be endlessly frustrated if you visit your storage unit for something you need and it is three-quarters of the way towards the back. Seasonal business items that you have to pull out four to six times a year should be in the front, your great grandmother’s furniture that you may pass on to grandkids someday can wait in the back.

Even as precious as space is, it is wise to consider leaving even an extremely narrow path from the unit door to about halfway into the room so that you do not have to pull out or climb over things every time you visit your unit. The more you have to move things around or play gymnastics on your storage, the more disorganized and broken things you will have.

Personal item storage can make moving or remodeling hassle free and keep your valuables within easy access. Just make sure you choose a reputable storage company and ask about security add-ons to keep your possessions safe.