Moving from one home to another is a highly transitional period in life – an interim stage in which you’ll need to decide what to do with the various furniture pieces you own, the number of household appliances and all the personal belongings you’ve accumulated through the years.
Once you’ve sorted out your things and got rid of anything you no longer want, like, or need (decluttering your home is key), you may still be left with too many items that you can’t possibly fit in the new home, at least not at the time of moving into it. That’s especially true when you’re downsizing – that is, moving into a smaller home.
What’s more, your new home may be in the middle of a renovation project, you may be moving temporarily to another place to work or study, including abroad, or you may be merging all the stuff from two households into one (in case of moving in with your loved one).
Why can temporary storage be a good solution for you? In all those cases, renting a storage unit to keep the things you don’t need at the moment, but still wish to hold on to, for the time being, can prove to be a good practical solution in case of insufficient storage space. In reality, a storage unit is just like having an extra storage room at your disposal, and only that room happens to be outside the new home.
When used sensibly and wisely, a (self-) storage unit can provide you with a great storage solution when you’re moving out of one home and moving into another one. So, naturally, the question of what to put in storage and what NOT to put in storage when moving will soon occupy your mind, causing you additional stress during an already stressful move.
Your belongings can easily be damaged if you don’t know how to pack and organize a storage unit appropriately. No matter what you decide to pack in your storage unit, the tips below will help you protect everything from your flat-screen TV to your winter coat.
Read on to learn what things to place in storage – a list of the most common items in storage units. Also, get more information about the things you should never put into a storage unit, and why (usually for safety reasons).
IMPORTANT STORAGE FACTORS
“The most common questions I run into are: Is it climate controlled? And is it secured?” Ori continues. Some items, like paper documents, vinyl records or antique furniture, often need a bit of climate stability in order to remain in pristine condition. But as Ori says, “The majority of storage clients do not really need climate-controlled storage.” They simply need space that doesn’t get very hot or very cold; “clients are simply scared that the temperatures will rise or fall uncontrollably”, and storage units like Oz’s often have climate stability that ensures average temperatures are not too high or low. “In our facility, there is a heating system for the winter, and because of the structure of the building, the average temperature in the summer is a comfortable 72 Fahrenheit.”
Storage users are often worried about how their items will be looked after. Some users concerned on security are planning to store items they can’t replace; others worry much less about losing some of their stored items. “As far as security, in our particular location, there is an alarm system, security cameras and sensors to ensure maximum security.” Any good storage unit should have some security to ensure break-ins or thefts do not occur.
SPACE & ORGANIZATION
One of the most obvious concerns should be the size of the room that the user will need and how this space will be organized. Some storage providers will group users together, while others, like Oz, keep all users’ inventories separated. You can use Public Storage’s Unit Size Guide to get a clear visual demonstration of what a certain unit size can fit.
ACCESS TO STORAGE UNITS
There is a significant difference between “full service” storage and “self-storage” units that people are often unaware of: access. Self-storage allows its users the freedom to access their unit and leave or take items as they please. Most full-service storage users don’t have the same amount of access: they likely need to set up an appointment to come to the facility. Full-service storage offers its users the ease of mind that employees at the facility will store their items; they won’t have to deal with bringing the items to the facility, dragging them to the unit, organizing them meticulously so everything fits, and digging through the unit when they need something (after which they repeat the process, vice versa.) Make sure you’re aware of if your storage options are “self” or “full service” storage, and what that means for your storage access.
What to put in storage when moving
Deciding what to keep and what to discard when moving out can be harder than you think. Once you’ve gone through the must-take and will-leave lists, you’ll be left with a number of household items that you won’t be sure what to do with.
Sometimes the stress of having to make those decisions right there on the spot may be too much to bear. So, keeping your undecided belongings in a safe place, usually accessible 24/7, is a good way to reduce the stress of moving as it gives you more time to make the right decisions later when you’ve already moved into your new place. After all, it’s not a secret that extreme time pressure can often lead to bad decisions.
To help you make an informed decision, here’s what you should put in storage, whenever needed.
When your little ones grow up, there’s no more need to have their things around the house. A storage unit gives you the chance to hold onto these items in case your family (or maybe a friend) is blessed with another “gift”. Use your storage unit to hold onto that infant’s inventory and turn your nursery into a guest bedroom, game room, or whatever your heart desires.
Without a doubt, furniture is one of the most common items in storage units. Why? Most furniture pieces are rather bulky, and they tend to take a lot of space.
First of all, you may not have enough space in the new home for all the furniture items you want to take with you.
Secondly, your current pieces may not match the interior of the new place.
And thirdly, some of the furniture you’re moving may have already been made redundant by the fact that the new house or apartment is fully furnished.
And yet, the logical choice of getting rid of your unneeded furniture pieces prior to the move (like selling them at a garage sale) may not work for you in case you wish to keep them for their sentimental value. Another good reason to place furniture in storage is that you think you will need those items again sometime in the near future.
Furniture storage tips:
- Place plastic “bedding” or wooden pallets on the ground beneath furniture to keep moisture or mould from reaching them.
- Disassemble large furniture, if possible; apply wax to wooden furniture to protect the finish.
- Polish metallic furniture to prevent oxidation that would damage the finish.
- Use lacquer for bronze or copper.
- Use professional services to clean and preserve furniture whenever possible.
- Wrap some form of cushioning around areas to prevent scratching and denting (bubble wrap, newspaper, towels, or blankets).
- Use end tables and dresser drawers as “boxes.”
- Remove light bulbs and shades from lamps and wrap lamps in cushioning material.
- Clean fabric furniture to prevent the growth of mildew and mould while in storage.
- To prevent breaking, protect glass and mirrors by using mask tape to make an “X” on the surface.
- Corrugated cardboard can be used to protect either side of the glass or mirror.
- Place tables that remain un-assembled top-down on top of mattresses or other cushioning.
- Tabletops can be placed against the wall.
- Place sofas, chairs, dressers right side up, the way you would have them in your home, to avoid damage.
- Use furniture covers to place over furniture.
- Use climate control; make sure all items are fully dry.
- Consider using rodent repellent.
Click here to check out home storage ideas
Whether you are relocating or need more room, you might not want to part with valuable and perfectly good electronics that you own.
Electronics storage tips:
- Computers, radios, television sets, and photocopy, fax, and scanner machines need to be stored appropriately to ensure they are still in good condition when you are ready for them.
- Put electronics into their original boxes along with all their paraphernalia and accessories.
- Don’t mix up the parts of your electronics, as you may not be able to tell them apart later on!
- In each box, individually wrap separate pieces, like computer monitors, keyboards, modems, cords, etc.
- Stuff empty spaces in your boxes to keep the boxes sturdy, particularly if you will be stacking boxes one on top of each other.
Seasonal items such as clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. are one of the most frequent items people place in storage when moving simply because they won’t need them until the next season. And until that next season comes along, most people will have had enough time to figure out what they will do with the seasonal belongings they’ve stored away.
When you’re moving house, you can do the same and put some of your seasonal items in storage:
Clothes and shoes. You can choose to store away temporarily your out-of-season clothes and shoes until you decide what to do with them. For example, your winter clothes and heavy boots can be comfortably stored away during a summer move.
Seasonal items are one of the most common items in storage units. Furniture items most commonly found in storage units include:
- Beds that have been disassembled to their main components;
- Mattresses protected in plastic mattress bags;
- Tables and chairs, often part of a dining room set;
- Patio furniture, usually stored away for the winter.
When placing any furniture in storage, consider disassembling the larger pieces to save space in the storage unit. Also, make sure all furniture items are clean and 100% dry to prevent the growth of mould.
Various seasonal equipment
You won’t need your ski gear during the summer so you can put such season-specific items in temporary storage. Summer or snow tires are another example of things that you can store away according to the season.
Holiday decorations. Major holidays such as Christmas and Halloween are only once a year, so you can practically store away their holiday-specific decorations until you need them again. However, those decorations don’t usually take a lot of space so it may be better to keep them stored away somewhere in your new home.
How to prepare items for storage: tips and tricks
Large household appliances
Kitchen stoves, washers, dryers, dishwashers, and refrigerators are big and heavy, so you may not have enough space for them in the new home. If you happen to be moving into temporary housing and you know you’ll be moving out again soon, then it makes sense to store away some of your large appliances until you come to need them again.
Another scenario where you may wish to store your big appliances for later use is when you’re moving into a new home that already has some of those units in there. And since you know that duplicating appliances is a bad idea in terms of living space (how many dishwashers do you need?), then it’s not really surprising that household appliances are one of the things you find in storage units.
Like electronics, you may need a safe and secure place to put perfectly good and useful appliances that for whatever reason you may not be using right now. Microwaves, ovens, fridges, stoves, washers, and dryers can all be properly stored with good packing practices.
Appliance storage tips:
- Wash and clean appliances to prevent buildups, avoid rot, rust, or pests while in storage.
- Keep appliances upright against the wall; leave doors slightly open to allow air to pass through the appliance, avoiding musty smells.
- Wrap up appliance cords, and place cleaned attachments inside of the appliances.
- Make sure all items are completely dried out before placing into storage.
- Drain any water from hoses, tanks, or tubing.
- Any moisture left behind can cause freezing or mildew damage!
- Cushion and wrap fragile parts such as glass panels if you will remove them.
- Cover appliances with a sheet or other breathable cover.
Files and documents
You should always keep your important documents with you wherever you move to. However, there are many documents and work files that are not that important, and yet you have to keep them for a number of years until it is safe to dispose of them properly – usually destroy them.
Examples of such documents include warranties for items you bought recently (you need to keep them safe until their respective warranty periods expire), receipts, certain medical records, financial documents, employment records, school records, etc.).
Renting a reputable storage unit will give you the chance to keep those important but non-essential documents safe until you find a good place for them in the new home or you make up your mind what you should do with them.
What important documents to take when moving
Books and magazines
You can store books in your storage unit, but sooner or later, you’ll have to decide what you’ll do with them.
Regardless of how small your new place is, you should definitely have some books on it, at least your favourite ones. However, the living space may not let you move all of your books or magazines, so it’s only normal that you should consider placing your most loved volumes in storage until you come up with a better solution in time.
Make sure you do sort out your book collection prior to moving out with the purpose of getting rid of the books you don’t like anymore, or you won’t ever read again. Remember that books become super heavy when packed in boxes, so give away, donate or sell the copies that are no longer important for you.
In the best-case scenario, the books you decide to put in storage will be the ones you want to keep having in the future.
Collectibles and artwork pieces
From all the things to put in storage, collectors’ items and artwork pieces are ones of the most common things that get stored away during a house move. Such a decision does make a sense in most cases considering the chaotic nature of most house moves – after all, people do want to make sure their valuable items are safe and sound until they move into a new home and settle down. And so do you.
File storage tips:
- Climate control storage is useful for managing humidity since humidity can cause mildew when too high.
- A constant and moderate temperature will help to preserve your paper documents.
- Airtight containers also prevent mildew.
- Keep boxes off the floor; consider protective cabinets or document shelving.
- Use a filing system for archives.
- Put labels on all of your containers.
- Organize your files well, so that you can find things easily when you need them, and create narrow “walkways” to make for easy access to your files.
- Consider extra security.
- Use safes or password protected locks for material that is highly sensitive, confidential, or private.
Valuable, rare or collectors’ items; antiques and expensive art
Your great-great grandmother’s rocking chair may not really fit the decor of your new home, but you certainly aren’t about to go selling it! Consider having your antiques professionally packed, then bringing them to your storage unit for safekeeping. Be sure you have insurance to cover your heirlooms in case of disaster, and that you choose a storage facility that feels safe and secure. You don’t want to be worrying about that grandfather clock when you’d rather be getting to know your new city.
There are occasions that call for storage of items of extreme value to you, whether an antique heirloom from the last five generations of your family or a piece of exotic art. Storage, for people in different situations, might present an option of security not currently available to them in their homes or workplaces. People on the move may need somewhere to put their valuables until they return or settle down. For collectors, it might just be a more secure and organized alternative than keeping your collections at home.
Valuables storage tips:
- Temperature and humidity control is important to prevent damage to some valuable items.
- Wrap wall art in storage tissue allowing ventilation (plastic traps moisture).
- Use wax paper on the surface of paintings.
- You can place cardboard between paintings and wrap art, like sculpture, with blankets or sheets in boxes with padding.
- Keep artwork from direct contact with the ground.
- Don’t lean canvases against the wall for long periods, as canvas will get distorted.
- Roll up rugs.
- You can use acid-free tubes or cardboard tubes for rolled preservation.
- Also, consider cover and preservation materials such as muslin or polyethylene.
- Store rugs on rust-free metal shelves or in drawers.
- Wrap antique furniture in bubble wrap, blankets, or sheets.
- Use boxes for smaller items such as mirrors or lamps.
- Disassemble particularly fragile furniture and contain parts in wraps or boxes.
- Bag screws and accessories and tape to furniture for reassembly.
- Take professional precautions, such as appraisals and insurance, whenever possible, when storing valuable items like antique furniture or art.
Storage units will often have a certain level of security, but it’s highly recommended that you hold onto any valuables to make sure nothing bad happens to them. This way, you can make sure you are personally responsible for them and prevent any miscommunications or mishaps. After all, the person you should be able to trust the most is yourself.
In 2005, GarageSmart® pioneered the garage storage category in Australia. Since we’ve built a reputation of providing a premium product along with a friendly and professional service. GarageSmart has the best storage solutions for garage. GarageSmart is the nation’s leader in complete garage fit-outs. We are a privately owned company and we are very proud of that. GarageSmart is a complete “do-it for you” premium garage fit out company.