Personal Storage Tips
Trying to decide what to place in your personal storage unit, can be overwhelming and worrisome. So we’ve included tips about some of the most commonly stored items.
Decluttering: Store or Keep?
If you’ve begun to notice that your house has accumulated so many items that it’s bursting at the seams, it may be time to rent a self-storage unit. A personal storage unit will help declutter your home while still allowing you to rotate through your belongings whenever you want. But, then comes the hard part. What should you keep and what should you store?
- Clothes that are in season and that you wear often.
- Home items that you use often (i.e. bedding, kitchen utensils, towels, etc.)
- Furniture that you use regularly.
- Photos, art, and wall decor that bring life to your home.
- Board games and other toys that fit in your child’s room.
- Enough of your college student’s belongings that they still feel at home when visiting.
- Important documents (like social security cards, birth certificates, etc.) and current bills should be filed at home.
- Items you collect (store them in a display cabinet!)
- Sports gear that is used regularly including baseballs, weights, bikes, etc.
- Emergency household tools.
- Out of season clothing and shoes.
- Home items that you DON’T use often (like fancy china used for holidays or extra bedding/linens).
- Seasonal furniture like patio sets.
- Photos and art that clutter your walls or don’t fit the style of your home.
- Toys that you don’t have room for. We suggest rotating your child’s toys out regularly so they can still play with them all. You can ask for your child’s input on which toys they want to have.
- College student’s items like extra bags and clothes that clutter their room.
- Important tax papers and other documents that you may need but don’t use regularly.
- Collector’s items that don’t fit in your display cabinet. You can also rotate these.
- Out of season sport supplies.
- However, at the end of the day, it’s up to you and your family to decide what needs to be stored. Just remember to properly label your stored items for future use. Also, remember to rotate your stored items as needed to keep them in use.
Holiday DecorationsAfter spending months preparing for the holidays, everything is over after just one day. Each of your family members has a surplus of shiny, new presents and your living room is strewn with empty boxes and wrapping paper remnants. Now, it’s time to clean up and get ready for next year. Renting a self-storage unit is a great way to keep your holiday items until they’re needed again. Below, we’ve compiled some personal storage tips to help you properly store your holiday decor.
- Shred used wrapping and tissue paper to make cushy filler to store your items.
- Pack your most fragile ornaments at the top of the box.
- If you have any dainty ornaments, you can store them in an old egg carton.
- A cardboard box with partitions is one of the best ways to store ornaments. You can put several ornaments in each slot. But make sure to wrap them in tissue first!
- Use an old shoebox to store ornament hangers and other supplies (like ribbon, hooks, scissors, and more.)
- Use sandwich bags for any ornaments made out of food (like gingerbread.) This will help protect them from humidity. In addition, place the sandwich bags in a tin to protect them from rodents while in storage.
- Store garland in a large plastic box.
- Place a twist tie or other marker in the middle of each strand of garland. This way, you won’t have to remeasure it next year.
- Label each strand of garland after you take them down. Next year, you’ll remember exactly where each one goes.
- The last thing you want is a giant ball of tangled holiday lights. Therefore, use an empty wrapping paper tube to wrap your lights around. Then, secure the ends by taping them inside the tube.
- Use sandwich bags to store extra bulbs. Then, place any bags inside the wrapping paper tube.
Wedding Dress Storage
Whether you wore your grandmother’s dress or veil that’s been passed down for generations or you found the perfect wedding dress at a bridal shop that you can’t wait to give to your own daughter one day, your wedding dress deserves to be cared for and stored properly. You want it to stay beautiful for years to come! Take a look at these important steps to keep your gown in perfect condition:
- Carefully follow the dress’s care instructions. Check the label and see if your dress needs to be dry cleaned or handled by a professional. If your gown can be hand washed, make sure to test it by first washing a small, less noticeable area. Better safe than sorry! Sometimes, a wedding dress’s label may detail specific types of cleaners to use. Ask your bridal shop for a recommendation for a dry cleaner who carries these supplies.
- Clean your dress ASAP to prevent stains. First, look for a professional dry cleaner that has plenty of experience handling wedding dresses. Remember, the treatment will vary depending on the type of dress. Satin dresses will require different care than tulle or silk. Try to find a cleaner that uses virgin solvent rather than recycled. This will provide better results and lessen the chance that your dress will smell like it has been dry cleaned.
- Don’t store the gown in a plastic garment bag. If your dress is kept in a bag like this for too long, the plastic could emit fumes that turn the dress yellow or damage it. Furthermore, plastic has the potential to trap moisture which could cause your dress to mildew. Decide who will preserve your dress. Will you hire professionals or do you plan to handle it yourself?
- You may choose to have your dress preserved in a box by professionals. Preferably, choose a company that uses acid-free boxes rather than just ones with an acid-free coating. As a result, this will preserve your wedding dress for longer. Acid-free tissue will be used for padding. Buffered tissue should be used for materials like Rayon and polyester, but use unbuffered tissue for materials like silk. If you box your dress, make sure not to seal it. You should take your dress out of the box each year to prevent any creases from damaging your dress. Also, by leaving it unsealed, you still have the opportunity to take your dress out and try it on again whenever you wish.
- You may choose to have your dress professionally hung. This will require less care in the future and also avoid wrinkles. Unlike a boxed dress, you will not have to take it out every year to prevent creases. Place your dress in a cloth bag that has no dye. If your dress has thin or no strap, reinforce them to prevent breakage. In addition, your dress may be filled with acid-free tissue to help keep its shape.
- Check your dress yearly. This will allow you to notice any problems in a timely manner. For example, you may not notice a drink stain until the area oxidizes and turns brown. Have spots like these treated as soon as you notice them. These will usually be noticeable in the first year after your wedding.
- Wear plain cotton gloves when taking your dress out of storage. This is good practice to protect your wedding dress from dirt, sweat, and other things that can stain your gown.
- After your dress has been professionally cleaned and boxed or hung, store it in a cool, dry place for best protection. Try to reduce the amount of ultraviolet light that reaches your dress. If your dress is exposed to light for a prolonged period, it could lead to damage. Consider renting a climate controlled personal storage unit to properly store your dress, or invest in a dehumidifier. These extra steps can preserve your wedding dress for generations to come!
Home Appliance StorageYou may keep your old home appliances for a variety of reasons. You need a backup just in case, you want to keep an extra in your garage, or you plan to give it away to someone who needs it. Whatever the situation, renting a personal storage unit to house your unused appliances can be a smart, cost-effective way to keep them out of your house until they’re needed. Below, we’ve compiled some useful tips to keep your appliances in proper working order while they’re in storage. If you have more questions after reading this article, get in touch with a storage facility manager for more information on storing appliances.
Run one last cycle
If you plan to store a washing machine or dishwasher, run an empty load for cleaning purposes before storing. Accordingly, use a cup of bleach, vinegar, or detergent for the last wash cycle.
Clean the inside
Before storing, make sure your appliance is as clean as can be! This will prevent bugs, mildew, and other unwanted issues while storing. With fridges, dishwashers, and ovens, scrub the entirety of the inside and make sure it dries completely. Also, for fridges, clean and dry the defrost pan (this will either be under or behind your refrigerator.) For any appliance that uses water, clean the rubber seal around the door to get rid of mildew.
Clean the outside
Appliances with a motor will have an intake area that like a lint filter, tube, or grid. Clean these vents out with a vacuum cleaner, or, if they’re greasy, use an old toothbrush to clean.
If your appliance has a door, secure it shut with tape while on the move. After it has been transported, take the tape off to prevent any sticky residue being left behind. Blue painters tape won’t leave much residue. After your appliance is in the unit, prop the appliance door open to prevent mildew.
Load appliances last
When you load the moving truck, put any appliances on last. This ensures they will be the first things off the truck and in your storage unit. Once again, don’t forget to transport your refrigerator upright!
Leave appliances off
Most storage facilities don’t even offer electrical hookups in storage units, but if yours does, don’t use them. Keep your appliances shut off while they’re in storage.
Keep doors open
As we mentioned earlier, remember to prop open your appliance’s door while in storage. Consequently, this will prevent them from mildewing.
Store more items
Clean, dry appliances can be a good resource for extra storage space, though some facilities advise against this. As long as your appliance is properly cleaned and dried, you can store light and fragile items in them. However, don’t overpack your appliances and refrain from storing heavier belongings like books.
Drain any liquid
To prevent freezing or mildew buildup, make sure to drain any water from your appliances before storing. Water may be in hoses, holding tanks, tubing, or in other internal areas.
As we mentioned before, you don’t want bugs invading your appliances while storing. After cleaning your appliances, spray them for bugs before storing them.
Remove fragile pieces
Your appliance may have fragile parts, like a refrigerator with glass shelves. Therefore, take these out before moving your appliance and transport them separately. To protect any appliances with a finish, wrap them in sheets or bubble wrap before moving. Moreover, always transport your fridge upright!
Pick the right unit
Extreme weather like high/low temperatures and high humidity can cause your appliance to rust and mildew. Therefore, you may want to consider a climate controlled unit that will keep your appliances at a constant, comfortable temperature. This will better protect the mechanical and electric features of your appliance from rust.
Unload appliances first
Unloading your appliances first makes sure they’ll be stored at the back of your storage unit. Accordingly, this allows you to put smaller, more often used items in the front of your unit and gives you easier access.
Secure fragile pieces
For parts transported separately, like the glass refrigerator shelves we mentioned earlier, make sure to mark them as fragile. Also, don’t stack anything heavy on them.
Prevent bad smells
You can avoid unwanted odors by placing an opened container of baking soda in any stored appliances.
Cover appliances for extra protection
Cover your appliances with breathable blankets, tarps, or sheets to protect them from dust, scratches, and other damage.
Spring Cleaning and Storage
As the days get longer and the increase of sunlight gives you more energy, it’s time to tackle all the dust, stains, and other impurities that have accumulated in your house over the winter. It’s time for a good spring cleaning! When starting your spring cleaning, you may want to consider renting a personal storage unit to house your belongings as you go through them. This is also a great way to declutter your home. If, while you’re cleaning, you find some items or furniture that don’t fit in your home but you’re not ready to get rid of just yet, you can store them long or short term. Tips for spring cleaning:
- Keep track of where you clean. A good tactic is to start cleaning from the ceiling down. First, tackle your light fixtures, ceiling fans, and corners. Then, work on the walls and windows and finally end at the floors. You can do the same method while cleaning windows. On the inside, clean from left to right. On the outside, clean from top to bottom. This will help you see which side has streaks.
- Service your smoke detectors. In fact, this is a good time to replace the batteries, test the alarm, and then give it a good cleaning.
- Clear counters and shelves. Make sure to wash them thoroughly as well as anything on them (like knick-knacks or books). If you have stacks of papers lying around everywhere, file important bills and documents, recycle junk mail, and shred any papers with personal information on them.
- Clean around appliances. Sometimes, it can be hard to see just how dirty it is behind your oven or fridge. Therefore, when deep cleaning, pull out your appliances and wash the sides and the floor around it. This will help you find hidden spills and dirt.
- Are you going to paint or shampoo carpets? If so, you may want to move your furniture into a self storage unit. Many facilities will let you rent a unit even for just a day. Or, you can look into mobile storage where they bring a unit to your house and then move it later.
- Clean your mattresses and furniture. Steam cleaning will help your furniture look and feel brand new. Also, a good way to clean your mattresses and furniture is by rolling out a tarp and letting them sit outside in the sun for a few hours. Strong sunlight and UV rays can help kill any microscopic bacteria collecting on your furniture.
- Take a look in your closet. First, try to sort through your seasonal clothes. Wash them and try to fix any missing buttons or small rips and tears. If you come across items you don’t usually wear, donate them to free up space. If you plan to store any clothes, a wardrobe box will keep them upright and easily fits into a personal storage unit.
- Fix easy repairs. You may come across small leaks, broken hardware, or other small issues. Try to fix these issues now before they become worse! As you fix them, if you notice any tools that you use rarely, go ahead and put them in your self storage unit.
- Keep an eye out for details. If you’re gonna deep clean, do it right! Sweep every corner, clean every window track, and wipe every inch of crown molding.
- Remember to clean outside. Pressure wash your walls to remove dirt, spider webs, and other grime. Also, spray your garage floor and driveway to remove oil stains, dirt, and other particles that you don’t want tracked inside.
- Don’t forget your lawn furniture. Get your patio chairs from your basement or personal storage unit, and give them a good clean with your hose. Now, use all the extra space in storage for winter items like shovels, snow blowers, and winter toys. This will help keep your house decluttered during the spring and summer.
- Take care of the lawn. Lay down mulch or fertilizer, trim the hedges, and plant some flowers. Further, you can store any landscaping materials that you don’t currently need in your self storage unit.
Yard Sales and Storage
So, you’re ready to clean out the house and have a yard sale, but where are you going to store and organize your items in the meantime? A personal storage unit can be the solution to your problem. Whether your home’s basement is stuffed to the brim or your garage is full of kids’ toys, bikes, and, of course, cars, a self storage unit is the perfect place to organize the items you want to sell without cluttering your house. You can save yourself time and energy in the long run by organizing your items as you drop them off in the unit. Try to group your items the way you would see in a store: clothing, toys, kitchen, linens, etc. If you want, you can even go ahead and begin pricing items. This will save you time as your yard sale approaches. As you continue to go through your belongings, you can drop off what you choose to sale at your unit. Consider having a joint yard sale with your close friends or family members. Then, you can divide the cost of the storage unit. By lessening the expense of the unit, it’s even more beneficial to store your items in a personal storage unit. In the days leading up to your yard sale, it’s a good idea to set up your racks and tables before getting your belongings over from your storage unit. First, you’ll want to have a plan for where everything should go. Then, you can pack up everything in your unit and simply unload it at your home. If you already organized and priced everything in the storage unit like we mentioned earlier, this will be even easier. Renting a storage unit is a great way to prepare for your yard sale without the distractions you have at home. You’re less likely to get distracted by your kids, phone, TV, or computer if you’re organizing and pricing in the unit. If you host a yard sale annually, you can slowly bring items from your house to the unit throughout the year. In addition, the more organized you keep your storage unit, the easier it will on the day of your sale.