How To Pack And Store Items Safely For Long-Term Storage

Posted on: 26 April 2014


Every year, 40 million people move from one home to another.  If your move is a cross-country one, then you may not have the opportunity to bring all of your items to your new house all at once.  This means that you have to place them in storage for a potentially long period of time.  

A self storage unit is a good option for long-term storage, but you need to make sure you pack and store things properly so they are safe and undamaged after the storage period is over.  Consider the lists below to learn how you to properly take this on.

Prepare Your Personal Belongings

1. Pack small and unbreakable items you want to store in your storage unit.  Place all items in boxes and make sure there is no extra space in the containers.  If you see open areas, wad paper towels or plastic bags in the spaces.  Your personal items tend to shift during travel and you do not want things moving around in boxes and shifting weight unevenly.  Also, when you stack the boxes, they become crushed with too much open space inside.

2. Prepare your breakables.  Secure bubble wrap around your glass, ceramic, china, or porcelain belongings.  Use two layers of the wrap and make sure the bubbles face inward toward the item.  Secure seams with pieces of packing tape, and lightly place your breakables in a box.  Use packing peanuts or rolled up pieces of bubble wrap to add cushioning around them.  Mark the boxes as fragile so you can identify your breakables from your other belongings.

3. Secure furniture and other large items.  Identify sharp edges and corners on tables, chairs, and cabinets, and add a layer of bubble wrap to reduce knick and scrape damage during the move.  

Cover furniture with cotton drop-cloths and lightly secure edges with tape.  Do not use plastic sheets or thick and unbreathable materials to cover furniture, because these trap water and allow mold to grow.

Pack Your Storage Unit

1. Clean the entire inside of the storage unit.  Use a vacuum to remove loose dirt and debris and run a cloth against floors and walls to absorb water.  Cleaning the unit reduces the amount of dust that builds on belongings during the storage period.  Also, reducing the moisture in the space limits the amount of mold and mildew that can grow.

2. Secure a wooden palette at the bottom of the storage space, and make sure it is placed several inches from the walls.  The palette keeps belongings safe in case water seeps into the bottom of the storage space.  A solid layer of cinderblocks works to keep belongings off the floor as well.

3. Place your things inside the storage space.  Put furniture and large items towards the back of the storage space first.  Add your boxes full of unbreakable items next and stack them two or three boxes high.  Stack your unbreakable boxes on top of the other containers or furniture.  Lightly wiggle belongings to make sure they are secure.

4. Add a lock to the door of the storage unit.  Choose a solid-body lock or a disc padlock to offer the best security.  The steel or brass of these locks cover the shackle to stop thieves from cutting the lock.

When you prepare for a long distance move, you have limited options of what you can and cannot take with you.  A storage space can help you to keep all the items safe that you choose to leave behind for months or years.  With the tips above, you can ensure the safety and security of your things throughout the entire storage period.