Storage Tips: How to Prepare Your Items for Storage
Updated: Nov 7
Packing your belongings for storage is slightly different to packing your items for moving. If you’re placing some of your belongings in storage for an extended period of time, then there are a few more factors you will need to consider as well as a few extra steps.
Don’t worry though, we’ve put together this helpful guide that contains everything you need to know about putting your items in storage.
Simply packing for a straight house to house move? We’ve got you covered. Our ultimate moving house checklist covers everything you need to know — and then some!
Anyway — back to how to prepare your stuff for storage! Here’s all of our worldly advice.
A step-by-step guide to putting your items in storage
1. Decide what you want to put in storage
Ok, so we know this one sounds pretty obvious but your first port of call when it comes to packing for storage is to decide what you actually need to put in storage. What you decide to place in storage will largely depend on how long you intend to have the unit for.
Perhaps you just need to put some non-essential, decorative items away whilst you get your new home ready or have some renovation work? In that case, you’ll want to consider items such as books, pictures, vases, plants, etc. Basically everything that makes a house a home but isn’t an essential item.
Or perhaps you’re renting a storage unit indefinitely to create some extra space in your home. In that case, you’ll want to consider items you haven’t used in a while or know you won’t use any more, such as toys your children have grown out of, old clothes or books you've read but don’t want to get rid of.
2. Create an inventory list
Once you’ve decided exactly what you’re going to put in storage you should make a list of everything. House moves can get pretty hectic and it’s easy to forget these things. We recommend making a few physical copies as well as having an electronic one. It doesn’t have to be anything complex — a simple list on your phone’s notes app will suffice.
We also recommend leaving a physical copy at your storage unit, that way when you visit you can see exactly what’s there without going through every box. It will also come in useful should your storage unit ever be affected by a natural disaster and you need to make an insurance claim.
3. Pack items going into storage first
If you’re moving house then some of your items will undoubtedly be going with you to your new home, while some may go into holding. If you have time and you’re able to, pack the items that will be going into storage first and everything else after. Or the other way around if you’d prefer.
Packing items intended for different destinations separately isn’t an essential step — but it can stop you from getting your belongings mixed up or sticking the wrong label on a box. In all the mayhem of moving, boxes can get muddled up but if you have everything intended for storage already packed and out the way it minimises the risk of this.
4. Invest in high-quality storage containers
As we mentioned earlier, packing for moving your items between houses is a little different to preparing them for storage and a lot of this is to do with the materials we recommend.
When you're moving from house to house, cardboard boxes are the go-to choice of box. They’re sturdy enough to protect your things but can be folded down, recycled or reused. They’re also cheaper and easier to source or buy on mass — which again is ideal when you’re moving a lot of stuff.
However, when it comes to storage, we recommend clear plastic boxes. This is because they offer more protection for longer, which may be necessary if you plan on keeping your belongings in storage for a while. What's more, if you have transparent boxes, you can see through them, making it easier to locate items when you need to.
If you can’t get your hands on any transparent plastic boxes, that’s ok! You can still use cardboard boxes, just make sure they are dry and sturdy, with no signs of a tear.
Lids for plastic and cardboard boxes are wholly necessary too. They offer another layer of protection, allow you to stack your boxes and stop your stuff from getting dusty! Who knew lids would be the unsung hero of packing for storage, hey?
5. Check the storage restrictions
When it comes to putting your stuff into storage, there are inevitably some items you just won’t be able to. Your storage provider will have a list of forbidden items that you’ll need to make sure you familiarise yourself with but here’s an idea of items typically not allowed in storage units:
Food and perishable goods
Combustible or flammable materials
Chemicals, radioactive materials or biological agents
You can’t keep pets in storage units either — but we’re sure we don’t need to tell you that!
6. Avoid putting valuables into storage
Whilst all professional storage units, including ours, are safe, secure and monitored by 24-hour CCTV, we don’t recommend leaving extremely valuable or sentimental items in storage, or large amounts of money for that matter.
Why? Because in the event of a flood or fire your items could be damaged and you might not be able to get them out in time. Though it’s true that we have insurance for situations like this, sentimental items can’t always be replaced.
Instead, we recommend having a safe deposit box in your home if you want to store these items securely.
7. Clean and all items beforehand
Before you pack your items for storage it’s a wise idea to give them a wipe down with some cleaning spray. In the case of furniture or mattress’, you might want to give them a good old hoover too.
This way, when you come to retrieve your items from storage you don’t have to worry about them smelling ‘fusty’ or being too dusty. If they’ve been placed in protective storage boxes, it's likely they’ll come out in the very same condition they went in, too. Meaning less work for you in the long-run.
8. Use protective materials
Much like when you're packing for moving from house to house — some items going into storage need some extra love and attention. They’re still going to be transported there after all, so will need the same protective materials for the journey. Plus, once they're in storage that extra protective bubble can’t hurt.
We advise wrapping delicate items, glassware and pottery in bubble wrap or multiple thin sheets of paper. Be sure to place protective materials between each item when boxing them up too, this stops them from bashing into each other during transit.
Need some protective wrapping tips? We've got you covered.
9. Label boxes
As with packing for moving from house to house — we cannot stress the importance of labels enough! They're a lifesaver. Even if you’re using clear boxes, using them is super helpful.
You might not move everything out of storage at the same time — you might want to do it room by room etc. In this case, labelling your boxes allows you to know exactly what’s in which box and whether you need it at that time. Labelling them according to weight will also help you avoid any nasty surprises when you come to pick one up.
Plus, the last thing you want to be doing when you arrive at the storage unit is getting everything out to find that one thing you’re looking for. Both your inventory list and your labelling will stop you from needing to do this.
10. Pack your belongings strategically
This leads us nicely to our next point — if you’re putting some items into storage, think about how you can categorise each item. You might not be putting a whole room or rooms into storage, but that doesn't mean you can’t organise your stuff.
For instance, you can put all the clothes into one box, or all the living room decorations into another. This way you won’t need to rummage in multiple boxes you can simply just find the box that has what you need.
You should also think about what order you put the boxes into the storage unit. For example, if you know you’ll need those living room items first, put them in last so you have easy access to them when the time comes.
11. Check the terms of your storage unit
Before we go, we have one more bonus tip for you. Always check the terms of your storage unit. There may be certain conditions regarding when you can visit the unit, who can gain access to it and so on.
Familiarising yourself with how the storage unit providers operate will help you avoid any confusion later on down the line. Plus, it’s also handy to know if they offer any add-ons such as a cleaning or delivery service!
Need a storage unit?
Looking for a reliable storage unit? Then you’re in luck! Here at Saint Removals, we have several dotted across the country. All of our units can be found in secure locations, protected by 24-hour CCTV, plus all the necessary insurances.
We also offer a full removal service if you need assistance on that front too. So what are you waiting for? Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help with all your removal and storage needs.