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7 Common Self-Storage Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

self-storage mistakes

America is officially in love with self-storage. In fact, it’s rivaling our love of burgers, with more self-storage units in the US than there are McDonald’s outlets.

Self-storage is a great option if you’re moving house, need to store a boat or RV, or just need a safe place for storing personal items. But finding where you put stuff – that’s where it can become a bit tricky.

We may not make you the next Marie Kondo, but follow our tips and you’ll know where your stuff is and exactly how to get it.

Read on for 7 common self-storage mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Skimping on Space

We’re all looking for a good deal, and it can be tempting to underestimate exactly how much space we’ll need. But this can backfire. It can create the temptation to cram the unit as full as possible, causing damage to your items.

Think realistically about how much stuff you have and which unit will be best for you. Also, talk this through with the storage company. Their years of experience will help you get the right storage unit size for your needs.

2. Failing to Plan

We all know the old saying ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’. Sadly it’s all too true in the world of self-storage. We’re not talking about a multi-page document here, just jotting down a general idea so that you’ve got something to go back to later.

Something as simple as numbering your boxes and keeping an inventory can remove this headache. When you need to find something in the future, you’ll know exactly where to go and will save yourself time and stress.

If you don’t want to create an inventory, then make sure you put clear labels on boxes. Think about how they’ll be stored, and label the side that will face outwards.

Think long-term. Permanent marker or printed labels will last better and be easier to see than a regular pen.

3. Poor Packing

A climate-controlled storage unit will help keep your items in good condition. But if your items are poorly packed in the first place, they will still deteriorate.

It’s important to avoid wrapping things in newspaper and other perishable packaging materials. Over time, newspaper degrades.

The ink can leech out and get onto your possessions. When you come to remove them, they’re dirty and in some cases, permanently damaged.

Avoid this mistake by choosing bubble wrap or foam sheets. These won’t degrade or mark your precious things.

4. Not Taking Out Insurance

Arranging self-storage insurance might not seem like the most exciting thing on your to-do list. But this is not a time to hope for the best. Skimping on insurance is one of the worst self-storage mistakes that you can make.

First of all, check your home insurance. Some policies will cover you for items in a storage facility.

Even if it does, check the limitations of the policy. Make sure that you’ve got enough insurance and that you’re happy with the provisions.

Alternatively, discuss the options available at the facility you choose. Discuss what insurance – if any – comes as standard. It may seem like a money-saver to skip it when you sign up, but it could come back to bite you in the future.

5. Wasting Space

If you’re storing bulky items with a large footprint, such as beds and other furniture, it’s easy to fill up your unit fast. Save space with a self-storage strategy.

It might be possible to disassemble your furniture and in doing so free up a lot of extra space. Beds can be stored vertically. Depending on the type, mattresses may also be able to be stored on their side, freeing up massive amounts of space. 

Granted, some furniture can’t be taken apart. But with careful planning and a bit of ingenuity, it might be possible to safely use some of these to store boxes. For example, a desk could safely have boxes stored under and on top of it.

6. Crushing Delicate Items

The golden rule of self-storage – heavy items go at the back and at the bottom.

It’s so disappointing when you open your unit and find that heavy boxes have crushed delicate items stored underneath. This comes back to planning. When making your inventory and numbering/labeling your boxes, make sure that you consider their weight.

You should also make sure that your storage boxes are up to the job. It may be tempting to go for a great deal on boxes. But if they’re not strong enough for the job, it’ll prove to be a false economy.

7. Not Leaving Access Space

You’ve paid for your unit and want to use every square inch – we get it. But do that and you can guarantee that what you need is going to be right in the back, bottom left corner box. Removing everything in front is going to be no fun for you or anyone else.

To keep this issue to a minimum, design your unit with a center aisle. This doesn’t need to be massive but does need to be wide enough to allow you to remove whatever you need to pull out.

Sure this takes a little extra planning, but it’ll save you a massive headache in the future.

The Bottom Line: Avoiding Self-Storage Mistakes

Now you know our seven storage sins, there’s no reason for you to suffer! When you decide to hire a unit, take a few minutes, write a few lists, make a small plan – a diagram even! It’ll be a great investment and ensure you get the best out of your unit.

Now you know the self-storage mistakes to avoid, you’re ready to go ahead and make the best of the self-storage units we have to offer!

Click here to check out our self-storage options and reserve your unit!